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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Time Well Spent

John Bradshaw - Time Well Spent

John Bradshaw - Time Well Spent
John Bradshaw - Time Well Spent

This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me. His father was a famous actor, and by the time he was 20, it was clear that he, too, was gonna carve out a successful career in show business. After starring in the musical television program "The Partridge Family," David Cassidy became a global sensation, a teen idol, selling out Madison Square Garden in hours, playing to crowds of 56,000 at the Astrodome in Houston. He sold out Wembley Stadium in England and ignited mass hysteria at many of his shows. But in spite of his enormous success in television, music, stage shows, and more, not everything went perfectly in his life. He battled alcoholism, faced bankruptcy, and died from liver failure in 2017 at the age of 67, a sad end for a man who was greatly loved, immensely talented, and had legions of fans. According to his daughter, his last words were, "So much wasted time".

Think about that: "So much wasted time". I can't be sure what David Cassidy was referring to when he said that, but there's no doubt he's not the only person to have felt that way. Everyone is given the same amount of time. No matter who you are, every day contains 24 hours; every week is made up of seven days; every year is roughly 365 days long. Life expectancy in the United States is about 78.5 years. That's more than 28,500 days. In Canada it's a little less than 82 years, almost 30,000 days. And no matter what you're doing, no matter where you are, the clock keeps ticking. Time marches inexorably on.

As the Latin phrase states, adapted from a poem written by Virgil just before Jesus was born, "Tempus fugit". "Times flies". Which means that right now you and I are getting older. Your next birthday is getting closer. The return of Jesus is getting nearer. French novelist Victor Hugo said, "Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time". Every second that ticks away into the past is gone forever. Charles Darwin wrote, "A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life".

According to Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity, which explains how speed affects mass, time, and space, time would slow down if you were to travel at the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second. And that's fast enough for someone going that fast to circle the globe seven and a half times in one second, pretty fast. Einstein also theorized that as you get closer to a black hole, the flow of time slows down. And he said that time ticks faster or slower at different elevations on earth. Life is absolutely governed by time. Without a standardized system for measuring time, society just wouldn't work.

Generations ago, the rhythms of life were guided by nature. Farmer Brown rose when the rooster crowed, and once it got dark, the day was essentially done. There were no time zones in the United States until railroads implemented them in the 1800s to standardize times for train schedules. Communities used to set their clocks to noon based on when the sun reached the highest position in the sky. So, the time in Washington, DC, for example, would be different to the time in New York City. The United States today has six time zones. Don't forget Hawaii and Alaska. Canada has six. Russia has 11 time zones, while China, a little bigger in area than the United States, has...just one. Time regulates our lives. Your job starts at, let's say, 8:00 a.m., not whenever you feel like it.

A production line could never work if people rolled in and out of the factory whenever they felt inclined. You take the 7:15 bus because that's the one that gets you to work on time. You work back from there to calculate what time you have to get out of bed, what time you have to set your alarm clock. But how do time and a person's spiritual life intersect? In every way and at every moment. Think of this: Life is the time you spend on earth between two points in time. When you're born, time begins for you. When you die, time is done. The clock stops ticking for you. Life is that dash you see on gravestones. "Here lies Joan Citizen," 1940-dash-2020. Joan lived for 80 years. That was that.

Life is a very finite amount of time. The Bible speaks about our time on this earth being only so long. Psalm 90: "For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow". The Bible writer says our time on earth is limited and then says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom". It's vital to be cognizant of the very limited amount of time we have on this mortal coil and to use that time wisely. So, what would your life look like if you gathered up the fragments of time and utilized them for your advantage? While one person is frittering away time on social media, another person is practicing guitar.

After a year or two of this, you can expect that one person has consumed a whole lot of social media, while the other has learned some pretty decent guitar skills, might not yet be a virtuoso but certainly at the point of competence. Let's say you have a 45-minute or an hour-long commute on the subway every day. You could play Candy Crush or listen to music. Or you could read. The average reader can get through a 300-page book in about eight hours. That's four days commuting in this scenario. Let's call it a book a week. Imagine: a video game? Or a book a week? Fifty books a year, 100 books in two years. The Bible urges us to make the most of the time we have.

Proverbs 20:13 says, "Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread". That's an injunction against laziness, and it's God saying, "Use your time wisely". While you're wasting time, the clock is ticking. And moments frittered away are time you've traded for little or nothing. And that's not to say a person shouldn't enjoy downtime. That's important, too. Sometimes that's the very best way to spend your time. But time is precious, and wasting it can set you back spiritually. So, how can you use the time you have to grow your relationship with God, to prepare yourself for heaven? A saved person and a lost person both have the same amount of time, but one person invests their time in something that matters most, while the other person does not. So how do we make sure our lives are time well spent? We'll find that out in just a moment.

