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In John 5:19, Jesus gave them, the Jews who were complaining and persecuting Him because He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God, these words:  “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.”  And in John 12, He cried out saying, “For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it.  I know that His command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.”

God the Father showed Jesus what to do and gave Him what to say and even how to say it.  But not only that, He was shown or told or knew what is the most important of all knowledge, after we have been shown the what and the how of doing and saying, and that is timing.  Jesus said to His own brothers who did not believe in Him, “The right time for Me has not yet come; for you anytime is right.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify that what it does is evil.  You go to the Feast.  I am not going up to this Feast, because for Me the right time has not yet come.”  You see, Jesus did not say He was not going to the Feast, but rather He said, “Not yet…”

One of our biggest mistakes after we have actually obeyed the command of the Father is that we take what we have learnt and we start doing things according to our timetable and not according to His timetable.  By the way, Jesus said, “I know His command leads to eternal life…” and the Father’s command to us is, “Listen to Him!”  Don’t you love the perfect logic of God?  For how else can you come to have eternal life now that you may come to know the One and only God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, unless you listen to Him? 

Now, leave God out of this for the moment, and just consider Jesus.  If you really are interested in getting to know Jesus, then who better to tell you about Jesus than Jesus Himself?  So, I cannot understand the foolishness of people who want to get to know Jesus by listening to Moses and James the Younger or whoever man of God.  The command of the Father does lead to eternal life because my testimony and your testimony should be that by listening to Jesus we have begun to come to know Him, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

Now, back to the art and science of perfect timing.  After we have learnt what to do and how to do it, and what to say and how to say it, the final leg of this triad of the ways of God is when to do it.  The hardest temptation to overcome is to hold to perfect timing, being not overly impatient or overly slow and lazy so that we miss it.  In learning to do things at the right time, in the practice of the principle of perfect timing, it is important that you do not become over zealous and rigid, for there is a danger that you would be so overly concerned about the perfect timing that you end up saying nothing and doing nothing while secreting yourself into holy oblivion waiting for that perfect time.  Jesus said this to the disciples who were complaining about Mary’s extravagance with the perfume:  “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want,” so then understand that there are certain things that you can do anytime you want, certain things that are good at anytime.

Mary chose a most inappropriate time earlier to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, leaving Martha to do all the work of preparing the meal.  If you looked at the timing of Mary’s action to sit at the feet of Jesus just listening when a meal for thirteen hungry men needed to be prepared, it would be judged inappropriate, incorrect and outright silly, and that Martha’s complaint sounded most reasonable.  Yet Jesus’ reply to Martha was this:  “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Mary had chosen the better, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen and ignore the work to be done?  You see, Jesus said Mary chose the better, but not the best.  It was certainly better than what Martha was doing.  Why did Jesus put Martha down like that?  Those of you who are like Martha, always seeing the work to be done and busying yourselves doing it because someone has to do it, would rise up to the defence of Martha, and would love to say something about Mary sitting there listening while there is work to be done.  The key is the word “better.”  Mary had chosen what is better, better than what Martha chose, but not the best.  Jesus is not saying that we should so involve ourselves to listen to Him that we ignore the work and needs around us at all.  Listening like Mary may be better than working and complaining like Martha, which is good.  At least Martha was also doing something, not like the twelve men who didn’t give her a hand either, but because Martha was so busy doing the work and seeing the work to be done, she was so consumed by the work that she was not listening.  You may say she was too busy doing the work to listen, that is true, and Mary was too busy listening to work, and that is true.  But you see, Jesus was always listening and watching and working, just like the Father as Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

The best thing that neither Mary nor Martha chose was to work and listen at the same time together so that the work was lighter, and with both of them listening they would be able to tell the other what the other missed out on hearing.

Right now, as you have learnt to listen and practise, the best thing that you can do is to continue listening and practising, whilst watching for the most opportune time to tell others what you have heard and show them what you have learnt.  Jesus said to the first apostles, “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

The shrewdness of the serpent was displayed when he left Him (Jesus) until an opportune time.  Satan, having been unsuccessful in tempting Jesus, was cunning and shrewd enough to wait for an opportune time.  Learning to wait for an opportune time is the first step towards learning to perfect the art of perfect timing.  In order to seek the opportune time to see the opportune time, one must be prepared to watch for it, which is why Jesus commanded the twelve, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” after He found them sleeping when He told them to watch with Him in Matthew 26:38.  They had obviously forgotten what He had said earlier when He told them of the signs of the end of the age, “What I say to you, I say to everyone:  ‘Watch!’ … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.”

