Saturday, March 18, 2017

How Can We Redeem the Time?

Photo by GFreihalter 2010

During the first week of Daylight Savings Time, it has been pleasant to enjoy the later sunset, and with it, the illusion that we have more productive hours in the day. (On the flip side, though, we wake up earlier than we should, according to the clock, and because it is still dark out, we often end up lingering in bed longer than we should in the morning).

The bottom line is that any notion of our having more time is, sadly, just an illusion, for God created and controls time just as He created and controls everything else. Only He knows the number of our days, and when they will suddenly run out without warning. 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).

To measure time, God created day and night (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). His creation and alignment of the sun, moon and planets gave rise to time divisions of months, seasons and years (Genesis 1:14). Those seasons reflect different times and purposes within our earthly life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

God designed our bodies (Psalm 139:14) to have internal rhythms harmonizing with 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.

In addition to our biological clock governing aging, our cellular clocks are preprogrammed to undergo a set number of divisions before the cell stops renewing itself and dies altogether. The clock keeps ticking, and grains of sand relentlessly pass through the hourglass, but nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26).

He can even stop the sun and moon to accomplish His plan (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 (2 Kings 20:12-18; 21:1-6).

What if you knew that any given hour would be your last? How would you spend it? My prayer is that those who keep putting off trusting Christ would realize that now is the accepted time of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). May they even now be saved by His grace through their faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

And as believers, may we get our hearts right with God by dying to our sin nature (1 Corinthians 15:31), yielding to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), asking others for forgiveness and forgiving them (Matthew 18:21-35), expressing love to family and friends (1 Peter 1:22), and telling everyone who would listen that Jesus saves!

But we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:13), or even another hour, so why not do all that now? We can get so busy with work, school, hobbies and even church that we forget to redeem the time and make every moment count (Luke 10:40-41). This earth is not our home, for we are just strangers passing through this weary land (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11). May we spend our “time of sojourning” here considering how God will evaluate what we have done with our time (1 Peter 1:17).

Before we rush off to put out the fires and jump the hurdles we will encounter every day, we should make time to hear God through His Word (Psalm 119:97,105,133),and to pray that He would open the right doors, show us the right paths (Proverbs 3:5-6), and guide us through the day’s journey (Psalm 5:3; 143:8; Mark 1:35). Time spent in prayer allows us to use our time more productively and wisely. A wise preacher once said that he was too busy not to pray!

The peace and wisdom found in prayer will order our thoughts and steps (Psalms 37:23; Isaiah 26:3), calm our fears (1 John 4:18), 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 (2 Timothy 4:2). A young man in our church began silently reading his Bible every day during his lunch break, which led to questions from classmates and became an informal Bible study!

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 doing what pleases God. May we use it wisely to glorify Him!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives

Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Forward!

Photo by Garry Knight 2012

Spring forward, fall back! Catchy saying that helps us remember which direction to change the clocks, but are we truly ready, Biblically speaking, to spring forward?

Paul encourages us to move forward in our Christian walk, using the metaphor of running a race (1 Corinthians 9:24), as does the writer of Hebrews (12:1-2). To run successfully, we can’t keep looking back over our shoulder; we must keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We must leave behind the sins and weights of our old life and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Yet even when we can’t sprint forward in our Christian walk, we should at least stand our ground. We can’t outrun the devil, so there is no point in fleeing from him. But we can resist him by submitting ourselves to God’s Word and promises, so that the devil will flee from us (James 4:7).

When discussing spiritual warfare, Paul tells us four times to stand our ground. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.… 13 that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore.

Paul uses this metaphor many times, telling us to stand fast in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13), in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1), in unity of spirit (Philippians 1:27), in the Lord (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8), and in Christian teaching (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

For those regions observing Daylight Savings Time, this Sunday is the time change most of us dread, because by setting the clocks forward and going to bed and getting up at our usual times, we lose an hour of sleep. But’s it’s just an illusion -- we don’t really lose any time, nor do we gain any extra time in the fall when we set the clocks back one hour. Time marches on, and our moments left on earth dwindle away with every passing second.

Whether through death (2 Corinthians 5:8) or the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) for believers, or the day of judgment (Revelation 20:11-13) for those who have not placed their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), time is short before each of us will see Jesus face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Our life is “but a vapor” (James 4:14), vanishing as quickly as the visible breath we exhale on a cold day.

Some may complain that “God isn’t fair” as they 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 resources according to His divine plan.

Meanwhile, Satan paces the earth (Job 1:7), placing his henchmen in positions of authority (Ephesians 6:12) while trying to hinder believers from being productive for God. But time does not play favorites -- 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.

As J. R. R. Tolkien's character Gandalf said, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

So let’s make the right choice and redeem the time! (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). With prayer and Holy Spirit guidance, believers 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 (Matthew 6:20).

Even Jesus had only limited time on earth, realized that He must complete the work of His Father while He still walked in the sunlight of earth, and warned His followers that the night was coming when no man could work (John 9:4). Once He brings us home or calls us up in the Rapture, our time for witnessing, working, praying, giving and teaching is over.

Praise God that Jesus completed His Father’s work and was able to say, “It is finished!” as He paid in full our sin debt on Calvary’s cross (John 19:30). May we follow His example and the perfect plan God designed for each of us since before the beginning of time (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10).

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). May we hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21; Luke 19:17) and be rewarded with positions of responsibility in the Millennial Kingdom!

So don’t lament the “lost hour” of sleep as we set the clocks ahead – spring forward in your Christian walk and redeem the time!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives

Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop