Chapter 23:

Breathe: Strengthening Faith in Trials

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Do you love Elohim, and yet there are times when you do not feel the kind of shalom that Yeshua said He would leave us with?

Yochanan (John) 14:27
27 “Shalom I leave with you, My shalom I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Are there times when you have doubts, or anxieties, or fears? Do arguments or crises cause you to lose your shalom, such that you do not walk in spiritual victory, or overcome the anxieties of this world?

Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 5:4
4 For whatever is born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

Most of us have experienced true inward shalom at one time or another. Perhaps when we first got saved, we felt calm, and at shalom with Him, and we knew that He loves us beyond anything we have ever felt. However, how many of us realize that we are supposed to learn how to remain in that state of inward shalom for the rest of our lives, no matter what happens outside of us?

Stress is a part of life, and it cannot be avoided. Yet when stress happens, we are not supposed to lose our state of shalom. Rather, we are supposed to trust in Yahweh to deliver us from whatever the present crisis is. Yet this is a skill that does not come automatically, or even easily. Rather, it is a fruit of discipline, and we must take the discipline necessary to make it our reality. So how can we do that? When our world is beset with crisis, how can we get back to the kind of shalom that Yeshua promises us? The short answer is that we need to stop and refocus on Yeshua and re-invite His Spirit back in—and when His Spirit dwells inside of us, there is no room for the demons, and they flee.

When we are faced with a crisis, or when we are without Yeshua’s Spirit, if we can always remember to stop and invite Yeshua’s Spirit back in, then there is no need to read the rest of this article. But for those who struggle with this, let us take things from the beginning, so we can understand how to always stay in His shalom, no matter what the trial.

In the beginning, Adam and Havvah (“Eve”) were in spiritual connection with Elohim. This connection gave them shalom and protection. However, when they later started following their own thoughts and desires, they disobeyed Elohim, the spiritual connection between Elohim and man became broken.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:1-6
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Yahweh Elohim had made. And he said to the woman, “Has Elohim indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

There is much we could say here, but apart from being a real woman, Havvah is also considered to be symbolic of Israel. Let us notice, then, that Havvah was led astray by her thoughts and desires.

Havvah did not need to think to obey Elohim. Rather, all she had to do was to abide in His shalom and obey. Yet because she did not control her thoughts or emotions or desires, her thoughts and emotions and desires led her astray. If we will understand this, it shows why the solution to a spiritual crisis is almost never thought, or rational analysis. Clearly, thought and rational analysis are very useful, but thought and analysis can never restore a spiritual connection with Elohim, because the nature of our connection with Elohim is spiritual (rather than intellectual).

What does that mean? It means that when we are in the middle of a spiritual crisis, the solution is not to think our way out. Rather, the solution is to surrender to Elohim’s Spirit, and thus reconnect with Elohim. If we can only remember to stop, and breathe, and refocus on Him, and reconnect with Him, He will help us to overcome our crises and trials in a way that we can never do with our minds, or our worried thoughts.

Yeshua tells us that in order to be in His favor, we must remain spiritually connected with Him. If we lose our inward spiritual connection with Him, then we are cut off from Him (just like Adam and Havvah were cut off from the Garden of Eden).

Yochanan (John) 15:4-8
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Yahweh dwells in His Son Yeshua, and when we invite Yeshua’s Spirit into us, and Yeshua dwells in us, Yahweh also dwells in us. And when Yahweh dwells in us, there is no room for evil spirits such as worry, and pride, and fear. And that is why, when we invite Yahweh-Yeshua’s Spirit inside of us, every evil spirit is sent far away.

Yochanan (John) 17:20-24
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Sometimes we are beset by worries, or racing thoughts that seem like they won’t go away. The secret here is to take all these thoughts into captivity, to force the mind to be quiet and still, and then to breathe, pray, and listen. This takes great discipline, but it is the secret to victory.

Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 10:3-6
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Sometimes believers do not realize that they can control their minds, their emotions, and their spirits (their breathing), but all these things can be done, and they are essential for serving Yeshua in the way He wants to be served, because our walk requires discipline.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 9:27
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

There are many witnesses in Scripture that we are able to exercise control over our thoughts, our spirits (our breathing), and our emotions.

Mishle (Proverbs) 16:32
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

When we are in crisis, the main thing to remember is to turn to Elohim, and to force the body into subjection. We must exercise self-control over the mind, the emotions, and the spirit (breathing). We must force ourselves to be still, and to reconnect with Elohim. And in reconnecting with Elohim, we focus on what is positive, praise Him, and ask Him lovingly for what we need. This act of reconnecting and inviting His Spirit back inside of us is what brings our thoughts and emotions back under our control. And it also brings Elohim’s favor.

Philipim (Philippians) 4:6-7
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Elohim;
7 and the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua.

If this idea seems strange, Scripture says we can calm and quiet our souls, much like a child is weaned.

Tehillim (Psalms) 131:1-3
1 Yahweh, my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.
2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in Yahweh From this time forth and forever.

Once we have learned to control our thoughts, emotions and breathing in calm situations, the next thing is to learn to extend this self-control into difficult times. King David describes this in many ways, but in many places he refers to Yahweh as his Rock and a Refuge, in which he took shelter.

Tehillim (Psalms) 91:1-4
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of Yahweh, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My Elohim, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

It takes a lot of conscious awareness to do this, but once we have developed this discipline of remaining focused on Elohim, then we can be confident in Him even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death. When we have strong faith in Him, then we can be confident that so long as we remain in connection with Him, that He will take care of us, and rescue us, and lead us to victory, because His goal is to help train us.

Tehillim (Psalms) 23:1-6
1 Yahweh is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of Yahweh Forever.

Sometimes people with childhood traumas have trouble with this. It is said that as children, the way we view our parents is how we first view Elohim. If our parents were physically or emotionally absent, we can sometimes transfer this to Elohim, thinking that He will not be there for us when we really need him. If this is the case with us, then we need to strengthen our faith, knowing that Elohim promises that even if our parents were not truly there for us when we were young, that Yahweh will never leave us, and that He truly cares. This is so much the case that it is as if Yahweh has inscribed our names on the palms of His hands.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 49:15-16
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

But no matter whether we had a happy childhood or not, what we need is to remember that the reason Yahweh allows trials is not that He wants us to fail—far from it! Rather, what He wants is to discipline and train us to turn to Him, and trust Him in all situations—that if we will only stay with Him, and trust in Him, then He will deliver us from the hand of the fowler, even in times of great trial, such as are soon to come upon the earth in the Great Tribulation.

The days are coming when Ephraim (and the remnant of Judah who sojourns with him) will again dwell in tents.

Hoshea (Hosea) 12:9
9 “But I am Yahweh your Elohim, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast.”

Who knows what trials await us in that day? Yet, those days are coming. Therefore, let us begin to learn how to still and quiet the mind in stressful situations now, so that we will be equal to the challenges in that day.

Philipim (Philippians) 4:6-7
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Elohim;
7 and the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua.

So, whenever you find yourself in trial, or anxiety, or fear:

  1. Stop.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Seek Elohim.
  4. Quiet the mind, and quiet the soul.
  5. Thank Him for everything you think of that is good.
  6. Then praise Him for His goodness and mercy in having chosen you.
  7. And the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Messiah Yeshua’s Spirit, which you have invited back in.
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