The Time Is Right

whatever2I hate the two times each year that we’re forced to try and manipulate time by changing our clocks.  Regardless of whether it’s forward one hour in the Spring or back one hour in the Fall, my internal clock doesn’t change; and, I’m out of sync with the rest of the world.

As I was setting my clock before I went to bed last night, I thought about a time related statement from the Apostle Paul:  “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . demonstrating His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).”

As I thought of Paul’s “right time” statement, it occurred to me, that the right time is the time when God is present:

Because God intervenes at the right moment, you can know He is always present: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you (2 Chronicles 20:17).”

God promises to help battle the bullies, calm your fears, and give you hope for tomorrow, “for the Lord is with you.”

A Timely Commodity

timeTime is an interesting commodity of life.  While it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s still priceless. It’s something that you can use to your advantage, but you’ll never be able to own it.  Time has a unique life cycle:  As soon as it is born it dies, and once you lose it, you will never find it again.

Perhaps this is why Paul spoke to Christians at both Ephesus and Colossae about the importance of “redeeming the time” or as it says in The Voice: “Make the most of every living and breathing moment…”

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you make the most of life’s precious moments:

  • Before you ever get out of bed, pledge to walk in step with God; and, pray: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths (Psalm 25:4).”
  • When you find yourself waiting in a line, line up your thoughts; and, pray: “Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me (Psalm 119:133.”
  • Whenever you check the time, take a second to check-in with God. Make Psalm 55:17 a habit:  “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”

It was Henry van Dyke who said: “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”

I say: “Time is just right when it’s justly redeemed for God’s glory.”

The Pace of Life’s Race

time1This has been one of those weeks where the minutes don’t drag on; they race by, and it there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get things done.  When I realize I’m rushing from one project to the next, I try to slow down by spending some time in the Psalms.

One of the Psalms that helps me manage the pace of life’s dizzying race is Psalm 103:

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:

3 Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

4 Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

There are four things that I think about when I read this Psalm:

  • I need to get the right start by saying : “Bless the Lord, O my soul”
  • I need to take an inventory so I don’t “forget” my resources.”
  • I need to total my assets or “benefits.”
  • I need to see God at work: He forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies.
  • I need to gauge my power: I am “renewed like the eagle.”

I encourage you to read the Psalm again and use the list above as a guide.  I hope it helps you as much as it does me.

It’s The Time of Your Life

google-calendar_logoBeing on time and staying on schedule could be a difficult task for me, but it isn’t.  Google Calendar is an application I use every day to help me manage my life.

Each morning when I start my day, I have an email from Google waiting on me.  When I open it, I find my schedule for that day.  I don’t have to wander through the day wondering what I am supposed to do.  Thanks to Google, I already know.

The person who waits for the right time to do something fails to realize that time is a precious commodity that quickly rots when wasted and spoils the opportunity of the moment.  It doesn’t make any difference if you think you are living in the best of times or the worst of times, this is the only time you have—it is the time of your life.

You have 60 minutes in every hour; 1,440 of them every day; 10,080 of them every week; and a whole bunch of them in a year.  If you will manage the minutes of your life, the hours will take care of themselves.

The time of your life is so important, the psalmist said:  “Teach us to number each of our days, so that we may grow in wisdom (90:12).”  The idea is not that you assign a number to each day of your life.  The concept is that you get the most out of each day, so you are living it for the glory of God.

Carl Sandburg captured the essence of this discussion when he said:  “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

It is the time of your life, so spend it wisely.

A One Second Lesson On Birds and Bees

Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02One second of your life will pass into history in the time it takes you to say: “One thousand one.”  Interesting and amazing things can happen in a brief moment of one second:  A beekeeper will tell you that a bee flaps his wings 230 times every second that he is hovering over a flower.  This is much faster than the hummingbird that flaps its wings about 70 times a second and a little faster than the tongue-flapping town gossip.

Take another second or two to read these one second statistics.  Every second:

  • 8,613 tweets are posted on Twitter
  • 1,771 photos are uploaded to Instagram
  • 1,669 “phone” calls are made on Skype
  • 46,610 searches are made on Google
  • 96,225 videos are watched on YouTube
  • 2,372,740 emails are sent

Time is a frequent topic of discussion in the Bible:

  • Psalm 144:4: “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”
  • Psalm 90:10: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and, if by reason of strength they are eighty years; yet, their boast is only labor and sorrow.”

These verses speak of the brevity of life, and the Bible as a whole challenges you to live a full life that honors God.  Perhaps it’s time to take a second to do a firsthand review of your life, and compare your perspective to Paul’s:

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] ~Philippians 3:10 ~Amplified Version

How many seconds of your life do you devote to “progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with” Jesus?

Thoughtless Thinking and Random Reasoning

Cloud computing conceptSome people find solitude in silence, and they give deep reflection to their thoughts.  There are others who negotiate life at a harried and hurried pace that allows no time for deep thought.

Have you ever stopped to think about how you think?  Please understand the question:  I asked “how” you think—not “what” you think.

