New Years Now Is The Hour!

New Years Now Is The Hour!

Romans 13:11 12 “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Have you noticed that each year almost all the major news magazines put out an issue with special pictorial sections recalling people and events that made news during the previous year? Many magazines also include articles by experts predicting what they expect to see happening in the years ahead. Some even go so far as to make predictions covering 10, 20, or more years in the future. In the past, a few of these predictions have proven amazingly accurate, while others could not have been more wrong.Back in 1967 experts predicted that by the turn of the century technology would have taken over so much of the work we do that the average American work week would be only 22 hours long and that we would work only 27 weeks a year. As a result, one of our biggest problems would be in deciding what to do with all our leisure time. Well, I do not know about you, but that prediction certainly missed the mark as far as my life was concerned!{{more}}In fact, most of us seem to be very busy. We are always in a hurry. We walk fast, and talk fast, and eat fast. And after we eat, all too often, we stand up and say, “Excuse me. I have got to run.”I wonder how we will do this year? Will you be as busy? Will you make any better use of your time? When this year is over will you be looking back with joy, or with regret? Will you be looking at the future with anticipation, or with dread? There is a passage of Scripture that I believe can be of help to us as we look forward to the rest of 2011 if we will listen to it. There is a passage in Ephesians 5:15 17 it says, “Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s Will is.” Amen! Your time on this earth is limited so you must be very careful how you live because of that fact. Psalms 39:4 says, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life” And Psalms 90:10 says, “The length of our days is 70 years or 80, if we have the strength hey quickly pass, and we fly away” Amen! I realize that for some of you younger folk, 70 or 80 years sounds like a long, long time. In fact, I can remember when I thought anyone over 40 was ancient, but no longer. It is all rather relative, is not it? For example, for teenagers in love talking together in the car, an hour or two seems like a blink of an eye. But for mom and dad worrying about what’s going on out in that car, an hour or two seems like an eternity. Amen!The Psalmist also tells us to number our days so that we will develop a heart of wisdom. A few years ago People Magazine published an article entitled “Dead Ahead” telling about a new clock that keeps track of how much time you have left to live. It calculates an average life span of 75 years for men and 80 years for women. So you program your sex and age into the clock, and from then on it will tell you how much time you have left. I did not buy one. Neither you nor I have a guarantee of even one day more to live. In fact the Bible tells us not to count on tomorrow because tomorrow may not come for you or for me. All you have is right now. So your time on this earth is valuable because it is very limited. Paul tells us that you must make “the most of every opportunity and he gives a reason, “because the days are evil.” Jesus said that Satan is a robber and a thief, and one of the things he tries to rob from us is our time because time is a very precious possession. Just think of the time wasted in sinning. Think of the time wasted in bars or in gambling casinos or in shallow affairs. Think of the time wasted in gossiping or spreading rumors. Think about all the time wasted worrying about the consequences of the sins we have committed. Satan is a thief and a robber! It is not just sin that makes demands on your time. Sometimes even good things can make demands.In Luke 10 Jesus went to the home of Mary Martha and Lazarus. He sat down to teach and Mary was sitting at His feet just soaking in every word. Meanwhile, Martha was out in the kitchen preparing dinner. Now, you know the story. Martha gets upset because Mary is not in the kitchen, too. So she complains to Jesus, “Lord, do not you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke 10:40 42 says, “Martha, Martha,” Jesus answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Now was Martha committing a sin by fixing a meal in the kitchen? No, of course not! But here is the problem. She was so preoccupied with what she was doing that she did not realize that God was in her living room. That is the same mistake you and I make almost every day. We get so caught up in the here and now that we fail to deal with the eternal, the things that will last forever and ever. A medical doctor, wrote a book in which he discusses one of the major maladies of our time anxiety and stress. He calls it “overload,” and says that people are just plain overloaded. We are overloaded with commitments. We have committed ourselves to go here and there, to take part in this activity and that social function. As a result we soon begin meeting ourselves coming and going because we have overloaded ourselves in the area of commitments. We are also overloaded with possessions, he says. Our closets are full, and our garages are overflowing. We have gone into debt to pay for all of these things that we “simply must have” and now we are so afraid that someone will steal them. We are overloaded in the area of possessions. We have an overload in the area of work. We get up early, fight traffic, and experience intolerable working conditions because we have to if we are going to pay for all those possessions that we have accumulated. Amen!You have to understand what the Lord’s Will is. Well, to answer that, Paul tells us, “Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s Will is.” What do you think God’s Will is for you in this New Year? Do you think He wants your mind so saturated with worries and anxieties that you cannot think spiritual thoughts? Do you think He wants your calendar so crowded that you do not have time for the important things? What do you think God’s Will is for you this year? Let me make a couple of suggestions for you to consider. First of all, establish your priorities. I am assuming that since you are reading this message that you believe God should be a part of your life. When you begin to establish priorities, you have to decide just where He stands in your life. So ask yourself, “Who or what is most important in my life?” I am hoping that your answer will be, “My relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is most important to me.” If so, then put that at the top of your list of priorities, and say, “This will affect my decisions, my scheduling, my relationship with others, and my whole outlook on life.” I will worship the Lord and nothing will interfere with that.”You also need to schedule some definite time each day to pray and to read His Word. Pray for yourself and for your family and for people around you. Pray for your church, and for the missionaries. Sometimes they feel so alone and so far away. You will never know how much your prayers will mean to them, but you will be blessed as you grow in your faith and trust in the Lord!You must also spend time with your family. Wherever it is, spend some time together.Spend time with your children, too. They are growing up ever so fast. These are precious moments. Do not let them get away. Make sure that you spend quality time with your children. Make sure that your family is very high on the list.Most of us have to work and I think Christians ought to be good workers. When someone hires a Christian they ought to know they are getting someone who will give them an honest day’s work, and not cheat them. Christians have a responsibility to the Lord to honor Him even in the marketplace. Amen! First of all, establish your priorities. Learn how to live today. The two greatest enemies of time are regrets for things we did in the past, and anxiety about what will happen to us in the future. Many of us are living either in the past or in the future. In fact, many of us are engaged in the little game of, “I wish it were.” “I wish it were next week,” or “I wish it were next month,” or some such thing. During the New Year may you have enough happiness to keep you sweet and enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human enough, hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort – enough wealth to meet your needs, enough enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow, and enough determination to make each day better than the day before.Lord, please help us to use this year the wisest way we can for you, and for your glory. Romans 13:11 12 says, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Now you know why now is the hour? Happy New Year! Amen!