Meditation

3 Options to Refresh Your Private Time with Jesus

Hello and Welcome!

I’m so excited you’ve popped in to discover three ways to refresh your private time with Jesus. Any time we engage in a daily practice there’s the potential for it to become routine, familiar, and even boring. Private time, meditation, or prayer with Jesus is not immune. To ensure you don’t fall into a rut, refresh your practice of meeting with Jesus with three options.

Refresh Option 1

Lyrics from a song easily transforms into a prayer or focal point for meditation. Several years ago, I bought The Celebration Hymnal: Songs and hymns for worship for just that purpose. Sometimes, a verse or even an entire song declares  exactly the feelings I have for God. For instance, the fifth verse of the hymn, Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, contains a heartfelt, image-evoking prayer. Copyright law prohibits me from quoting the verse word for word so I've paraphrased it below.

Your love for the Lord, stored in your heart, is a treasure so precious it cannot be valued. You pour out this love upon His feet as an act of undying surrender. You offer your love, your life, dedicated to Jesus only, forever and ever and ever.

What a beautiful prayer and image describing one's love for Jesus. I can see myself at Jesus’ feet, pouring out my love as an offering. See John 12:3 for a similar image.

Alternatively, lyrics can turn into a meditative focus. We can create questions to go even deeper in the message.

Let’s try it with the same paraphrased verse from Take My Life.

Your love for the Lord, stored in your heart, is a treasure so precious it cannot be valued. You pour out this love upon His feet as an act of undying surrender. You offer your love, your life, dedicated to Jesus only, forever and ever and ever.

I find two questions arise in my mind: 

Am I offering every part of my life to Him?

Do I have any idols trying to compete for His attention and my devotion?

Here’s another example from one of my favorite musicians, David Crowder. His song, Come and Listen, is a call to quietness and reflection. It says pay attention because Jesus has done stuff for us, he's doing stuff for us, and he's going to keep on doing stuff for us.

Again, we can tease out a couple meditative questions.

Am I sharing what Jesus has done for me and is doing for me?

Second, do I live in such a way that someone might ask about Jesus?

Consider introducing lyrics into your time with God to keep it fresh.

Refresh Option 2

I enjoy reading the New International Version because I know it well. Familiarity enables me to find verses quickly. On the other hand, familiarity can decrease the power and meaningfulness of those verses. To guard against this, exploring a different Bible version can make it fresh and new again.

Let’s compare the verses from Luke 10:41-42 using the New Living Translation (NLT) and the New International Version (NIV) as an example.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NIV)

In the NIV version above, I always hone in on the phrase…only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. The word chosen catches my eye. When I first discovered this verse, the idea of choosing Jesus above and beyond all other options had a high impact factor for me. Over time, the impact has faded.

Now, let’s read the same verse from the New Living Translation.

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)

In this version, I immediately zoom in on the same phrase, …there’s only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it…. This time the words concerned and discovered jump off the page. The key word in the NIV version is choice, but the NLT version awakens me to the concept of discovery. Am I looking for or discovering Jesus in the midst of the moment?

Perhaps you'll experience new meaning or a new way of thinking about your relationship with Jesus by introducing a different version of the Bible into your private time.

Refresh Option 3

I've read daily devotionals so packed with nuggets I can't absorb it all in one sitting. Spotlighting a word or phrase allows me to linger with a small portion of the content. 

Let’s try it with a meditation I wrote. 

God sees you. He knows you. Every square inch, inside and out.  You're wholly loved by God. It's unconditional. Unchanging. Faithful. Let yourself believe it. Have no doubts about it.

We could pause at any one of the sentences, but my spotlight is landing on, Have no doubts about it. I can turn this phrase into a question.

Do I ever doubt God's love for me?

When you find your eyes or mind attracted to a word or phrase, it could be the Holy Spirit inviting you to linger with and savor the message. In turn, you can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal deeper insights and wisdom.

PrayerI hope these three options will rejuvenate and refresh your private time with Jesus. Below is a printable I've created for you to share or to keep handy when the time comes to bring newness to your current practice of meeting and conversing with Jesus. Download 3 Options to Refresh Your Time with Jesus

God loves us. He loves you. Thanks for reading! Terri

References:

Crowder, David. Come and Listen. A Collision. CD. Sparrow Records. 2005

Havergal, Frances Ridley; Malan, Henry A. Cesar. Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated. The Celebration Hymnal: Songs and hymns for worship. Arrangement. Copyright 1997 by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music and Word Music

Images by Pixaby

 


Sacred Space Within You and Around You

Hello and Welcome!

In my last post on Meditative Gardens I shared the idea of sacred space as a physical space and as an internal state. Today's post shares in depth why sacred space is an important aspect as you spend time with God. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome! 

Sacred space is the term I use to define the three-dimensional realm where God meets with you and me. Sacred is defined as something that is consecrated, holy and the term space refers to that within me and around me. Sacred space can be established as a physical setting, as a state of mind, and within our heart. It’s probably not hard to image establishing a physical setting as a sacred space but what about the creation of sacred space within one’s heart and mind? Think about sacred space within yourself as an act of worship where you center your heart and mind on God for receptivity to His presence and message. You set all other things aside in heart and mind through separation from distraction, centering your focus on the Lord, and humbling yourself as you ask the Lord to meet you. Let’s look at two Biblical examples related to the concept of sacred space—Moses and Jesus.