Thanks for joining me on It Is Written. For most people life is busy. There's work and home life and obligations and responsibilities that occur outside of all of that. And you've got to take personal time and time for friends and family. It's not uncommon for students to be carrying a heavy class load, as well as working and maintaining friendships and so forth, and then finding out there's very little time left over. Sometimes it seems life is too busy for exercise. Families strain because it can be hard to find enough time to invest in a marriage or to dedicate to children. Some people feel they don't have enough time to eat well. Fast food is such an easy option, and ultimately your health suffers as a result. So we don't have enough time. Except maybe we do.

The Washington Post reported on a study from the CDC that revealed people have, on average, "more than five hours of leisure time each day". Between 1965 and 2003, "the average American workweek actually declined by three hours, while leisure time increased". "In one study of more than 7,000 working Australians, researchers declared that time pressure is an 'illusion.'" The research demonstrated people had more free time in their schedules than they thought. Studies show that TV is the leisure activity of choice, taking up almost half of people's leisure time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. A report from the CDC suggested devoting 20 or 30 minutes of that time to exercising. And surely that would be a good thing. But the question I want to ask is, how much time are people devoting to God? What about devotional time? No question, it's important to be healthy physically. But how important is it to be healthy spiritually?

Your relationship with God is the most important relationship you have, bar none, by a million miles. But relationships are made of time. If you're not putting time into a connection with God, then, more than likely, there's no real connection with God. Now, there are some people, mothers of young children, for example, maybe medical students, simply struggle to find time for anything at all. And that's to be understood. These time pressures are real, but they're typically temporary because little children become bigger children and over time require a little less time. And after graduation or maybe after year two, medical students have it a little better. But the vast majority of the rest of us simply do have the time to invest in spiritual growth, in experiencing God, in character development, in getting to know Jesus as He wants us to know Him.

Jesus invites us again and again: "Come to me... and I will give you rest". "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out". "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee". That's Isaiah 26:3. Those verses are speaking of a connection, a connection built on time. So how do you establish and maintain that connection with God? Listen to what David wrote in Psalm 63, verse 1: "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You". Notice that David put God first, "early". Before the day consumes your time and attention, the key is to put God first. Pray before you check your email or texts or social media. Read the Bible before you read the news. Don't turn on the TV until after you've spent time with God. Life is busy, and if you allow it to, it'll overwhelm your spiritual life. I'm hearing somebody say, "I leave for work at 6:00 a.m., and that means I'd have to get out of bed earlier than I do so that I can spend time with God".

Now, just a minute, you know what you're talking about here, right? A saving connection with God, it's the most important thing in your life. You just can't afford to say, "My schedule doesn't allow it," or "I'm too busy," or "I can't be bothered getting out of bed". If you have an early start, make it earlier. Go to bed half an hour or an hour earlier. You won't regret it. It's what everyone needs. Better to miss a TV program than to not spend time with God. What's actually happening is that people are putting Facebook and Instagram and YouTube or whatever ahead of God, which just makes no sense at all.

Now, the person who really does have a jam-packed schedule might need to get creative. It might be that you pray at home and then read your Bible on the train. Or if you can't find as much time as you want, read your Bible when you're waiting for an appointment or at the doctor's office. Gather up the fragments of time and you'll find that they add up to something significant. It's imperative we work this out. Devote time to praying and reading the Bible regularly, daily, and you're investing in the very best that there is. You're doing yourself the biggest favor you could, and you're honoring God and drawing near to His heart. Jesus said, "Seek...first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things [will] be added unto you".

That's Matthew 6:33. You want to put God first. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice" in John 10:27. But without making time for God, you won't hear His voice. In Mark 1, you read that Jesus healed people and cast out demons. Where did the power to do that come from? Verse 35: "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed". Even Jesus recognized the absolute necessity of quality, uninterrupted time with His Father. If it was necessary for Jesus, then you know it's necessary for us. Daniel prayed three times a day. You don't want to let anything keep you from connecting with the heart of God. Remember, we're in a spiritual war. There's an enemy doing battle against the people of God. Paul wrote, "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. John wrote in Revelation that the devil is making war against God's people. Your defense is the presence of God, which you'll experience when you take time with Him. And keep in mind: A devotional life isn't just a duty. It's a privilege. It's a joy. You pray so you can know God. You read the Bible, and you grow closer to God as His thoughts fill your mind. Not having enough time shouldn't ever keep you from God. One of the devil's most effective tactics is to make people so busy that they feel that they don't have time for God. He'll distract you so that your life is filled up by other things, many of them good things. And as a result, there's less and less room for the God of heaven. Coming up: Long ago God saw the world as busy as it is, and He intentionally made plans for us to get enough time with Him. How did He do that? I'll tell you in just a moment.

