To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
In the days of American rail travel, nothing was more important than the timepieces kept by engineers. These pocket watches had certain operating specifications that allowed for exactness and accuracy, even if damaged or jarred. If the train operators didn’t have synchronized watches, disaster would ensue in the form of train collisions.
Many times we think God isn’t aware of how deep our troubles are, but sometimes the problem is that our timetable is not synchronized with His. God has a time for everything and a moment for every purpose He ordains. He knows the right time to be born and to die, to plant and to reap, to laugh and to mourn, to keep and to give away, to work and to wait.
Through prayer and the truth of Scripture, we can gain a better sense of GPT: God’s Perfect Timing. Turn to Him and rest in His presence and the knowledge that nothing is beyond His sight. Develop no fret waiting. Poet J. J. Lynch said, “His wisdom is sublime, His heart profoundly kind; God never is before His time, and never is behind.”
Delay does not forget God’s servants nor cause His faithfulness to fail; rather, it fortifies their souls and vindicates His name. V. Raymond Edman
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “Seasons Greetings”
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 11:18
A study conducted by the Barna Group in 2018 found that most Americans don’t like to talk about God. Only seven percent of Americans say they talk about spiritual matters regularly—and practicing believers in Jesus in America aren’t that different. Only thirteen percent of regular churchgoers say they have a spiritual conversation about once a week.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that spiritual conversations are on the decline. Talking about God can be dangerous. Whether because of a polarized political climate, because disagreement might cause a rift in a relationship, or because a spiritual conversation might cause you to realize a change you need to make in your life—these can feel like high-stakes conversations.
But in the instructions given to God’s people, the Israelites, in the book of Deuteronomy, talking about God can be a normal, natural part of everyday life. God’s people were to memorize His words and to display them in places where they’d often be seen. The law said to talk about God’s instructions for life with your children “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (11:19).
God calls us to conversation. Take a chance, rely on the Spirit, and try turning your small talk toward something deeper. God will bless our communities as we talk about His words and practice them.
Reflect & Pray
What challenges have come to you as a result of spiritual conversations with friends? What blessings?
Why are missionaries willing to uproot their lives and learn new customs and languages? Why do people step out of their comfort zone to tell a neighbor about Christ? It’s the universal call of God, and it involves all believers. We’re to proclaim the gospel whether we bear the title of missionary or not.
We share the good news with others because of:
Mankind’s spiritual condition. Without Christ, people are enslaved to sin and destined for eternal condemnation. Although most try to manufacture righteousness through good works or false religion, they can never live up to God’s perfect standard.
God’s gracious provision. In love, God sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin and raised Him to life in victory. But the world needs Christians to share this good news in order for people to choose to confess and believe.
The Great Commission. Everyone who belongs to Jesus is charged with the responsibility of going and making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey His commands (Matt. 28:19-20). To accomplish this great task, we have been given the Holy Spirit, who opens hearts and empowers our witness.
Jesus’ promise. After giving the Great Commission, Jesus assured His disciples of the success of this mission, saying, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (v. 20).
Though this is our calling as believers, that doesn’t mean sharing the gospel is always easy. Pray for the courage and compassion to share and for people’s hearts to receive God’s truth. Then trust the Spirit with the rest.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 10:3)
This verse introduces a famous apologetic charge to the saints. The key to the whole passage is the qualifier “we do not war after the flesh.”
We must conduct war with non-flesh weapons, since “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Fleshly wisdom (2 Corinthians 1:12) often is nothing more than a “snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26) and may well spoil us if we are not very careful (Colossians 2:8).
The objective, of course, is to bring every intellectual argument captive to the truth of Scripture. This is done by the pulling down of strongholds and “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This warfare, if not done according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 1:17), is “mighty through God” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Nowhere in these verses is there permission or an implied need to learn the thoughts of the enemy before we can bring them into captivity. Biblical data insist that the flesh has “no good thing” (Romans 7:18) and cannot understand the things of God. The weapons we have are not fleshly (i.e., natural thinking, natural emotion, human reasoning, etc.). Our weapons (Ephesians 6) are the “sword of the Spirit” (offensive) and the “shield of faith” (defensive), and we’re protected by the full armor of God—praying always. It is not possible to learn all the subtle arguments of the enemy. What is possible, however, is a knowledge of the truth through our having the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) that will make us sufficient for “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). HMM III
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
—1 John 2:1
I wish it were possible to anoint the head of every Christian preacher so that he would never sin again while the world stands. Perhaps some would consider that a happy way to deal with the subject. But, in fact, if any person can be removed from the possibility of sin, he or she can only be some kind of a robot run by pulleys, wheels and push buttons. A person morally incapable of doing evil would be, by the same token, morally incapable of doing good. A free human will is necessary to the concept of morality. I repeat: If our wills are not free to do evil, neither are they free to do good….
But what was the sinning priest to do? Should he give up to discouragement? Should he resign himself to failure? No! There was a remedy. And what about ministers and all of God’s servants today? In a time of temptation and failure, should they simply quit? Should they write a letter of resignation and walk out, saying, “I am not an Augustine or a Wesley; therefore, I give up”? No, if they are aware of what the Word of God says, they will seek God’s remedy. TRA074-076
Thank You, God, for Your glorious remedy! Thank You for Your love; thank You for Your grace; thank You for constant forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Amen.
We command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work.—2 Thessalonians 3:12.
There is an order in our daily life,
Like that the holy angels constant keep,
And though its outward show seems but a strife,
There dwells within a peace like oceans deep.
The enemy of that grand central habit of interior patience is haste: haste of thought, haste of judgment, haste of manner, haste of speech. Even natural powers of every kind become true strength, when they work submissively and harmoniously under the direction of Divine light and the movement of Divine grace; and this disciplined subjection at every point under the dominion of Christ our Lord, ruling us by His grace, makes the soul the serene organ of the Holy Spirit, for the animating, controlling, and guiding of our souls.
William Bernard Ullathorne.
We are conformed to Him in proportion as our lives grow in quietness, His peace spreading within our own souls. Even amid all that outwardly disturbs us we have, if we have Him, the same peace, because He is our peace, sustaining our whole being.
T. T. Carter.
“He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.” Ps. 103:9
He will chide sometimes, or He would not be a wise Father for such poor erring children as we are. His chiding is very painful to those who are true, because they feel how sadly they deserve it, and how wrong it is on their part to grieve Him. We know what this chiding means, and we bow before the Lord, mourning that we should cause Him to be angry with us.
But what a comfort we find in these lines! “Not always” will He chide. If we repent and turn to Him with hearts broken for sin and broken from sin, He will smile upon us at once. It is no pleasure to Him to turn a frowning face toward those whom He loves with all His heart: it is His joy that our joy should be full.
Come, let us seek His face. There is no reason for despair, nor even for despondency. Let us love a chiding God, and before long we shall sing: “Thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me.” Begone, ye dark forebodings, ye ravens of the soul! Come in, ye humble hopes and grateful memories, ye doves of the heart! He who pardoned us long ago as a judge, will again forgive us as a father, and we shall rejoice in His sweet, unchanging love.