Desert In the book of Exodus, you will find references to two tents of meeting. The Tent of Meeting, also known as the Tabernacle, was in the middle of camp and contained, among other items, the Ark of the Covenant. The Tabernacle was where God met with His people and within it the priest performed their assigned holy tasks. The second tent of meeting is described in Exodus 33:7-11. Here we find that Moses set up a tent some distance away outside the Israelite camp. Moses would enter this tent to inquire of the Lord and this was the physical space where he met with God separating himself from the buzz and busyness of the camp. While in the tent, Moses would probably assume a posture of humbleness, bowing low or kneeling with his face to the ground to reframe his view of himself. Though he was the leader of the Israelites, he was a servant before God.

The second example of a physical setting established as sacred space is found in Luke 22:39-46. Jesus takes his disciples to the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, specifically to the garden of Gethsemane. In verse 39 of the NIV, it states that Jesus went, as usual, to the Mount of Olives. The phrase as usual caused me to wonder what drew Jesus to that space. Was it a place of solitude? Did it remind him of the garden, a sacred space, his Father established in Eden? Because of my own love of nature, I can easily grasp how the garden of Gethsemane may have represented a sacred space for Jesus to meet with the Father. In the same way, Moses separated himself from the camp, Jesus removed himself from the disciples so he could establish a sacred space and come before his Father. Both set their focus on God and humbled themselves before Him.  Tulip pathWhile the physical aspect of sacred space is important it can be irrelevant if there has not been adequate preparation of our heart and mind. Why is this preparation significant? It’s because my heart, your heart has replaced the former temple. In 1 Corinthians 3:17, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are the temple of God. As a believer saved by Jesus Christ, your body is now a temple for the Holy Spirit. You have become the Tabernacle—the dwelling place of God. The former Tabernacle of the Old Testament has been replaced and now God meets within your heart and soul. Take a moment and let that truth sink in. Have you ever thought of your heart as a tent of meeting or as the garden—the sacred space within?

Preparing your heart as an internal sacred space requires intentionality and dedication.  Separation, focus, and humbleness are among the key elements. As you come before God, dedicate and consecrate your heart and mind to Him alone, and choose to be fully present without pretense. Next, you should come in authenticity. Come just as you are before God with sin and weaknesses. You are offering yourself to God with an open, surrendered heart along with a thoughtful, curious, and reverent state of mind. You come without an agenda, making your heart and mind, ears and eyes sensitive to perceiving God’s voice. As you develop your practice of entering sacred space, you will find a rhythm and a desire to return to your “tent of meeting”. God delights in you and wants you to experience His presence.

I encourage you to give the following questions serious thought. What if you could live so that you enter each day expecting surprises, refusing to follow the easiest route, letting go of control, and laughing at the future? What if you choose to be receptive to God’s prompts and direction without having all the details or any details? The questions are important. God ordained all the days of your life. He knows every day you will live (Psalm 139:16). Who better to guide you, direct you, give strength in your weakness, and sustain your hope? How will you receive all this and more? It is within sacred space. Personally, I love to think of my heart as a garden. Genesis says God met with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and I call that the very first sacred space! As God met with them so He meets with me in the garden of my heart. God and I together have worked the garden of my heart, removing the thorns, tangles, and dead things. God has and continues to bring healing and His love grows the fruit of the Spirit within me.


Icon Hearts Encouraged

Designating Fixed Sacred Space

Selecting a fixed physical location for sacred space depends on what you want to do in that space. Here are some things to think about as you plan.

  • Is the space just for you or may others in your life use it too?
  • Do you want the space to be readily visible as a reminder or do you want it to be private?
  • Will you bring the items you need to the sacred space each time you go there, or do you want the space set up so you pop in and everything you need is already present?
  • If the space is for prayer and meditation and your house is never quiet, then you may want to consider creating a quiet zone or quiet time. If that’s impossible, then what about a space in your garden, sitting in your car, or a walk-in closet. What about noise-cancelling headphones? Sound crazy? Not when you consider the benefits you will experience by setting yourself apart to be in the presence of God. Don’t stop at the first or second roadblock. This is important.
  • If the space is for worship, do you need space to move around? Do you care if anyone hears you worship?
  • Some Don’ts:  don’t let your sacred space be a distraction; don’t clutter, simplify; don’t forget your focus: God.

Examples of Simple Sacred Spaces Inside and Outside

  Sacred Space 2Meditative garden 6 edit Bench
Creating Flexible Sacred Space

Anywhere, anytime is the key to flexible sacred space.

Maybe there isn’t any one place or any specific time that you can designate as sacred space. The maybes are endless. No problem. Select a container, fill it with the items you need for prayer, worship, or communion with God. Grab and go.

Sacred space can be created within you in spite of not having a dedicated physical space for meeting with God. You are sacred to God and He dwells within you. The act of stopping activity, separating yourself from distraction, and deliberately, authentically presenting yourself to God creates a sacred space. Following are a couple ideas of when or where sacred space can happen. For instance, at work I have to park in a multi-story parking garage. I take a few moments before exiting my car to be with God in that quiet space. Another example is the elevator at work. I have capitalized on alone time in the elevator as a moment to come before God with thanksgiving, gratitude, or requests for help during my day. You might be amazed at those unique moments where you find yourself alone in the busiest of environments. Speak to God aloud or in your mind and intentionally dedicate the moment being fully present to engage with the Lord. Hopefully these example shows you how you can get creative with sacred space! 

Let me know how you create sacred space within and around you! I'm certain you have wonderful ideas and you may inspire another reader. If you're not already a subscriber just click on the "Subscribe" button  in the right sidebar and Feedblitz will send you an confirmation. Make sure you confirm your subscription and then you'll automatically receive the posts. 

Blessings to you!  Terri