Pearl 208: God's Co-Worker

TOPIC: Goals and Grace

"As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain" - 2 Corinthians 6:1.

This verse makes two important points. First, you are a co-worker with God. He cannot do certain things if He can't do them through you, and will have to find another co-worker. Second, you are urged not to receive God's grace in vain, which means you can receive God's grace and not do anything with it by choice. The grace can be wasted by not taking full advantage of God being your co-worker and drawing on His help and power. The Greek word for co-worker is the word from which we derive the word synergy, which simply means that the sum of the parts (here one plus one) is greater than their individual sums (in this case one plus one equals five or ten or whatever you can do in the power of the Spirit). Do you see yourself as God's co-worker? Where are you wasting God's grace? Are you taking full advantage of the help God, your Co-worker, can provide in your partnership?

Lord, I want to be a good co-worker. What's more, I don't want to be guilty of receiving your grace in vain. Help me maximize our relationship as I set goals and then count on Your power to help me finish the job. I want to work with You to maximize my impact for You.

Pearl 207: Slackness

TOPIC: Goals and Productivity

"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys" - Proverbs 18:9.

If you were to build something and someone destroyed it, it could be seen as a criminal act. Yet, if you did not build something that was in your heart, you would not see that as criminal even though the end result is the same. In both cases, the world is deprived of something you could have built or done. The point is: Your inability or unwillingness to be productive robs the world of what you have in you that is unique, giving you something in common with one who would destroy what another built. What is the world losing by your inactivity? Where are you excusing your slackness as no big deal? Where do you need a change of attitude to create more urgency and less slackness?
Lord, I have excused the slackness in my work for a number of reasons, like I am too busy, the time isn't right, or I don't have time. Yet I am robbing the world and others of who I am and what it is that only I can do. Help me to see my inactivity and slackness for what it truly is so I have incentive to move and act. 

Pearl 206: Outer Reality

TOPIC: Goals and Vision

"When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom
of Solomon and the palace he had built,
the food on his table, the seating of his officials,
the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers,
and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord,
she was overwhelmed" - 1 Kings 10:4.

The queen saw the results of Solomon's wisdom. It was tangible and Solomon worked to organize his kingdom so that what was inside him could find an outside expression. The only way to translate what is inside you is to set a goal so that what you see in your head can be seen by others. What's more, the queen was overwhelmed and praised Solomon's God for what she beheld. When is the last time someone praised your God for what they saw you produce through Him? What are doing to transfer your inner vision to outer reality? In other words, what goals are you setting to make your dreams a reality?

Lord, I want to be a good witness for You and part of that is to make the vision in my heart a reality through goals and trust in You. I want those who come in contact with me to know that I serve a great and powerful God, so help me to set lofty goals worthy of an awesome God, just like Solomon did.

Pearl 205: A Body of Work

TOPIC: Goals and Publishing

"He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom" - 1 Kings 4:32-34.

Solomon produced a huge body of work from his God-given wisdom that covered botany, zoology, song writing, writing, and a teaching and lecturing career. HIs work undoubtedly required much time and effort to produce, maintain, promote, coordinate, and publish. What's more, the world beat a path to Solomon's door to hear him and see what God had done in his life. There are many lessons in his example for us to learn. Are you preserving your body of life's work? Are you setting goals to maximize the amount and quality? Who has access to it? What more do you have plans to do?

Lord, I have asked You for wisdom many times, and You have always delivered as promised. Today, I see that Your wisdom is not just for me, but also for others. Help me to properly value and honor what You give me, and then help me preserve and present it in such a way that others can access it and be blessed by what You have given me as well.

Pearl 204: Goals Awry

TOPIC: Goals and Motives

"It took Solomon thirteen years, however,
to complete the construction of his palace" - 1 Kings 7:1.

Unfortunately, once Solomon had tasted long-term goals and plans, he began to apply the concepts to buidling his own kingdom. While it took him seven years to build God's house, it took him almost twice as long to build his own house. That's not good, but notice that the power and effectiveness of goals still applied, even though his motives were not pure. Where have you been holding back setting goals because you were afraid they may lead you astray? Can you see the answer to that problem is not to stop setting goals, but to work to insure that your goals glorify God and fulfill your purpose?

Lord, Solomon got filled with himself and that eclipsed the brightness of Your presence in his mind and heart. That caused him to take a good thing You created - goals - and turn it into something selfish. Deliver me from that tendency, Lord, and help me use the power of goals and planning as You intended.

