Time Limit

Time Limit

Intro: Today is June 2nd! We are in the middle of the year with only 211 days until year 2020. We just attended our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation. I graduated high school 44 years ago – Pic.  Pam and I will have been married 44 years on 9-11.  Life is flying by. WE can’t relive our earlier life. Once this day is over you can’t get it back. All you keep is a snapshot in your memory.

          Song lyrics: I use to party all night till the break of dawn.

                              I could shake it on down till the cows come home.

                              I could cockle doodle doo like the red rooster does,

                              The older I get the better I was.

I heard about a man walking in the airport and saw a sign above a machine that said “know your future, 50 cents”. He put 50 cents in and the machine said, “Your name is John Smith. You are scheduled to fly to Boston on flight 220.” He couldn’t believe it. He stopped a man walking by and said look at this – this thing knows my future. The man shrugged his shoulders and kept walking. He reached into his pocket for more change but did not have any. He walked across to the newsstand and had to wait in long line but finally got some change and went and put it back into machine. This time the machine said, “Your name is still John Smith, but you fooled around with this machine so long you just missed your flight to Boston!”

We must remember not to get distracted with things that don’t matter because we have a time limit here on earth. We don’t have time to waste but we do have enough time to do the things God has planned for us to do.

Ill. I’ve heard people give young people what they considered was good advice like, “while you are young make all the money you can and get set for life then you can retire early.” But is that the best thing you can do with your limited amount of time? If you are busy making all the money you can you may not be doing what God has planned for your limited amount of time.

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows ME . . .”
Jer. 9:23-24

To glory means to shine or boast about. To know God intimately is the supreme calling of our life. The Westminster confession by the Anglican church in 1600’s asked and answered life’s most important question:

 What is the chief end of man?

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Do you enjoy God? The leading theologians in the 1600’s decided that this was the purpose of mankind. It was not to be rich, famous, or live long, but simply to glorify God with your life and enjoy Him forever.

“He has shown thee, O mortal man, what the Lord requires of thee. To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8

“You are just a little vapor that appears then quickly vanishes away.” James 4:14

“Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how transient I am.” Psalm 39:4  

How long do you plan on living? You don’t have much control over that.

“Don’t ask God to add years to your life, but to add life to your years.”

          Ill. This past week an acquaintance of ours committed suicide. I reached out to him the week before by phone and the other day I learned he took his life. How sad.

          Certainly God had plans for this life. You’re not here on earth just taking up space. God put talents and gifts in you. With life comes responsibility to become what God created you to be.

Eccl. 7:17 tells us it is possible to die before your time. If you take foolish risks that endanger your life you could die before your appointed time.

Only King Hezekiah in OT knew the exact time of his death. God told Elijah to tell him God had lengthened his time for 15 more years.

The rest of us do not know the time of our death. It may be a long time from now or only days, weeks away.

The point is since life is short – we must not waste our life on things that do not matter. Don’t get involved in fighting battles God has not called you to fight. When you realize your days are numbered – you don’t respond to every criticism or to every call to some good cause.

When you live realizing you have a time limit you live differently:

You don’t get offended easily – you let go and trust God.

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

One reason people lose their joy is because they go to bed each night with anger or un-forgiveness in their heart. They are re-living their hurts and thinking about their disappointments. The problem is if your sun goes down with anger – it comes back up in the morning in anger. If your sun goes down in unforgiveness then your sun rises in the morning with un-forgiveness. It drains you emotionally and physically making you age in your body before your time.

When you go to bed at night say to God, “Lord, I am releasing every negative thing that has happened to me today. I am releasing every hurt, every worry, every disappointment, forgiving those who did me wrong. I am going to sleep in Your peace and wake up to a new day.

“Disappointments are inevitable, but misery is optional.”

Ill. Thomas Edison’s son, Charles tells the true account of when Edison’s lab caught fire at night and burned to the ground. All the celluloid film, records, and notes were destroyed. At 67 when many people would have said, “What did I do to deserve this, I’ve lost everything I worked for.” Instead Edison said to his son, “go get your mother to see this incredible fire!” The next morning he met with his team of workers and said, “We are going to re-build. Does anyone know where we can get some money?” After that he rolled up his coat into a pillow and took a nap. Wow, what a positive attitude.

Someone said, “You can be either pitiful or powerful, but you can’t be both, so make up your mind.”

Be careful who you let get close enough to influence you. Jesus did even with the twelve – only Peter, James and John were called for some greater times with Jesus.

There might be some friends you need to lose in order to make some new ones. Ill. A lady was re-evaluating her friendships. Her voice mail said, “Sorry I missed your call. I am making some changes in my life. Leave a message but if I don’t call you back, please know that you were one of those changes.”

Sometimes certain friends were good for you at the time. People are like scaffolding. They were designed to give you support for a while. But after the building is built you don’t let the scaffolding stay in place.  But now you’ve grown more than they have and its time to move on. Appreciate the people who have helped you, honor them, but you can tell when their position in your life has changed.

