Pearl 365: Jesus' Help

TOPIC: Purpose and God's Will

β€œIt is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth" - Isaiah 49:6

Of course, this prophecy refers to Jesus and His mission. Because Jesus had purpose, You have purpose and you can rely on Him to help you fulfill yours because He fulfilled His. What's more, God can use you mightily to do more and be more than you ever thought possible - all by His grace. Are you thinking big for the coming year? Are you thinking big in regards to your purpose? Have you set lofty goals that require God's power to achieve?

Lord, I thank You for this Purpose Pearl series this year. I have been challenged to be and do more and today's verse is in keeping with that theme. I submit myself to do whatever You want, without false humility or second thoughts. I want to be a person of purpose and I submit myself anew to Your plan for my life.

Pearl 364: Totally His

TOPIC: Faith and God's Help

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" - 2 Chronicles 16:9.

When you are fully committed to the Lord, you can count on Him finding and strengthening you in the work you are doing. To be fully committed, you must be devoted to a walk of faith in your family, work, career, and ministry, for "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). That doesn't mean you have to be perfect, but that your first thoughts and final plans are of the Lord and what He would want you to do in regards to your life purpose whether or not you know exactly how you will do it. Do you believe God is searching for those who are completely His? Do you think you can be one of those people? What heart changes do you need to make in the coming year for God to search and find you? Where is fear keeping you from making a total commitment?

Lord, I read this verse and it stirs my heart, for I want to be someone whom You consider totally committed to You. I surrender my life's agenda to Yours, and I submit to Your purpose and will for my life. I will not allow family or circumstances to deter me in the coming year--with Your help, of course.

Pearl 363: Big

TOPIC: Organization and Size

"All the men assigned to the camp of Judah,
according to their divisions, number 186,400.
They will set out first" - Numbers 2:9.

God is not initimidated by bigness. It is as easy for Him to lead, administer and provide for a million as it is a hundred. If God is not overwhelmed by size, then you should not be either. Yet at times it is possible to resist 'big' and even consider 'big' unspiritual. You don't want to be working toward 'small' when God has 'big' in mind, for then you are resisting God's plan for your family, ministry or business. Are you intimidated by the thoughts of overseeing something large? Are you actively working to keep your world small and manageable by your current skill? Can you understand why God may want 'big'?

Lord, I admit that I am biased against big at times because it will stretch my comfort zone beyone what I think is appropriate. Forgive me where I have limited Your work and my involvement in it. My vision and faith are too small, and that is why I work to shrink my world instead of expanding my capacity.

Pearl 362: Priorities-Led

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures" - Acts 17:2.

Paul worked full time as a tent maker to meet the needs of his team, but then he spent his time off work fulfilling his purpose of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles and teaching those who responded. He started that purpose process in each city by first visiting the synagogues where he could identify Jews and Gentiles who the Spirit was drawing to faith. This was not a command in Scripture, otherwise evangelists and apostles would be following the same pattern today. Instead, it was a ministry and life value that belonged to Paul alone. Paul was true to this value, which made it a priority, and he carefully followed his priorities, using his free time to fulfill his purpose. Have you identified your priorities? Are you following them by devoting your time to them in their order of importance? Do you have faith that if you follow your priorities and do what you want, God will multiply your efforts and bless your use of time?

Lord, it seems that every day time slips away before I can get to the most important things. Some of those things have languished for years in my heart, but no more. Today I will identify my priorities and then, with Your help, discover how I can faithfully follow those priorities in my daily use of time.

Pearl 361: Thorns and Thistles

TOPIC: Goals and Fruitfulness

"Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned" - Hebrews 6:7-8.

Productivity and fruitfulness are constant themes and expectations in the Bible for those who know the Lord. God has changed the "soil" of your heart. You have "rain" falling in your lifeβ€”God's grace, mercy, creative inspiration, and insight. Along with those, you are exposed to the insight and encouragement of God's word. Therefore, you have a mandate to produce a crop useful to the Lord and others. There's no better way to ensure you produce a regular crop of fruit than to set and persevere in your goals that are specific and marinated in faith. What are your goals for next year? For the next five years? For the next ten? What has God put in your heart to do? Can you be diligent to produce it?

Lord, I don't want You to consider me 'useless ground' because I produce thorns and thistles, weeds instead of fruit. My objective is to produce a crop that will impress even You (if that's possible). And I don't just want to achieve easy-within-my-reach goals, but ones that require my complete faith and trust in Your provision and help.

