Pearl 345: The Pattern

TOPIC: Organizational Wisdom

"Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings
exactly like the pattern I will show you" - Exodus 25:9.

God is an excellent administrator and organizer. He knows the end from the beginning and is always on budget and on time. What's more, He is willing to share His 'expertise' with any and all who ask. Therefore you would be wise to draw on His expertise to organize your world, whatever that world involves, whether family, ministry or business, into whatever and wherever your purpose may take you. Do you need some organizational help? Can you humble yourself and admit today you need that help? How can you draw on God's wisdom - through others, His Word, or the example of historical figures?

Lord, I don't want my world to run itself because I have shrunk it to its most manageable size. I want to do and have all You intend for me and, no matter how large to me, it's all manageable to You. Give me wisdom for how to organize my world and I vow to apply what You show me, exactly like the pattern You reveal.

Pearl 344: A Trip

TOPIC: Time and Travel

"Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, 'Who do people say I am?'” - Mark 8:27.

When God wants to speak to you, He often takes you on a trip. When you are out of your usual daily routine and comfort zone, you are more open to the things around you - and to the Lord. This is what was happening in today's verse. Jesus took the disciples far away from the hustle and bustle of Galilee and Jerusalem to a remote area to talk to them about who He was and to discuss His future suffering. It was on this trip that Peter found his purpose and the disciples discovered Jesus in a whole new way. Is it time for you to take a few days and go off with the Lord? What will you talk to Him about when you go? What questions will you ask Him? Will you be prepared only to talk, or to talk and listen?

Lord, I need some time with You, just You and me, to talk about Your will and purpose for my life. I pray You would open up some time in my schedule that I can seize to make that happen. When I arrive for our appointment, I am open to whatever You choose to show and say to me.

Pearl 343: Jobs and Purpose

TOPIC: Purpose and Career

"The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel" - Amos 1:1.

The word of the Lord came to Amos while he was a shepherd. This indicates that his God-given purpose was not to tend sheepthat was his occupation. His purpose was to hear and deliver God's word to a rebellious people. Your occupation may or may not be your career; only you can determine that. It is not unusual to make your money doing one thing, but to fulfill your purpose in off-work hours, just like the tentmaker Paul. Are you currently purposely fulfilled in your career? Do you express purpose in or out of your normal workday experience? Are you looking for purpose in your career when it's simply not there? Do you need to de-emphasize the importance of your job and make your life purpose a priority that receives the best of your time and effort?

Lord, I thank You for the provision You give through my job, but I realize it is limiting me where purpose is concerned. Help me to see more clearly how I can use my off and down time from my job to pursue and fulfill purpose while I remain faithful and committed on my job. If my career is not my purpose, I need to see how I can do both job and purpose.

Pearl 342: Time Investment

TOPIC: Time and Values

"But Ruth replied, 'Don’t urge me to leave you
or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay. Your people will
be my people and your God my God'" - Ruth 1:16.

Ruth made a decision about where she would spend her life and consequently her time based on a relationship with her mother-in-law after Ruth's husband died. That decision came from her personal value system of loyalty and love for Naomi. So both women ended up in Bethlehem where Ruth eventually met her new husband Boaz, and they became the grandparents of King David. Are your values determining where you are investing your life and time? Are you wasting time doing things that you know are not connected to what's most important to you? Why is that happening in your life and what are you willing to do to change it?

Lord, there are many other things making my time management decisions and I feel like my life is out of control. I need to be true to who I am, just like Ruth was, and trust You for the results. As this year ends, I vow to look at where I am wasting my life and make some significant changes for the New Year.

Pearl 341: Reality

TOPIC: Goals and Skill

"Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone,
he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell
facedown on the ground" - 1 Samuel 17:49.

David had foreseen the event described in this verse and it played out just as he had said. Yet this goal's end was not just a random act, but made possible in part by David's skill with the slingshot. The point is that goals are not just wishful thinking, but based on the reality of who you are and what God has gifted you to do. What goals have you set that are based on the skills you have? Are you setting goals to do new things with the experience you have gathered? What big goal do you need to set and verbalize but are afraid to do so?

Lord, I love the account of David and Goliath but I am hesitant to act like David, mostly out of fear. Yet you have given me skills and gifts, and I have some wonderful testimonies of what You have done in my life. Help me to set some goals that will allow me to use all those things for You!

