Sacred Spaces 551 – Change your world, change your thoughts

We’ve sat by the fire a lot this week. The weather has invited us to do so.
Either playing some dominoes or chatting and drinking wine. My mom has come to visit me for a few days. (I get to see her about once a year.)

And by that fireside, she has dropped the occasional pearl of wisdom: a simple suggestion or idea that carries a profound weight. This week’s Sacred Space was born from one of those nuggets of wisdom:

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In most cases, we can choose our environments. If a place is unhealthy for you; get out. If it’s friends who have a bad influence in your life is it really wise to keep them around?
If it’s a relationship that is destructive… then why are you staying?
Change your world.
From relationships to work to social to everything… there are chances where we can change our world.

And in the cases, where that is difficult – you may need to change your thoughts…
Think about it?

How often have you “thought up” a situation worse than it actually turns out?
We can get dark and negative with our thoughts very quickly… and we bring that into a environment; and often what we dread doesn’t even occur.

Yes, one may be anxious or nervous about things. But do we let that anxiety cripple us? I don’t believe that’s the right approach.

So just a reminder from Philippians 4:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

So you are the master of your thoughts.
Think with more gratitude
Think with more optimisim
Think with more perspective

Thanks for reading,
Have a good week!

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Sacred Spaces 550 – Lungs

It was as if I zoned in or the others zoned out. I felt like I was the only one there. It was supposed to be a big Youth Day event. But the support was minimal. But it didn’t matter. I got to sing from the heart again. I am not usually a fan of corporate worship. (Often, I’m concerned by the industry of worship.) So I usually express my love and connection to God in other ways.

But last night was different. I held my hand to my chest singing:
“It’s Your breath in our lungs” – so we pour out our praise…
I really resonated with those words. The earthy and rawness of them.
My thoughts fell upon Psalm 150:

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Our very breath is worship and the biggest evidence of our Creator God.
God breathed life into you.
Right now, as you inhale and exhale, think about that.

And with my hand clutched across my body, I thought of another older song: Obsession – Dave Crowder Band

The intimacy of the song made me smile and feel so loved.
God, is still my obsession. Despite my questions and often wandering heart.

“Sometimes you’re further than the moon
Sometimes you’re closer than my skin”

That’s how close God is us to us.
Imagine we lived in that reality.

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Sacred Spaces 549 – Maybe the word Purpose is not too helpful?

This morning, I heard someone mention “finding the purpose of your life.”

Others have asked “What is God’s purpose for your life?”

Or another: “Are you living out your purpose?”

I get the intention behind the word…
But maybe the word: Purpose is not entirely helpful…?

Hear me out:

The people who haven’t “found their purpose” – what about them?
That statement: are you living out your purpose? – makes them feel terrible!!
I think a lot of people live with guilt thinking that they haven’t discovered their purpose yet?

What then? Are their lives meaningless?
What if they haven’t heard God “clearly” yet?

I’d like to scratch out the word purpose and offer other words beginning with P:

PEOPLE
People matter.
People are human beings not human doings.
People are not the rungs of a ladder leading to your success!
Listen to others more.
Be kind to one another.

PRESENCE
Be present in your own life.
Be present with others.
Be present with God.
Notice His very presence in your life.
Stay in His presence.
And go with His presence too – In Him we live and move and have our being…

PRAYER
Don’t rush off so much.
Spend time in prayer.
Prayers of gratitude
Prayers of reverance
Prayers of perspective
Prayer is talk with (not just to) God…
So listen to His reply.

GUWG-Serenity

And, I guess once you focus on these three things beginning with P, your life would have purpose anyway… ?

And for those who insist on the word: Purpose.

Colossians 3: 17 says it best:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

That’s your purpose! Go live it!

Sacred Spaces 548 – I lift my hands

This morning the projector was not working.
But that was okay.

The church got to sing from memory

(Perhaps, the screen makes people lazy?)

And in having to concentrate on the songs we’re singing – recalling the lyrics to mind – it felt as if the church sang with more conviction.

