By David Stahl

As odd as this may sound sometimes I like to just sit at my home computer and watch the screen saver scroll. I catch dinner guests doing the same out of the corner of their eye. The pictures come in waves of family events like birthdays, weddings, funerals, trips we have been on overseas, and other odds and ends. As I look at each picture (knowing there in a few seconds of time before the scroll will move on) I look hard and try to remember the time this picture was captured for history. With each picture my mind goes back to the time and the occasion the picture was taken. You know there is NO such thing as the past or the future. We often project things (we call it planning for the future) that will happen in what we call the future, but in reality the present is all we really have and what we call the future is a hope and a dream. Same as the future there is no past. All we have is the now. The past is no more. Memories, failures, victories, and the like all ring in our thoughts, but in reality they are finished in our lives. I hear people (even Christians) say, “I remember the good ole days (for some they were not so good),” but in reality we are in the place in God we find our self based on the actions and decisions we made in the past. Our future (or what we call the future) is based not on the future, but on the things we do for God (or not do for God) in the now. The now is all we really have. Paul told the Body of Christ at Corinth, “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:1-2) Now the salvation Paul was talking about was much more than salvation from their sins. They were already saved of their sins, but needed saved from themselves. Strife, hatred, ambition, offense, greed, and so much more (maybe sounds like us today) filled their hearts and the Body of Christ. And Paul says, “now is the day of salvation” for all of these things (and yes even our besetting sins) to be removed so that the LORD could have His place on the throne of our hearts. God can never take His place on the throne of our heart if we do not give Him leave. I wonder why we always go toward removing sin in our lives and leave our character flaws to fester? Paul also tells us, “we all have sinned and come short (our character flaws) of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23) I would think it is those character flaws (and not so much sin) in our lives that prevents God from moving as He desires in us. After all sin was gloriously dealt with on the cross. In Ephesians Paul tells, “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the

mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself. 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (which is always now) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: ” (Ephesians 1:8-10) This “dispensation of fulness of times” can stretch out across the span of years, but at the same time it can be defined in a moment, in an event, in smile, and in one act of kindness. We can see this truth play out knowing God is the same yesterday, today, and forever , yet He is the same in a moment of time. The “fulness” here really captured my thoughts. How long, how big, how small, how full is “fulness” with God? To be honest I am not sure if God can be measured in such terms. In Solomon’s prayer of thanksgiving to God for the Temple he said, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27) I do not believe God can be measured with earthly instruments, oh no God must be measured in what is “gathered together in one all things in Christ” and that brings me back to my pictures on the scroll on my desk top computer. As I look at them the events and actions have been captured, “gathered together in one all things in Christ.” The people, the meals, the preaching and teaching, everything that has been recorded in picture format for me to remember and think about. Now we have covered much ground so far, but here is my point has God’s “fulness” been accomplished in the picture? Have you ever had a conversation with someone and later said to yourself, “I wished I would have said this or that?” I am sure we all have well my pictures are kind of like that. I look at the pictures now on the scroll and remember the event, location, setting all of the details, and wonder if I have done all that I could do to maximize the moment for the glory of God? I look and imagine what could I have done different or was what I did all that could be done? The memories are great, but the relationship in the pictures are greater. In the end I seem to always come back to the same conclusion what was done is done. In most cases it is too late to take back words or deeds. What we did is gain and what we did not do really does not matter. At the end of the day we must give what we do to God’s good graces and capable hands. I was traveling with Jake Luffy overseas and I asked him, “how about the people who do not respond, those who do not hear and heed our words?” He said, “there must come a time in our walk with the LORD where we give the people over to God.” Our job is to speak the word and the people’s job is to respond. All we can do is what we feel what the LORD is saying. I believe Paul had this or a simpler thought. In Ephesians 3 Paul tells us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which

are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:13-14) In verse 13 Paul says he forgets those things he has done, “which are behind” so he can “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.” You know unless we forget what happened in the past we will never be able to “press toward the mark.” It is a casting or taking off things in our lives (our job here) so we can put on things. Paul helps here again, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12) We will never walk in the light of Christ Jesus unless we allow God to work in our lives (through His dealings and judgments) so we can learn to cast off the darkness that causes us to stumble and fall out of the way God has for us to go. My brothers and sisters Paul was saying we must press the moment while in the moment. We must achieve the greatest good for God in the time He has made available for us to be His arms and hands on earth. The prize is not some crown, a wreath, some reward we may get “when we all get to heaven,” or even Christ Jesus Himself, but just the opportunity to be of service to our brothers and sisters. What else could we want? What better prize in God than to be a word of strong encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, a word of rebuke, etc? I could go on all night, you fill in the blank. When in the moment of need we press forward and are there to hit the mark for our brothers and sisters, the mark that eases the pain and anguish of loss, confusion, and despair. Moments are fleeting in the lives and affairs of men, but in these moments we must press the moment for God’s best.