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Pearl 243: TimeFaith

TOPIC: Time and Productivity

"So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul,
in fifty-two days" - Nehemiah 6:15.

Nehemiah prayed, set a goal, worked hard, had faith, engaged other people, organized their work, and withstood opposition. Because God got involved in the project, the work was done in 52 days. You would have to say that Nehemiah managed his time well and got supernatural results in return. The fact that the time frame is mentioned indicates that the accomplishment was remarkable. Where are you getting the same kind of results in your life and work? If you are not, which part of the process described in the first sentence above is missing? Perhaps you don't have the correct project on which to focus your timefaith?

Lord, I like that word timefaith. I want to have it and see it work effectively in my life, work and ministry, where I do more with the time I have than anyone thought possible. I thank You for these studies on time, and I pray You will help me apply the principles and see the results. Amen.

Pearl 242: Guesswork

TOPIC: Time and Estimates

"Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him,
asked me, 'How long will your journey take, and
when will you get back?' It pleased the king to send
me; so I set a time" - Nehemiah 2:6.

Nehemiah set a time when he would be finished with the project of rebuilding the walls.  He had never been to Jerusalem, did not really know much about building, and had no idea what he was going to find when he got there. How did he know how long it would take? He probably made his best guess, and it satisfied the royal couple. You may be facing a similar situation, but you are hesitant about making a commitment. So make your best guess, get to work and trust the Lord! Where are you holding back because you cannot be as precise as you would like? Where would making your best guess as to the time it will take help you get started? Where can you have faith to get it done in even less time than you estimate?

Lord, Nehemiah made his best guess and it was good enough for the king.  Plus it got him started on his way. Deliver me from my perfectionist tendencies that keep me bound and don't let me get started. And then give me a Nehemiah-sized goal in which I can invest my time and energy once I am free.

Pearl 241: Sleepless Nights

TOPIC: Time and Sleep

"Rather, as servants of God we commend
ourselves in every way: in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships and distresses; in
beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard
work, sleepless nights and hunger;" - 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.

At times Paul had to lose sleep in order to respond to or finish the work God had put before Him to do. In other words, he put a higher priority on his work than sleep. Of course there were times he had no choice , like when he was involved in the aborted trip to Rome in Acts 27. While no one likes that tired feeling, it is also a chance to trust God for the energy you need to carry on in that day or season. Are you willing to lose sleep to finish the jobs God gave you to do, or to meet the needs of others? Can you trust Him for the energy and stamina you need for your work? What could you do with an hour or two less sleep from time to time?

Lord, I realize that You sometimes require that I work into the night, requiring me to lose sleep. That may mean I need to put the needs of others ahead of my own rest time. I trust You to direct my schedule and I also trust You for the energy I need to do the work, even when my sleep time is less than optimal.

Pearl 240: A Break in Your Break

TOPIC: Time and Interruptions    

“Write, therefore, what you have seen,
what is now and what will take place later" - Revelation 1:19.

John was in exile on Patmos, with plenty of time on his hands. Then the Revelation came and he had to stop his 'doing nothing' to write down the Revelation. He could not say, 'I'll do this later," or 'I'm not done with my vacation.' If you are going to write and create, you will have to carve out time to actually produce something, not making excuses that you are tired, out of the mood or not feeling creative (whatever that means). Are you 'on call' for creativity and the Lord's initiatives, even when you are on a break? Do you see your time as your own or something that God is directing? Do you feel you are owed a break, or that your 'breaks' are times God will use for His purposes and not just yours?

Lord, once I get to a break in my schedule, I usually love it and don't want it to end. But that break may be the interlude to something else You are doing, and I must be willing to stop that break at Your direction or interruption. Help me to be sensitive even in down times to re-engage and create!

Pearl 239: A Long Break

TOPIC: Time and Solitude

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, . . ." - Revelation 1:9-10a.

John was in exile when he received the revelation from Jesus. Patmos is a beautiful but remote island in the Aegean Sea, and John was there, far removed from all church business and distractions. It was there and then that Jesus broke into his world to impart His insight. Sometimes, you have to create a long break, not just an hour or a day, to do nothing in order for your heart and spirit to quiet themselves and receive the Lord's insight and word. When is the last time you made time for any down time? How long was it? Why don't you do it again? Are you addicted to activity, so much so that you can't break away without feeling empty and guilty?

Lord, I regularly say I want or need to hear from You, but then provide only a small window of opportunity for You to speak before I am off and running. Help me to make time to hear from You, which means I need a day or a weekend or perhaps even a week or longer to focus on You, Your word, and Your will for my life.

Pearl 238: Another Interruption

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come
into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell
you, today you will be with me in paradise'" - Luke 23:42-43.

