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“The joy of the Lord is my strength,” so we say, and what strength, what might, and what power does it take to stop the Earth from spinning, and what does it take to have it roll backwards?

The joy of the Lord is that which God enjoys, that which brings Him joy.  And what was the first joy of the Lord?  Was it not the moment He first said, “Let there be light,” and He began to take time to create each and everything from the first day to the sixth, and having done so, to then see that it was good.  The Lord was enjoying what He saw and what He had created one day at a time.  This first joy of the Lord, which God derived joy from when this Creation first came into being, is related to time and creation, that is, time and work as far as God was concerned.  Thus the simple secret for the strength that is the power and the might to control time so that time in a person’s hand is malleable and shape able, is the joy of the Lord to enjoy time as God enjoys time – to enjoy what takes time to bring forth and what is brought forth by time.  Time then is both the incubator and an ingredient in all that is created, which can be seen, for all God created in the six days, He saw that it was good.  It was through the creation of time that the Lord received His first joy from this Creation, and hence the first strength of this Creation comes from the enjoyment brought by time.  It is when a person enjoys what takes time to bring forth and is brought forth in the fullness of time that the strength needed to control time is given.

A person who enjoys taking time to create and to work and a person who enjoys what can only be brought forth with time is a person who has patience, that is, a person who has love and is capable of loving.  Paul told us Love is patient, and John wrote telling us God is Love, and Peter reminded us:  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  Thus, the patient person has the first hallmark of what God, who can do all things instantaneously, enjoys about time.  What this means is that no impatient person can have access to the strength that is needed to master time as God is the Master of time.  Thus, anyone who is in a hurry, anyone who is living as if their time is running out and anyone who does not enjoy what takes time to grow, is barred from the strength that is needed to have mastery over time.  For the joy of the Lord is our strength, and the Lord’s joy involves taking time to create and to wait for what is produced from what is sown.

Herein lays the genius of God who put all things that He made, both seen and unseen, under the yoke of time, even immortal beings, the moment He made day and night at the end of the first day.  Even the original sinner, Satan, who was not under the yoke of time, was lured into making the greatest mistake of his life when he tempted and deceived Eve in order to take over the realm of our Creation, which is governed by day and night.  He left his eternal realm and trespassed into our time-limited realm and became also a creature governed by days and nights the moment he deceived Eve.  Because he had done so, he permitted God to righteously reward him with what governed the lives of Adam and Eve as well, day and night.  This happened when the Lord said to him, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” 

You see, an immortal creature is not governed by “days of your life,” but because Satan coveted what Eve and Adam had, God ‘rewarded’ him with the desire of his heart.  So eternal is this ‘reward’ for Satan that even when he is thrown into the Lake of Sulphur, he will get to keep the old system of day and night that was made on day one of Creation.  For it is written:  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the Lake of Burning Sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Satan got to keep one of his trades, eternity where there is no night, for an eternity with day and night forever.  Whereas the very victims of his deception, the sons and daughters of man through faith in Jesus Christ, would inherit an eternity in a world where there is no night, just as there was no night until God made day and night on day one.  For in the new city of Jerusalem there will be no more night.  So he who introduced the whole system of trading into God’s perfect system of giving and receiving, can claim that he had been successful in his trading and can enjoy it for all eternity.  He had traded with man a life with no nights for their lives of night and day, so that on New Earth men would live a life without night whilst Satan would have night and day forever.

In the first and the last chapter of the Bible, life for man with day and night had become life without night, thanks in part to Satan’s trade.  And indeed, by the grace of God Eve received what she desired, to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and not die, thanks to Jesus Christ who came and laid down His life as the Son of God to become the Son of Man.

Thus, the ultimate weapon of warfare in this age, the ability to control time or the ability not to be limited by time, is available only to those who enjoy taking time to work and letting time work.  What does it mean to be one who enjoys taking time to work and allowing time to work? 

Aside from being a Man of patience, He is not a slow Man as some understand slowness, as Peter wrote:  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness, but rather He is a Man who pays attention to details and waits for the perfect moment when all things are perfectly fitted together.  Such a Man waits patiently with a watchful eye and a hopeful heart, even One that hopes against hope.

It also means learning not to be impatient and angry, for the person who is described as “filled with fury because he knows that his time is short,” is Satan himself.  In learning not to be impatient, then learning not to fret is one of the things that we must also practise.  That is why it is written in both Psalm 37:1-2 and Proverbs 24:19-20:  Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away… for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.  No impatient, angry person who works as if he is running out of time can have access to the strength to master time, to stop time, to shorten time and to reverse time.

When the Lord who is seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new! He has in fact completely reversed time, so that Creation will be resurrected as if it had never sinned in the first place.  When there is no night in New Jerusalem, it means time has stopped in New Jerusalem, for time is measured by night and day, and that is what the Lord did for Joshua and Hezekiah as a sign to all of what is yet to come.

