Take a Deep Breath

Take a Deep Breath—(2 Timothy 3:16—October 20, 2019–Dr. DennyDrummondtown Baptist Church).Breath.jpg

Introduction:  If you’re able to do it, take a deep breath.  That’s good.  One more time.  My sermon this morning is about breath.  Harvard Medical School put out an article recently with the same title as my sermon.  “Take a Deep Breath!”  Here is what they said:  The ability to breathe deeply and powerfully is not limited to a select few. This skill is inborn but often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms.

   When you practice deep breathing on a daily basis, your blood pressure will lower and your stress will lessen.  10 -20 minutes a day is all it takes.  You can do it anywhere.

Background.  Paul believed in deep breathing.  But Paul does the most amazing thing in our text this morning.  He turns his attention away from his breath and looks toward heaven where if you listen carefully you can hear heavy breathing.  And it is this divine exhalation that I want to focus upon this morning.

         *Whenever I go to the doctor, he or she often puts a cold stethoscope on my chest and asks me to breathe deeply.  The doctor moves it around to different spots listening closely to the movement of air in my lungs. frog.jpg

         Paul tells us in our text that God breathes.  In fact, he uses a rare Greek word that many commentators think Paul made up.  Can you imagine that?  A made-up word.  *I used to ask my 8th graders once in a while to try to make up a word.  A word that no one has ever heard before.  It’s not as easy as you think.  If you can think up one, write it down in your bulletin.  I have a line for it. __________________

         Paul’s made-up word is θεόπνευστος (God-breathed).  The traditional translation we often see is “All Scripture is inspired by God…”. But that kind of loses the punch of the word Paul invented.  The better translation would be:  “All Scripture is God-breathed.”  Just one word—one imaginative word formed in Paul’s mind as he wrote this letter to Timothy.    And this brings us to the image that I can see in my mind:  God doing deep breathing as He sits on the throne.  And with every breath out, we see the Bible forming.  For the Bible is the breath of God.

         *If you take your Bible and flip the pages quickly near your face, you will feel a slight wind.  That wind is the breath of God still lingering on his pages of Scripture.  For make no mistake about it, this Bible of ours is more than paper and ink—it is God-breathed—the very breath of God.

Outline:  Now that we understand the source of Scripture better, how can we use it in our lives every day for practical gain?  The Bible is not an irrelevant book on a dusty shelf.  It is practical.  And here is how it  helps us daily:

  1. Scripture teaches us ( 1 Tim. 3:16). We all need a teacher.  We started our lives with teachers and if you are to continue to progress, you still need one today.  *Now, I’m going to ask you to go back in time.  Dig deep into your past and try to remember your favorite teacher.  Can you see her or him?  What made this teacher so memorable?

         *My favorite teacher was Mr. Cochran, who taught 6th grade when I lived in Jacksonville Arkansas.  He was a bonafide cowboy who raced quarter-horses.  He was slim, well-groomed, polite and insightful.  cowboy.jpgHe was good with kids.  He taught the smallest things that I still use today.  For example, he taught me how to use a dictionary.  Of all things!  So insignificant, but he considered a valuable skill and he taught us.  He said when you want to find a word, look at the first letter and then when you open the dictionary, think where that first letter would be and open the dictionary there.  That saves time.  And when you find the closest page to your word, use your finger to slide down the words until you find it.

         Paul tells that Scripture does this very thing.  It teaches us daily on endless subjects.  It is a practical guide for living.  Each day, pick a text, a verse, and welcome it into your day.  Let it teach you something.

  1. Scripture corrects us—(3:16). The second thing the Bible does is correct us. Everyday temptations will spring up to take us down.  Every day, moods will attempt to lead us down dark paths.  Every day, some voice will tell you how worthless you are.  And this is where Scripture steps in to make corrections to our faulty outlook on life.  It corrects us. It is patient and offers us direction and hope.

         *Mr. Cothran was like that.  One day I was misbehaving in class.  I don’t remember what I was doing, but I do remember Mr. Cochran stopping his lesson and with his finger directed me to the door.  He didn’t yell at me in front of the kids.  Instead, he took me outside the room and there in the hall he looked down at me with those cowboy eyes that had calmed a thousand stallions and corrected me.  cowboyeyes.jpgIt was like a spanking without a switch.  He just corrected me with a soft voice, a masterful gaze that went right through me.  And when I went back in I wanted to be a better boy.

  1. Scripture trains usTeaching gives you concepts while training uses repetition to instill them into your lives and habits.

*When I  wanted my Irish setter to fetch something I began by sitting him down on the lawn and we had school.  I explained it all to him in perfect boy English using hand motions and other teaching tools.  But then—I began the training.  I took him to the field and threw a ball.  And with positive repetition, he learned to get it and bring it back.

*How many of you remember Training Union?  It has faded out of Baptist life today but when I was a kid it was big.  It was always done on Sunday night.  We would learn to read our parts out of the book, we did Bible drills (sword drills), a little public speaking if it was your turn to stand and read. Etc.  Sunday school taught us—Training Union trained us.

Conclusion:

         Paul says we must be equipped (2 Tim 3:17)  and it is the Bible that does that.  It is God deep breathing.  The Bible is more than just a book.  It is the breath of God.  Let it breathe on you this week.

 

Reverend

Pastor’s Point 

(My column in the Sunday bulletin at the Drummondtown Baptist Church, Accomac, Virginia 23301)

 

Of all his attributes, it was the eyes I loved the best.

On a bad day, they encouraged me; on a good day, they laughed with me.  It was all there in his eyes.  And when I want to see him again since he’s been gone so long, all I have to do is summon the eyes, and he is with me.  And then I am at peace.

I knew him from birth.  We grew up together.  I taught him the essentials of the world about him, but I never taught him loyalty.  He had that tucked away deep inside from the first days.

He and I would walk every morning down Cheriton’s main street, skipping past the still sleeping town lawns until we reached the highway.  Then with anticipation growing, we would bolt across the road on our way to the Bay at Cherrystone—back when the campground was a quiet oasis without all the fuss you see today.

On our way, we played hide and seek through fields of gold until we both rounded a corner, pausing to smell the salt air mingling with sunrise fingers that stretched over the harbor.  We sat together and watched little fishing boats slither out across still water in search of buried treasure, crab pots piled high in the stern.

I still miss him today, but when I miss him the most, I just look for the eyes.  And when I do, he is with me again–my Irish setter named Reverend.

Irish setter.jpg