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A Time for Decision
You get out of bed in the morning to the set time of your alarm clock, sometimes! You pray, read your Bible and get a shower. You flip on the radio or TV channel to hear the news at a certain time. You sit down to breakfast, catch the bus for school, bring in the mail, drive to work&emdash;all according to the time shown by the hands of your watch or clock. Time is important to everyone. Do you waste time? Are you accountable for your time? In the final judgment, when you stand before Jesus Christ, how will you give account for your time spent on earth?

by Jerry Gentry

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Ecc 3:1).

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Ps. 90:12).

As a city person visiting friends in the country, you are jolted awake by the early morning sounds of a rooster crowing: "Errrh. . .urh. . urrh. . urh. . Urrrrrh!" The cock's announcement pierces the early morning quiet. You open your eyes, look out the window and wonder at the still, total darkness. A glance at the clock shows it is 4:13am. "Why is that rooster up so early," you think. You turn over, pull the covers up and go back to sleep. While you doze, the long rays of the rising sun are soon streaming across the landscape and into your window. Another day has arrived like clockwork.

The word "time" appears in the Bible 562 times, and the plural "times" appears another 142 times. Everybody on earth has exactly 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds of time every day. Yet people complain, "I don't have enough time!" Since the days of Adam, the sun has risen about 2,190,000 times, without any rewinding, and with only one known brief pause in the days of Ahaz, and that was not due to a snooze alarm button being pushed. If about three and one half billion people currently populate the earth, and if there is one rooster for every one hundred people living, then thirty five million roosters are crowing and awakening people somewhere on earth every morning, and that does not even count the ringing of alarm clocks, crying of babies, and loud din of early morning traffic.

Time. It gets you up in the morning, carries you through the day, and it takes you to bed at night. While you experience activities today, you remember yesterday and think about tomorrow. Yesterday is gone forever, never to be retrieved, brought back, readjusted, or undone. Today is fleeting along at a pace you sometimes find hard to believe, hard to keep up with. It's noon before you know it. Soon the sun is down and it is bed time again. Tomorrow is just a few hours away. It comes toward you at a snail's pace when you are a little child, or like a speeding roller coaster when you get older.

When you were only four, two more years until first grade seemed like eternity. Now that you are almost forty, the world seems to be flying past like a speeding bullet! By the twilight years of the seventies, you know your days are numbered. Yet time for everyone marches along at the same pace. It is not time that speeds up or slows down; it is what you do with time, how you occupy it, that speeds or slows the process.

Poor people with little money are rich in time, as are middle class people alike. You too have exactly 525,600 minutes, or 31,536,000 seconds, every year. Billionaire tycoon Howard Hughs could not buy even one minute of extra time, which passes relentlessly, for everyone, through joy and laughter, through sorrow and tears, through sowing and reaping, through sickness and health. What you make of time is what you make of life.

The Bible says there is "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace" (Ecc. 3:2-8).

Yes, we are told, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

What seasons have you established in your life? Do you personally have a time and purpose for every thing? If so, what things? What are your priorities? Do outside forces&emdash;the telephone, visitors, your job, movies and entertainment, worldly pleasures, friends&emdash;control your time? Or is your time dedicated to serving God and fellow man? Time is God's gift to man. How we use time is our gift to God.

You are rich in time, but how rich are you in the use of time? Do you squander time? Do you waste it? Do you "sleep in" frequently? Or do you make the most of the time in your life?

Concerning the "nations of men," God "hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26). "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us" (v. 27).

There are divine appointments which God has set in scripture, for "nations of men." These "times before appointed" come around weekly, monthly, annually and at additional intervals. Christian, will you "seek the Lord," in your use of these times? Or will you be a law unto yourself, do your own thing, ignore God's divine prescription for the use of time, and be swept along through time by outside forces?

The seventh day Sabbath is a weekly divine appointment, a Holy Day. The new moon is a divine appointment, not a Holy Day, but a time for feasting, fellowshipping, reflecting and planning. During seven annual feast days, spread across three seasons, God calls his people together for praise, worship, instruction, feasting and good preaching.

Will you plan and live your life according to God's prescription for the use of time? Will you dedicate your time to God every day, seven days every week?

The Bible says, "at the time appointed the end [of the world] shall be" (Dan. 8:19). God acts in a timely manner, and his holy days are like a prewritten diary of his plan of salvation for mankind. Will you find yourself saved by faith, but chastened with the worldly wicked, during the time of Jacob's trouble and coming great tribulation? Or will you be among that untouchable army of God's witnesses during that time, who "if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed" (Rev. 11:5).

If you live to the ripe old age of 70 years, the hands of your personal clock will have ticked off 25,550 days, or 613,200 hours, or 36,792,000 minutes or 2,207,520,000 seconds, when the grim reaper calls you home. Time is life, and life itself is measured in the time we spend on earth. How will we use it?

The Bible says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). Concerning our allotted time on earth, we are told, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebr. 9:27).

Will you live your full allotted time on earth? Then take note of the wisest man of all time, who said; "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened." (Prov. 10:27). It is possible to have your life cut short through sin. On the other hand, the ten commandments teach us: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee" (Exo 20:12).

We take comfort in the promises of God: "For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock" (Ps. 27:5). We all experience times of trouble in our lives. These are times to turn to God and experience his hiding hand of provision and protection.

Anciently, Joseph used a time of seven years of plenty to prepare for a coming drought. As Prime Minister of Egypt, he filled the storehouses to capacity, and later fed the people through seven years of great famine. Thereby he saved not only Egypt from starvation, but his own reunited family as well. The Bible says there is a coming time of great famine: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD" (Amos 8:11).

We live in that time today. Where can you go today to hear the pure words of God preached from the King James Bible? Not very many churches. Almost no television ministry uses the KJV. We live in a time when "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6), that is, the true knowledge of the triune God of the Bible&emdash;Father, Son and Holy Spirit. False ideas concerning God and His word are the rule, not the exception, in churches everywhere in our generation. "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. 13:11). It is time to hear the rooster crowing, listen to the alarm clock buzzing, get out bed and onto your knees with your Bible open and spiritually wake up! Now is a time of decision like never before in history. ". . . how long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word." (1Kgs. 18:21).

Concerning that time just ahead, Jesus taught: "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:22). Are you ready for what the Bible calls "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7) otherwise known as the "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21)? True Christians are warned: "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2). Though we now live in a time of great peace for the church, times ahead are prophesied to be filled with trouble and "affliction" (Mark 13:19). We are exhorted to be: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16).

Now is time to get ready for troublous times ahead. Now is the time to buy oil for our lamps, and adorn a wedding garment of white raiment, that we may be prepared for the midnight cry at Christ's return. Now is the time to do what we have always put off until a more convenient time. Now is the time to read and heed the word of God. Now is the time to get real about life and do business with God and scripture, turn from our backslidings, get our hearts right with God and take the gospel of the kingdom to the world. Now is the time to get up and do the work of God, because "the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). What is that sound I hear?

"Errrh. . urh. . urrh. . urh. . .Urrrrrh!" the early morning rooster crows. It's time to wake up, spiritually. Now is a time for decision.

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