Summary: Life is a succession of moments. Success is living each moment according to the will of God.
A. KNOWING OUR TIMES
Life is a succession of moments. Success is living each moment according to the will of God.
“The sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
1. They understood the times in which they lived. If we don’t understand our culture and its pressures, we will be a slave to it.
2. They knew what the scriptures wanted for Israel. If we don’t know the Bible, we can’t focus our life on God’s will.
3. They knew how Israel should live for God. If we don’t know how God wants us to live, we will live for selfish reasons for our culture.
4. They knew the Person of God. If we don’t know God by doctrine and experience, we will never do right.
B. KNOWING GOD’S TIMES
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, Who is and Who was and Who is to come” (Rev. 1:8).
1. When you know the Lord, you have access to (a) where we have come from, (b) why we are here, and (c) where we are going.
2. Knowing God gives honest self-confidence that nothing else can give.
3. God is standing at the crossroads of your every future decision. Plan to use His wisdom to make right decisions.
4. All time belongs to God; He allows you to use it for His purpose.
C. UNDERSTANDING TIME
1. Today is the most important day of your life. Today is the tomorrow you dreamed of yesterday. Today counts!
2. If you are not happy today, you won’t be happy tomorrow. If you don’t get the most out of today, then you won’t enjoy tomorrow because you can’t build on a foundation of yesterday that was empty and meaningless. Today counts!
3. God has given you the gift of time. God didn’t give you the 18th century! You are the child of your parents and not the reverse. Make today count.
4. Study yesterday. Learn how yesterday helps you live now. Yesterday was the school that prepared you to live today. If you didn’t learn yesterday’s lessons, determine to learn them now. That way today will be your school for tomorrow.
What Yesterday Does
• Keeps you from unrealistic optimism.
• Points to realistic tasks and goals.
• Gives you a foundation to reach for the future.
• Points out closed doors and opens doors.
• Tells who you are and what you can do.
5. Study tomorrow. Tomorrow has great power in your life, for all will live in tomorrow (if we don’t die). Our dream of tomorrow will give energy for today.
What Dreams Do
• Drive some to work harder.
• Drive some to endure hardships.
• Drive some to prepare and learn.
• Frightens some to trust God.
• Discourages some to quit.
• Wilt some to crawl into a shell.
6. Study today. Learn the urgency of today. While dreams of tomorrow give us strength, and the lessons of yesterday give us foundation; today is all you have got. The only day you can live is today.
• The power of intention.
• The power of commitment.
• The power of say-it-faith.
• The power of accountability (write-it, say-it, do-it).
• The power of continued prayer.
• The power of serving Jesus.
7. Study opportunity. Today is your only opportunity to live. Tomorrow is an illustration and you can’t live there today. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matt. 6:34, NLT). Yesterday is a memory and you can’t go back. Tomorrow and yesterday are not here today. Only today counts!
8. Limited yesterday. No one knows all history and everything about themselves. Learn from God who lives in history.
9. Limited tomorrow. You can’t know all the future or everything that will happen to you in the future. Let God prepare you today to live in your tomorrow.
• The future will not be like the past.
• The future will not be like you expect.
• The rate of change in the future will be greater than in the past.
10. Sons of Issachar
a. Didn’t describe their past, or say they understood their past.
b. Didn’t say they understood their future.
c. They understood their times, the day that counted.
d. Don’t try to live now the dreams of tomorrow, because you will sacrifice today, and you won’t have a tomorrow.
11. Study Heaven. Heaven will not have any failures from which to learn, so learn now. We will know all we are supposed to know. There will be no regrets over yesterday’s failures. “No more crying” (Rev. 21:4). We shall be perfect like Jesus when we see His face (I John 3:2; Rev. 22:4).