Friday, November 4, 2011

One Extra Hour!

What would you do with one extra hour? For those regions observing Daylight Savings Time, this Sunday is the time change most of us prefer. As we set the clocks back one hour, it seems like we get an extra hour to sleep or to stay up late doing what we enjoy or what we need to do. Of course, we don’t really get any extra time. The clock keeps on ticking, and our time left on earth gets shorter with every passing second, as does the time before we will see Jesus face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Our life is “but a vapor” (James 4:14), as short-lived as the visible puff of air we exhale on a cold day.

As we compare our lives with those around us, we notice that money, talents, health, intelligence, power, beauty, and other blessings are not distributed equally among us. Every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17), and God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), distributing them according to His divine plan and His holy justice. The devil, who relentlessly paces the earth (Job 1:7) and who is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), jockeys to obtain position and favor for his henchmen, while trying to remove these advantages from believers who are productive for God.

But in terms of time, each of us has the same opportunities and limitations. Each of us has 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. When that day is gone, it’s gone forever. We can’t store, buy, borrow, steal, or create time.

But we can redeem the time! (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). With prayer and the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can make each moment on earth have eternal significance. Once the clock stops on earth and we enter eternity, time lasts forever. So our top priority here should be to maximize our experience there, realizing that we will enjoy eternally the rewards we earn for our earthly service.

Every soul led to Christ, every believer encouraged and uplifted, every gift given with the right motive to further His kingdom, will be the gold, silver and precious stones that will endure the fire of judgment (1 Corinthians 3: 12-14) and be a crown we can lay at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10-11). Imagine what it is like to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21; Luke 19:17) and to be rewarded with positions of responsibility in the Millennial Kingdom!

God created and controls time just as He created and controls everything else. One day to Him can be as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), and His power is so unlimited that He created the universe in six literal days (Exodus 20:11; 31:17). He created day and night as a measure of time (Genesis 1:5), and set aside one day of seven as a day of rest to divide time into weeks (Genesis 1:31-2:3; Exodus 20:11; 31:17). His creation and alignment of the sun, moon and planets gave rise to time divisions of months, seasons and years (Genesis 1:14).

He designed our bodies to have internal rhythms in tune with those daily, monthly, and yearly cycles. Because He even designed atoms to have their own internal frequencies, extremely accurate atomic clocks can measure time using the microwave signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels.

Time marches on, but nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). He can even stop the sun and moon in their tracks in answer to prayer if it serves His purposes (Joshua 10: 12-14). He can add 15 years to a life that should have ended, although when He did so for King Hezekiah in answer to his prayer (2 Kings 20: 1-11), there were negative consequences that Hezekiah could not have anticipated, including defeat by Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-18) and Hezekiah’s son Manasseh growing up to be one of the most evil kings Israel ever had (2 Kings 21: 1-6).

If you knew that that extra hour on Time Change Sunday, or any hour, would be your last, how would you spend it? I think most believers would get their hearts right with God by earnestly repenting of their sins, making right any wrongs by asking others for forgiveness and by forgiving them, expressing love to family and friends, and telling everyone who would listen that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

But we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:13), or even another hour, so as we decide how to spend our time, shouldn’t we make the above our top priority? Yes, the demands of work, school, family, and everyday life are many and pressing, but we can find ways to redeem the time and make every moment count.

Before we rush off in twenty different directions tilting at windmills, we can take time to read God’s Word (Psalm 119:97,105,133),and to pray that He would open the right doors, show us the right paths, and guide us through the day’s journey (Psalm 5:3; 143:8; Mark 1:35). The peace and wisdom found in prayer will order our thoughts and steps (Psalms 37:23; Proverbs 3:5-6), calm our anxieties, and make us more focused and productive in all we do. Whatever we do, we can do it to glorify God in an attitude of service and excellence (Colossians 3:23).

While showering and dressing, we can renew our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) with Christian radio or CDs. If we’re stuck in traffic, we can use the time to listen for God’s directions and to pray for our loved ones. While we wait in a checkout line at the supermarket, we can pray that all those in the store who are not saved will come to know Christ as their Savior, and that all the believers there will grow in faith, wisdom, and fruitfulness. Or, we can strike up a friendly conversation with the person behind us in line and pray that God will open the door for us to witness.

