“But As For Me, I Trust In You, O Lord; I Say, “You Are My God.”  My Times Are In Your Hand…” (Psalm 31: 14-15)

Why Manage Your Time:  because if you don’t your time will manage you!  You can’t put time in a bottle and save it up for a rainy day. You can’t put time in a bank and draw from it whenever you please. No! Time like an ever flowing stream has us all in its grip and takes us where ere it wills. We are all caught in its fatal embrace. However, like the wind and the tide which we have no control over, we can manage time to our great advantage.  

Imagine a five lane highway stretching from earth into outer space; stretching out, out, out, far beyond what even your imagination can fathom. Your life is but one  line on that super highway; your seventy-eighty-ninety-years here on terra-firma are as significant as one white line on that infinitesimal highway that leads from here to eternity.

 When we look at time in that perspective it is no wonder that the Bible tells us to realize

Time Began With God

Ephesians 5:15-16
” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

The Scriptures make it indelibly clear that there is a time and a purpose to everything under the sun; and that as stewards of time we are to spend it wisely rather than foolishly. God has given to each of us only a measure of time and talent and we are to use those moments and talents like precious treasures, special gems. A diamond cutter gets only one chance to cut a precious diamond correctly and cannot undo what he has done; so we get only one chance to cut it down here; that is why we must make the most out of the precious gift called time.

 The day you were born the clock started ticking. Regardless of your best efforts you cannot stop time from marching on, you cannot stretch time, you cannot reproduce time. Time is a stubborn thing. It does not conform to our wishes. You cannot bend it or mold it to your whims and wishes; relentlessly it just keeps on marching on. You cannot bargain with it, cut a deal with it, bribe it; it just keeps on keeping on. It shows no love, it shows no mercy, it shows no partiality, it shows no respect of person; it just keeps slip-slidden away.

Time does not drag and time does not fly. It only appears that way, Rich or poor, young or old, wise and otherwise, the clock just keeps on ticking, 60-seconds per minute; no exceptions to the rule.

To two teenagers in love two hours appears to be only fifteen minutes; fifteen minutes in a biology class might appear to them to be two hours. It’s a different as two weeks in Oahu and two weeks on a starvation diet.  Farmers measure time by plowing, planting, and harvesting. Families measure time by birthdays and anniversaries and special occasions. History measures time by decades and centuries, eras and empires. But time is not a respecter of person’s places and things. It does not answer to you, you answer to it. It gets in your face; it will not just go away; it refuses to be denied, it does not lie; it is what it is. It conquers you, you do not conquer it.  It is not perception, it is reality. Our lives are but mere flickering shadows in the passing of a day.

“But As For Me, I Trust In You, O Lord; I Say, “You Are My God.”  My Times Are In Your Hand…”

As Time Began With God So It Will End With God.

We are all the center of our own little world. If we live in a house alongside the highway it’s just another car going down the highway. If we are a car going down the highway, it’s just another house alongside the road. We are all the center of our own universe.  Life here may seem long and we may even feel important to ourselves but all this must be measured against someone far greater than ourselves and that someone is God. After all he is the one who placed us here. Every one of us shall give an account to him; as the Bible puts it; “after this the judgment.”

Solomon describes our life under the sun without God this way;

“… Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”

 That’s too blasé for me. Life is too precious, time too valuable to look at it as another 365 day journey around the sun. 

 How Do You Spend Your Time?

 One  study revealed that an average seventy-year-old man has spent twenty-four years sleeping, fourteen years working, eight years in amusements, six years at the dinner table, five years in transportation, four years in conversation, three years in education, and two years in studying and reading. His other four years were spent in miscellaneous pursuits. Of those four years, he spent forty-five minutes in church on Sundays, and five minutes were devoted to prayer each day. This adds up to a not at all impressive total of five months that he gave to God over the seventy years of his life. Even if this man had been a faithful churchgoer who attended Sunday school and three one-hour services per week, he would have spent only one year and nine months in church.

Well thankfully Solomon did not leave us dangling like winds chimes blowing in the wind. He reminds us that life is more than a trivial pursuit.  He reminds us that life here is living in Obedience to God.

 Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

“Let Us Hear The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter: Fear God And Keep His Commandments, For This Is Man’s All. For God Will Bring Every Work Into Judgment, Including Every Secret Thing, Whether Good Or Evil.”

A life not lived for God is a life lived in vain. One does not want to come to the end of their days with the words of King Saul falling from their lips; “Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” He had more opportunities to bring Glory to God in his life than most men; but he blew them all away.

Some time ago, psychologist William Moulton Marston asked three thousand persons, “What have you to live for?” He was shocked to find that 94 percent were simply enduring the present while waiting for the future. They were waiting for something better to happen, waiting for their children to grow up, waiting for them to leave home, waiting for a better  time to take a long-dreamed-about trip, waiting for tomorrow. They were all waiting without realizing that all anyone ever has is today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes.

If we wish to be significant we need to know that we are living brief lives in the light of eternity and only by obeying God and only by living for him will  the work of our hands be established and blessed.

Psalm 90:17

“And Let The Beauty Of The Lord Our God Be Upon Us, And Establish The Work Of Our Hands For Us; Yes, Establish The Work Of Our Hands.”

A God of New Beginnings

In “A Christmas Carol”, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, who against his will, takes him back to a time when he was still a young man. Scrooge sees himself proposing to the woman he loved, a woman who later breaks their engagement because she realizes that he has come to love money more than her. As Scrooge watches the scene unfold, we can see the emotions playing out over his face. We can imagine what is going through his mind: What a fool he had been! How his life would have been different if he had married, if his heart hadn’t been hardened by the love of money. Perhaps that young man wouldn’t have become this wretched, bitter old miser.

Well, consider this: How would you like to be visited by the ghost of your past? How would you like to go back and relive your sins, your mistakes, the foolish choices that changed your life? How would you like to be forced to watch helplessly, knowing what the outcome is going to be, unable to do anything to change the result, feeling the sharp pain of regret at not having taken the other path, or at least wondering what would have happened had your choices been different. Well, for most people, there’s really no need for a nighttime visit from one of Charles Dickens’ three spirits. Because we do it ourselves. We replay the past, again and again. We see it projected on the screen of our minds. Don’t you sometimes wish you could go back and talk to yourself at those key moments, talk to that person in the movie of your life, warn them, tell them where the road they’re taking will lead?

We’ve all experienced regret over the past. It takes many forms:                                           

· Regret over a failed marriage.

· Regret over broken relationships of all kinds.
· Regret over mistakes you made raising your kids.
· Regret over bad career moves, missed business opportunities.

· Regret over secret sins and their consequences.

· Regret at not following God’s call to serve him in a certain area.

But the Good news is that God gives us a new start in life. While I can’t change yesterday I can change today and the rest of my life.

Paul the Apostle put it this way;

“If any man be in Christ he is a new creation old things have passed away and all things become new.”

The key is to repent over your sins and rejoice over God’s forgiveness. You must do both or you will spend the rest of your days in self condemnation and defeat.

Don’t Just Think About It Do It

The Apostle Paul also writes,

My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you “   (Philippians 3:13-15, Contemporary English Version).

Time is the fringe of eternity; that is why you must live each day in its amber

How do we rise above the pain of failure and defeat and get closer to God?  We do so by realizing that failure is not a permanent obstacle. Failure should spur you on to learn and try again. Don’t be afraid to get your failures out in the open and look at them. Confessing your failures to God makes you realize that you are not alone in the universe. Analyze why you failed. This can be painful, but ask God to give you insightful wisdom (James 1:5) about your failures. If we only think negative about our failures as we endeavor to push them out of sight and out of mind we will never learn from them and we will never gain the confidence we need in dealing with the problems we face every day; only forgiveness from God smoothes the rugged road of life.

Like Catherine Booth co-founder of the Salvation Army Said:   “We are made for larger ends than Earth can encompass. Oh, let us be true to our exalted destiny”

 Have A Blessed New Year!

 He’s Only A Prayer Away:

 Pastor Bob