Organization Archives

Hospitality Tips When Preparing for Guests

Since many of you will be having guests during the holidays, I thought these hints might be helpful. These were taken from my book Given to Hospitality Church or Home.

Being a good hostess does not require a formal education, but it is helpful to know a few basic tips. Some of the following tips I have learned by trial and error.

Several years ago, my husband and I became stewards of a large home. After we moved in, I was so excited about having the room to entertain, I invited twelve pastors and their wives over for dinner. Since I had moved from a house that had one bathroom to a house that had five bathrooms, I did not bother to check the supplies in each bathroom. During the evening, a distinguished pastor sheepishly had to come to me to ask for toilet paper…number 1 rule…make sure all your bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and air freshener.

• Supply feminine products to guests by putting them in a pretty box or bag and place on the back of toilet.
• Clean house before guests arrive. Don’t rush around cleaning the house while guests are there.
• Chill drinks and make extra ice.
• Arrange furniture to maximize seating for everyone.
• Make sure table is set before guests arrive.

Overnight Guests

Overnight guests can sometimes feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar room. Try to make your guest room as comfortable as possible.

Items Needed for a Guest Room

1. A clean bed with extra bedding
2. An iron and ironing board
3. A comfortable reading chair
4. A good lamp and good selection of books
5. A good mirror
6. A clock
7. A box of tissue
8. A small sewing kit
9. A small trash can
10. A good supply of plastic hangers in the closet
11. A writing desk with pens, pencils, paper, scissors, and envelopes
12. A power strip for guests to plug in cell phones and other electronic devices
13. An index card with the code for wireless internet placed in desk drawer.
14. A welcome packet with information about the area
15. A folding luggage rack (this makes a convenient place for a guest to put his suitcase)

Tips to Make Overnight Guests Feel Special

• Leave a welcome gift and note.
• Leave two Hershey kisses or Mint Patties on pillows.
• Have a basket of fresh fruit, two stemmed glasses, and two bottles of water.
• Keep a snack tray available in the kitchen. This tray could include microwave popcorn, oatmeal bars, and individual bags of peanuts, hot chocolate mixes, and herbal teas.
• If your guest room is large enough, keep a compact fridge and stock it with waters, sodas, juices, and other snack items.
• If your guests have to share a bathroom, you might keep large terrycloth bathrobes in the closet.
• Place a TV with a DVD player and inspirational DVDs in guest room.
• Place a stuffed animal on a child’s bed to make him feel more secure.

Tips for Supplying a Guest Bath

When preparing for a guest bath, think about things that you might find in a nice hotel or an upscale Bed and Breakfast. You find nice plump towels, great toiletries, and fresh, clean smells.

Items Needed for a Guest Bath

1. Towels and washcloths
2. Extra toilet paper and tissues
3. Disposable cups
4. Fresh soap
5. Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste
6. Body lotion and moisturizer
7. Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray
8. Deodorant
9. New toothbrushes ,toothpaste, mouthwash
10. Waste basket
11. Air freshener
12. Razors
13. Bubble bath or bath oil (always a special treat)
14. Plunger under the sink
15. Night light

Consider keeping common medicines such as aspirin, anti-diarrhea pills, acid reducers, and a first-aid kit in your guest bath.

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Are You Feeling Unproductive?

Is your self-talk telling you that you are just not being productive? Over the course of our years, our energy levels change. Sometimes it is because of our age, our sleep patterns, our caffeine intake, our health, our diet, or our comparisons. (we look at others as being more productive than we are)

There will always be periods in our lives when we might not feel productive as we once did. If you begin having thoughts of being unproductive, here are few suggestions:

• Get eight hours of sleep
• Try to exercise
• Eat a healthy breakfast
• Overwhelmed…eliminate or delegate some activities
• Look at your time wasting activities: TV, your cell phone, trivial triggers…
• Avoid your self-talk, “I’m no good…nobody thinks I’m not valuable…Nothing I do is right” Studies have shown that upwards of 80% of your self-talk is negative. That number goes up as you put pressure on yourself to get more done.
• Lessen you workload
• Set time limits on your projects
• Change your scenery. If you have a flexible schedule, go to a coffee shop or work from home.
• Disconnect from the Internet…according to research, half of time spent on Internet is procrastinating
• Reward yourself after a period of time working….a cup of coffee, 15 minutes on Facebook
• Don’t distain unproductivity…“not feeling productive” is a great sign that you should step back from your work to recharge and be unproductive for a while. A break will help you recharge and reduce your negative self-talk.