Pearl 360: Purpose Food

TOPIC: Purpose and Individuality

"Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it" - Revelation 2:17.

Purpose is hidden mannaβ€”something that energizes and sustains you and nobody else. (This resembles Jesus's remark that He had food to eat about which His disciples knew nothing.) Your purpose is also like the white stone mentioned in this verse, which has a title or description on it that is only meaningful (and sometimes only visible) to you alone. What activity 'feeds' you, giving you meaning and energy? What statement describes your purpose and is a message from heaven about your new purpose identity? What have you discovered about your purpose this past year that only became 'visible' to you as you sought and prayed?

Lord, I thank You for the power of purpose in my life. It's truly a gift from heaven that is obvious to me while meaningless and invisible to most others. It's also 'bread from heaven' that strengthens me with supernatural power on a daily basis. Thank You for the purpose progress I made this past year!

Pearl 359: Faith Scroll

TOPIC: Faith and Speech

"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other,
and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance
was written in his presence concerning those who feared
the Lord and honored his name" - Malachi 3:16.

The Lord is listening to your conversations with yourself and with others. We see from Hebrews 11 that you must talk faith to please God, and Hebrews 11 contains a scroll of remembrance of sorts for those who distinguished themselves in faith. The Lord is obviously still adding to that scroll and your name can be on it! Is God enjoying listening in on your conversations these days? Are you having faith discussions with others of what you can do in faith, or what you can't do in unbelief? Are you eager to have your name enrolled in the faith hall of fame?

Lord, I want to be registered on your faith scroll, but I see that I have to earn my way onto that list by honoring You. The best way I know to honor You is to put my trust in You, so I want to talk and live faith, so that You will take notice. I commit to talk faith in the coming year both to myself and to others.

Pearl 358: A Man Named Nehemiah

TOPIC: Organization and Purpose

"The men of Jericho built the adjoining section,
and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them. The
Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah.
They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts
and bars in place" - Nehemiah 3:2-3.

Nehemiah's purpose was to rebuild Jerusalem, a big task involving many people, some friendly to his cause, some not. He had to give significant thought to how he was going to organize his effort and the efforts in these verses provide just a glimpse from God's inspired word of who did what to rebuild the wall, the first step in Nehemiah's purpose plan. What thought have you given to how you will achieve your purpose work? How are you organizing your life, things and world to make it happen? What changes do you need to make to be more effective and fruitful?

Lord, I have had big dreams and plans, but often they break down in the implementation process. In other words, I have not known how, and sometimes not wanted, to make the changes necessary to rearrange my world to fulfill my purpose. Help me to do so and help me to help others as well. Amen.

Pearl 357: Spending Time

TOPIC: Time and Values

"You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions" - Acts 20:34.

Paul had a life and ministry value not to be a financial burden on his converts so the gospel would not be criticized or connected to traveling teachers who worked for pay and were common in his day. (Plus, no rabbi every taught God's word in return for money.) He did not just talk or think about that value. That value impacted his time and determined how he was going to spend the hours in his day. Paul did not work first and foremost to make money; he worked to express his values and to support and further his apostolic mission. How are you spending your time? Is your time management values-driven, or do you sell yourself to the loudest, most urgent or lucrative bidder? Why do you work and do what you do? Is it simply to make money? If so, then money is your highest value. Is that how you want it to spend your time or live your life?

Lord, I often say 'it's not about the money,' but then proceed to invest my precious time like it's all about the money. I know I need money, but I need purpose even more and therefore I must learn to spend my time to support my purpose, not my eating habits. I need to change my thinking where my time is concerned. Help me!

Pearl 356: Tree of Life

TOPIC: Goals and God's Plan

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" - Proverbs 13:12.

There are undoubtedly many things in your heart, many things you have said you would like to do one day. In the words of the wisdom writer, you have a longing. When you set a goal and achieve it, you find life and that life is similar in terminology to the tree of life that was mentioned in the Garden of Eden. So when you set and reach goals, you are cooperating with God's original plan for mankind to exercise dominion over the things of earth. If you don't set goals, then you are deferring your hope and you will be heartsick, and that can lead to physical illness as well. As you approach the new year, why not take some time today in the midst of your busy schedule and set some goals?

Lord, I want to function as you created me to do, and part of that is to achieve the things that are in my heart to do and be. I understand that goal-setting is not optional in that process, so I commit to put down in writing the hopes I have in my heart and work diligently to make them happen.