Are you an organized person? Is your spiritual life organized? Are your children organized? Is your family organized? Are your personal finances organized?
Do you find your lack of organization an impediment to your spiritual development in the Family of God? Does your lack of organization actually hurt the performance of others?
Disorganization can be one of the greatest obstacles to thriving spiritual success. Disorganization can even cause a level of spiritual and emotional discouragement.
In Hebrews 12, the Apostle Paul talks about living an unencumbered life so we can run our spiritual race and attain our eternal crown. As the return of Jesus Christ draws ever closer, now is the time to get ourselves ready for that major event.
There is a genuine need for God’s people to be organized people so we can perform at our best spiritually for God. How we organize our lives is all about how we daily organize and capitalize on the greatest potential in worshiping our Creator! Our whole lives need to be infused with how God wants us to worship Him and conduct our daily living. How we live should glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 2:9). What an opportunity is set before us!
Personal organization is vital. It helps build a better foundation for spiritual success. In this article we will look at some basics of personal organization in our spiritual life, in our family and in our finances. Some points may apply to you while others will not; Personalize the principles and suggestions as necessary. An organized life is practiced and refined according to taste, needs and preferences. Single fathers and mothers, for example, are usually torn in many directions—the pressures on their time are enormous; this requires extra care in planning. Seniors often deal with challenging or limiting circumstances. Readers in Third World conditions face unique challenges not applicable to those in more developed and affluent societies.
Whatever your situation, God knows all about your unique and personal circumstances. He knows that strain and difficulties can be discouraging at times. We can only do what we can, and must then rely on Him to make up the difference.
Fix the Right Goal
The first point in organizing our lives for top spiritual performance is to fix the right goal. This is the first law of success. Be honest in your assessment of this one thing: Am I truly seeking first the Kingdom of God in my life? Am I mission-focused?
“You and I have been called together, by God, to the most important mission of our time on Earth,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in a Dec. 18, 1953, co-worker letter, “a most special mission, actually foretold in Bible prophecy—the very Work of God for this time of world crisis” (emphasis added). God is depending on us. World peace is waiting on the saints being spiritually ready for the marriage to Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:7).
No matter what your hand finds to do, this is what God wants us to do first each day: Seek His Kingdom.
In every facet of our lives, we are to be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49). Every action in our lives must be ordered, structured and connected to this great goal, or we will fail. Confusion will result. We will be tempted by Satan to reach out to fill the subsequent guilt and unhappiness with something other than repentance.
If we allow that to happen, it will push us further away from God. If you find this happening to you, go to some private place as soon as you can and fervently ask for forgiveness and repentance. Then make the changes you know God is showing you to make in your life.
“We must begin to organize our time and priorities God’s way if we are to do God’s Work,” a manual for leadership in God’s Church stated. That is so true—and why we are here in the first place. With this in mind, we all have to set our spiritual lives in order. Getting our physical lives in order will naturally flow from God’s active involvement in our lives.
To organize your life for top spiritual performance, there is no substitute for first seeking the Kingdom of God!
Where to Start
Once you have the right goal firmly fixed, consider the organization of your time. God’s people should have an acute sense of time and display a honed skill in using it. Oftentimes though, this is not the case. Managing time is an acquired skill that often takes the anvil of hard experience to learn how to use wisely.
How can you serve God with a proper priority on your spiritual life, your family life and your finances? First, consider organizing your year and activities around God’s sacred calendar—the holy days. To help with this, you may want to purchase an agenda or use a computer calendar that gives you areas to plan blocks of time.
God organizes time according to year, month, week and day. If you are looking for an agenda or calendar, search for one that allows you to plan yearly, monthly, weekly and daily events.
Husbands and wives would do well to coordinate their planning. A family calendar should be maintained throughout the year. The husband should take the lead in planning and decision-making. Wives can keep a personal calendar, so they can keep track of so many other events: cleaning schedules, shopping lists, children’s activities, educational and other family appointments, etc.
Annual events: Start with your “year in review.” This is your year in a big-picture overview. Activities should not intrude upon preparation for and the observance of the holy days or weekly Sabbath. Time needs to be set aside and blocked out for preparing for the spring and fall festivals. Mark the holy days on your calendar. Other yearly or seasonal events can include family vacations, Church activities and hobbies you may be involved in.
Be sure to prioritize God’s holy days as well as Church and family activities over individual pursuits. This yearly calendar is also the perfect place to plan what booklets you intend to study.
Monthly events: This is your month in review. Consider putting down what booklets you have planned to study in a particular month from your yearly overview. Next, mark down all the events that require your attendance that month. Note any children’s activities, sports events, Church functions and family events.
