Transforming your thought life book review

Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus

Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus by Sarah Geringer


This book is such a foundational resource I recommend for all believers.

Thoughts, actions and mediation are concepts that are the basic bricks of the Christian faith. Click To Tweet #transformingyourthoughtlife

Throughout the spiritual walk, we need to learn how to approach these 3 areas and this book reviews each in practical ways. In our time constrained society, we are constantly bombarded with multitudes of thoughts from every direction. This book divides up the areas of thoughts that each of us struggle with while addressing how to use mediation on scripture to turn our path to the path of healthy thinking. Each chapter includes verses to mediate and stimulate growth to wholeness. If you are looking for a book that is comprehensive yet undaunting, I highly recommend this book to you. It will equip you, guide you and provoke you to include mediation to combat lies to replace with truth and ultimately bring you freedom from old mindsets.

Order your copy today now available on amazon and other major retailers.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation from the author for this review.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

~Living waters~

Spiritual growth is so similar to wading in water. The serenity that water offers mirrors the peace of embracing the sacred yet there is resistance. Resistance is a reminder that any attempt to submerge the ego will be a forceful wrestle. Jacob wrestled with an angel only to emerge with a new identity. There is purpose in the struggle of the wrestle. Eventually, amidst the water resistance, therein lies the beauty of buoyancy. The tenderness of the Father is formed in us amidst this wrestle, the glorious buoyancy needed to navigate the various daily challenges that cross our paths. Yielding stroke by stroke to a new identity, until we finally learn how to float fully and freely in grace.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

9/11/2019

9/11/19

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the horrific terror attacks on the USA. The twin towers were targeted by planes besieged by terrorists and the pentagon as well on a fateful day in 2001.

Most of us can recall where we were that day and I reflect on my whereabouts each year as well. I stepped out of my statistics class which was held in a brand-new state of the art auditorium on my Canadian university campus only to behold live coverage of the tragedy on televisions outside the auditorium.

The flames, the dark smoke seemed to speak of a very dark reality that I could not comprehend. For a few moments I surmised that this must be some kind of mistake.

As I frantically looked around, the reactions around me told me otherwise.  Some of my classmates were grasping for breath and others wailing; the harsh truth was slowly setting in. I felt dazed and confused; I struggled to process emotions let alone the enormity of grief caused by a major tragedy. I responded like I did with most trauma I felt; defensive numbness.

I had not yet discovered the lens of grace.  I wish I had the comfort of the psalms or gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit that time but I could not perceive God’s presence those days and for years to come.

At that time, I had friends from different religious backgrounds and cultures, and I enjoyed the kaleidoscope of diversity.

However, I did not understand the nuances of religious extremism in other religions.

The only other terror attack I was aware of that involved a plane was the Air India bombing in 1985. This deadly terror attack was carried out by Sikh terrorists and was known as the largest aviation terror attack prior to September 11 killing hundreds of Canadians.

Was this an accident? How could this be happening?

18 years later, my understanding of world events has changed. I do not view events superficially as I once did.

God does not leave us to process our pain alone; He is with us and promises to walk in nearness, cajoling our fragile hearts to reflect a more peaceful reality.

I have a Heavenly Father who comforts me as He does with all his children, releasing glimpses of grace amidst the rubble, debris and broken hearts. I hope you choose to hold your loved ones closer and follow the way of grace, where redemption has the final word.

 “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” -Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

The prodigal pendulum

              As I pondered all the ways I disobeyed the Lord, I am reminded of a tender Father in Luke chapter 15 whose arms remain open. My faith feels raw, discordant, jagged. The words that describe me affectionately in this love letter by my Father, I do not recognize. The fight remains to stay and believe; to wrestle with my own powerlessness that eventually yields under the strength of relentless affection.

In Andrew Bauman’s book, stumbling toward wholeness, “Scripture in general and the parable of the prodigal in particular-informs us that all redemptive change begins when we see ourselves accurately through God’s eyes.” 