Pearl 203: Long-Term

TOPIC: Goals and Big Projects

"In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it" - 1 Kings 6:38.

Solomon built the Temple of the Lord as his father David had directed him to do. When you read the verses before this one, you see how detailed the plans were. Again we see that something great for the Lord didn't just happen, but required a lot of goals and plans to go along with it. What's more, the job wasn't finished in a day, but took seven years! That's a long-term goal for sure. What are your long-term goals? How long are you prepared to work on something to see it come to pass? What plans do you have to go along with your goals, or are you simply waiting on the Lord to do what only you can do?

Lord, I've sometimes had a short-term mentality, looking to what I can do in a month or a year. Give me a bigger dream that will require bigger goals that will necessitate bigger plans and take a longer time. I want to live for something beyond me that, by Your grace, will still be around after me.

Pearl 202: Creativity

TOPIC: Goals and Creativity

"These are more proverbs of Solomon,
compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah . . . ." - Proverbs 25:1.

There were men who found Solomon's proverbs and took upon themselves to compile, edit and publish them in some format. Their creativity was not in producing the proverbs but in preserving them, and it took work to put them all together. Today we thank God for their diligence. What project is on your heart, but you are dismissing it because it is not 'creative' enough?  Do you think those transcribers set a goal for what they were doing and how they would do it? What goals can you set that will bless others while possibly saving the work of some other creator who doesn't have your organizational or editing skills?

Lord, my definition of creativity can be so limiting at times. These men had a creative idea based on someone else's creative work and You honored and used it. This sets me free so I can be creative according to who You made me to be. Help me be true to who You have made me to be.

Pearl 201: Deadlines

TOPIC: Goals and Deadlines

"The Proverbs of Solomon, son of David,
king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight . . . ." - Proverbs 1:1-2.

Solomon's proverbs did not just fall from heaven. While inspired of the Spirit, they still became a reality because Solomon had a purpose and set a goal to get the project completed. He also knew why he was writing, and spelled it out in the first verses of the book. Your good and God-inspired ideas won't get done either unless you set a goal, which should include a time limit if all goes as you anticipate. What is in your heart to do? How can you express and structure it into a goal? What is the deadline will you set?

Lord, I am grateful for what men and women have done for You who have gone before me, and I know those things were not accidents. They set goals, trusted You and worked hard. Now it's my turn and I want to set goals with deadlines that will help others and glorify You.

Pearl 200: Wandering

TOPIC: Goals and Divine Assistance

"When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, 'What are you looking for?' He replied, 'I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?' 'They have moved on from here,' the man answered. 'I heard them say,  ‘Let’s go to Dothan'" - Genesis 37:14b-17.

Joseph left home to look for his brothers, but he was wandering, not sure where to go. Then God sent a mysterious man who put him back on track to find his brothers, who proceeded to sell him into slavery. That painful event helped Joseph fulfill his dreams of leading his family, but it would not have happened if Joseph had not run into that man. God is there to help you fulfill your dreams, even when you are wandering and have lost your way. If someone asks you, "What are you looking for?", how would you answer? Can you articulate what you are after? Are you counting on God's supernatural help, thus setting goals beyond your current capabilities? Are there men or women who, like the mysterious man, have helped you when you were wandering? Do you have faith more will show up when you need them?

Lord, I am counting on Your help, so I am setting lofty goals that require Your supernatural assistance. Send me people like the man in this story to help me when I lose my way, and then help me trust the direction You provide through those chance encounters.

Pearl 199: Your Dreams

TOPIC: Goals and Visualization

"Although Joseph recognized his brothers,
they did not recognize him. Then he remembered
his dreams about them and said to them,
'You are spies! You have come to see where
our land is unprotected'" - Genesis 42:8-9.

When Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy food, they did not recognize him, but he did them. What's so remarkable is that he had not seen them in 22 years!  If you don't remember your dreams from last night, how did Joseph remember his dreams of his brothers bowing down to him for 22 years? He did so because he lived in those dreams, visualizing and pondering them. He used those dreams to sustain him during the dark years of prison and loneliness. What dream is sustaining you?  Have you formulated it into a goal as best you can? How long are you prepared to devote yourself to see that dream become a reality?

Lord, I want to be like Joseph, a man of faith, dreams and goals. Give me a sustaining vision and then help me play a role in making it a reality as I set goals and then pursue those goals, if no place else except in my mind and imagination. Then what is in my mind pour out into reality at the right time, in the right place.