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Archive for February, 2011

Deciding and Doing

Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off.

How many are left?

Answer: five.

Why?

Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing.
Mark L. Feldman & Michael F. Spratt, ‘Five Frogs on a Log’

Everyday we make thousands of decisions. What to eat, what to say,
what to wear. You can make a decision, but unless you decide to act,
nothing will be done.

Lots of people spend all their time everyday trying to make a
decision, but never actually doing anything about their decisions.
They worry that the choice they might make is the wrong choice. They
might make a decision that is wrong. So, they decide not to do
anything at all. Thus, their decision is a choice of not doing. Does
this sound like someone you know?

Today, decide to do more. Make a decision to do more. Spend more time
doing and less time deciding. Except of course when it comes to things
you decide to say. Then spend more time listening to others and more
time not saying anything!

Two Reasons Why God Tests Us

by: Daniel N. Brown

We all know that athletes need endurance training for physical stamina
and mental toughness. When game time arrives, he or she will be ready
to do battle and will have a greater chance at victory. If the athlete
does not go through the necessary preparedness, he or she may not even
be allowed into the game.

It’s the same in our walk with God. We really shouldn’t expect that we
can just ask God for some great position in life with out any
preparation. It’s the tests and trials that He allows us to go through
that are what prepare us for the greater things He has in store in the
future.

There are two reasons why God tests us. The first reason is:

1. To Produce Patience
James 1:2-3 tells us, "Count it all joy when you fall into various
trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
There is a huge misunderstanding of what the word "patience" actually
means. Most people will say that it means to "wait." But, that’s not
true. If you look up the word "patient" in Webster’s Dictionary it
actually means to bear trials without complaining.

God doesn’t want to hear someone complain anymore than you want to
hear someone complain. Not only that, but complaining only reinforces
your situation. Whatever you talk about and focus on becomes magnified.

God uses tests and trials to bring patience into our lives because He
wants us to develop a good attitude. A good attitude then, will make
us the kind of person God can use. We will become perfect and
complete, lacking nothing.

The second reason God tests us is:

2. To Make You Perfect, Complete, and Lacking Nothing
James 1:4 says, "Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

God sometimes allows storms into our lives to test us so that He may
accomplish a purpose in us. And, that purpose is to prepare us for
greater things (Psalm 107).

If you’re facing some challenges in your life today, just ask God to
hold you up, strengthen you, and help you learn what He is trying to
teach you.

Keep in mind that not all storms in your life are from God. Many
times, you can create your own storms by making poor decisions. The
best thing to do in these cases is to ask God to help you learn from
your mistakes.

God can use your own storms to teach you things and use them to bring
you increase. Always remember Romans 8:28, "All things work together
for good to them who love the Lord and are called according to His
purpose."

Be encouraged if things are not what you think they should be. God has
a wonderful plan for your life and He may just be working on the
inside of you right now. Maybe you’re just learning patience. If
you’ve already learned patience, maybe patience is having it’s perfect
work, making you perfect and complete, to where you will lack nothing.

The Late Bloomer

A cactus stood all alone in the desert, wondering why it was stuck in
the middle of nowhere.

"I do nothing but stand here all day," it sighed.  "What use am I? I’m
the ugliest plant in the desert.  My spines are thick and prickly, my
leaves are rubbery and tough, my skin is thick and bumpy.  I can’t
offer shade or juicy fruit to any passing traveller. I don’t see that
I’m any use at all."

All it did was stand in the sun day after day, growing taller and
fatter. Its spines grew longer and its leaves tougher, and it swelled
here and there until it was lumpy and lopsided all over.  It truly was
strange looking.

"I wish I could do something useful," it sighed.

By day hawks circled high overhead.

"What can I do with my life?" the cactus called. Whether they heard or
not, the hawks sailed away.

At night the moon floated into the sky and cast its pale glow on the
desert floor.

"What good can I do with my life?" the cactus called. The moon only
stared coldly as it mounted its course.

A lizard crawled by, leaving a little trail in the sand with its tail.

"What worthy deed can I do?" the cactus called.

"You?" the lizard laughed, pausing a moment.

"Worthy deed?

Why, you can’t do anything!  The hawks circle way overhead, tracing
delicate patterns for us all to admire.  The moon hangs high like a
lantern at night, so we can see our ways home to our loved ones. Even
I, the lowly lizard, have something to do.  I decorate the sands with
these beautiful brushstrokes as I pull my tail along.

But you?

You do nothing but get uglier every day."

And so it went on, year after year.  At last the cactus grew old, and
it knew its time was short.

"Oh, Lord," it cried out, "I’ve wondered so long, and I’ve tried so
hard. Forgive me if I’ve failed to find something worthy to do.  I
fear that now it’s too late."

But just then the cactus felt a strange stirring and unfolding, and it
knew a surge of joy that erased all despair.  At its very tip, like a
sudden crown, a glorious flower suddenly opened in bloom.

Never had the desert known such a blossom.  Its fragrance perfumed the
air far and wide and brought happiness to all passing by.  The
butterflies paused to admire its beauty, and that night even the moon
smiled when it rose to find such a treasure.

The cactus heard a voice.

"You have waited long," the Lord said. "The heart that seeks to do
good reflects My glory, and will always bring something worthwhile to
the world, something in which all can rejoice… even if for only a
moment."