What Happens to Good Intentions?

248Easter weekend arrived, along with our extended family.

We gathered to celebrate the Risen Christ. Celebrate our family–four generations.

Great grandpa said grace and sliced the ham that Great Grandma baked. Aunts and uncles squeezed next to grown children around the dinner table.

Passed hot platters of meat and steaming bowls of vegetables. Piled potato salad on our plates. Poured tea. Passed the rolls.

As the one-year-old great grandchild munched on deviled eggs, the grown “kids” listened to reminisces: “Remember when?” “Back in my day….”

That weekend, old hearts reconnected, new spouses welcomed. Torches passed to the next generation. “Raise up your children in the way they should go.”

When we hugged goodbye, we left with good intentions.

“Let’s get together this summer.”

“I promise to email more often.”

“Call me!”

But I know as life returns to normal, busyness erases our good intentions.

Same thing happens after a spiritual retreat.

Fellowship with other believers. Allow God to speak through His Word. Worship Him through songs. Remember His faithfulness and love.

I can’t get enough of God. I return home with good intentions.

“I promise to pray more.”

“I’ll seek the Lord before I start each day.”

“I’m going to  ____Fill in the blank___”Read my Bible, join a Bible study, witness, Love God more….”

But as life returns to normal, busyness erases my good intentions.

Consequently, I become a slave to worry, fear, anger, malice. Find it difficult to trust God in my circumstances. Struggle to love. Wrestle with God’s will.

Need I say more?

But what a blessing to know when I fail to live up to my good intentions,

I can pray for the good things that God intends for us.

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:16-20

Thoughts Gone Wild

Early morning. Hit the pavement. Walking fast. Blue skies overhead, but I only notice the black asphalt beneath my feet.

Forty-five minutes gives me time to ponder; allows my mind to wander down dark paths.

Concerns creep into the forefront. First one. Then another. Until my anxious thoughts flow like the Dow Jones ticker tape.

Overwhelmed, I decide to pray. Take those heart concerns to the Lord. Dump them in His capable hands. “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6)

No sooner do I pray for that something…that someone ….when my mind drops anchor into troubled waters. And I camp there.

Instead of casting my cares on Jesus and resting in still waters, my thoughts go wild.

I begin to sink. Can’t solve the problem. Can’t imagine that God will either. Takes my breathe away.

So I come up for air, and pray for the next thing. But that next thing is like stirring up a hornet’s nest. Fears, what if’s, hurts circle in my head like hornets. Dive bomb and sting my thin skin. Until I taste the bitter bile rising in my throat.

Oddly enough, as I walk and fret, Chris Tomlin is praising God on my I pod. I hear the melody and his voice. But I’m not listening to the words. My mind is elsewhere.

Occasionally, a random lyric from different songs infiltrate my conscience. Catches my attention.

Song lyric: “Your grace is enough for me.”

Is it? Then why don’t I receive His grace and stop beating myself up?

Song lyric: “Only you can satisfy..Your strength is a tower the righteous run into.”

Really? Am I allowing God to satisfy my heart? Or searching for something else? Relying on His strength? Or mine?

Song lyric: “Here comes the King, all bow down.

Am I submitting to God’s authority? Or paying lip service and having my own way?

Too many thoughts. Too much SELF standing between me and Jesus.

So I claim 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Takes intentional will power, but I capture the thoughts and leave them at the Cross of Jesus.

As I’m walking up the driveway, I finally notice the blue skies. And Chris Tomlin’s lyrics in the next song shrinks all my troubles in view of….

How Great is our God

What is your favorite praise song?