Taking a break from being productive every once in a while will help you become much more productive.

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Sunday School Teacher’s Ideas

I was looking through my files this week and came across some great notes I took when I was in college. Hope these notes help you.

1. Provoke your student’s interest
• Use a variety of methods in teaching
• Use the cleverest way possible to present lessons.
• Use drama to make story effective (Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed the feet of His disciples)
• Don’t read from manual or book
• Make your material exciting
• Use object lessons (Jesus did) He showed Himself as the Bread of Life, As the Good Shepherd…

2. Get ideas by exploring books
• Visual Aid Encyclopedia, Eleanor Done, Regal Books
• Roy Garn, The Magical Power of Emotional Appeal
• Ethel Barret, Storytelling Made Easy
• Marie Chapman, Yelling for Help
• Herman Hornell, Kregal; Teaching Techniques of Jesus
• Howard Hendricks, The Seven Laws of Teaching
• Cheryl Fawcett, Understanding People: Ministry To All Stages of Life

3. Don’t use the same method all the time…”Variety is Spice of Life”. Use things that:
• Create an interest and a desire to know.
• Create a need for the Bible to have real value for their lives.
• Teach them how they can forgive others when they have offended them.
• Teach them how their tongues can keep them from getting me into trouble and how to get victory in their lives.
• Develop within them a curiosity about their souls, their purpose of life, and their lives beyond death.
• Teach them how to praise and encourage others.
• Teach them the dangers of being critical of others.

4. Teacher must realize how important their teaching techniques and personalities are. (Example: Jerry was a student who had not really been interested in Sunday school until promotion day…he got a new teacher who showed a real interest in him and the class. Because of this new teacher, the student began getting excited about the Lord, His Word, and his service for the Lord.)

• Rewards are important…Jesus offered heaven…Paul pressed on toward the prize.
• Don’t use the same old method year after year. (We remember 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we see, 70% of what we say, and 90% of what we do).
• Send “Take home papers” with the students.
• Ask thought provoking questions.
• Tell part of the details of the story without telling the characters in the story.
• Use a recorded version, complete with sound effects.
• Sometimes taste can be introduced like a food in the story (pomegranates, figs).
• Continued story (call on one student to continue, then he calls on another).
• Nose; fragrance of God’s flowers; distinguish them from artificial ones.

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Making Our Time and Talents Count

 Until the Lord returns, each day holds within it exciting unique opportunities for us to serve the Lord! Let me encourage you to begin each day with prayer! Take time every day to spend some time alone with God, read your Bible and pray about the activities before you.  Give God the opportunity to guide your thoughts and your actions, to align them with His Divine purposes.  When we consecrate our time and talents to the Lord, He is able to show us how to redeem the time.

Colossians 4:5: . . . walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Ephesians 5:16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Art Demoss, the insurance executive, was a great soul-winner. When he died, hundreds of people attended his funeral. During that service, the pastor asked the audience, “If you have come to know the Lord as your Savior as a result of Art Demoss, would you please stand.” Over 500 people stood up that day at his funeral. What a testimony to a man who used his time and talents for the Lord.

Think about this! If we invest 30 minutes a day each month in the Lord’s work, we are investing 15 hours a month. If we take 15 hours times the number of years we have left to live—there is no telling what we can accomplish for the Lord!

Whatever our position may be…whether we are a homemaker, a musician, a teacher, a speaker, or a cook, God has entrusted each of us with special gifts and talents. When we commit our hearts to serve him, He is able to use our personalities, interests, and life experiences to transform us into His image. His purpose for our lives is for us to use our gifts and talents to accomplish His will while we are on this earth.

