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Timing is Everything When It Comes to God’s Plan

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. This is a term that adults use when things align, come together and occur as if there was a divine being working behind the scenes. My high school coach referred to coincidences as God instances where timing is everything when it comes to God’s plan for your life. As angels appeared to shepherds in a field, there was a purpose for this heavenly encounter.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing ([f]saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. 16 So they went with haste and [[g]by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child, Luke 2:15-17.

When a famous or wealthy individual shares a story like the shepherds, there is usually some sort of impure motive like the release of a new book, movie or upcoming feature on a similar topic. However, when common people speak of an angelic experience, more people tend to believe their story. Common sense and logic suggest that this person is crazy or this actually happened? God’s plan for the shepherds is revealed in the passage below.

And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary was keeping [h]within herself all these things ([i]sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart, Luke 2:18-19.

The arrival of shepherds to this barn in Bethlehem isn’t a coincidence. Rather this God instance occurred so that this eyewitness account could be passed down for generations. Instead of becoming arrogant and proud, Mary pondered this encounter in her heart, wondering if everything that has happened to her is real or merely a dream that she’s going to wake up at any time. As King Solomon wrote hundreds of years earlier, God makes everything beautiful in His time, Ecclesiastes 3:11.

by Jay Mankus

The Day Earth’s Calendar Was Set in Motion

Most archeologists agree that the Egyptians appear to have developed the first practical calendar. During the height of the Roman Empire, this calendar was appropriated and further refined into the Julian calendar. From a modern-day perspective, the Gregorian calendar is almost universally used today which was based upon the Julian calendar. After reading the creation story recently, God set in motion the earth’s calendar on the fourth day.

And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs and tokens [of God’s provident care], and [to mark] seasons, days, and years, Genesis 1:14.

The Mayans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Iranians, and Greeks were the first societies to study the solar system. Meanwhile, places like Stonehedge are believed to be built to model the solar system. Outside of Scotland, there are other similar structures that follow the stars like Easter Island in Chile. Just as Tom Hanks was trying to count the days while stuck on an uncharted island in Castaway, civilizations have been fascinated for thousands of years with stars in the sky that serve as markers for time.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what 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, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

King Solomon devotes nearly an entire chapter to time. However, Solomon uses the four traditional seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall to highlight the human emotions that each season brings. While you are able to stare at your computer, phone or watch to know the exact time and seconds left in your day at work, only God knows what will happen to you today. Jesus’ earthly brother writes about this in James 1:2-4. Subsequently, whatever the calendar brings you, God makes everything beautiful in His time.

by Jay Mankus

Tears of Joy and Pain

King Solomon writes about the emotional twists and turns that life brings you. Some of these unexpected events result in tears of joy while other moments bring pain to your heart. To keep circumstances in their proper perspective, Solomon encourages individuals to take everything in stride within chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Solomon ends his teaching on joy and pain with “God makes everything beautiful in His time,” verse 11.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what 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, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

As an emotional individual, I find it hard to stay even keel. While I no longer experience the emotional roller coaster of my immature high school days, tears of joy and pain are a weekly occurrence. Subsequently, I tend to read too much into daily events. Sometimes bad days are merely the ebb and flow of life, part of the refining process as one of Jesus’ disciples writes about in 1 Peter 1:6-7. Despite this spiritual reality, certain songs and shows still elicit tears of joy and pain.

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4.

I don’t mind tears of overwhelming gladness, but painful sorrow is an emotion that I’d rather not face. After reading the final chapter in the Bible, John reminds readers of one of the final promises of God. According to Jesus, tears will cease in heaven. All kinds of earthly anguish, mourning, and sorrow will be wiped away like erasing a new white board. Although there may be slight indications of what was once sadness, this human condition will pass away in heaven. May this day come soon.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting for the Right Time and Place

Timing in life can be extremely important. If you try to force something unnaturally like Sarah’s advice to Abraham to try to have a child through her maid servant Hagar, the consequences can last a lifetime or longer, Genesis 16:1-16. Meanwhile, King Solomon suggests that there is a time and place for everything, Ecclesiastes 3:1-10. This is followed up by the statement that God makes everything beautiful in His time, Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Again Jesus went into a synagogue, and a man was there who had one withered hand [[a]as the result of accident or disease]. And [the Pharisees] kept watching Jesus [closely] to see whether He would cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might get a charge to bring against Him [[b]formally], Mark 1:1-2.

From a Jewish tradition perspective, the Sabbath was designed for worshiping God and resting. Yet, when the Son of God was sent to earth to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10, Jesus’ time on earth was limited to 33 years. Therefore, when Jesus saw an opportunity to heal or help a needy person, it didn’t matter to Him what day it was. During a worship service in a synagogue, Jesus notices a man with a withered hand. This creates a dilemma for Jesus: to heal or not to heal on the Sabbath?

And He said to the man who had the withered hand, Get up [and stand here] in the midst. And He said to them, Is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to take it? But they kept silence. And He glanced around at them with vexation and anger, grieved at the hardening of their hearts, and said to the man, Hold out your hand. He held it out, and his hand was [completely] restored, Mark 1:3-5.

If this was a Sunday through Friday, Jesus would have immediately reached out to this man. Yet, to show respect to his elders, Jesus enters into a theological discussion with the Pharisees that were present. When these religious leaders failed to answer his question, the timing wasn’t ideal. Nonetheless, Jesus wasn’t willing to wait another day to heal this man. To fail to act would have been a sin of omission. Subsequently, Jesus chose good over evil, a lesson he taught his earthly brother in James 4:17. Waiting for the right time and place may relate to certain things in life, but serving the Lord should never be put on hold.

by Jay Mankus

Understanding the Seasons of Change

According to Genesis 2:4-6, the earth’s atmosphere was initially like an open canopy. According to Moses, underground springs bubbled up from beneath the surface to water the earth. Prior to the flood, there was only one season with a tropical climate similar to a greenhouse effect. Before the heavens opened up to bring rain for the first time, the springs of the earth burst forth, Genesis 7:11. This passage suggests some sort of enormous volcanic eruption like the super volcano in Yellowstone National Park. As massive clouds of volcanic ash blocked out the sun, the first age began, setting in motion the four seasons that exist today.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what 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, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

King Solomon provides a famous analogy about seasons of change in the passage above. Just as winter gives way to spring, spring introduces summer before summer fades to fall, the cycle is completed by a return to winter. Solomon refers to specific events that take place every year and throughout your life. Ecclesiastes 3:11 suggests that there is a time and place for everything. According to Solomon, God makes everything beautiful in His time as healing allows broken souls to mend and recover. Yet, for anyone undergoing an extremely difficult period in their life, understanding the seasons of change takes time.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

If discovering God’s will for your life can take a couple of decades, discerning the seasons of change involves deep thought and reflection. You may want to pursue a specific career or dream, but when failure causes you to change course, figuring out where to go next takes time. I still remember when I felt God calling me to become a golf professional, then a youth pastor followed by a Bible teacher and golf coach. Each time I thought, surely this is God’s will for my life until the seasons of change left me unemployed. One New Testament author gives great advice for understanding the seasons of change in Hebrews 12:1. If you treat life like a marathon, you have to push through the pain to run with perseverance so when the seasons do change, you’ll be ready to adjust and move on.

by Jay Mankus

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