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Once Upon a Time

Living in two dimensions is not easy but it is what God expects of us. By dimensions I mean living in our present time and living in God’s time at the same time. If it sounds confusing, it can be. The reality is that even though we as people are earth bound there is a force in the universe that moves outside of time. That force plans and guides our lives.

Eph 2:10, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

It is not that God forces us to do anything, but that He is aware of everything that we do and thus is able to guide us in the right way to act. The catch is that we need to listen and decide to do that which benefits God. If it benefits God it will benefit us also.

I work with a lot of people that the court system sends to me and many of their problems are the result of bad planning. The examples are too many to list here. They all relate to bad timing. We choose to be with someone, to go some place, to try risky behavior just this once and we end up caught. It all relates to choosing the “what” and the “when” on the basis of emotions rather than clear thought. If in fact, the Bible is right when it says we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works,” then it is important to think clearly about the “what” and the “when” we are to do things. How often do we ask ourselves, what good will this thing I am about to do accomplish? Will it potentially hurt me or someone else or will it make things better. The Bible tells us that these good things God has prepared for us to do were prepared or planned by Him in advance. Our job is to stay close enough to God that we will be able to hear Him when He helps us evaluate what we are about to do.

The classic scripture about timing is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It basically says that everything has its time, but that the right time for many things may not be right now.

Eccl 3:1-17, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

One of the things that is hard for us to get into our minds is that what goes on in our lives and the choices that we make have anything to do with heaven or even with God. The reality is that even Jesus was directed by God’s timing. Therefore, Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right (John 7:6). He told His brothers that they could go to town anytime they wanted, but He would only go according to God’s timetable. I wonder how often we say, I would really like to but I don’t think this is the right time or the right thing to do. For God to give an answer like that we would have to be in close contact with God; it’s possible.

Mark 13:9, Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

It is not likely, in this country, that you or I will be arrested and jailed because of our faith. It is, however, likely that we will be in a position that we need the Holy Spirit to give us the right thing to say about when we should or should not do something. This is particularly true on the weekend. When they say, let’s have a few drinks or he/she really wants you or just try it once, it can’t hurt. At times like these we need to think about the Holy Spirit and what He would say; then we should say it. These kinds of things put our faith on trial.

Once upon a time a beautiful princess and a handsome prince got together too soon. It was not God’s time. There was not enough preparation and as a result they did not live happily ever after.

By Pastor Robert Rathbun