On days when you are unsure of what you should be doing…stop and pray. Allow the Lord to guide you ‘step by step’ ‘minute by minute’ throughout your day.  I guarantee you, by the end of the day as you reflect and give thanks, it will amaze you what the Lord was able to accomplish through you by being obedient to His leading.

God did not give us time and talent to just serve ourselves.  He tells us in Revelation 4:11 that He created us to bring glory to Him. He guides us and gives us discernment to know what His perfect will is for us.  For some of you, the Lord may be guiding you to learn a new language so that you can communicate your faith with more people. For others, He may be guiding you to learn new ways of organizing your lives so that you will have more time to minister.

Remember Satan is our ever-present enemy, and he wants us to get our eyes off the Lord. God’s desire for our lives is for us to grow into a deeper relationship with Him and to have a greater understanding of His ways.  It is only when we begin to understand this principle, that we will begin to experience true fulfillment, joy, and peace.

Let me encourage you to:

  • Not be weary in well doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not!’
  • Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you opportunities to bless and encourage others with your gifts and talents.
  • Be assured that a day is coming when you will rejoice and be glad for those times that you sacrificed your will for His.
  • Join me in redeeming the time before our Lord returns.
  • Proclaim as Jesus did: “nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done!”

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

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Miscellaneous Organizing Tips

We all are looking for new ways to organize. I hope these few tips help you!

  • Get rid of cereal and snack boxes by placing them in airtight glass jars.
  • Replace wire hangers with matching plastic hangers.
  • Take clothes that you haven’t worn for one year to Goodwill.
  • Throw away old makeup. Replace mascara every three months…replace foundation and concealer each year…replace lipstick, eye shadow, and blush every two years.
  • Throw out old spices. You should replace most spices once a year. Test…smell the spice…if there is no scent, there will be no flavor.
  • Throw out last year’s Christmas cards. Be sure to record any addresses to your phone or computer before you throw them away.
  • Throw away any canned goods that are past their expiration date.
  • Avoid using folding closet doors for young children’s rooms. Hang Curtains with tie backs over closet area and place dresser with drawers inside closet area so that children can easily get their clothes.
  • To help children stay organized, use clear storage for small art and craft supplies.
  • Use shoe boxes and bank-check boxes (both lids and bottoms) as drawer dividers.
  • Place all your instruction manuals in a three-ring binder.
  • Use one shelf in your linen closet for party essentials, such as candles, place cards, napkins, and vases.
  • Put things where they work for you: vitamins by the juice glasses, coat hooks in the garage by the car.
  • Keep a small basket on the coffee table to keep TV remotes.
  • Store sheet sets in the same room as the bed. If you have limited closet or dresser space, put sheets in a box under bed.
  • For children, keep a light-weight wicker basket at the foot of their beds to hide blankets and extra pillows.
  • Place a small whisk broom and dustpan in each bathroom for a quick pick-up.
  • To help keep track of children’s shoes, place a shoe basket by the front door.
  • To help children stay organized with their dirty clothes, keep a two-compartment hamper in their room. This helps them learn to separate the darks from the lights when they undress.
  • Use a mini flowerpot with drip tray near the sink to stash sponges, steel wool and food scrapers.
  • Always have a spare set of car/house keys in another place.

 

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Helpful Tips When Preparing for Guests

Being a good hostess does not require a formal education, but it is helpful to know a few basic tips. Some of the following tips I have learned by trial and error.

Several years ago, my husband and I became stewards of a large home. After we moved in, I was so excited about having the room to entertain, I invited twelve pastors and their wives over for dinner.  Since I had moved from a house that had one bathroom to a house that five bathrooms, I did not bother to check the supplies in each bathroom. During the evening, a distinguished pastor sheepishly had to come to me to ask for toilet paper…number 1 rule…make sure all your bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and air freshener.

  •  Supply feminine products to guests by putting those items in a pretty box or bag and place on the back of toilet.
  • Clean house before guests arrive. Do not rush around cleaning parts of house while guests are there.
  • Chill drinks and make extra ice.
  • Arrange furniture to maximize seating for everyone.
  • Make sure table is set before guests arrive.

