Making Great Decisions

Perfect decisions are few and far between; however, a great decision is always possible! Great decisions don’t all have fairytale endings, but they do achieve the best outcomes under the given circumstances. The most successful decision-makers usually don’t act on impulse, intuition, or even experience alone; they have a system that they work through step by step. Here is one such system:
Define the issue. A problem well stated is a problem half solved. Employ the journalist’s “who, what, when, why, and how” regimen. Why is the decision necessary? What is the objective? How can this decision change things for the better? Whom will it affect? When does it need to be made?
Take a positive approach. See opportunities rather than only problems.
List your options. The more alternatives you consider, the more likely you will be to identify the best solution.
Gather information. You will not only make better decisions if you have investigated thoroughly, but you will also have more peace of mind as you carry out your decision.
Be objective. If you already have an opinion on the matter, the natural tendency will be to look primarily for evidence to confirm that opinion. That works if you happen to be right, but if you’re not, you’re actually being drawn further away from a great decision. Welcome alternatives and opposing views. Remember that the goal is not to prove yourself right, but to make the right decision.
Consider your options. Write down the pros and cons for each option and see how they stack up against each other. Try to determine both best-case and worst-case scenarios for each option. See if there is some way to combine several promising solutions into one potent solution.
Be true to yourself. Leave out any alternatives that compromise your values.
Make a decision. When you’re convinced that you’ve found the best course, commit to it.
Be open to change if circumstances change. Once you make a decision and begin acting on it, a better option may open up. This is sometimes referred to as the “boat-and-rudder effect.” It’s not until a boat is in motion that the rudder can come into play.
Ask God. Last but certainly not least, pray for guidance at each step of the decision-making process. He has the answers; ask, and He will lead.
By Alex Peterson

Be Perfect

By Charles Price

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.—Matthew 5:48 NIV

If someone told us we have to be perfect … yikes! How do we do that? But that is what Jesus is telling us in the Sermon on the Mount: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” With the exception of Jesus, no one is perfect, nor will ever be perfect, so what does Jesus mean?
To be perfect in what Jesus is saying doesn’t mean to be flawless as we would use the word “perfect” today. It means that we fulfill the purpose for which we were created. For example, if I take my pen and begin writing a letter, you may ask me, “How is the pen?” I would say, “It’s perfect.” What I mean is that the pen does what it’s supposed to do. 
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a cheap pen or an expensive one. It may be chipped, bitten, and half full of ink, but it’s perfect for the purpose for which it was made. It only matters that it works. When Jesus says, “Be perfect,” He is asking us to be what God created us to be. We were created to be in the likeness of God’s moral image, so that our lives express something of the moral character of God.
We are perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect only to the measure in which His character is being displayed in us. We cannot do this by imitating God, but only by expressing [Him] in us and through us. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” In other words, in this life we will never fully achieve the moral character of God, but that is the end purpose for which the Spirit of God is at work in our lives.
Perfection is about being what God created us to be, and when Jesus said, “Be perfect,” He is saying that despite our failures, sin, and brokenness, we allow God to manifest His character in us, bringing us to an ever-increasing likeness of His moral image.

Sail On

Life is very much like sailing. Many are content to just sail around in the safe harbors and not really go anywhere with their life; whereas others set their sails toward the horizon and head out into the open sea.

It takes faith to set out into the unknown, to believe that God is true and that He will keep you safe and lead you on a true course. This type of faith is learned through difficult situations where you do what God shows you to do and you find that it works out.

This life and its limited existence can be so full of care‚ worry, and fear if you let those things in. But if you instead choose to accept His perspective in all things, you will begin to see the opportunity in every difficulty, the positive in every negative situation.

You will have the faith to rise above this finite world and accept that there is a higher plan for your life and that God is the One Who is ultimately in control. With each test comes stronger faith.

The shores of His blessings are not visible to those who stay in the harbor and never venture out; it takes faith to set sail and find them.

Don’t believe the doubter who has never ventured out of the safety of his harbor and who says, “There are no new shores, no new challenges, nothing new to learn.” Be the first to venture out, to let God set the course of your life.