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The Holy Spirit Is Our Iron Lung

Holy Spirit Spiritual Life Dependence on God

Source: "Paul Alexander - 'The Man in the Iron Lung' - dies after 70 years living in tank" by Sky News, UK, Thursday 14 March 2024

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2024-04-24

Scripture: Genesis 2:7 ; Job 33:4

Author: Illustration Exchange


According to the WHO,

Polio is a highly infectious disease that attacks the nervous system and can lead to ... respiratory paralysis, and in some cases death. ...

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, frequent epidemics saw polio become the most feared disease in the world. A major outbreak in New York City in 1916 killed over 2000 people, and the worst recorded US outbreak in 1952 killed over 3000. 

Many who survived the disease faced lifelong consequences. Deformed limbs meant they needed leg braces, crutches or wheelchairs, and some needed to use breathing devices like the iron lung, an artificial respirator invented for treatment of polio patients. 

By the mid-20th century, the poliovirus could be found all over the world and killed or paralysed over half a million people every year. With no cure, and epidemics on the rise, there was an urgent need for a vaccine. ...

[It was not until] the early 1950s, the first successful vaccine was created by US physician Jonas Salk.

That vaccine came too late for Paul Alexander.

Sky News reports:

Paul Alexander, widely known as "Polio Paul," contracted the viral disease [Polio] in the summer of 1952 when he was six years old and was left paralysed from the neck down. He was rushed to hospital in Texas - and woke up inside the metal cylinder where he would spend the rest of his life. ... An update on his GoFundMe page by its organiser Christopher Ulmer reads: "Paul Alexander, 'The Man in the Iron Lung', passed away yesterday [March 11, 2024].


An iron lung is a type of negative pressure ventilator (NPV), a mechanical respirator which encloses most of a person's body and varies the air pressure in the enclosed space to stimulate breathing. It assists breathing when muscle control is lost, or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability.



Polio Paul, as he was known, became literally dependent upon a machine -- an "iron lung" -- to act as a giant bellows, raising and compressing his chest --  every day of his life, for 72 years! -- to move life giving air in and out of his lungs. Without it, he was helpless, and would ultimately be lifeless.

The Greek word, pneuma occurs hundreds of times in the New Testament. It can mean "breath" or "wind" or "spirit." In context, it is most frequently used to refer to the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Trinity – who regenerates the believer unto newness of life, and then takes up residence and dwells within, sealing the believer for the day redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). At the moment of salvation, the Lord literally "breathes" new life into us "through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5) causing us to be "born again" (John 3:5).

The Holy Spirit is to our spiritual lives what that Iron Lung was to Mr. Alexander. We can no more live spiritually without His life-giving power than Polio Paul could live without his Iron Lung. Without Him, we are helpless, and would ultimately be lifeless.

"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Genesis 2:7, ESV).

"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 33:4, ESV).

Surviving The Jungle

Parenting Spiritual Life Preparation


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Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2023-06-22

Scripture: Proverbs 22:6 ; Ephesians 6:1

Author: Neal Pollard


A Cessna 206 was carrying seven people between district airports in Columbia, South America when it crashed in the early morning hours of May 1st, 2023. On board were the pilot, co-pilot, and a mother with her four children. Tragically, the adults died after the impact. However, the four children survived this crash, though they were not found until 40 days later!

Patrick Smith of ABC news reports:

Lost and by themselves, four children managed to survive 40 days in the wilderness of the Amazon jungle before they were rescued. The four children — Lesly, 13; Soleiny, 9; Tien Noriel, 4; and Cristin, 1 — were found thin but very much alive Friday after a rescue operation that combed through more than 1,600 miles of dense forest."

How did they do it?

Their grandmother, who raised them, taught them how to fish, hunt, and find safe food in the wild. They knew which fruits and seeds were safe to eat in the rainforests and which were poisonous. Thanks to two rescue dogs, Tellius and Wilson, leading 150 soldiers, the children were found, dehydrated, full of mosquito bites, but, as ABC News reports, "very much alive!"



How often we speak figuratively, saying, “It’s a jungle out there!” Our world, like the Colombian Jungle, is a dangerous place.

This is not just true for adults, but it is especially challenging for society’s youngest members. Think of the obstacles and challenges faced by our youth right now, the messages and indoctrination so contrary to Scripture, the diversions and distractions pulling them away from faith. How can they survive this metaphorical jungle?

Their path to survival is the same as it was for those fortunate little ones in Columbia. First, survival skills must be taught in the home. This implies much time, effort, patience, and hands-on training. Second, those skills must be practiced. Third, survival must continue until rescue and relief comes. 

Do we have homes that equip our children to make it through the difficult spiritual terrain? This equipping centers around filling their hearts with God’s thoughts (Deut. 6:4-6). It centers around practical outlets to put that information into motion (Phil. 4:9). By the time they are out on their own, they should have the training they need to make it on their own (Prov. 22:6). We should teach them to “hold on” until rescue and relief comes (2 Thess. 1:6-7).

It’s hard to imagine something worse than a plane crash befalling our children or grandchildren, but there is! There’s a shipwreck of faith (1 Tim. 1:19), upset of faith (2 Tim. 2:18), going astray of faith (1 Tim. 6:21). These are all synonymous for failure to survive that spiritual jungle! 

Let’s put in the necessary time to train, equip, and prepare our families to make it through this world spiritually alive! 

Are You Being Fed?

Spiritual Health Spiritual Growth Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Bob Kombe | Date Posted: 2022-10-24

Scripture: John 6:35

Author: Bob Kombe


One Sunday, my wife was driving us home from church and she said something that I found simple yet profound.

Without shifting her eyes from the road she said to me, “I feel like I’ve been really fed today. My Spirit feels strong.”

She then said, “You know, it's just common sense. our physical body needs physical food. But once we eat, we digest that food, and then we use the energy. So, that’s why we have to keep having meals in order to sustain our physical energy.”

She went on to say, “It’s exactly the same with our Spirit - our spirit is alive. It’s living - which means if you don’t feed your spirit - you will get weak. If you don’t feed your spirit - you cannot get stronger.”


That interaction I had with my wife leads me to the question I want to ask you – how does your spirit feel in this moment? Do you feel spiritually alive? Do you feel spiritually energized and strong?

Or would you say your spirit feels weak? Are you weighed down with thoughts of worry, anger, anxiety, depression, or even loneliness? Are these things draining you of spiritual strength?

Could it be, that part of the reason your struggle may be so difficult is due to the fact that your spirit isn’t being fed? Perhaps you feel so drained because the real you isn’t being nourished!

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35, NIV).  

Value Where There Is None

Value (True Worth) Self-worth Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-04-07

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:20 ; Mark 8:36

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Man Sues Hospital After He Didn't Die

Cross Spiritual Life Followership

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2018-01-31

Scripture: John 10:10 ; Matthew 6:25

Author: Howard Harden / Illustration Exchange

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Thank Your Waitress ...

Glorify God Ministry Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2016-07-05

Scripture: Matthew 4:4 ; 2 Corinthians 5:19

Author: Stephen Kingsley

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Die Already!

Death Spiritual Life Sanctification

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-08-30

Scripture: Philippians 1:21 ; Galatians 2:20

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Life Is On The Wire

Risk Devotion Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-02-07

Scripture: Matthew 16:25

Author: / Illustration Exchange

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The Final Frontier

Expectations Uncertainty Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-01-21

Author: Oswald Chambers / Illustration Exchange

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Freedom Is Not A Luxury

Freedom Bondage Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2014-09-25

Scripture: Galatians 5:1

Author: Neal Pollard

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