 Overnight Guests

 Overnight guests can sometimes feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar room. Try to make your guest room as comfortable as possible.

 Items Needed for a Guest Room

  •  A clean bed with extra bedding
  • An iron and ironing board
  • A comfortable reading chair
  • A good lamp and good selection of books
  • A good mirror
  • A clock
  • A box of tissue
  • A small sewing kit
  • A small trash can
  • A good supply of plastic hangers in the closet
  • A writing desk with pens, pencils, paper, scissors, and envelopes
  • A power strip for guests to plug in cell phones and other electronic devices
  • An index card with the code for wireless internet placed in desk drawer.
  • A welcome packet with information about the area
  • A folding luggage rack (this makes a convenient place for a guest to put his suitcase) 

Tips to Make Overnight Guests Feel Special

  • Leave a welcome gift and note.
  • Leave two Hershey kisses or Mint Patties on pillows.
  • Have a basket of fresh fruit, two stemmed glasses, and two bottles of water.
  • Keep a snack tray available in the kitchen. This tray could include microwave popcorn, oatmeal bars, and individual bags of peanuts, hot chocolate mixes, and herbal teas.
  • If your guest room is large enough, keep a compact fridge and stock it with waters, sodas, juices, and other snack items.
  • If your guests have to share a bathroom, you might keep large terrycloth bathrobes in the closet.
  • Place a TV with a DVD player and inspirational DVDs in guest room.
  • Place a stuffed animal on a child’s bed to make him feel more secure.

 Tips for Supplying a Guest Bath

When preparing for a guest bath, think about things that you might find in a nice hotel or an upscale Bed and Breakfast. You find nice plump towels, great toiletries, and fresh, clean smells.

Items Needed for a Guest Bath 

  • Towels and washcloths
  • Extra toilet paper and tissues
  • Disposable cups
  • Fresh soap
  • Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Body lotion and moisturizer
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray
  • Deodorant
  • New toothbrushes ,toothpaste, mouthwash
  • Waste basket
  • Air freshener
  • Razors
  • Bubble bath or bath oil (always a special treat)
  • Plunger under the sink
  • Night light

You might also consider keeping common medicines such as aspirin, anti-diarrheal pills, acid reducers, and a first-aid kit in your guest bath.

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What are My Goals for the Coming Year?

Unless I attempt to do more than I am now doing, I will never achieve all that I can do. If I aim at nothing, I am sure to reach nothing. Setting goals helps me keep my eyes focused on something bigger than my own problems and adversity.

Here is sample of some of my simplified goals:

Physical goals: Lose _____lbs by December ? Consciously drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables; exercise at least 3 days a week.

Mental goals: Memorize 5 verses every month, take an on-line class, begin to learn another language.

Spiritual goals: Read/listen through the Bible, keep a prayer journal, fast one day a week, pour myself into a new convert.

Family goals: Pray diligently for my family members. Have morning devotions with my husband. Tell my family members that “I love you” more.

Financial goals: Consistently give tithes and increase my mission’s giving. Avoid making frivolous purchases. Avoid using charge cards unless it is an emergency.

Church goals: Pray more diligently for my pastor, our church leaders, and our church families. Send cards to the discouraged, shut-ins, and children; Look for opportunities to give alms (benevolence causes) Pass out more tracts and don’t pass up any soul-winning opportunities.

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Is “Hospitality” a True Ministry?

Although hospitality today seems to be a lost art and not considered to be a true ministry, the Bible still commands us to use hospitality and not to complain about doing it.

Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality…
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

The stresses of everyday living can be very demanding to God’s servants. We must lift up our eyes and see the needs of those hurting around us. We must look for opportunities to provide special times of relaxation for the discouraged and weary.

Many times in this self-centered society, not only unsaved women, but also Christian women, make excuses for not opening their homes and exhibiting hospitality. Today very few people invite you to their homes for a meal or just fellowship. Maybe it is because of the fast paced lifestyle people live. People become so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t seem to have the time to reach out to others.