In Luke chapter 15, both sons need a revelation of grace. The younger son pursued a life of pleasure and wanted to discover who he was in his independence. The younger son needed to know the love of his father brought out his identity and was not a barrier, as loving connections help us find our path to purpose.

The dutiful older son felt resentful towards the younger son who was celebrated despite his defiant wayward choices. The older son needed a revelation he was celebrated and always adored by his Father, yet he did not see it. His identity was defined by his performance rather than a son who received his fathers love despite his father’s daily presence.

Thus, mere proximity does not automatically equate to intimacy.  Grace flows through a posture of an open and receptive heart. The decision to receive love begins by opening the heart to the concept that love does exist.

Both relationships needed revelation of the real intimacy available to them to partake in the grace that was lavished upon them. Perhaps, both sons were prodigals shielding their hearts from affection that could set them free.

If I am honest, then I have to say my life growing up looked like a pendulum between the lives represented by the two sons. If I am honest, I am and have been perfectly prodigal and this, all the reason more, to revel in grace. 

What times in your life have you hid behind wanton pleasure or dutiful performance to find your identity?

I encourage you to come back to the Father’s open arms for you, a warm and tender embrace that will never turn you away, precious prodigal. Come back to the place where true security is not only found but celebrates you every moment.

Luke 15: 20 So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him fervently.

A redesigned life book review

The author Tracy Steel, invites the reader into a world where there is space to reevaluate brokenness with tender candor, the words carry warmth and depth yet you will leave feeling inextricably light. It is a delightful reminder of how interwoven the divine purpose of God is with our journeys which include breathing spaces full of wonder and awe.

This book is full of practical wisdom, is presented with authenticity and served with gracious sides of comfort. I really enjoyed how the author used her personal experience as an interior designer to weave elements of movement, emphasis, pattern, contrast, balance and finally, space with the corresponding spiritual elements in our walk with the Lord.

When we allow God to redesign our hearts and home, balance will shape our lives to a point where we can steward the blessings with fulfillment.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation from the author for this review.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

Intimacy vs. information

Intimacy grows in the soil of relational closeness that all individuals crave. Seeds of communication can fuel the depth of intimacy to new levels leading to a more fulfilling connection. Intimacy therefore, when progresses unravels mercy providing an ebb and flow that is only possible when two souls have a union that allows for complete expression of individuality yet allowing for movement as a unit. People crave this intimacy so deeply that the emptiness from the lack of human connection leads to a drive to various addictive behaviors when this need is not met.

 Apart from addiction, lack of intimacy can also manifest as lack of purpose, passion for life and vitality of the soul. Intimacy that flourishes in human relationships can yield and provoke creative expressions.

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Information on the other hand, conveys facts at times and other times, inferences based on data. Being that information is limited and can be proven wrong with new discoveries in science and technology, it cannot remain a firm foundation due to its nature of being in an inherently dynamic state.  Information does not always evoke emotion as does intimacy; it provides knowledge that may or may not be applicable on an individual level. True knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to application. But knowledge with intimacy puffs up and releases the stench of pride. Intimacy dances over our hearts, decorating us with a fluid tenderness.

Thus, intimacy speaks to an individual on a personal level  igniting a connection that isn’t merely possible with facts. This is the main reason why Jesus mainly spoke in parables which are stories with meanings since stories speak to us and remain in our psyche rather than factual data. Most of us can easily recall which writers and stories have most influenced us whether in worldview or creative expressions; the tangible results are undeniable.

A plan (motive, wise counsel) in the heart of a man is like water in a deep well, But a man of understanding draws it out. -Prov 20:5

Intimacy triumphs information and thus, a relationship will always offer more than religion for this reason.  Intimacy will speak to the aspect of our soul that craves delightful union; one that is meant to increase moment by moment with our savior. An aspect of intimacy that is distinct is intimacy is invitational; an invitation to set aside all preconceived notions to surrender and yield to a dialogue amidst stillness. Yes, because silence whispers. In the whispers of revelation, hope is born, delivering the dawn of possibilities.

