What do you use to tell time most often? A clock on the wall? Perhaps you wear a wrist watch or carry a pocket time piece. Many people use their phone clock. Some people are blessed to live in a college community with a bell that tolls the hour. Whatever you use – what time is it?
In current culture, what time is it?
What Time Is It?
Anne Graham Lotz has a teaching in which she asks – “Do you know what time it is?” Then she drills down deeper and asks – “What do you want to be doing five minutes before Jesus returns?” Both are sober questions that deserve sober answers. But that second question provides opportunity to engage pensive exploration of your thought-word-attitude-behavior choices. It’s a reality check for your heart. I use it as an accountability question to guide and measure steps, decisions, interactions, reactions-in-the-moment, and daily responses.
- The world in conflict.
- Governments in upheaval.
- Nature in jeopardy.
- Organizations in discord.
- People in rebellion.
- Desperate souls with no hope.
- Hearts feeling lonely and afraid.
- Individuals and nations scrambling for a good plan.
- Man’s anger getting hotter.
- Deceptions that are given too much credibility.
Yes, all those things are going on right now in our world. As far as – “What Time Is It” – it’s probably much later than you think. How do you know if it’s getting close to the end times? Can a person get a clue or claim a hunch as to when Jesus will return to set things right again?
It’s a sure thing! He will set up His glorious Kingdom, effective government, strategic community, freedom for daily living, compassion for every individual, peace on earth, and joy.
What Time Is It? – The End Times
Jesus told His disciples signs that will happen near the time He will return. That detailed list is in Mark 13 and again in Luke 21. Jesus closes out with these words, “. . . when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.” (13:29) “. . . when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (21:31)
I guess we can get a clue. It seems God intended people to get a hunch.
Given those words from Jesus, Himself, we really could be close to the time He returns! Still, the very first disciples thought Jesus would return before their lives ended. All through history, followers of Jesus have thought the end might be very soon. Although we cannot determine when Jesus will return, we can use Scripture and discernment to know it is probably close.
Did you know Jesus has chosen to not know when He will return? He told His disciples in both Mt. 24:36 and Mk. 13:32, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Jesus is satisfied to not know when He will return. It is enough that His Father knows and will keep Him duly informed. Incredible!
Why do we have issues trusting our Father with the unknowns in our lives? The trust Jesus (fully human and fully God) places in Father provides another practical example for us. We don’t need to know everything before we decide to trust and obey!
How Then Shall We Live?
“Be very careful, then, how you live.” (Eph. 5:15a) Your daily choices matter. The quality of character you exercise is critical. In order to make a statement for Jesus with your life e-pistle – your life story – you need to be accurate and careful what you “write” into each day. To be a light in this dark and sinful world, yes – even to this very intelligent and technical i-generation – you also need to be practical and relevant in your life story.
Contrary to much of what we see in the world today, I believe with all my heart – Integrity still matters. I also believe wisdom will guide if you seek and obey God. Prov. 4:6 personifies wisdom as a valuable companion. “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you. Love her, and she will watch over you.”
Qualities to help you write your life story each day:
- Be Accurate
- Have Integrity
- Exercise Wisdom
Are you working to live with these qualities?
Upside-Down = Bad News
Is. 5:20-21 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
This sounds like the world today – upside-down. Topsy-turvy.
Woe is promised to a person who turns God’s right-side-up reality into upside-down. Scripture specifies:
- Calling evil – good and good – evil.
- Calling dark – light and light – dark.
- Changing out bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
- Being wise in your own eyes and clever in your own way of seeing things.
Sobering Warning About What Time Is It?
As we already discovered, the warning word used for those who flip God’s reality upside-down is woe. Woe means “anguish, grief, affliction, distress, despair.” God says these will affect you if you do not live within His reality.
On the bad news side, God declares the soberness of your condition. On the good news side, He gives a Savior to provide deliverance from all that is upside-down in the world and in your life. What a gracious exchange through Jesus who was born to grow up and die in your and my place.
Action Steps To Live In God’s Will
How can you understand God’s will and know how to follow it? Each life is so unique and different. Here are some helpful action steps:
- Ask for wisdom is the first step to apply His will in your life details.
- Choose an attitude of deep respect for God (fear of the Lord). This begins the process of receiving His wisdom into your heart and mind.
- You must believe He is very near, ready to pour His love and help into your heart. (Jas. 1:5-8)
- Be ready to receive.
- Resolve to trust and obey Him.
First, Most, and Best
The best way to understand God’s will is to desire (a choice you can control) Him above all else. Make Jesus your First, Most, and Best.
Instead of being filled with something temporary and transient, why not be filled with God’s Spirit? Here are some practical ways you can be filled with Jesus:
- Open your heart to God’s Spirit by faith and with eager expectation.
- Think about Jesus and His principles. Meditate (picture practical application) on His ways in your life.
- Talk to Jesus and about Him and His principles with others. Nudge them to draw closer to Jesus, to focus on Him, to trust and obey Him, to choose His hope.
- Rejoice in the Lord throughout your day. Thank Him for His gift of life, the cross, His companionship, and for blessings tucked into life all around you. They co-exist beside your troubles. Let thanksgiving be your sacrifice to God. (Ps. 50:14; Heb. 13:15) Choose a positive, cheerful demeanor.
- Train yourself to find God’s goodness in every life detail, including difficulties, persecutions, and sufferings. Anticipate His unseen presence and faithfulness.
- Take joy in God’s incredible love and care. Notice His attention to details as you trust. He’s watching over you.
- Be so filled up with God that His life spills over from your life onto others’ lives. Give Him credit for this.
Original design is living in partnership with God, enjoying His love, and showing deep respect for Him. You need His intimate involvement in these troubled times.
So, what time is it? It’s the right time to slip into the original design. Partner with God. Believe everything He says. Obey His commands. He is good and faithful, and He always keeps His Word.
It’s tempting to think that loving God, obeying His principles, and worshipping Him is old-fashioned. Perhaps it is. But it’s the only way to live a purposeful life. The original design helps you know God better and yourself better.
Time is growing shorter. Jesus will return. You can enjoy God and yourself more each day. This helps you enjoy life and other people more. Spend daily time with Jesus to slip into the original design. Let your life make a difference.
- What do you want to be doing five minutes before Jesus returns?
- Are you striving for – and asking God for – a life that includes these qualities? Look them up and jot their meanings:
- Does your life story point to Jesus?
- What practices will you adopt to trust and obey God?
- What practices will you give up because they are not pleasing to God?
- Is Jesus your First, Most, and Best?
- Are you in Scripture and praying daily?
Most of all – how do you answer, “what time is it?”
Action Steps For You
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* Material for this article is developed from my book More E-pistles For An i-Generation. Check it out on our website, along with other excellent Bible Study materials. Your daily devotional time can be Alive and Active!