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Pearl 334: Family Ties

TOPIC: Purpose and Jonathan

“'Don’t be afraid,' he said. 'My father Saul
will not lay a hand on you. You will be king
over Israel, and I will be second to you.
Even my father Saul knows this'" - 1 Samuel 23:17.

David reached his purpose but Jonathan did not. Even though Jonathan knew his purpose, he could never break away from his family expectations and the manipulations of his father, Saul, and it cost him not only his purpose but his life. Be careful the same doesn't happen to you. You are to love and honor your family, but your purpose is between you and the Lord and no one has the right to interfere with that, no matter how close or how much you love them. Is your family a hindrance in your quest for purpose? What are you prepared to do to change that scenario? What is it in you that God is addressing over this situation?

Lord, I love my family, but I realize that my purpose is Your will for my life, which is the highest priority. Forgive me where I have put relationships ahead of You, and I ask Your grace for courage to move forward, even if that means moving away from my family ties and control as I seek to do Your will.


Pearl 333: Your Purpose Land

TOPIC: Purpose and Abraham

"Go, walk through the length and breadth
of the land, for I am giving it to you" - Genesis 13:17.

No matter how smart you are or far along you are in understanding your purpose, there is still a faith aspect to it. Once you receive your purpose, it is still like the land promised to Abraham - you have a long way to go until you possess it.  That doesn't preclude, however, from dreaming and 'walking' your purpose land to enjoy what it will be one day when you have written, acted, started your business or traveled the world. Are you walking your purpose land today? Have you discovered its outer boundaries? Are you visualizing what it will be, and in some sense already is?

Lord, I am a child of Abraham, which means I walk by faith. Both finding and fulfilling purpose are faith ventures, but that doesn't mean I cannot savor my purpose now, even though it's in the beginning or unseen stages. Help me see more clearly so I can walk my purpose land today!


Pearl 332: Hair

TOPIC: Purpose and Hannah

"And she made a vow, saying, 'Lord Almighty,
if you will only look on your servant’s misery
and remember me, and not forget your servant
but give her a son, then I will give him to the
Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor
will ever be used on his head'" - 1 Samuel 1:11.

In this verse, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, identified her unborn son's purpose and dedicated him to the Lord as a Nazirite, just like Samson's mother did. The Nazirites did not cut their hair, symbolic of the rule that whatever came from 'within' a Nazirite was not to be touched by human hands - it belonged to the Lord and was to be shaped and fashioned by Him alone. Parents are to cooperate with God's plan for their children and not shape it according to what they think is best; children are to recognize what God has done in them and submit and cooperate fully. Are you allowing your 'hair' to grow and take the shape that God has chosen? Are you allowing the same to happen for the loved ones in your world?

Lord, I want my spiritual 'hair' to be just as you intended, without me fooling with its shape, color or length. It is yours to do with what you want. The hair of my family and friends is also your business, and I refuse to put my hands on it according to what I think is best. May Your purpose reign supreme in our lives!

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HELP!  I have received a matching grant that expires on Saturday night. For every dollar I raise up to $2,500, the donor will match it dollar for dollar. I am a little more halfway there with a few days to go. Please give through PayPal or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving holiday to all my American readers.


Thanksgiving

The following is from my colleague Karen Dillaman. When she read this in our staff meeting last week, I knew I had to share it as a Thanksgiving post for your reading enjoyment.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and may God use this testimony to encourage you toward thankfulness this holiday.

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From Karen:

The past year at Alliance Council, I had the opportunity to go to a seminar in which Gracia Burnham was speaking. I actually thought she was someone else, so I was there purely by accident. The message she gave over the next hour was incredible. She and her husband Martin were New Tribes missionaries in the Philippines. On their anniversary they took a holiday to a resort area. At the resort, they were taken captive by terrorists, the Abu Sayyaf. They thought their release would be imminent, but they spent more than a year in captivity. Read the following excerpts from In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham about their holidays spent in the jungle.

I went back to where Martin was just being unchained from the tree after a night of sleep.  “Martin, a box came in for us last night. They’re going through it right now. Maybe you’d better go over there and claim it, or there is going to be nothing left!” 

He immediately headed that way.  When he got close, Sabaya said, “Oh, don’t come over here; we’ll bring the box to you.” 

“I just want to make sure that we get it,” Martin said, standing his ground.  Sure enough, he saw items starting to be removed from the box. One of the guys was already holding a package of Snickers bars.

In time, Sabaya finally brought us the box.  “I had to take out the Cheez Whiz, because I really like that stuff,” he said with a smile. “But the bulk of everything is still here for you.”

…We began making piles of all the wonderful things. But at the same time, we couldn’t stop thinking about those Snickers bars.  The bounty we had wasn’t quite enough somehow. And then we looked at each other and said, “You know, this box has arrived from our mission out of nowhere—and we’re complaining about what the Abu Sayyaf took?  We should be rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness.”

We decided we needed to share.  Martin began going from group to group, giving out spices, soup mixes, and cookies. I gave one of the two deodorants to Ediborah (another prisoner), plus some peanuts. She was very happy, and so were the others.

All of a sudden, Martin and I looked at each other again, and realized something incredible:  It was Thursday, November 22—Thanksgiving Day! We had asked the Lord earlier that month to send us something nice for Thanksgiving, and he had done it.

Of course, I had asked for things before—a gift for Martin on his birthday—and been disappointed.  So I hadn’t really expected God to do anything this time. But here was a whole box of food, and it was so humbling.  The Lord showed us he could bless us even when we didn’t have any faith. How we enjoyed that package!


Pearl 331: Revelation

TOPIC: Purpose and Peter  

“'Come, follow me,' Jesus said,
'and I will send you out to fish for people' - Matthew 4:19.

