Friday, August 3, 2018

The complicated truth about good intentions


“Good intentions are pretty worthless if I don’t follow up with action.” 

That’s what I posted on Facebook while I was walking around the pond in the neighborhood park this morning, trying to pray and motivate myself into more action. 

I can’t count how many of my good intentions haven’t gotten past the thought stage so far this week. 

I do think it’s better to have good intentions than bad (or none at all). 

This may be related to Scripture from one of my devotionals earlier in the week, which I also included in my most recent blog post: 
 
"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." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

It also brings to mind the relationship between prayer and action. I believe it’s better to pray in faith even if I can’t or don’t act than to not pray. Because I believe prayer changes hearts, starting with the heart of the one who prays. 

It’s also worth remembering that the actions (and especially the outcomes, answers and results) related to prayers and good intentions need to rely on God’s timing and purpose, rather than my will. 

I’m also aware that even though my good intentions have far outpaced my actions, I have followed through on some worthwhile thoughts. 

There’s just so much more I think I need to be doing!!

I’m praying for God to guide my heart, mind and steps, to have me accomplish what He would have me do today, to His glory. Thy will, not mine, be done.


Meanwhile, this Scripture from my previous blog post is also relevant again today. It came up today in my Proverbs 31 devotional, which might bring on even more writing ....

"Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature."  Romans 12:2

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August attitude adjustment


"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." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

These words of Scripture greeted me as I opened my Upper Room Daily Devotional email this morning. I sorely needed the words and reminder this first day of August.

A headache and other discomfort from either allergies or a cold have zapped my energy since sometime Friday or Saturday (four or five days ago). I keep trying to will myself not to be sick, but I end up back in bed for at least a nap. And for some reason, when I don't have energy, my mental outlook plummets.

I kept trying to battle my attitude, shifting from reading Scripture and praying to trying to take right actions in hopes a right attitude would follow. Nothing seemed to be working. But I kept on.

By the end of the day, my outlook is better.

A related essay by the Upper Room devotional writer, Jane Reid, also offered positive guidance for me. She wrote that we need to practice praying.  One good prayer practice she suggested was "to come to God with no agenda, simply because we want to be in God's presence." She proposed that could be the key to making the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 call to "pray without ceasing" become possible in our busy lives.

"If we want to grow close to God, we need to practice doing the impossible, and we have to trust God for the results," she wrote.

This echoes 12-Step guidance I've been trying to incorporate into my life.

Today, trusting God for the results meant to keep on doing the best I could, one little action after another, even when it seemed like I wasn't getting anything accomplished.

I made a couple of phone calls, including to a friend whose call I had let go to voicemail on Monday, and also made another offer to help someone. I did some research on a task I've been assigned that is outside my comfort zone. And then I pulled some crabgrass from the front lawn that sprung up quickly after our most recent rains.

Some things I had hoped would be resolved today are still unanswered.  So I get to continue to trust God for the results. I am grateful for the lessons of today and the guidance of Scripture.


"So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service.  Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature."  Romans 12:1-2



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sweet music of July

On this last day of July 2018, I'm listening to melodies of precious memories in my mind.

One involves a beautiful and joyous wedding in which my nephew and his bride stood at the front of a collegiate chapel singing along with all in attendance two great hymns of faith, including "How Great Thou Art." I don't think I've ever been at a wedding with congregational singing, and I absolutely loved it. The majestic pipe organ in the simple chapel enhanced the sense of building the marriage on a firm foundation of faith in God.

Another melodious memory is the 2018 inductions for the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The Hall's first "genre-specific" induction class featured contemporary Christian group Point of Grace, gospel singer Smokie Norful and praise and worship songwriter and leader Dennis Jernigan.

The evening included powerful spoken testimonies, then soul-stirring songs by each artist. Although the inductees all were considered to be within the same genre, i.e. Christian music, the musical styles varied richly.

Jernigan's music is profoundly God-focused. The words may seem poetic and the music majestic, but the message of God's love and redemption is front and center.

Norful's message may be just as powerful, but his silky smooth voice sometimes caused me to shift my praise to God for His creation of such a wondrous sound! Norful's energy and enthusiasm lifted my spirit.

Point of Grace, a trio of Denise Jones, Shelley Breen and Leigh Cappillino, delivers its message of God's love and mercy with dynamic harmonies and next-door-neighbor friendliness.

As I've been struggling in recent months to keep writing on my blog, I've tried to get back to my original intent: sharing the sweet music of my life. It's not coming easily. Distractions threaten to drown out the musical memories when I sit down to write. And suddenly it's bedtime, and I have to decide whether to stay up too late again or keep writing. Tonight, I will publish this, knowing I can always come back to finish it later. Writing is important; so is rest. And so is music. I'm trying to find the balance.

Something about singing hymns at a wedding with the bride and groom inspires me to think the balance could come from incorporating music more intentionally into many areas of life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This is my story, this is my song

Recent adventures in singing and writing have been insightful and gratifying.

It's not about me. It's about the message. I'm not seeking glory for me. I want to glorify God.

That's the only way it works for me.

... Praising my Savior, all the day long.

#familytimeisthebesttime

My  mom and her six grown children spent time together for the second time in less than a month recently.

The older I get, the more precious these times are to me.

We gathered June 23 for an early celebration of my youngest sister's 50th birthday. That gathering was close to the home place, in Cooke County, Texas, with siblings coming from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Davidson farm, the home of my oldest sister, Becky, and her daughter's house, all in Cooke County, are where we are most likely to all show up at the same time. (The Smokehouse restaurant in Lindsay is also a prime site!)

Two weeks later, we all trekked to Bloomington, Ill., for the July 14 wedding of my second-youngest sister's oldest son. We've traveled to Arkansas for a couple of weddings involving nieces in the past, but somehow this trip seemed more of an adventure. I think that's because my brother lives in Arkansas, and my sister's daughter lived there at the time.

When it came to Bloomington, it was a pretty significant journey for all of us. It took a commitment of planning, time and money. And we all made it. And as best I could tell, we all had a great time. I know I did. And I am grateful to God for the safe travels.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A fashionably freeing insight

Wearing a red, white and blue dress with stars and stripes the days ahead of the 4th of July brought some insights that could potentially be freeing for me.

BUY AND WEAR THE CUTE DRESS!


It doesn’t matter how it looks on me. A cute dress is a cute dress!!

I've passed up many an attractive blouse or dress because I thought it looked good on the hanger, but not so good on me. 
 
Something similar happened with a casual dress I bought in May that I thought would be perfect for Independence Day celebrations. When it was time to wear it, I didn't like how it looked on me. So I skipped my first opportunity to wear it. 

Saturday, I pulled it on as I was in a hurry to get to a meeting. And the minute I walked in the door, I was showered with compliments, with more coming after the meeting.

Two days later, I decided to wear it again, and the same response occurred. 

That's when I realized I've been worrying too much about how things make me look.

It's time to trust the look of the creation!
 
 


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ha ha!

Ha ha!

I really wanted to start off July with a blog post. But I ended up taking more than an hour to complete a survey I kept forgetting I needed to do.

I'm glad to get that done.

And now I'm writing in my blog. And I'm gonna post it!

So there!