The temptation that is the greatest that you and I will face is to ignore the reality that there is a perfect time for all our words and actions, and we speak in haste or prematurely act so that we deny ourselves the results of experiencing what perfect timing can do to elevate words and actions to the miraculous and divine realm.  King Saul lost his kingdom when he wouldn’t wait for Samuel before he performed the sacrifice, and he copped a rebuke from Samuel who said, “You acted foolishly.”  What did Saul do?  It wasn’t that he was hiding with his army because they were out-numbered; it wasn’t that he had led them on a reckless attack before Samuel got there.  It was because he did something that he was not entitled to do before the one appointed to it got there.  God did not rebuke Saul and his men for hiding in fear, for they were out-numbered, and if Saul had attacked suicidally, even single-handedly, before Samuel got there to do the fellowship offerings and so on, God would not have allowed Saul to perish or die, nor rebuked him for foolishness, but backed him up just as God backed Jonathan and his armour bearer up in 1 Samuel 14.

Perfect timing is not about paralysis or silent waiting for the perfect time.  It is about being busy doing what you are supposed to be doing, whilst watching for the opportune time.  The simple secret of the perfect timing of God is this:  God is the One who makes all things perfect, and a person of God who keeps themselves fully occupied listening to Jesus and practising His word, whilst watching for the opportune time, will always be shown the perfect time, whereby God may say, “Now is the day,” or “Now is the time.”  Or more commonly, God backs you up to exploit the opportunity afforded you so that the results far exceed your hopes and expectations to such an extent that really, your timing was perfect, just like He backed Jonathan up. 

No one who has not occupied their time listening to Jesus will know what to say to a person about the Jesus they know, and no one who has not occupied their time practising the words of Jesus will be able to do what needs to be done.  You may ‘preach’ about Jesus, but you will not be able to testify about Him.  You may be able to do some good works, but you will not be able to do the miraculous work.  You see, it is “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord. 

Whenever you are speaking to another person, understand you are really speaking to one who would want to lord it over you or judge you, for that is what everyone in the world does to each other, and that is the moment that the Holy Spirit can enact these words of Jesus:  “Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”  Had you spent your time listening even as you were busy with the routine work of life, you would have been able to receive the Holy Spirit and what He has at that moment, so that you would say the word that can penetrate like a double-edged sword into their hearts without resistance.  And had you been well practised on the miraculous, you’d know one touch from you would release the power of the Lord so that even as your words are leaving your mouth, the power is coming out of your hands, and the victim before you will know that he has heard and felt the truth and power of God.  He would know he has had an encounter with the Divine, the supernatural, just as all were touched by Jesus and spoken to by Jesus had a life-changing experience.  So likewise your audience, be they one or a million.

It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to be His witness, and it is the power of God that makes the time perfect.  For it was the power of God that stopped the sun and moon by Joshua.  It was the power of God that made the shadow go back 10 steps on the stairway of Ahaz for Hezekiah.  And it is the power of the Lord that will shorten the days of distress for His elect. 

So do not be like the first apostles who went back to sleep after the Lord had come to them saying, “Could you men not keep watch with Me for one hour?”  Otherwise, as it is written:  When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time…

You see, Jesus did not wake them from their sleep the second time He found them.  And to be a Christian who has fallen asleep is, figuratively speaking, one who is dead, for the Epistles use ‘sleep’ to describe those who are dead in Christ who are awaiting the resurrection.  So likewise those who will not watch and pray – those who will not watch with Him.  What did ‘watch with Him’ mean?  It meant staying awake and listening to Him, praying to see what He is doing as He prays, to see those drops of sweat and tears fall like blood on the ground. 

Likewise now with anyone who calls himself or herself a believer or disciple who will not watch with Him.  And what is Jesus watching for?  What is Jesus praying for right now?  Is it not for the moment when the Father would say to Him, “Return to Earth in all My glory”?  They will be allowed to go to sleep just like the disciples were left asleep.  Anyone who is not listening and practising His words, watching and waiting for His arrival, may well find himself or herself being allowed to sleep until the second resurrection.  Like Jesus, we must warn them, and by grace warn them more than once. 

The understanding of opportune time, which becomes perfect timing through the Holy Spirit, will become all the more relevant in the coming days as we have to watch the false prophet prance on the world stage, even though we know we can overcome him.  But we know even more that the perfect time has not yet come, for he is destined by the word of the Lord that he will be overthrown by the Lord Himself at the splendour of His arrival.

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.  The saints of Revelation 13:10 endure in powerlessness.  If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go.  If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed.  But the saints of Revelation 14:12 have to endure in full power, for they are watching that if anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark… he will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

They will have to patiently endure the beast who deceives and condemns those who take his mark on to receive the fate of being tormented by burning sulphur, all the while knowing that with one word from their mouth they could likewise overthrow him.  For they have grown to the fullness of the Stature of the One they are waiting for, Christ Jesus the Son of God, who is coming back as the Son of Man to reign.

So, learn to endure patiently always, whether you are powerless or full of power, for therein lies the secret of finding and being at the perfect place at the perfect time to be with Jesus Christ on any day that is Today.  Amen

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