The great performer Harry Houdini was famously capable of holding his breath for over 3 minutes. Today, competitive breath-hold divers can squeeze 10, 15, even 20 minutes out of a single lungful of air. On Feb.28, 2016, Aleix Segura Vendrell set a world record for longest time for holding his breath. Ready? 24 minutes 3.45 seconds!! (BTW, I’d skip telling your kids this fun fact at your next pool party).

Breathing is the most natural thing in the world. We’re born. We exhale. We inhale. Hard to know what comes first but the point is that BOTH are essential. Breathing is also an interesting spiritual metaphor. We “inhale” God's forgiveness, mercies, and grace. We inhale worship, God's promises and provision.  But, if we stop there, we never experience God design for us. We’re also supposed to “exhale” compassion and forgiveness. We breathe out generosity and justice. We extend ourselves in hospitality and gratitude. This is what it means to be spiritually alive.

Speaking of being spiritually alive, "Kingdom" is perhaps the most important spiritual concept in the New Testament. What’s interesting is in English or Greek, "kingdom” refers to something fixed or inactive. It has to do with a territory. It’s never verbal. In Hebrew however, "kingdom" is always about action. It has to do with God ‘breathing’ life into us. It’s about Christ-followers responding to the Spirit’s direction. This is illustrated in the Lord's Prayer, 'YOUR Kingdom come...YOUR will be done’. So, whether you feel like you’re spiritually ‘suffocating’, been taught to ‘suck it up’, or at a place where you’re ‘catching your breath”, God has created us to BREATHE. It’s when we learn a rhythm for inhaling and exhaling our faith that we experience heaven, here and now.