Jesus identified the purpose for Peter and Andrew when He first met them. There is no special timing as to when God reveals your purpose, but often it is when you are ready to hear, or need to know so you can spend a lifetime preparing! What's more, your purpose is not something you figure out or go to a seminar to learn how to write. It is a revelation to you from the Lord! What has the Lord showed you about you? Are you asking and listening? Are you getting ready to fulfill it if you already know it?

Lord, I want to know my purpose and I need You to show me what it is! Help me to see it, then help me express it. All the while, I want to follow You and not just pursue purpose, for without You, my purpose is empty and humanistic. You are my purpose focus - speak, Lord!

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HELP!  I have received a $2,500 matching grant that expires on Saturday night. For every dollar I raise up to $2,500, the donor will match it dollar for dollar. I am halfway there with a few days to go. Please give through PayPal or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.


Pearl 330: Youth

TOPIC: Purpose and Samson

"You will become pregnant and have a son
whose head is never to be touched by a
razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite,
dedicated to God from the womb. He will
take the lead in delivering Israel from the
hands of the Philistines" - Judges 13:5.

Samson's mother knew his purpose before he was born. She was told how to shape him to be a Nazirite so that his strength would be in his relationship and connection with the Lord. (Nazirites had a restricted diet and di not cut their hair.) If you are a parent, aunt, uncle or even a close friend, you can help shape and nurture purpose in someone else because God wants them to know and prepare. And the best thing you can do is focus and direct their relationship with the Lord. Are you involved in the life or lives of young people, even if you are young yourself? What are you doing to help instill a sense of purpose rather than career in these youth? What more can you do?

Lord, You are a God of purpose, not just for me, but fo others. And you often reveal purpose at an early age, sometimes even before children are born. I make myself availablre as a purpose coach and trainer to help youth around me in my church, family, school to be people of purpose according to Your will.


Pearl 329: Spirit of Purpose

TOPIC: Purpose and Joshua

"So the Lord said to Moses, 'Take Joshua
son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of
leadership, and lay your hand on him'" - Numbers 27:18.

According to this verse and translation, Joshua had the spirit of leadership. Other versions just say 'Spirit." The Spirit of God was present in Joshua's life to make him a leader, and the Spirit is with and in you to help you fulfill your purpose as well. Therefore you have the Spirit of crafts, or the Spirit of acting, or the Spirit of busiinss, or the Spirit of children's ministry in you. Can you identify what version of the Spirit you have in you? Do you see that you will operate in divine efficiency and results when you flow in your purpose? Where are you underliving the power of purpose that resides in you?

Lord, I know the Spirit resides in me, but I never saw before today that He resides to do something not just in me but through me. I see now that I flow in the power of the Spirit whenever I function in purpose. I have been underliving my potential, but no more. From now on, I will truly operate in the Spirit.


Pearl 328: Heart Prep

TOPIC: Purpose and Joshua

"Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide
since youth, spoke up and said, 'Moses, my lord,
stop them!'” - Numbers 11:28.

Like Elisha, Joshua's preparation for purpose was to serve someone else. This gave him valuable insight into how Moses thought and acted, but it probably also dealt with Joshua's pride and ambition in preparation for him to be the main leader. God empowers you for purpose, but you cannot ignore the heart prep required to ensure that you will stay grounded as you enjoy purpose success. How is your attitude these days - arrogant or humble and pliable? Are you serving others, perhaps even a coach or mentor, to get close and learn? Are you preparing your heart today for purpose success tomorrow?

Lord, I need to pay attention to my attitude and heart condition as I pursue excellence expressing my purpose. Join me to others whom I can serve, so that I can learn and be more conformed to Christ's image. I don't want my character to undermine my effectiveness, but I need Your help to prep my heart.


Pearl 327: Your Role

TOPIC: Purpose and Solomon

"The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
So God said to him, 'Since you have asked for this and
not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked
for the death of your enemies but for discernment in
administering justice, I will do what you have asked.
I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that
there will never have been anyone like you, nor will
there ever be'" - 1 Kings 3:10-12.

God distinguised Solomon from all other kings because of Solomon's prayer, which pleased the Lord immensely. This prayer was a function of Solomon's freewill. In other words, God did not lay this prayer on Solomon's heart to pray, and then he prayed it, and then the Lord was pleased. That would have made Solomon a puppet. No, Solomon had many options of what to pray, but he chose wisely and God was moved to make him a great king. What is in your heart to pray and ask? Are you praying boldly and creatively where your purpose and goals are concerned? Are you putting off for God to do what only you can do?

Lord, I need to take responsibility for my prayers where purpose is concerned. I have been afraid to ask You for too much, out of fear that I am doing something wrong. Instead, I need to have faith, which always pleases You. Help me understand my role so I am not waiting for You to do what only I can do.


Pearl 326: Creative Prayer

TOPIC: Purpose and Solomon

"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern
your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.
For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” - 1 Kings 3:9.

Solomon's purpose was to govern with wisdom, and that purpose affected and directed his prayer life. In today's verse, he made his infamous request for a discerning or listening heart, and God was pleased to grant his request. Your prayer life reflects what it is God has created you to do, so that begs the question: What or whom do you pray for regularly? Can you see any patterns in your prayer requests that can help you identify your purpose? Are you maximizing your prayter time with specific, creative requests, or is your prayer list rather staid and boring?

Lord, help me reinvigorate my prayer life by making bold, practical requests that will enhance my ability to find and fulfill my purpose. I need You every step of the way, along with Your wisdom and creativity. Open my eyes to the power of prayer that is more than just petition, but vibrant, two-way communication.