“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Time & Eternity, by Randall D. Kittle

In a powerful prophetic dream, I saw a large, circular rim of gold with number markings embossed around its edge like a clock. It seemed to float in the heavens. There was no face on this clock, just two golden hands that showed the time. Just as I realized that the time on this clock was three o’clock, there came the first chime to mark the hour. The ringing of the clock resonated so loudly that everything was shaken, including me. After the first bell tolled, a voice called out from heaven, “It is time — time to awaken those who sleep.” Immediately, the bell struck for a second time, and the voice declared, “It is time — time to redeem the time.” Next, the bell tolled for the third time followed by the proclamation, “It is time — time to discern the times.” Following that I heard the quiet ticking sound of this heavenly clock. The dream ended with a voice saying, “Can you hear the clock of heaven? The sands in the hourglass of time are quickly expiring! It is time to awaken those in the Church who slumber in complacency. It is time to be alert and prepared. It is time to remove the idol of time and redeem the time that is being stolen from the kingdom of God. If the Church will work to redeem their time, I will give them discernment of the times!”

Time to Awaken
The Lord wants us to understand that time is running out. The Bible tells us that, “The end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4:7). There is a day set when time will come to an end and endless eternity will begin, and the hourglass of heaven has nearly expired.

Vance Havner tells the story of a farmer who was awakened in the middle of the night when his clock went on a rampage and struck seventeen times. He rushed all over the house waking everybody up shouting, “Get up! It’s later than it ever has been before!” It is later than it has ever been for this world — later than most the Church thinks it is! “And do this, understanding the present time. 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” (Romans 13:11–12).

God is sounding an alarm clock across the body of Christ.
“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14). Remember, these are not words to the Lost, but to the Lord’s! This epistle was written to a New Testament Church filled with growth and miracles, only a short time after it was birthed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. How quickly Satan sends his slumbering spirit to those whose hearts are on fire for God. Where once the signs of first-love’s-passion were displayed, now there is only a “Do Not Disturb Sign.” But God is moving in His Church, disturbing all slumbering spirits! The Lord is calling us to come out of our coma of complacency — to awaken and arise from our apathy, for eternity is calling!

Redeeming the Time
In these days that press toward the end of the age, God not only desires us to awaken, but also to redeem the time. As Ephesians 5:15–16 instructs us, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Redeeming time has to do with using it to God’s fullest advantage. It involves both not wasting time by procrastination and not hoarding time for ourselves because it has become an idol.

Thief of Time
If we are going to redeem the time for the Lord, we need to first stop giving it to the enemy. How do we do that? By procrastination! Procrastination wastes time, misses opportunities, and breeds regret. Edward Young has said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Since Satan is a thief (see John 10:10), it is no wonder he loves when we procrastinate.

A few years ago a minister said something to me that was quite profound, “The church fails to advance because we are giving God the leftovers of our time.” You see, you will do something with your time. You will either waste time, spend time, or invest time!

I remember once when I missed the deadline for printing the
Living Water Journal, I sat devastated. It was not because of failed performance orientation, but because a constant stream of regrets raced through my mind. If I had not wasted half-an-hour doing this, if I had not let that person take up so much of my time, etc. It is no fun to live in the land of regrets … thinking of what might have been. Let us not spend eternity wondering what would have happened if we would have been sold out in service to God. Let’s put away procrastination by doing what God is calling us to do now, and if it cannot be done now, schedule to do it as soon as possible.

The Idol of Time
The other issue we need to address if we are going to redeem the time is the idol of time. Time is one of the major idols in America. The average worker is “working for the weekend.” And the average fifty-year-old is simply living for retirement. It isn’t surprising that many have made an idol out of time, for it is our most valuable earthly possession. The world is fond of saying that time is money. While there is some truth to this statement, time is by far more precious and valuable. How sad that it is often only as time runs to its natural end that we finally start to see its greater value in this lifetime over money. Remember, a lost fortune may be regained, but once time is lost it is gone forever!