Several years ago, construction began inside a mountain in west Texas on a 10,000-year clock. That is, the clock is intended to keep time for 10,000 years. It'll tick once a year and chime once every 1,000 years. The purpose of the clock, ah, well, who knows. Funded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, when it's completed, it's going to be 500 feet tall. It'll be powered by the earth's thermal cycles, and it'll cost tens of millions of dollars... to mark time almost 2,000 feet above the valley floor inside a mountain, hours from the nearest airport. On the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder, there's a strontium optical atomic clock. It's one of the most accurate clocks on the planet. It's said to be accurate to within a second over 15 billion years. That's a long way from obelisks and sundials. And it demonstrates, in some sense, humanity's fascination with time.

There have been oodles of books written on time management. Some of them have probably been somewhat useful. But real time management is more than likely real project management or self-management. You can learn to be efficient. You can't stop time. You can't pause time. You can't delay time. And even when you're managing your time, the clock is still ticking. So what's so important that you'd allow it to keep you from spending time with God? Between work and sleep and TV and the internet and shopping and eating and drinking and household responsibilities, you need to find time for God.

God said long ago, "And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart". But if you're spending a day a week online and several hours a day in front of the TV, it's hard to imagine there's a whole lot of time left to seek for God. But, nothing takes God by surprise. At the very foundation of this world, God took steps to help us prioritize time with Him. He gave us a regular reminder of how important it is to spend time in His presence. What did He do?

We go way back to Genesis, chapter 2, to find out: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made". And knowing humans might just forget to take this time out for God, He went so far as to write it down in the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God". At the foundation of the world, God impressed upon the human family the importance of taking time for Him. Knowing we'd be pressed, He carved a day out of the rock of time and told us it was imperative that we connect with Him. But fewer people than ever are taking this seriously.

God actually gives you a day out each week, a day off, a release valve, time, time with Him. Who wouldn't want that? He set it aside as a blessing, telling us the weekly rest day was made for the human family, made with you in mind. Now, many of our grandparents took that seriously, but as the years have passed, we've kind of got away from the importance of time set aside for God. And what day is that, the Sabbath day? The Bible says it's the seventh day, the day that today we call Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the week, not the Sabbath. Jesus clearly recommended we keep the Sabbath day holy. The early Christian church did so. It's all through the book of Acts.

The book of Revelation says God's people in the end of time will be keeping the commandments of God. And Sabbath rest is so important and so good for us and our relationship with God that God included it in the Ten Commandments. God commands us to rest, to take time out, to pause and rest a while. It's important to Him because He wants the best for you. Instituted at Creation, it seems the Sabbath is one thing that has become even more relevant as time has gone on, as society has become busier, as demands on families have increased. God says, "Time matters. Be sure to take time every week," God says, "Sabbath rest on the seventh day". You can think of time as a talent that should be dedicated to God. The value of time is greater than we can calculate, and time is short. James wrote that life is "a vapor" which appears for a moment "and then vanishes away". We've barely begun living, and we're facing the end of our time on earth. We're on this earth to prepare for heaven. That's why we're here.

In the parable in Luke 12, a man's fields were very productive. So he built bigger storehouses to store his wealth. God said to him, "This night your soul will be required of you". He died a lost man. He had the same amount of time as anyone else, but he didn't put that time into what really mattered. And when his time was up, it all came crumbling down. Every moment we're given by God is preparatory time, time that we're going to invest one way or another. Think of the last 24 hours or maybe your last week. How much of that time have you invested in eternity? The Bible says we should "redeem the time," which means, make the most of the time we have. You have time? Use it for good. Use it to invest in yourself and in others. Use it to better the world. Use it to grow your relationship with God. Time wasted is time you can't get back.

Like so many others, David Cassidy understood that, too late. Is it time for you to reassess the way you're using your time? Are you spending adequate time with God? Without that time, you'll fall when temptation comes, and it'll be impossible to reflect the character of Jesus. Without time in the presence of God, transformation doesn't take place, and your mind isn't anchored in the things of heaven. Instead, it's all over the place. God calls you to time with Him every day and to weekly rest where the world takes a back seat and you're liberated to focus on God and the things of heaven and to enjoy His presence. If you've not been taking time for God like you should, we'll pray and ask that that will change. We'll ask God to lead you in working it out so that you're spending quality time with Him. Through time in His presence, you can grow unto "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ". Only with Him, never without time with Him.

Our Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of time. We all have the same amount of time every day, different responsibilities, different lives, but the same amount of time. Teach us, Lord, to invest our time wisely, putting You first, not giving You the leftovers of our lives. And we thank You that You always take time for us. You're always present, always near, always listening. And, Lord, we thank You that Jesus came to this earth and gave all of His time for us. Give us grace to honor His investment in us, that we'll have an eternity of time to spend with You.

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