Pearl 340: Bold Goal

TOPIC: Goals and Speech

"This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands,
and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will give the carcasses of the
Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals,
and the whole world will know that there is a
God in Israel" - 1 Samuel 17:46.

You would have to admit that David was specific, graphic even, when he described his goal when he confronted Goliath. He acknowledged God's help and then painted a picture of specifically what he was going to do, and the eventual outcome was exactly what he described. How clear are your goals? Do you have kind of clarity and specificity? What is preventing you from having that kind of confidence that leads to a clear description and speech?

Lord, I love this story, but I am not anxious to replicate it in my own life. David put himself on the line with such a bold proclamation and I am afraid to do that. What if I fail? What if I say the wrong thing? Help me, Lord, to deal with my fears and then boldly proclaim what I believe You will help me accomplish.

Pearl 339: Potential

TOPIC: Purpose and Training

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia,
but brought up in this city. I studied under
Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the
law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous
for God as any of you are today" - Acts 22:3.

When Paul thought he knew his purpose as a Jew, he pursued it will great zeal and found the best mentor and training he could find. This all came in handy later when his purpose was adjusted to be an apostle. In other words, God cannot promote potential. He can only promote those who have developed their potential to the fullest. Training and education are a big part of that development. What are you doing to develop your purpose or what you think is your purpose? Are you seeking training and education as part of that development? Is reading a part of that development plan?

Lord, I want to be the fullest, best expression of who you created me to be. Therefore, I need and want the training, knowledge and skill that will make that happen. Send me opportunities and people to develop my potential and I commit to do the work to become 'world-class' in my purpose expression.

Pearl 338: An Email From Heaven?

TOPIC: Faith and Purpose

"Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.
'Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,”
he said, “and then I will come with you'" - 1 Kings 19:20.

On their first encounter, Elisha went home to bid farewell to his family, and followed Elijah until his death. That required tremendous faith that it wasn't just Elijah talking to Elisha, but that the Lord was speaking through him. You won't find or fulfill purpose without the same kind of faith, for you won't receive an email from heaven outlining your purpose assignment. You will have to trust that God is speaking to you through others or circumstances, and then act in faith to structure your life accordingly. Are you waiting for that email from heaven? Are you trying to move with such certainty that faith is not required? Are you trusting that you can know God's will through faith?

Lord, I admit that I read how Elisha reacted with such certain faith and it scares me, thinking that I may have to do the same. He walked away from his world based on Elijah's word and went in a different direction. Help me to have that kind of resolve and faith, putting my trust in You completely.

Pearl 337: Your Time

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"'You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.' After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee" - John 7:8-9.

The Jews had a rhythm and routine to their year, which revolved around three special festivals and holy days. The festival in today's passage was not one of them, so Jesus chose not to attend, at least initially. When He did go, He went on His own terms and for His own reasons. You must learn to do the same, resisting cultural, family, and even church traditions to maximize the use of your time. This requires a bit of self expression, for you sometimes must do what's in your best interests, or at least the best interests of your purpose and top priority goals. Are you managing your own time, or is something or someone else doing it for you? Are you using your time to fulfill your purpose and achieve your goals?

Lord, I encounter a lot of expectations as to how I will use my time, and I need courage and resolve to resist those that are not in the best interests of the purpose work You have assigned me. Help me step back to evaluate how I use my time and then help me formulate a plan of how to use it more efficiently.

Pearl 336: Your Mark

TOPIC: Organization and Lifestyle

"Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’  head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen" - John 20:6-7.

There was something about the placement of Jesus' facecloth that caught Peter's attention. It was not discarded casually or thrown on the floor of the tomb. It was lying 'in its place.' Maybe this indicated that Jesus had not escaped in haste or perhaps it was a distinguishing mark unique to Jesus, something those close to Him would have known about his attention to detail or his tendency to organize a certain way. What is your organizing 'mark'? Is it sloppiness and haphazard work habits, or is there a pattern and rhythm to your work world that is distinctive to you so you can keep your commitments? What can you do to improve in this area of life?

Lord, You built organization into Your creation, for the sun rises and sets at a predictable time, with seasons starting and ending on a certain day. I want and need that kind of structure and routine if I am going to succeed in the work You gave me to do. Help me overcome my bad habits so I can organize. Let me be known for my order and not for my chaos.