Now, in this moment of history, at the eve of the start of days of distress unequalled since the creation of this world, is the only situation that provides God a reason to shorten time, for after all, God created time to enjoy time.  Thus, reversing time and stopping time are merely prolongations of His enjoyment.  There is no reason for God to shorten time unless it is to shorten His distress, for the shortening of time removes the enjoyment for God.  However, if one is in distress there is already no enjoyment.  Now see that time will not be shortened because the Lord is distressed, but rather, as Jesus said, “…for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them.”  So these days of distress will be shortened, not for God’s sake, but for the sake of those He has elected because God loves those He has called, chosen and elected.  If you love someone, you would want to shorten his time of distress.

So then, only if you have listened and learned enough to see the Lord’s distress and love Him enough to want to shorten His days of distress, will you have access to the power to shorten the time it takes to do things so that it would only take an instant, just like the boat immediately arriving at the shore of Gennesaret the moment Jesus stepped in.

Now look at this very disturbing sentence in Mark’s account of that night of disobedience on the lake:  About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake.  He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost.  …He was about to pass by them…  Jesus wasn’t walking towards them, Jesus was walking across the lake, but He was going to pass by them.  Was He on the way to somewhere else?  Was He going to Capernaum to meet them, assuming they had not drowned? 

Remember God who chose Israel four times said to Moses, “Now leave Me alone so that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.  Then I will make you into a great nation.”  And, I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”  And, “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”  And, “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Was it possible that if the twelve had not called out to the Lord, He would have passed them by because waiting for Him at Capernaum was another twelve disciples who could have taken their place?  Fortunately for the twelve, they did call out to the Lord.

Thus no one who has no concern for the Lord’s distress will be awarded with the same ability to shorten His days of distress or have their days of distress shortened, except by His mercy and compassion.  But then God has mercy on whom He will have mercy and compassion on whom He will have compassion.  If you relied only on God’s mercy and compassion to ease you out of your suffering so that you may be blessed, living in peace and prosperity with a full life of threescore and ten years, even one hundred and twenty years, so that you may then die and go to Heaven, you may find that you might be sorely disappointed for God may choose not to have mercy or compassion on you, but allow you to endure the storm until He is ready to move.  That is, you might find that your distress will not move the hand of God.  Israel is the proof of it – years of slavery under the Egyptians who forgot what Joseph had done did not move God’s hand, for God was waiting for the cup of the Amorites to be filled.  God’s hand did not begin to move until one man was distressed enough about his fellow Israelite’s distress to kill an Egyptian.  However, those same Hebrews earned themselves an extra forty years of hard labour because they rejected Moses when he intervened to stop two Hebrews from hitting each other.  Moses fled into the desert for forty years and the Israelites suffered another forty years.  Perhaps if they had listened to Moses in Exodus 2:13 God may have used Moses to deliver Israel, for God promised that Israel would be enslaved 400 years, but they did not come out of Egypt for 430 years.  It was an extra thirty years than promised.  The Hebrews were not concerned for the one who was concerned for them.

It is when you show concern for Him who has concern for you that you will find that your distress will move the hand of God to shorten your time of distress.  Had the disciples shown concern for Jesus and listened to Him and went to Bethsaida, on finding that they had decided not to go immediately anyway, but had waited till evening before heading off to Capernaum, they should have at least gone up the mountain to tell Jesus where they were going or wait for Him so that they could go together to Capernaum.  Notice they did neither!  They didn’t obey Him, they didn’t bother to let Him know where they were going and they didn’t wait for Him.  That is not exactly showing concern for One who is concerned for you.

Making sure that God blesses you because you have prayed and tithed so that your life is hunky-dory until you get to Heaven is not what you can call showing concern for the Lord.  Only to those who have enjoyed taking the time to listen to Him again and again, enjoyed taking the time to practise His word again and again even though nothing has happened, and enjoyed taking the time to follow Him, will the Lord reveal to them His distress in these days.  Jesus revealed His distress to His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with Me.”  Yet they fell asleep on Him, and He rebuked them three times.

But now He is not going to let the church who falls asleep know when He is coming, as He said in the letter to Sardis, “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”  Anyone who is not awake to the Lord’s distress will not know the time of His coming.

And certainly the Holy Spirit, who does not speak on His own anyway, will not let anyone know of His distress.  He will not speak of it, but if you have learned to listen, to practise and to follow Jesus with time spent and you have enjoyed it, you will receive from Jesus the salve that will allow you to see the distress of the Holy Spirit.  The distress of God over His lost children; the distress that His Son has not yet received justice; the distress that generations of His children are brought up without knowing their Father; the distress of God over the polluting of this world that holds His glory; the distress of the Holy Spirit at not being allowed by the elders of the church to do His job; the distress of the Holy Spirit in having His Name dragged into supposedly approving the recommendations of James.

If you have learned to enjoy what takes time to achieve through careful dedicated listening of His word, repeated practice of His word and tireless following of Him as He walks from here to there and then back to here again, then you will have the strength that is the Lord’s joy that comes from time.  And with that strength you might feel that you will have the power to master time if you can see the distress of God and desire to shorten the days of His distress.  “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Then if you will work to shorten the days of God’s distress, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as you desire your days of distress to be shortened, then you might just find that the power and ability to master time as God masters time is given to you.

Enjoy the slowness of all things as God enjoys and understands slowness.

 

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