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October 2013

Pearl 273: Rhythm

TOPIC: Organization and Worship

"Then he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man,
not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord
even of the Sabbath'" - Mark 2:27-28.

God directed man to organize work around some time to rest. The Jews made the Sabbath a special day filled with legalistic parameters, but Jesus tried to correct that attitude and received more than a little opposition. The Sabbath was to be a time of rest and a change of pace from the workaday world - along with a time to worship God. That will require that you establish a weekly rhythm to your schedule. Do you organize your world to include rest and refreshment? What do you do to refresh? With whom? Is worship part of your organizational strategy?

Lord, I don't want to be rigid and inflexible where organizing my life is concerned, but I don't want to be scattered and unfocused either. I need to make worship and rest part of my life's rhythm and that will require me to make and keep my priorities as I structure my life. Help me to have the focus I need.


Report from Peter

Kids JeansIn the midst of the craziness in Kenya, life goes on, as Pastor Peter reported last week with some new pictures:

Dear Dr. John,

The primary school candidates have less than two month to sit for their national examination. We are all busy trying to motivate them to work hard and to organize their thought for success. The goods you sent have been of great help for we are Kids Jeans 2providing to them the writing material and other resources. We are happy because every item is going a long way to empower them to succeed. Over the weekend we have organized for a sporting day and at the same time Patrick will be training some on artwork. We thank all our supporter for their tireless efforts.

He is the reason for our living.

Pastor Peter

Someone has donated money for art supplies for Patrick to use and another person has contributed money Kids Jeans 3for us to establish a music school at the library. What can you do to help?  We need school supplies, books, kids shoes and anything else you can think of that will help us educate and impact the children among whom Peter lives and works.

I am leaving on Monday, October 7, for Kenya. Please help me to take and be a blessing by donating generously this coming week. You can give through my website, which would be the quickest, or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.  Thank you and God bless you for your help, and Pastor Peter for the work he is doing.

 


A Delicate Subject

The lack of sanitary feminine products in Kenya is getting more and more attention.  I have been addressing this for several years through what I call the Petticoat Project, through which we gather and distribute undergarments and other feminine products. Pastor Peter is increasingly finding the need to help young women in the schools, as he reported this past week:

Dear Dr. John,

This is a real challage that our women in schools are going through and I felt the need to share with you on the challenge on the groung. It is with this view that today we had to distribute 20 packets of sanitary towels to ladies at Muchatha Primary School. Please view the site below.

Pastor Peter

The site Peter referred to is a YouTube video that documents the dilemma women have in Third World countries like Kenya around their time of the month. Last month, a doctor donated $200 to the Petticoat Project and I am asking you to donate as well. You can send underwear (plain and cotton, or with as few decorations as possible) or money that locals can use to purchase feminine products. I promise to pass along every penny I receive to my contacts in Kenya. You can give through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. 

Here is the link for the video.


Agony in Kenya

As you know, last week was a terrifying week in Kenya when terrorists seized a shopping mall to protest Westgate Mall copyKeny's presence in Somalia. Before it was all over, scores were killed and injured and the mall imploded when the soldiers used grenade launchers to kill the terrorists. I have heard from my closest friends and family there, but wanted to share with you some of their responses so you have an idea how devastating this was to them.

Pauline, my travel agent, wrote:

Hi Dr. J,

Thanks a lot for caring it feels good to know that someone cares.

Yes we are all fine and doing well. We were not in the Mall that Saturday but we had passed there like half hour before then we heard about 'thieves in West gate' while we were having lunch in town only to realize when we got back home that they were not actually thieves but terrorists.

We were shocked to watch on TV and we did not sleep that night, we had to pray.Though wounded, confused and having so many unanswered questions, we know that everything happens with a reason, we thank God.

Looking forward to seeing you in a few days.

Thanks
Pauline

Then Pastor Peter first wrote:

Dear Dr. John,

The last three days have been sad and terrible for the nation due to terrorist attack at Westgate Mall. So far 69 people have been confirmed dead and we pray for all our friend to stand with us at this moment. May almighty God watch over and protect Kenya.

Pastor Peter

A few days later he wrote:

Dear Dr. John,

Today we have woken up in a peaceful day after the terrorist were killed by our forces. We thank God for the peace that we have and we wish to thank all the people who stood with us at that horrific period. May God bless you all and may He answer all in your time of need.

Pastor Peter

People have asked me if I know where this mall is, and of course I do. But I seldom frequented it for a number of reasons. Then I am asked if I am still going over next week and of course my answer is a resounding 'Yes!' I mourn with the Kenyans for the loss of life and property and want to be present at this time to bring encouragement and continue the work God has called us to do there. As Peter wrote above, may God watch over and protect Kenya! Amen.


Pearl 272: Fitting God In

TOPIC: Organization and Routine    

“Three times a year you are to
celebrate a festival to me" - Exodus 23:14.