In a world of information overload, there is a lot of information but not enough wisdom. God’s Word equips us with wisdom but the world gives us information.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written, He catches the wise in their craftiness. – 1 Cor 3:19

Wisdom imparts by intimacy builds a legacy of security needed to weather the challenges and seasons of life. So take heart, dear soul and let your heart be receptive once again. Succumb to the tidings intimacy brings, faith, hope and everlasting love. Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

~Lanes of Life~

We have all heard the phrase, “stay in your lane.”  Before that phrase came out, wisdom was etched all over the book of proverbs.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. – Proverbs 4:25.

God knew we had hearts that were prone to wander in our hearts and minds primarily and subsequently, in our actions. With the explosion of social media and the onslaught of information attempting to flood every square inch of our minds, our generation is faced with a unique challenge. The challenge to become quiet and focused has become increasingly more difficult with technology. No matter the age, society is inundated with information at lightening speeds with the inability to process things so quickly; much information never takes any roots in our minds because the soil of the mind has not been pliable enough for planting.

One example that comes to mind that is swimming. Swimmers need to swim in their lanes, and this is only possible if eyes are fixed forward. This focus helps to build many qualities such as strength, muscle, endurance and ultimately, sets up the swimmer for potential success.

If a swimmer does seem to lose sight of his lane, he may lose course or become slower at reaching his goals. In hindsight, such small changes can prove to deter success.  Distractions can come in many forms, yet we don’t not have to succumb to them. On the flip side, focused strokes can make all the difference in remaining mediocre or steadfast training is the method en route to becoming an Olympic athlete.

In the case of swimming, it may be more of a matter of winning or losing; but other races can prove have much more dire consequences. For instance, NASCAR drivers precision that comes from focus is a matter of life and death.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?- Galatians 5:7

Sometimes our focus on outside circumstances are the biggest distraction or on another’s race. Other times, our thought life can be the source of dissonance. Perhaps, the heaviness of delays or the plight of indecisiveness is the cause of your distraction. Regardless, the beauty of the steadfast truth remains. The arms of the Father remain open to embrace us into coming back home.

Progress begins with the decision to say yes to potential and no to fear.

Step by step let us walk forward to into the calling of love, being loved into wholeness and into the potential the Lord has for us.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

~Doors~

The other day I was struggling with a reality I did not want to face in a relational situation. One reality of life is the uncontrollable direction of relationships and one aspect of walking in healthy relationships is allowing freedom despite our blaring feelings that absolutely want to evade the space of grace. Ironically, that day I felt like doors were being shut on my heart, the Lord had ironically highlighted the word “Doors”.

I was not sure how to process that, so I did a little study. Door in my language is darwaza, spelled in Punjabi, ਦਰਵਾਜ਼ੇ, which originates from the urdu word Darwaja “دروازہ” . I am not a linguist; just a lover of languages, but I digress.

Door has a connotation of boundaries as well as direction. The use of gates and doors seem to be used interchangeably within scripture. Interesting to highlight that Jesus called himself the door, yet his way was a “narrow gate”. There are plenty of religions in the world, but few seem to find the treasures of the narrow path of grace.

I am the Door; whoever enters through me will be saved. [a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. -John 10:9

Why, then, is it so hard to discover grace despite the radiance of a treasure that is priceless and holds unlimited value? Is it, perhaps, we ourselves need to open the numerous self-protective gates upon our hearts to let the King of Glory, the author of love, come in? May it also be that our spirit knows that once we allow this collision of our hearts with grace, we will likely be provoked to be transformed into a new reality that seems alluring yet perplexing?

The thought of true intimacy through experiential grace may be catastrophically challenging yet the undeniable allure to the possibility of the fullness of intimacy is the hidden door to reawaken connection.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

Perhaps allowing grace to enter the doors of our hearts will finally allow us to function with a wholeness that will transform our environments, our relationships and ultimately change the world in a majestically glorious cascade.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

Words that wound

Today I faced an incident that I never faced before-I got stung by a bee. As trivial it that may sound, the sting was first felt in my shoulder and quickly in my left index finger. The sharp pain seemed to travelled at lightening speeds throughout my left hand. Although I always made attempts to stay away from bees my whole life, today was a day I did not manage an escape. The physical pain began to die down into a low dull throb localizing to the immediate perimeter of the site of attack. Albeit, physical pain is no delight. However, verbal stings can be just as dreadful if not more. As I navigated my day, I noticed a friend had been particularly triggered by his mental illness and although there was so sign actual conflict between us, he began to send messages that were harsh, attempting to target my little window of escaping solace. As I reflected, I slowly granted myself permission space for grace on a day that was suppose to be dedicated to rest and renewal.

We may face a life full of various stings, yet one truth remains.

You can still sing the song of life over yourself whatever life throws your way. While stings may fade and wounds may form, singing the song of life will usher delight to wash away the pain.

Grace acknowledges and washes away pain even when visible scars scream of an alternate reality.

Despite the stings,

you can

still

sing.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh

My mother’s conversion-Part I

              My mother was the first one to become a believer in our home. My mother was brought up in a wealthy and well-known family in the state of Punjab in India. Her father believed in raising strong girls and so, did what he could in his power to outwardly apply his progressive mentality of parenting to the reality of his family. Despite his willingness to think outside the misogynist milieu at that time, he abrupted arranged a marriage for my mother at the tender age of 18. My parents experienced a rocky marriage from the start with varying expectations of marriage life and unfortunately, my father did not espouse the same outlook of valuing my mother as did my grandfather. My father quickly brought my mother to Canada during the 70s, a time where being a turbaned Sikh was highly visible. My father was an engineer by profession, and he had to face much resistance to get settled into his profession being a visible minority in Canada. Due to this, he had to take much difficult jobs in undesirable cities that forced him to face the wrath of frigid cold Canadian weather. Eventually, my father decided to embark on his journey to self- employment and became a real estate broker. He began to climb the ladder to success; at one point reaching a pinnacle of being amongst the top three agents in the entire country. After years of success, my parents lost most of their wealth in a real estate market crash in the late 90s. As a result, my mother was well acquainted with instability in more ways than one. My mother prayed a lot and encouraged us to pray daily; evening times were reserved for time to pray out of our prayer books together. My mother struggled with depression on and off and at times, she would let us eat our dinner alone as she sought God in her solitude fervently pleading for answers yet to no avail. Eventually, my mother met a Sikh woman who was a believer in Toronto, and she invited her over for a prayer meeting. My mother went and became baptized with the holy spirit very quickly; her conversion was quick and seamless. She felt the love of God holding her through tumultuous times which helped sustain her faith for the troubling times ahead. She felt full of ecstasy and newfound joy as she began to have new revelations.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. -Isaiah 45:3 (ESV)

This conversion of an outspoken woman bold for her newfound faith created much protest from both sides of our families. Despite the increasing friction, my mother’s confession for her faith became louder with time. Although this conversion seemed to add fuel to the fire of existing familial conflict, my mother was not frayed. She became more steadfast, jovial and even appeared nonchalant at the daggers of words carrying condemnation hurled from every direction. Her demure nature coupled with her quest for truth managed to keep her safe in many situations. Her beauty has always been evident on the outside and as her faith grew; her soul seemed to spark to life in unexpected ways. I began to see changes in her I had not seen in a long time. Previous to her conversion, she had suffered years of verbal, emotional, psychological attacks which caused her to lose the sparkle of her personality. After her conversion, the fullness of the love of God began to fill in the empty, broken and abandoned places.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ-Eph 2:4-5a

Hope began to reside inside of her which made her blossom slowly into a radiant woman exuding a newfound beauty. Her transformation and understanding of authority in Christ led her to pray and intercede for many people she met along the way; she saw instant miracles and healings and salvations as well. She has grown in her faith and continues to grow in the mystery of boundless and limitless grace, each day and moment by moment.

Copyright © 2019 Shelley Singh