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Testing 1,2,3

 

Training a long lasting, confident, consistent horse is a process that starts with very basic steps and progresses only as each step becomes solid.  We introduce only one concept or maneuver at a time.  It is repeated until the horse understands it and can apply it.  It is repeated, rewarded and tested. 

 

Horses are first taught to walk forward.  Then we work on guiding them in forward motion.  The next step is to teach them to yield in motion to side pressures.  They are taught to stop, back up and side pass as they progress.  This is all done at a walk.  Then they must advance and learn maneuvers at a trot and a canter. 

 

We arrive at the finished product only by constant repetition, reward, punishment and testing.  If we skip steps, at some time in that horse's life, those steps will have to be interjected back into their training program.  And if the steps are not tested before speed is applied, we are building a horse with a crack in his foundation. 

 

When all the tests are passed at home, the horse is ready to start entering competition.  Then we find out how our product performs under pressure.  This is another test.  If he fails to pass the test in competition, then it is back to the training pen to fix the area where he failed. Then he must be put under pressure again and tested.

 

The point of this devotion is this.  In our Christian walk, we move from level to level.  We learn by attending a local church, sermons, Bible study, songs, Christian radio and T.V. and fellowshipping with other Christians.  But, we will never know what we are learning until it is put to the test. 

 

When test time is here, we find out what is inside of us.  We find out if we have truly learned the things that we have heard and studied.  We have a great opportunity at test time to apply what we have learned. 

 

James wrote to the early Christians these words:  "Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and tests?  Then be happy for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.  So, let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems.  For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete."  One Bible version ends that passage by saying we will become mature. 

 

Life can become difficult very quickly.  Things can change in an instant from going good to being difficult.  We need to look at difficulties as great opportunities.  When a great horse is put under pressure, he performs like a champion ONLY after he has experienced pressure and learned how to handle it.  We will never know if we can handle pressure until we have experienced it. 

 

If you are put to the test and fail - remember that God's grace is around to pick you up and give you another chance.  The lessons that we fail will probably be repeated.  God knows when we are trying.  He is delighted when we are trying to apply what we are learning.  Try takes a front seat over talent.  Would you rather have a horse that tries very hard or a talented one that has no try?

 

Life will bring us great times of testing.  Adversity causes some to break down and others to break records.  The difference in breaking down and breaking records is allowing the stress of adversity to cause growth inside of us and make us stronger instead of becoming bitter and weaker from resisting it. 

 

Due to a set of circumstances, my husband and I have become the caretakers of two of our grandchildren for the next 3 1/2 weeks.  Their ages are 1 and 3.  This is a big change in our lives.  We haven't had little children around on a steady basis for over 20 years.  This is a big testing opportunity.  I have studied about patience - now is the time to apply it.  I have studied about love - now is the time to apply it.  I have studied about keeping my mind on the right things - now is the time to put that into action.  I have studied about complaining - I will strive to do none of that.  I pray to pass more times than I fail. 

 

The world needs to learn about Jesus by watching us.  When things are going perfect, anyone can look good, but when things are difficult, we are really being studied by others to see how we react. 

 

What are your opportunities this week?  Pray for me to pass this test and I will pray for you that when we are tried by fire, we will come forth shining better than gold!    1 Peter 1:7


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