What are some of the excuses women use for not practicing hospitality?

My home is not good enough.Through the years, it has not been the women who had gorgeous homes or who prepared  lavish meals that made the greatest impact on me. It has been the women who genuinely loved the Lord and offered me simple gestures of friendship and love  by offering me simple acts of hospitality. One of my fondest memories goes back many years ago when my husband and I were in Bible College. On weekends, we drove back and forth to Arkansas to minister in a small church. We stayed in the home of a widow woman named Mrs. Medlin. Although she lived on a small pension, she loved God’s servants and wanted to be a blessing to them. Many Sundays, our dinners consisted of only oxtail soup. Even though those were just simple meals, she made them seem like feasts. She willingly shared what she had with us. She did not try to impress us; she just wanted to make us feel special.

It is just too expensive. Hospitality does not have to be costly.

• Invite someone over for just soup and salad or just coffee and dessert.
• Invite several couples for dinner. Ask one lady to bring a dessert, another to bring a vegetable, another to bring a potato casserole, and you provide the meat.

It takes too much time and effort. Hospitality does not have to take a great deal of time and effort. We have time to do exactly what we want to do. We have time to shop, to watch our favorite television programs, to garden, to craft, or even to read good books.

• Stick to meals that are easy. Make things the day before, such as lasagna, and then put it in the oven.
• Forget complicated recipes! When you make a dinner for your family, make a double batch and stick the other one in the freezer.
• Use your crock-pot.

My house is just not clean enough. People are not coming to your home to inspect the dust bunnies under the bed or do the white glove on your furniture.

Here are some simple tricks to practice to always have your home ready to minister.

• Don’t go to bed at night until you have made sure your living room and bathroom are picked up.
• Always put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink.
• If you have children, assign a various job to each child.
• Keep a designated play area, other than the living room, for the children to play.
• Do designated morning chores every morning. (Empty bathroom trash, make beds,  put clothes away, and put dishes in dishwasher)

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Set Some Organizing Goals and Deadlines

If you do not  set any personal goals or deadlines, it can rob you of  your time and keep you from being productive.

  • Decide on areas of your life where you want to be more productive and write out some goals.
  • Keep your plan simple. Do not want waste valuable time updating charts.
  • Set definite and obtainable goals. Write down a plan of action to achieve that goal. (I want to lose 50 pounds this year—I will join a gym)
  • Set a deadline to reach your desired goal.
  • Set a goal to organize seasonal  and party items: (Buy nine large plastic boxes that you can stack. Store boxes in a closet, basement, or attic. Label boxes according to your needs)  The following is a sample of labeling:
  1. January-February (winter decorations)
  2. March-June (spring decorations)
  3. July-August (Patriotic decorations)
  4. September-October( fall decorations)
  5. November (Thanksgiving decorations)
  6. December (Christmas decorations)
  7. Birthday party decorations
  8. Gifts (small gifts when you need a quick gift for birthday, shower, or anniversary)
  9. Tea party books, pots, and dishes

                 Miscellaneous Organizing Tips for Your Home 

  • For a large family, color-code children’s items. (toothbrushes, towels, and file folders)
  • De-junk! Give away clothes you do not wear, broken toys, and kitchen gadgets you do not need.
  • Rule to control clutter: One item comes in; one item goes out. (Give to Goodwill or to a friend)
  • If you have limited space for storage, rent videos and books instead of purchasing them.
  • Keep a file drawer or box in the kitchen with each person’s name on a different colored folder. Put coloring papers, notes from school, and future homework assignments in assigned folder.
  • If possible, do all house chores in the morning.
  • Do quick bathroom wipe-down of tub, shower, toilet, sinks, and faucets with disposable cleaning wipes.
  • Make your bed as soon as you get out of it. (It only takes two minutes to make a bed)
  • Teach children to make their own beds. Instead of  children having to struggle using many sheets and blankets, make it easier for them by using duvet covers. (To make an easy duvet cover, use two flat sheets. Place sheets back to back and sew around the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch seam opening at the bottom. For the closure,  make two ties or use velcro tape around  inside edges)
  • When preparing meals, fill sink with soapy water and wash preparatory dishes before sitting down to eat.
  • Immediately do dishes or place them in dishwasher.
  • If you have small children, keep a basket handy to pick up small items such as small toys, clothing, and clutter.
  • When picking up the house in the mornings, give yourself a deadline.
  • Pick up the rooms that visitors will see first.

