Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others…

As I was getting ready to go and visit a couple from church who are living through an actual life or death situation right now, I realized that I hadn’t prayed yet today. As one who came to Christ later in life and was rescued from a life of sin and despair, I am continually aware that I am poor in spirit and that apart from Jesus I can do nothing. If I haven’t taken time to breathe in the Source of my  own life’s breath, I have very little to go on throughout each day, and even less to give. How can I, as one of the leaders of my church, be a blessing, or offer any real comfort to this couple, unless I have first sought blessing and comfort from the One who is the God of All Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) myself?

I was reminded of the lesson I heard numerous times as I flew on five different flights during a round trip to Edmonton this past week: place the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to help another with theirs. It’s a perfect illustration of just how imperative it is for me go to God and be filled up myself before I try to help another.

For me it doesn’t take long eloquent prayers, or even petitions, although I do pray and ask for His help and guidance. It’s just a matter of sitting quietly and waiting for Him to touch me. Once I feel His touch and hear His voice, and know that I am in His presence, I am ready to go out and be used by Him. And I know I have something to give to others because my own tank is full.of living water, and its flow – from my own heart – can now bless and refresh and comfort others.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive…” John 7:38-39

John the Baptist declared: “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…” He meant that it’s close enough to reach out and grab hold of. I need to take hold of it everyday, and everything I need to live and to serve God and others is readily available to me. 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has given me everything I need to live a godly life, because I have come to know Him. He has called me by His own glory and goodness, and because I freely receive these amazing gifts every day, I am obligated to share them with others. They are not given to me for me. And the wonderful thing is that the more I pour them out, the more I receive. This is the way that the Kingdom of God grows all over the earth.

Jesus tells us that we must remain in His love. It’s not enough to experience it once. It is like the manna given in the desert. God provides sustenance for us each and every day; we cannot take hold of any more than what we will use today. There’s a reason for that. He wants a relationship with us.

Jesus said, “Abide (remain) in my love.” Remaining in Jesus’ love requires seeking Him daily; dwelling in His presence all of the time. This is the place where we are filled with His love, with His Spirit, and with the passion to carry out the purpose for which He saved us…to share freely and generously of what He has so freely given to us.

…how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

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