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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.



The portal to the Immortal.

Clocks are becoming a thing of the past. That’s a strange thing to say, considering that we are more time-bound than ever. But our phones make them (seemingly) superfluous – most of the hotel rooms I stay in don’t have one. Only a few diehards, like me, still wear watches.

Today, though, walking around Forth Worth, Texas, I’m looking for clocks, as well as other things that visually tie into my meditation on God’s eternal nature.

What is time? At its most basic level, it is a created thing. Therefore, the Creator stands apart from time and views it as part of his handiwork.

That’s a bit mind-boggling – as all of God’s attributes tend to be – but it’s of vital importance for those of us who live trapped in time’s snow-globe. How does a chronological creature relate to the Eternal One?

Through the concept of today. I’ll let two great Christian thinkers explain:

In you 'today' never comes to an end… In your 'today' you will make all that is to exist tomorrow and thereafter, and in your 'today' you have made all that existed yesterday and for ever before. Augustine, Confessions

Yesterday, today and tomorrow, belong to dying mortal—the Immortal King lives in an eternal today. He is the I AM. I AM in the present. I AM in the past, and I AM in the future. Just as we say of God that He is everywhere, so we may say of Him that He is always. He is everywhere in space. He is everywhere in time. God is today in the past. He is today already in the future. He is today in that present in which we are.  Charles Spurgeon

This photo works as a good illustration. Name the left archway “Past,” the middle one “Present,” and the right one, “Future.” Only the center one is open to us. That’s not to say that the past and the future aren’t useful as frameworks, but only as they relate to our Present.

Years ago, while in college, I spent time with a missionary in the Philippines. Foster Donaldson was a gentle, soft-spoken man with deep wisdom. One day, he said to me, “The past is covered by Christ’s blood and the future is in his hand. All we’re left with is the present – and oh, how interested God is in that!”

Our interaction with the Lord, and all our spiritual growth, happen in the moment that each of us lives right now.

Here’s a practical example from Paul’s writing. After describing God as the only immortal one (1 Tim. 6:16), he speaks to an age-old problem of people safeguarding their future by their wealth. He writes:

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Tim 6:16-17)

Paul wants them to take their eyes from their calculations for the future and place them on the one who “richly provides” – present tense – everything to bless their life. Experience his goodness your today and it will shape how you view the days to come.

This is what I’ve got to learn. I fret too much about the past. I scheme too much for the future.

All the while, God waits for me in this present moment.

Eternal One, you command past, present and future because they are all your creations. Teach us to meet you in the now. You have opened that door through your Son, and it forever remains open to your children.

Reader: how do you train yourself to live in the present?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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