Israel was not to fit God into their busy schedule. Rather, they were to arrange their schedule around God's priorities and make the trip to Jerusalem, no matter how inconvenient or costly. That is how your routine should be.  You don't fit in church worship service, for instance, but instead you schedule your week around church.  You don't work God into your professional schedule; you organize your professional schedule around God. Is this perspective correct? Is that possible in today's busy world? What would it cost you to do what is being suggested here? What changes would you have to make?

Lord, I confess that I have become so busy that I look to fit You into my schedule, whether that's fulfilling my purpose, serving others or contributing my gifts and time in my church. Help me, Lord, to change my perspective and then to have the courage to rearrange my world around Your priorities.


Pearl 271: Heavenly Order

TOPIC: Organization and Spirituality

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven" - Job 25:2.

When you think of it, heaven is an organized entity. There is rank among the angels, clarity of communication, assignments given, understood and carried out and punctuality (God is always on time). There is never confusion and everything is in its place and functioning properly. If God values order in heaven, He must also value it here on earth, for the Lord's prayer states, "Your will be done here as it is in heaven." Does your world reflect the order of heaven?  Do you place a high value on this kind of order? Does that fact that order if important to God make it more important to you?

Lord, organization must be a spiritual exercise, for You carry it out in the heights of heaven!  If it's that important to You, then I accept the fact that it's important here in my earthly world. Give me Your vision for the role of order and I vow to carry it out to the best of my ability in the world You have assigned me here.


Pearl 270: More

TOPIC: Organization and Wisdom

"Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table" - Proverbs 9:1-2.

As stated in this devotional many times, you need more wisdom in your life if you are going to have purpose and build on that purpose. Building requires an orderly plan, and having a dinner party does as well. How do you get wisdom? You get it by asking the Lord, by listening, by learning from experience, by learning from others and by making some mistakes. Ultimately, it is a gift of God but He gives this gift so you can do something and that will at some point require you to organize your life's work and ministry. What house are you building? What dinner party are you preparing? In other words, what project or work are you involved in that requires more insight and wisdom than you have today?

Lord, today I ask You for wisdom - wisdom to build the house in which my purpose will reside, wisdom to prepare a meal that will bless many people. To get to that point tomorrow, I need more today, more of You, more of Your insight and more of Your love for others. Lord, I suppose I just need more!


Pearl 269: Clutter

TOPIC: Organization Defined

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night" - Psalm 1:1-2.

Here is a definition of organization for you to consider: the removal or ordering of all clutter, whether physical or mental, in order that you may give attention to your highest priorities at any given point in time. If you are going to meditate in God's law day and night, your mind has to be free and clear of clutter, which includes worry, stress from procrastination, and anger. Does your world reflect today's definition? Is your focus focus on God's word and will, or on putting out fires and managing stress from your disorganized world? What can you do to streamline your world to better focus on what's most important?

Lord, I know my world is too cluttered, and that hinders me from serving You. In some sense, I use my disorganization as an excuse not to do certain things, promising myself I will change - but seldom following through. I ask Your forgiveness for when my mess has hindered Your work in my life.


Pearl 268: Carry Forward

TOPIC: Organization and Priorities

"For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you" - Psalm 50:17.

All it takes for you to cast God's word behind you is to get a word, not have a system to maintain and then to walk away. That 'word' stays behind you no matter how good your intentions, which points out the most important reason you organize your world: To honor and keep before you God's will and purpose for your life. That takes discipline and the will to stay on top of your world, which must include God. Do you have a promise or word from the Lord that is now far behind you because you did not bring it forward with you? Is your poor organizational world the problem? What changes do you need to make to bring the word of the Lord with you as you go?

Lord, I don't want to give you second best. I want to organize my world with the top priority to carry Your will forward with me wherever I go, so that it is my main focus. Help me to eliminate distractions and especially give me wisdom to organize on a daily basis for the right reason and that reason is You.


Pearl 267: Your Signature

TOPIC: Organization and Service

" . . . and the face-cloth which had been on His head,
not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up
in a place by itself" - John 20:7.

Jesus did not come back from the dead only to throw off his grave clothes. Instead, he neatly folded his face-cloth and left it where He had been laid. That could have been a personal habit of Jesus, for the disciples recognized this detail when they entered the tomb and were assured that Jesus was alive and had not simply been removed. In other words, Jesus had certain organizing traits that brought comfort and reassurance to others! What is your organizing signature that others would recognize? Does that fact that Jesus was personally neat and organized inspire you to be and do the same? Are your organizational habits a blessing to others?

Lord, I want to have an organizing 'signature,' something that distinguishes my work style from that of others. Help my organizational efforts be consistent with my values and life philosophy so that my habits may be a blessing and comfort to others. And ultimately, may my signature bring You glory!