How can we tell if time has become an idol in our lives? One sure clue is when we begin to make excuses as to why we cannot give our time to God in service. Often our excuse is “Not now, I’m too busy” or “Not now, it doesn’t fit in my schedule.” Many have become slaves to their schedules. They cannot be part of a late meeting because it violates their bedtime. Others are going to miss some great opportunity for the kingdom of God that is coming up because they are going to be on vacation.

When our schedule or our vacation begin to exclude God’s ability to work in our lives, we are treading on thin ice. Are we taking a vacation from God? I hope He doesn’t choose to return when we have erased Him from our schedule. There is nothing wrong with having a schedule or taking a vacation. The real question is, “Do you possess them, or do they possess you?” Even more important, who possesses your time — you, your family, your boss, or your Lord?

We have become dividers of time, nicely dividing time into little compartments: “this time is for me, this time is for my spouse, this time is for work, this time is for God, etc.” But God is saying, “stop dividing your time!”
God doesn’t want a bigger portion of your time, He wants all of it! God died for you, all of you: your sins, your struggles, and your shame, yes, but also for your talents, your money, and your time! He wants you to live one seamless life before Him.

D. L. Moody tells of a dream that had a deep impact on him. In the dream, he died and was taken by an angel up to heaven where he beheld a beautiful temple. It was made of precious gemstones: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, and opals. After admiring it for quite some time, he discovered that one stone was missing. He inquired, “What is this stone left out for?” The angel replied, “That was left for you, but you couldn’t find the time!” After he startled and awoke, he resolved to only set his schedule with the kingdom of God in mind.

Jesus is either Lord of all of our lives, or He is not Lord at all in our lives. He is asking us this day to tear down the idols we have made of our time.

Discerning the Times
In the prophetic dream, God promised, “If the Church will work to redeem their time, I will give them discernment of the times!” He is requiring us to have redeemed the times by removing the wasting of procrastination and the idolizing of time by business and spending it as we choose. If we will give God our undivided lives, He will give us discernment so we will know the times and seasons in which we live, and be able to advancing His kingdom in such a time as this!

When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked for a sign in the sky as proof of His divinity, His reply to them was that they needed to learn to read the signs of the times. “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3). Jesus had declared that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, and then did the very deeds this verse declares — preaching the gospel to the poor; healing the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and bringing recovery of sight to the blind (see Luke 4:18). Yet, they could not see it. Though they had eyes with which to see, they could not read the signs of the times Jesus was clearly displaying.

Are we, too, better at telling what the weather is going to be today than what God is doing on the earth in our day? In this prophetic dream, God said that He wants us to discern the times. The Lord desires the Church to have a “Sons of Issachar Anointing.” The Bible tells us that the sons of Issachar were
“… men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). From their understanding of the Scriptures, the Sons of Issachar were gifted at knowing how to interpret what was going on around them from a Biblical perspective … and they knew what to do about it! God still desires to reveal to those who will have eyes to see and ears to hear, the gift to interpret the signs of our times.

It is critically important we discern the timing of God. When an army wants to break the strength of the enemy, it often makes a “coordinated strike” — an attack in which many different groups fulfill their part with precise timing. Many a war has been won or lost because of the timing of a key battle. Similarly, if we are going to be used by God to break the enemy’s strongholds in our day and advance the kingdom of God, timing will be essential. The doors of opportunity for advancing the kingdom of God are often like revolving doors — it is important not to be too early or too late. As the end of the age approaches, being able to discern the times and the timing of God will become essential to effectively advancing His kingdom.

It is no accident you have been born in this day and age. Like Esther, God has purposed and planned for you to be placed in this generation.
“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Yes you are here, living in this day, because God has a purpose for you — things to accomplish for eternity before eternity. Awaken your heart to the fact that time is not your master. Your Master is the eternal God who holds time in His hands. Choose this day to remove from your life the wasting of procrastination and the idolization of time by business and spending it as you choose. If you will say yes to God’s invitation, He will not only be able to use you to advance the kingdom of God, He will also give you discernment into the times and season in which you live and what He is doing in these days.

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