When do you manage your finances and pay your bills? When do you schedule your monthly fast? Put these on your monthly calendar as well. Are you involved in a Church activity that month? If so, now is the time to note that too.
Weekly events: Most calendars offer God’s weekly organization of time; some do not. If you can, try to organize your week according to a Sunday to Sabbath schedule.
Plan your week by focusing on the big things that need doing: personal appointments, family engagements and Church activities. For each week, anticipate what literature you will be reading and when you hope to start something new according to your monthly overview.
Carve out a fixed time to pray at the beginning of your day as well as at the end of the day (allow at least 30 minutes and up to one hour). Settle on when you study the Bible (allow up to one hour). Mark these times on your weekly calendar even if you have a hard time sticking to it right now. Habits require repetition! Don’t forget to allow time for exercise in your week.
Daily events: “[O]nce we have established our priorities and planned our years, months and weeks, the proper use of our day becomes crystal clear,” that manual says.
According to God’s reckoning of time, each day begins at sunset (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Exodus 12:18). We are to structure our day accordingly. To be able to get up to pray and study in the morning (when most of us are fresh before we start our workday) we need to ensure we don’t stay up too late. For those who work at night or shift work, even more careful planning is needed.
To properly plan your day, work backward from a reasonable bedtime the night prior, at the beginning of this new day. Be sure to first get the big things in: prayer, Bible study, time for your mate and children. Next come health, rest and fitness. Also give some thought and planning to personal self-improvement, special educational courses, additional personal Bible study projects, and so forth.
Before you leave work later that day or finish your housework or chores, take 5 to 10 minutes and plan your big tasks for the following workday; review your weekly calendar. Know what is coming up next and plan for it.
Setting Calendar Priorities
Here are a few cautions in setting calendar priorities. Consider how you have been specially called to become a master and expert in God’s family government and law. You cannot become a master of everything, or you will be a master of none.
Then, ask yourself where God would expect you to concentrate your time. God expects us to put the right emphasis in the right places at the right time. God places a special emphasis in each phase of our lives: the formative years, preparatory years, single life, married life, married life with children, being a grandparent or senior. What does God want your focus to be on right now? This focus changes with the passage of time, but we need to be in tune with the here and now.
Goal-setting is essential in order to reach our maximum potential. Goals help push and prod us to greater achievement—to seize every opportunity God provides.
Next, strive for balance in your life. For example, most men likely equate working hard with success. But in God’s view, a successful husband is one with a great marriage and well-behaved, happy children. A man needs to plan his time to put a balanced emphasis on his marriage and family. That time is after work and before your children go to bed, the Sabbath and, for most people, Sunday. Take advantage of all of that time to build your family.
Wives also need to strike a right balance between homemaking and spiritual obligations (Luke 10:40-42). A wife usually needs extra rest and recuperative time from a heavy workload. She is the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Her nerves and emotions can be grated from keeping up with young children, appointments, grocery shopping and extending hospitality.
Drawing ever closer to God is the answer in time of need. Husbands should always be on the lookout to provide support and help. In some cases, he may have to “order” his wife to get more rest and time with God, and pick up the slack accordingly.
To succeed in all this, limit technology and its related entertainment. Generally speaking, they will not feature in the wonderful World Tomorrow in the same way that they likely feature in our lives today. Fiddling with technology and entertainment can constrict the flow of God’s Spirit in our lives. Instead, God wants us to redeem the time.
Remember to remain flexible. A schedule is a guide and you are its master. Husbands and wives should seek and allow for input from each other and even from their children. Try to keep an open mind as things change. Allow for spontaneity.
Organize Your Spiritual Life
To truly seek first the Kingdom of God, we have to personally organize our worship of God. This is a principle deeply and constantly taught throughout the Bible. God provides vast and precise detail in how He is to be worshiped, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
King David was penalized for being careless about Israel’s precise worship of God (2 Samuel 6:7-8). The fault was with King David. He assumed it wouldn’t make a difference to God even though He had explicitly told Israel the ark of the covenant was to be carried by the Levites (Deuteronomy 31:25; 1 Chronicles 15:1-2).
God’s instructions for the Sabbath are another example of the order and precision God wants us to bring into our routine worship of Him. Read Leviticus 24:1-8 and notice God’s instructions regarding precision in His worship! God does not change (Hebrews 13:8). Also reflect on passages such as Matthew 23:23 and 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40. God is a God of order and accuracy. Satan is the author of confusion because he doesn’t worship and obey God.
The Sabbath is a predefined set of time: 24 hours (Genesis 2:1-3). All of it is holy time. God puts His presence in that span of time. Prior to the Sabbath is the preparation day; that too is a day for order and structure—so we see a theme developing here.
The preparation day is to be used to prepare our homes and lives so we can invite God to dwell with us on the Sabbath (Mark 15:42; Exodus 16:22‑23). Everything about the Sabbath reflects order, including the institution of a preparation day leading up to it. Sabbath services follow a fixed pattern. Why is that? God expects us to keep an orderly spiritual life to ensure top spiritual performance.
Go back to your yearly, monthly and weekly calendars. All of these are to be built around God’s thinking on the subject of time. To Him, the Apostle Peter says, a thousand years is as a day and a day as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). The seven days of the week are a type of God’s 7,000-year plan of salvation. The Sabbath is a type of the 1,000-year Millennium.
Grasping God’s view on time includes getting that vision locked up in the use of it. In God’s view, time is to be used first for His purposes. God has purchased our lives. That means He has purchased whatever time we have left in our physical lives.
Consider matching the twofold purpose of the Church with your use of time: to back and support God’s Work and apostle who is commanded to prophesy again, and to prepare to rule with Jesus Christ at His return. This twofold purpose for our lives should be continuously at the forefront of our thinking and planning. As we organize our spiritual lives, we must do so in support of these two great purposes. In our yearly calendar, for example, we can prioritize helping in Church activities and fundraisers (Mark 3:32-35).
Along with properly observing the Sabbath and holy days, God expects His people to keep up with the core obligations of reviewing Sabbath notes, reading booklets, the Trumpet, Philadelphian and Trumpet Weekly, reading and studying the Royal Vision and watching the Key of Davidprogram. These are essential for top spiritual performance.
Reading the Trumpet website articles, checking in at the official Church website pcog.org, listening to the Trumpet Daily,Trumpet Hourand other kpcgradio programs fall outside of the above immediate core of materials.
This sheer volume of source material is a good indication of how much God wants His Work to dominate our lives. A prodigious output from headquarters requires a prodigious but efficient use of our time. How can we manage?
Sort the booklets according to themes. You will find a good many related to the holy days. Next, sort the booklets according to key dates God has highlighted in His Work: January 16, March 11, May 5 and December 7. Interestingly, you will notice these dates are all outside of the holy day seasons. Approximately half the booklets relate to the holy days and half do not. There is also a logical connection between many of the booklets. For instance, Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? fits naturally with the Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire books. Reading these sequentially makes logical sense (but it is not required).
How would anyone be able to do that? How much would you get out of them, if you hustled your way through? It makes sense to be studying in season and out of season according to a plan of attack. Of course, we should always strive for quality study, not merely a hasty glance.
For each calendar month, you could assign specific booklets for your reading. Separately, for quick reference, you could note down the last time you read a booklet on the inside cover.
The average reader can read about 360 pages in a month, at about 5 minutes per page. Thus, a book like Mystery of the Agescould be studied in a 30-day month, studying about one hour a day.
In a typical week, you could consider using one hour each Sunday to study and review your Sabbath notes. You can also file your Sabbath notes in trays or folders by a logical review period: 24 hours, one week and one month. As you review your notes, mark them clearly with a subject matter at the top. Once you’ve reviewed your notes a number of times, you can file them under that subject heading. You can do so by keeping a table of contents at the front of your notebook or printing off your notes and filing them into a subject file system. If you store your notes digitally, now would be a good time to add some keywords to the file for easy and accurate retrieval.
Monday through Sabbath can be used for other studies according to your pre-planned calendar. In case of emergency studies or assigned reading, you may have to shift your planned studies somewhat. Remember to follow where God is leading His flock.
Seek to establish and maintain a consistent study pattern. Pray for wisdom and discernment and for God to inspire your decisions. As you study, consider using a journal to take down action points which you can later formulate into monthly goals.
Be sure to give attention to organizing your world news watching (Luke 21:36). A lot is at stake in how developed our news watching is. God’s prophets lived with fiery urgency precisely because they were in tune with world events and biblical prophecy. Some Church members don’t have access to a variety of news sources, the Internet or even the Trumpet Weekly. But for those of us who do, make the Trumpet Weekly the centerpiece of our weekly news watching efforts paired with the analysis of world news offered in the Trumpet magazine. And as time permits, tune in to the Trumpet Daily and Trumpet Hour.
Friday evening is a good time to read the Trumpet Weekly, or perhaps on Sabbath morning. Allow time to digest what is reported in the Trumpet Weekly, even employing a notepad to jot down your thoughts. Perhaps staple your notes to the back of each news digest.
Additional sources could be added throughout the week as well. As Christ stated in Luke 21:36, God’s individual protection hinges on each of us watching world news. Consider making a filing system for world news watching, where you start folders for the subjects. If you find a strong article outside of the Trumpet Weekly, you can file it into your news watching file system.