Let's take one final look at Jesus and how He managed the time and priorities in His life and mission. In these verses, Jesus is hanging on a cross, suffering one of the most agonizing deaths man has ever devised against man. When the theif hanging there made his petition, Jesus could have said, "Excuse me, I'm a little busy dying right now." Instead Jesus granted the man's petition and then proceeded to die. What focus on His priorities! What an example He set for us all. Are you focused on your mission? How effectively can you put your own needs aside to help others? Do you handle important interruptions well, or see them as intrusions?

Lord, I thank You for Jesus and His example to me. Today's verses show just how focused He was on Your will for His life, even in the midst of personal agony and pain. Give me the same focus and help me to produce the same results: People being set free from their own misery through my service.

Our Man in Kenya

Here is the latest update from Pastor Peter in Kenya. When he sends the pictures, I will repost this entry with the pictures and send it out again:

Dear Dr John,

This is a wonderful moment for the Kenya team to update you on the progress of WAPIS team. The team is working every day with zeal and determination to see that the dream we had will continue always. The children from public school have closed for the last one week and we shall have them for the next one week before they go back again. The WAPIS library as usual has become a beehive of activities as the students try to utilise the minimal time they have. We are happy that every day we are seeing new volunteers who are willing to mentor this young ones toward their dream. We have to conquer with you as you told us that every good work does not lack God provision.

The week which is coming we shall be busy for we have planned for an Art day on Tuesday and on Friday we shall be having an athletic and a sport day for all WAPIS children in different schools. On Saturday we shall have a career choice day. We have to say that without your support all this could not be possible and that is why every day we are challenging ourself to be faithful servant leaders.

As for the library we have managed to put three more metal shelves which are more durable and easily moveable and they have made the library to be more spacious and with more opportunity for more resourceful books. I intend to upload pictures of our activities next week and the new look of the library.

The bus has passed two certification licence and the third one we shall be having it soon as we repair the minor defects as we were ordered by the licensing board.We thank you for all the support,encourage and mentor ship that you have accorded us. We will always be grateful.

He is the reason for our living.

Pastor Peter

If you would like to make a donation to the causes that Peter mentions, you can do so through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh PA 15221-0882. Your generosity has made all this possible; you continued support will make the future possibilities a reality.

Pearl 237: Equilibrium

TOPIC: Time and Interruptions

"Then, because so many people were coming
and going that they did not even have a chance
to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by
yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a
solitary place. But many who saw them leaving
recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns
and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed
and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
So he began teaching them many things" - Mark 6:31-34.

Jesus tried to get away becuase they were so busy but, when they arrived to their hoped for place of rest, the needs of the peopla awaited. What did Jesus do? He followed His prioirities, put His needs aside and taught the people. There is a time for rest, but Jesus put a higher priority on meeting needs and prayer, and was willing to lose sleep and miss meals to maintain His priorities and time management equilibrium when interruptions occurred. How do you handle interruptions? Do they ruin your day or can you get back on track? Do your established priorities help you when you are faced with the unexpected or the unanticipated?

Lord, I face interruptions every day, and sometimes they ruin my day and what I had planned.  First, help me set my priorities so that I stop seeing some things as interruptions but rather as redirections. Then help me get back on task when those inevitable interruptions do come.

Pearl 236: All NIghter

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside
to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When
morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose
twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles . . ." - Luke 6:12-13.

Jesus had been busy and He had an important decision to make: choosing the 12 apostles. So he pulled an all nighter, praying instead of sleeping. Was He able to do that simply because He was God? No, He prayed all night because prayer was more important than sleep. That indicates the power and role that your prioirities should have in your time management. Have you established clear priorities and values? Do you follow them, or are they paper values? Can you think of an example this week where you followed your priorities, just like Jesus did here, in your daily work and walk?

Lord, I think I have overspiritualized my life at times, waiting for You to lead me instead of making a decision to act based on my values and priorities. Forgive me for abdicating my responsibilities at times and help me to recognize, set and follow my values on a daily basis.

Pearl 235: Hard Work

TOPIC: Time and Productivity

"Simon answered, 'Master, we’ve worked hard
all night and haven’t caught anything. But
because you say so, I will let down the nets'" - Luke 5:5

The fishermen stayed up all night, but they caught nothing. You can work hard and manage your time well, but the Lord is still the one who has to bless your work for it to prosper. Are you working hard with few results? Maybe it's time to stop and listen, and then do what God directs, even if it's something you have already tried. Do you believe that God can direct your time and activities? Do you trust Him for results or have you put your trust in your ability to manage and work? Can you see that it is not one or the other: It is both: your effort and His blessing?

Lord, there are some areas in which I have tried and worked and still seen little result.  Today I submit those areas to You once again. I ask that You direct my steps and I commit to do whatever You tell me to do, whether or not I have tried that before.