When you start to think about your thinking, you can begin to reframe and reorder your life in a more positive context.  There are several places in the Psalms that indicate the writers were more than thoughtless thinkers:

  • Psalm 77:6: I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.
  • Psalm 119:15: I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
  • Psalm 119:27-29: I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things, I consider to be right; I hate every false way. Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

When you read these verses, did you notice the due diligence that was exercised?  You can see it in words like:

  • Meditate
  • Diligent search
  • Contemplate
  • Consider

Solomon encouraged people to weigh the wisdom of words, before believing them: The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps (Proverbs 14:15.)”

Before you leave on a trip, you probably spend some time mapping your route.  How much thought do you give to your spiritual destination?  Do take just some random route or do you know where you are going?

Are you living your life in the blink of a second, or are you taking time to think and reckon?

A Moment or A Minute

downloadWhat’s the difference between a single moment and a single minute? If you were watching Wheel of Fortune last Thursday night, you know the answer—a trip to the Dominican Republic. A contestant shouted “minute,” and the correct answer was “moment.” His error cost him a trip to what some travel enthusiasts would describe as a trip to paradise.

When you read the New Testament, you will find Paul using the concept of time to impart some spiritual truth:

• Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God. Don’t get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing among yourselves psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in your hearts for the ears of God! Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And “fit in with” each other, because of your common reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:15-21).”

• Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

• Listen, and I will tell you a secret. We shall not all die, but in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, every one of us will be changed as the trumpet sounds! The trumpet will sound and the dead shall be raised beyond the reach of corruption, and we who are still alive shall suddenly be utterly changed. For this perishable nature of ours must be wrapped in imperishability, these bodies which are mortal must be wrapped in immortality. (I Corinthians 15:51-53).

The three verses above can be summarized by saying you are to live life with a sense of responsibility that is seen in the wise use of time; the momentary trials of your life are to be seen through an eternal perspective that compares them to the glory that is waiting for you in heaven; and, you are to look to the future with hope because your frail mortal body will be wrapped in immortality.

The difference between a minute and moment is so minute it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what you do with the moments of your life today. The moment you take to consider your relationship with Jesus might just change the minutes of your eternity.

A Timely Assessment

Believe me, my parents meant it when they said it: “Be punctual, on time, and never late.” If I was out one minute too long, I was in the next night and didn’t go anywhere—grounded!

Due to this extreme, heavy-handed, and unfair parental practice, I became a time conscious freak of society. If I don’t have a watch on my left wrist, I still feel like I’m naked.

What my parents did for me has actually been a blessing. I’m rarely late for anything; I know the time; and, I understand its inherent value.

Time can be the moment or second in which you live, or it can be the theme of the situation in which you are involved. Understanding or knowing the time, is a theme of Scripture:
• Romans 13:11-12: Besides this you know the time that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
• Ephesians 5:15-17: Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time,[a] because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
• I Timothy 4:1-2: Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.

Jesus was well-aware of the time when He said, “Now My soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name! ~John 12:27-28

As He was stepping into what would be the most excruciating week of His earthly life, Jesus did not say: “Where’s the exit door?” “How can I escape this situation?”

Instead, His focus was on how God could be glorified, and He concentrated on the praise of God and not on His pain. Had Jesus just focused on His pain, the story of the Bible may ended much differently.

What has captured your attention recently? Has it has been personal affliction and pain. If so, you may find life a struggle. Instead of looking in, remember to look above and give God the praise for what is right and what is good.

Psalm 34:19 is an appropriate conclusion to this discussion: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

All of That in 60 Seconds

TimeWhat Happens in One Minute Around the World? Robinson Meyer considered this question in the March 12, 2014 issue of the The Atlantic, and I share some of his findings below:

25 Americans will get a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.
58 airplanes will take off around the world, according to the International Air Traffic Association.
11,319 packages will be delivered by UPS, according to UPS.
243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook, according to Facebook.
5,441,400 pounds of garbage will be created, according to the World Bank.
7,150,000,000 human hearts (according to the United States Census Bureau) will beat…
500,500,000,000 times, according to the American Heart Association, as their bodies create…
858,282,240,000,000,000 new red blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.

After looking at these statistics, you can see that quite a bit happens within a 60 second frame of time. What have you done so far today with the precious minutes of your life? What have you thought, done, and said?

A quick Google search will tell you that the average person will speak between 110 and 150 words a minute. After I read this, I wanted to find something that was between 110 and 150 words that I could say and that would be a great way to start the day.

What I found was the first Psalm that starts the book of Psalms—I’ve always thought it was first for a reason. Take 60 seconds and read it out loud, so you can learn the secret of the “blessed man.”

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

A Change in Time

I have never been a big fan of Daylight Savings Time.  I can move the clock on the wall forward an hour in the Spring and back an hour in the Fall, but my internal clock never changes.

Now that we have moved our clocks forward an hour, we have gained another hour of daylight.  While this is true, it has not changed the fact that Father Time is still at work.  In his methodical way, tick by tick, he gobbles up the minutes and hours of our life.

In moment of quiet contemplation, the Psalmist wrote about our timely relationship with God:  Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90).

Now that we have taken the time to change our clocks, does there also need to be a change in our time?   Time expenditures are a good indicator of the priorities in a person’s life.  When a  person numbers  his days, he can see the #1 priority in his life.

I hope this is enough to keep you thinking.