In the waiting room at the doctor’s office, why not bring our Bible to increase our wisdom, joy and peace, instead of thumbing through old magazines? Someone might ask us about what we’re reading, and it could be a divine appointment to share the meaning of God’s Word in our life.

In a sense, every hour that we’re on earth is that “one extra hour,” because it allows us a new beginning, a time to start over in ways that are pleasing to Him. So let’s not waste our allotted time – let’s redeem it!

36 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I've been thinking about distractions a lot lately and how to use my time wisely. I had my Bible open on my drafting table when the Cable guy came to fix our internet cable. I noticed he was looking at it carefully, and not offended. I prayed for him. Opportunities to share are everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "What ever you do, do for the glory of God."
    Talking about Christ to others or sharing Christian experiences is something I find so delightful, but for my poor speech.
    Moses wasn't very confident in his speech either, so God sent his older brother Aaron to be the spokesman on Moses' behalf. Yet we have five books of the Bible written by him.
    As such, expressing Christ through the Internet is a wonderful Godsend!!!
    Imagine had the computer had been around during the days of Moses, how good use he would have put to it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Karen! That's a great testimony! A lady in my Bible study class shares a desk with a nonbeliever at work. She printed up one of my blog posts and left it in a conspicuous place on the desk, and when her coworker asked her about it, she had an opportunity to witness! You're right, opportunities to share are everywhere, if we follow the Holy Spirit's leading!
    May you have a blessed week!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Frank, You are an excellent witness for Him through your blog, and I'm sure in person as well because of your love for Him. God delights in using unlikely people to accomplish specific purposes for Him, like Moses as a negotiator.

    As the End Times draw near, I think God has given believers even greater opportunities for evangelism through the power of the Internet. Like any powerful tool, the Internet has been misused for evil, but it has tremendous potential to quickly and inexpensively sow seeds even in the far corners of the globe. Daniel 12:4 says that in the time of the end, knowledge shall be increased, and that “many shall run to and fro,” which, I have read, in the Hebrew has connotations of “searching” in the same way one would do a computer search today.

    God's blessings to you and your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
  5. i agree..God uses the internet to bring his gosphel..i have myspace..and are many christians friends overthere..has being a really blessing for many..i always think when im a sleep are people on the other side of the world reading..we pray that the lord help us that we can keep bringing the message of the good news..so many people are emotionally hurt and really needs jesus in their life..thanks friend for being my friend..loves from huub and i...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your blog is a great blessing to many. I pray every day that our ministries will reach souls, plant seeds, water and nurture them until souls are saved and believers learn more about His Word and grow closer to Him. My husband and I have a dance ministry, and I teach a ladies' Bible study and write and sing Christian songs, but of all our ministries, the Internet is the only one that can reach people even when we're not physically there (or even sleeping). Thank you for your encouragement, and love to you and Huub. May God bless you both.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wise words reminding us to use every minute for His glory!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks, Trisha, and God's blessings to you and your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I completely agree with you about redeeming the time - I'm always looking for ways to do that :) I think also that making sure that we are doing the right things with our time - that we are doing what God has called us to do - is an important way of redeeming it. Otherwise we can waste time and energy on doing things that He is not wanting us to do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks, Rhoda, for visiting and commenting! That's an excellent point -- even doing things that are not necessarily bad can become "weights" that slow us down in our Christian life (Heb. 12:1), or even idols, if they are not God's intended best for us.
    May you have a blessed week!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  11. Isn't it amazing that we so often persuade ourselves we've gained a little time by changing the clock. I am constantly amazed by the people who try to make up wasted time by driving faster, or working harder, We need to learn to forget what is past, and focus on where we are right now, as you mentioned, redeeming the present time. We can't change the past, but what we do now will affect some things about our future.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amen! Our pastor has a saying that he uses a lot with his children: "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; but today is a gift. That's why we call it the present." You're right -- our present choices will to some degree shape our future. Thanks as always for your insights, and God bless you and your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is great Laurie. Our pastor said yesterday that "eternity is just one heartbeat away...that we should redeem the time we have left on earth." We also talked about this in my Sunday school class...how we need to prayer for people the moment they ask us to and not put it off until later only to forget to do so.
    I really enjoyed this post. Thanks.