GOOD RULE TO FOLLOW: LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AS IF YOU ARE EXPECTING GUESTS!

A few years ago, a group of seniors from our Christian school invited us to join them for dinner at a nice restaurant. They had hired a limousine for the evening. After they had eaten, they had a few hours to spare. Since they wanted to stay together, I invited them to our home. If I had said, “Oh, my house is not clean enough,” those teens would have missed out on having a fun time together and making a great memory.

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Do You Ever Feel Like Giving Up?

Although Elijah had been one of the most victorious prophets, he came to a point in his life when he felt like he just wanted to quit (I Kings 19:4).

Have you ever been there? You might be a Sunday school teacher, a youth worker, a pastor’s wife, a Christian Counselor, or even a parent. You begin to feel like Elijah and begin to think, “What’s the use?” Satan begins to make you doubt God’s purpose for your life, and he tries to convince you to quit ministering for the Lord.

Sometimes events come into your life that make you to want to “give up spiritually”.

  • You begin to sense that you have too much to do, and you do not have the ability to say “no”.
  • You begin to have stresses in your personal life and stresses in your family.
  • You begin to have challenges with relationships in the church.
  • You begin feeling as though your gifts and abilities are not being used to their fullest.
  • You begin to experience physical health problems and begin to think that you are worthless.
  • You receive little support or communication from supervisors.

What should you do when you begin to feel like giving up?

  1. Get alone with God and pray. Many times we begin to vent to our friends before we go to the Lord with our complaints. Prayer is our personal communication with a sovereign God. He is the only one that can change circumstances and people.  Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
  2. Focus on relationships with family and others. All relationships are part of ministering! Family relationships must be a high priority. Of course, we cannot spend so much time with our families that we lose focus on all other ministries. One important element in building relationships is to not focus too much on trying to make others “do” what we want them to do but focus on helping them to “be” what God wants them to be. This single principle will help build better relationships with family and others.
  3. Contemplate why are you doing what you are doing? Determine if you are doing this task for life, or is it a short assignment from the Lord? Consider the result of quitting, “If you fail to do this, will you feel dissatisfied and incomplete for the rest of your life?”
  4. Recognize that your gifts and abilities have limitations. Doing what God equips you to do will give you the energy you need to minister. Past training and experiences equips you to minister in ways that others may not be able to minister. When you align your strengths with ministry requirements, it gives you the strength to minister.
  5. Exercise your mind and body. Plan a daily time to exercise your body by walking or visiting a gym. Exercise your mind by reading Godly devotionals and biographies. Memorize portions of Scriptures and inspirational songs or poems.
  6. Teach others how to minister. If you are a leader in a church, plan various ministry training events through the year. Invest in resource books and materials for Children’s Ministry, leadership training, and new ministry techniques. Ask experienced people to teach and mentor others.

In the Far East, people plant a tree called the Chinese Bamboo. During the first four years of the tree’s growth, people water and fertilize it with little results. During the fifth year of the Chinese Bamboo’s growth, people again apply water and fertilizer;suddenly in five weeks the tree grows to ninety feet. Some may ask, “Did the Chinese Bamboo grow ninety feet tall in five weeks or did it grow ninety feet tall in five years?” Of course, the answer is that the tree grew ninety feet in five years. The tree would have died if the people had stopped watering and fertilizing it at anytime during that five years.

Many times when our plans do not prosper, we are tempted to quit, but we must continue to water and fertilize the plans and nurture the seeds of the vision that God places in our hearts.

This illustration was taken from the book An Enemy Called Average-John L. Mason

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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