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The song that grabbed my attention this morning was an old hymn or chorus (you choose):

I lift my hands
To the coming King
To the great I AM
To You I sing
For You’re the One
Who reigns within my heart

And I will serve no foreign god
Or any other treasure
You are my heart’s desire
Spirit without measure
Unto Your name
I will bring my sacrifice

(© 1989 Kempen Music/Kingsway�s Thankyou Music)

Only two stanzas and yet the song is packed with punch.

Imagine, we reclaimed the truth of every line of that song…

Jesus, our King. Better believe it! And live it out!
Does that King, reign in our hearts? (How often we take back that throne…?)
“You are my heart’s desire”
Not many speak of God like that anymore… sad 😦
God seems too much of an option these days…

God forgive us,

Sacred Spaces 549 – Gracefully Broken

Matt Redman’s album Glory Song has many brilliant tracks on it.

What I have always liked about Matt Redman is that he doesn’t seem to be tainted or tempted by the “worship industry.”

One can see it and sense it in the albums he offers. They seem to come out at the right time (as if God is pushing that time table) not some record label.

And one can see and note the heart in the album.

The song, Gracefully Broken grabbed the first time I heard and I want to share it with you:

Take all I have in these hands
And multiply, God, all that I am
And find my heart on the altar again
Set me on fire, set me on fire
Take all I have in these hands
And multiply, God, all that I am
And find my heart on the altar again
Set me on fire, set me on fire

[Chorus]
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken

The rest of the lyrics can be found HERE

Do yourself a favour:

i) PAUSE
ii) CLICK on the song in this post
iii) (Follow with the lyrics if you will)
iv) Or close your eyes.

v) BE PRESENT with the song. Be present with our Saviour.

We are all gracefully broken
He holds our pieces in His Hands
The beloved Potter
Molding us into something beautiful
Trust the process

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Sacred Spaces 547 – God steps into humanity

God is still truly very real!
I write that more as a reminder to you and I.
Here is a little recent testimony:

Those who know me, will know that I have been going through a tough time later. With the ending of our marriage, it’s been sad, and now going through a time of healing.

(This is not about the reasons for why we parted ways)

But in this time, I was reminded last week, that God sees me.

I was in Ficksburg (a little town in the Freestate) where I was touring with my students (from Pneumatix). In one of the times off, we went for coffee.
I was looking for a geocache in an antique shop and the owner was intrigued to see what we were doing and what this geocaching was about. Once we found it, I went to show her the cache container.

After chatting a bit about what we are doing there in town with the productions and ministry etc – she paused me and said: “You have kind eyes.”

Wow! It was as if the weight of those kind words bowled me over.
I was so taken aback. With the emotional storm within me, God encouraged me through a stranger.

I was so thankful to God for that. It was as if He was telling me:
I see you.
I haven’t forgotten you.

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God steps into our humanity. Where have You seen (or heard) Him lately in your life?

Sacred Spaces 546 – Nature or people?

The other day one of the students said this to me: “it’s easy to find God in nature. But to find God people is another thing…”

That comment (spoken about two weeks ago) has resonated with me.

Nature is God’s garden.
His singing sermon to me. I always hear and sense Him when out in nature.
It’s easy!

See:
You can feel Him in the warmth of the sunshine.
You can hear Him in the rustling of the leaves.
You can see Him in the various species of birds and animals.
You can marvel at His greatness when you look up at high mountain peaks.
You can be in awe when you are looking out from a stunning view point.
You are silenced when you see the array of stars in the night time sky.
An acorn… that can grow into a full grown Oak tree.
Or the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
The ebb and flow of the ocean.

Need I say more?

But what about people? It sometimes becomes trickier seeing God in people…

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When people are selfish, nasty, hurtful (with words and deeds) they don’t make it easy to see God in them…

In Genesis, we are told God makes people in His image.

I wonder how things would look if we lived from that reminder.
In all people, we could see God.

And when we deal with people each day we could ask questions such as:

How do I see God in this person?
God, how can I give Your life giving presence / love to them?