The people closest to you are influencing your life for good or bad!

Ill. In Mark 5 Jesus was going to a house to pray for a little girl who died. When He arrived at the house scripture says He did not allow anyone to go in with Him except Peter, James and John.

          When you are in a battle and need a breakthrough, you don’t need people around you asking, “Do you think you’re going to be able to make it? You don’t need someone to try and talk you out of it.

Jesus said to those in the room, “This girl is not dead, but sleeping.”

“They laughed at Him in ridicule. But when He put them all out.  He showed them the door! Jesus was bold enough to say, “I don’t need your doubt about My destiny.

It may be difficult but you cannot fulfill your destiny with a critical spirit over your shoulder telling you to quit. You may have to learn to love some people from a distance. Don’t let them inside to drain your tank. Limit your time around them.

Ill. I had an issue with someone and tried to resolve it as best I could to no avail. Every night it was renting space in my mind even though I forgave them. One day I was surprised how God told me to end the relationship immediately because it was draining me. Cut them lose and let them go NOW! It was poisoning me and God said it was enough. I still love them but - from a distance.

  When God created you He already had in mind the number of your days and supplied the strength to equal your days.

“As your days are, so shall your strength be.” Deut. 33:25

          How am I going to deal with this? God has ordained that your strength will always match your opposition! He knew the day your giant would oppose you. He knew the day the bad medical report would come. He is whispering to you one of my favorite comforting scriptures.

“God is my refuge and strength, a very present Help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth be removed, thought the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters roar and foam. . . BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” Psalm 46  

Ill. Driving in Tenn. we have a 4 cylinder car and times going up steep winding mountain roads it seems like our little car couldn’t make it. All of a sudden you could feel the passing gear kick in and hear the engine roar like it took off with new power. This is like us – we have strength in reserve we never tap into to make it up that steep hill.

          God has some hidden strength in reserve for you. You have strength, creativity that you have yet to discover.

I am learning that the closer I get to the destiny God has for us the tougher our battles become. Nothing you’re facing is a surprise to Him! He knows every hill, every disappointment, every set back.

He said His grace is sufficient so you will never come to a mountain that you don’t already have the grace to make it over! It is called finishing grace.

God would not have allowed it if you couldn’t handle it!

Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor, to encourage him. He said this,

“Stir up the gift of God, which is in you.” 2 Tim. 1:6

-        Literally “fan into flame”. – the fire of God starts to die down.

-        It’s good to have friends help us with this but ultimately it is our responsibility.

It’s interesting to me that the next verse after this is this,

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind (self control).”
2 Tim. 1:7

Connect the two and you can see how the enemy uses fear to put out your fire for God, your passion for life. Fear in the form of words like, “It is never going to get any better. There’s no hope. It’s over you might as well quit. You’re done here.”

If you don’t guard your fire, then someone or something will put it out.

How many times have you heard someone say that what they thought was the worst thing that could happen to them ended up being one of the best things that every happened to them?

Our part of learning to abide in Christ is to quit letting things that happen steal our joy. Life is too short to live it negative, offended or bitter, or discouraged. If we stay calm and stay in faith, God promises He will show us the way, so don’t let the enemy intimidate you. You don’t have time to waste on worry, fear, or offenses. Some of these are nothing more than little foxes sent to spoil your fruit on the vine.

Most of us have heard the scripture, “Greater is He that is in you that he that is in the world.” But the context of it says more,

“You are of God, little children, and you HAVE overcome them, BECAUSE greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

 I John 4:4

          If only we lived in this kind of confidence!

Ill. Man was having a big party at his house. His swimming pool was filled with sharks and alligators. He announced to guests, “To anyone who will swim across this pool, I’ll give you anything you want.” Seconds later a big splash and a man was swimming frantically across the pool. To the amazement of everyone he made it across the pool. The wealthy man came over and said, “You are the bravest man I ever met. Tell me what can I give to you?”

          The man looked around and answered, “What I want more than anything else, is the name of the person who pushed me in!”

Point: Sometimes it may feel like we got pushed in to something bad that we were not expecting. A bad medical report, a sudden unexpected expense. It was a surprise to us but not to God. It feels like someone pushed you in. Stay in faith and do the best you can and trust God to help you. If God did not stop it – you and He can handle it.

Concl:  You don’t have time to waste on things God has not appointed for you. You do have time to do the things God has for you to do.

T – Today’s
I -   Interests (affects)
M -My
E -  Eternity

What are you focusing on?
What should you be focusing on?
What do you need to let go of?
When are you going to do it?

“Life is like a vapor.” “Teach me to number my days that I might apply my heart unto wisdom.”

Scripture tells us one thing is always for today. “Today is the day of salvation.” – Never put off your need to settle your salvation with God by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 “boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”