Sunday, August 9, 2015

Discipline, devotion and progress not perfection

A week ago Saturday, I briefly pondered a desire to make a fresh start in some areas. Although I didn't get started on the first day of the month, I did by the second, and it has been positive, even as it continues to be a work in progress. 

A key area involves some discipline (which recently was suggested to me could be viewed as devotion) regarding how I eat. Another involves boundaries around work. Despite positive outcomes so far in both areas, it requires new commitment and thought each day. I pray for grace and humility to stay willing and able. 

On the note of devotion, a couple of my devotional readings from the week were helpful. 

Craig Denison's First15 on Monday brought to mind this question with the second of three points in guided prayer:  Wisdom? Or lack of courage?

The point: 
2. Where do you need courage to pursue the life to which God has called you? What is God calling you to today that seems impossible? What has God spoken over  
you in the past that fear has crippled you from pursuing? 

The things I listed included aspects of my way of eating; boundaries around work; housekeeping;  and the need to strive harder to make acts of kindness toward others a higher priority -- speaking and acting in love, to Your glory, Lord

First 15 went on to say: Don't settle for a life of mediocrity today. God has a plan and purpose for everything you do. He longs to turn your relationships, job, finances and passions into good works of eternal significance. His calling will satisfy your heart like nothing else. And the empowerment of his Spirit for his plans will transform you into a passionate, effective and loving man or woman of valor. May you pursue wholeheartedly the life to which you have been called by your loving heavenly Father.

The suggested scripture reading was 1 Peter 2, including this: 
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I also read something from Jim Denison (Craig's dad), that I almost posted on Facebook, but backed off. Is that wisdom or lack of courage? (Praying to know and do YOUR will, Lord!)

From the Denison Forum for Truth and Culture: Dorothy Sayers, in her classic 1947 essay, "The Lost Tools of Learning," observed that effective learning progresses through three stages. ...

I wonder what Sayers would think of learning in our digital age.  Educators worry that the Internet makes cheating easy, and shortens attention spans, and affects our work ethic.  Most significantly, they note that we don't feel the need to learn information as we once did.  So long as your smartphone is handy, the world is a few clicks away.  But we cannot understand what we don't know.  And we can't apply what we don't understand.

As I once heard Henry Kissinger say, we have more information than ever before, but less wisdom.

These are things I'm very aware of in a time of many emotions regarding deaths, births, milestone birthdays of loved ones, health issues and a neverending desire to improve, to God's glory. But it's still hard to just put down the smartphone, turn off the computer, TV and music, get quiet and try to think or remember or just be. Or better yet: just be still and know God!! Maybe this growing awareness of the need is an important step. 

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