    "Tonight could last forever." TobyMac

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Salina, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! It always amazes me how when God speaks to me about a particular issue, He does it through several different people or media all at the same time. Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience, and I'm thankful He is so merciful that He reminds me in several different ways to obey Him!
    Great TobyMac quote, too!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This past weekend, I was thrilled to have "an extra hour"! You see, I was blessed by a surprise b-day party...and because of that hour, it seemed as if I had extra time to spend with my family and friends. But, no matter what time zone we are in, it is so important to make each hour count. Each day and each hour, when lived for Christ is never wasted!

    Living for Him...each hour!

    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a wonderful blessing -- a surprise birthday party for you with time to share and spare! Happy belated birthday to you, and many, many blessed returns! Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your insights.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Keeping the fact that indeed every hour is a gift from Him makes me more cognizant of the preciousness of each second. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the mundane and to wish time away sometimes. But making each moment count is a good way to keep us close to Him.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks, Jen, for visiting and for your comment! Praise God for the gift of each moment He gives us -- may we use it for His glory! God's blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for sharing these insightful thoughts about time - our time and God's time. Since we don't change our time in Arizona, we didn't pick up that extra hour. But it is true. We all have the same amount of time each day. We need to make the most of it.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear Charlotte, You're very welcome! Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing your insights. May God bless you and your ministry.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you. Sure, your blog is a blessing! May the Lord enlighten your everyday life.

    Stay in God's peace!
    Jamilla Martin (www.cantinho-cristao.blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks, Milla, for the kind words and wishes! Your blog is a blessing too!

    ReplyDelete
  23. First time here, (visiting you from The Good Steward's Wednesday link) and I will sure be back.

    This is so true: "every hour that we’re on earth is that “one extra hour”. So true! May we be wise to live and move in each of those "extra hours" that the Lord grants us.

    Blessings,

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Laurie - love the last paragraph "In a sense, every hour that we’re on earth is that “one extra hour,” because it allows us a new beginning, a time to start over in ways that are pleasing to Him. So let’s not waste our allotted time – let’s redeem it!" Great post and thank you for linking up on Winsome Wednesday. I'm glad you linked up and look forward to seeing you there next week. Thank you too, for your lovely words in the comments. I appreciate the encouragement
    God bless
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  25. Welcome, Becky! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I share in your prayer that God would be glorified in each "extra hour" He graciously grants us. May God bless you and your ministry.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Tracy, Thanks so much for the kind words and for sharing your insights. Thanks also for hosting Winsome Wednesdays -- I'll be back!
    Love in Christ,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  27. Such great thoughts. I. Hate. Daylight. Savings. {Just had to get that out there} But I LOVE your words on redeeming the time!!

    Thanks for linking up today and joining in the Koinonia Community!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Welcome, Chelsey, and thanks for visiting and for your kind words! I'm with you -- seems like Daylight Savings can be worse than jet lag! Thanks also for hosting Koinonia -- I'll be back!
    Blessings to you!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for joining us at NOBH. I look forward to reading much more of your posts. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Dear Lynda, You're very welcome, and thanks for visiting and for your kind comment! May God bless you and your ministry.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Laurie:

    Last year, we lost a friend in a traffic accident. He was a flight nurse and had actually survived a helicoptor crash. He was on his way to work one morning when he fell asleep and hit an 18-wheeler. In an instant, he was in the presence of the Father. It's true our lives are but a vapor.

    Reading God's word is so important and these days we don't have any excuse not to read. We have numerous translations available in a variety of formats (I even have my favorite ESV verson on my iPhone).

    Thank you for sharing this post at the Grace Cafe.

    Blessings,
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  32. so lovely to meet you, laurie! thank you for your ministry here... you have a heart of gold, a heart for God. may you be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear Emily, Welcome and thanks so much for following and for your sweet encouragement! It is a blessing to meet you -- you have a beautiful spirit, and His love and light shine through your writing.
    God bless you and your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
  34. (love that you linked with imperfect today, friend...)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for such a great post.
    During my last hour on earth, if I had a choice, I would tell of His love, and then simply worship, waiting for Him to come for me!
    Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  36. Dear Barbara, Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. It is a privilege to be at the death bed of a born again Christian because they do just what you are describing, with a radiant glow on their face that comes from seeing Him!

    ReplyDelete