But at midnight there was a cry, "Behold, the

bridegroom! Come out to meet him."  Then all

those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said to the wise, "Give us some

of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But

the wise replied, "Perhaps there will not be enough
for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy

for yourselves." And while they went to buy, the

bridegroom came, and those who were ready went

in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.

                                                            Matthew 25:6-10


When we first enter the Kingdom of God we're given a few
blessed weeks or months perhaps when the Spirit of God
so immerses us in the atmosphere of heaven that many of
the pressures of life in this world are, for a season, held in

suspension.  It's a holiday. God wants us to enjoy it.  It's like

the feast for the prodigal son,

eating and drinking,
-music and dancing.


But then the feast comes to an end and the prodigal son
takes his place on the farm and gets down to business.

So when the honeymoon with God ends we now have to start

bringing the glory of God down into human life.  We have

to do this in three areas:


1. Into our dealings with people.
2. Our handling of money and things.
3. In the way we cope with the press of time.


Every believer knows we have to translate our vision of

divine mercy into a merciful walk in our dealings with

other people.


Every believer knows we have to apply our faith in God
to the way we handle money and things.


But not every believer understands that our walk with
Jesus Christ, if it is real, is going to bring about a
radical change in the way we deal with the press of time.
In fact, if we don't learn to cope in an effective way
with the press of time, time alone will be our undoing.


If the bridegroom had come as soon as the foolish virgins
expected him they would have made it into the marriage.
Time was their undoing ...they couldn’t hold out.


When the book of Revelation was written it contained
messages to seven thriving churches. Where are they
now? They haven't existed since before the days of
Islam.  People still inhabit that land, but the churches
which once were aflame with the presence of Christ crum­
bled under the pressure of time ... sank under the weight
of the passing years.


In the natural world this is understandable.


- Our bodies grow old,

- our eye muscles weaken,
- our hearing dulls,

     - our joints get stiff. But in the realm of faith
we are meant to go from strength to strength. Those who
wait on the Lord never wear out.  Because they've learned
to cope with the press. of time they become younger and

fresher with every year that passes.


"Though my 'outer man is wasting away, my

inner man is being renewed day by day."


Paul could say that because he knew how to cope with the
press of time.


The press of time affects us in different ways.


-  The prisoner and the invalid feel the heaviness
    of days that are long and dull.  The thought of life

    going on and on like this is depress­ing.


    "If only the years would pass and I could get out of here!"


              -  Others feel the press of time in that they simply have

                  too much to do.  They can't get it all done and become

                  overwhelmed and demoralized.


But whether time seems to be going too fast or too slow,
the temptations brought by the weight of time bearing
down on us are common to us all.


There is the temptation of slothfulness.


"The master has gone into a far country.

He won't be back for a long while so I

might as well bury my talent and relax."


   "The day of reckoning is so far away, why
even think about it?"


There is the temptation of anxiety.


"This river of time which takes me toward
the ocean keeps carrying me over waterfalls
and dashing me over rocks:  I'm hardly
making it now. How will I be able to cope

      with tomorrow's evil?"


"What if I get sick?
What if I lose my job?
What if the rest of my friends leave me?"


There is the temptation of vain ambition.


"I have to achieve something; I have to

leave some mark on this world before I

sink into oblivion."


  "Time keeps flying by and I still haven't
tasted success."

Often our vain ambitions drive us beneath a

cloak of Christian piety...


            - The ambition to achieve status in my fellowship.

- The ambition to build a church or a movement
that will outshine all others ... That will
prove how right we are and how wrong they are.


The temptation of triviality.


Because the householder has gone into a far
country and is so slow in coming back we
allow ourselves to be caught up in the trivial
in things which are as lasting as the wind.


- What shall we eat?

- What shall we drink?
- What shall we wear?

- Whole going to win the Rose Bowl?
- What will I do if my team loses?


Our Lord lived under the press of time just as we do yet
He never succumbed  to slothfulness,


vain ambition,

triviality. He lived with His feet

on the ground, took care of business,

and somehow sanctified the flow of

time as He moved with it.

- He hallowed it.

- He made it count.


Notice how conscious He was of time...


Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into
Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and
saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the king­dom

of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."          

                                                   Mark 1:14-15


"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would

that it were already kindled!  I have a baptism

to be baptized with; and how I am constrained

until it is accomplished!..."

                                                            Luke 12:49-50


"We must work the works of him who sent me,
while it is day; night comes, when no one
can work."
                                 John 9:4


"Are there not twelve hours in the day?
If any one walks in the day, he does not
                                     John 11:9


How is it that, conscious as Jesus is of the press of time

He's never in a hurry, and He never dawdles. Every moment

is filled with holy peace...and every moment counts.


One way of describing our Lord's astonishing handling of
 the pressure of time is to say He turned every day into a
kind of sabbath. He took hold of time and sanctified it.
In the midst of life Jesus was no longer in the pressure
cooker, He walked in the realm of sanctified time. So
time was no longer pressing down on Him,

trying to crush Him, it was something

holy. It was a living stream carrying Him

on in the will of His Father.


"Are there not twelve hours in the day?

- Let's fill them.

- Let's work the works of him who sent me,
- Let's have oil in our vessels.

- Let's worship the Father in spirit and in truth."


And if we let him Jesus will take us into the realm of

sanctified time every day where we will experience the
sabbath rest, the sabbath peace of God even while we do
His works.


1.    We need to let Jesus bring us into the realm of
sanctified time daily through prayer.


- How do you deny yourself, take up your cross
daily and follow Him?- Through daily prayer.


- How do you ask the Father for your daily

bread?  - Daily prayer.

"Oh, but I just don't have the time!"

"You don't understand, I'm really busy!"


And my friend you'll always be too busy to pray, you'll always

be short of time, until you learn to enter the realm of sanctified

time by prayer.


"I have so much to do today," a believer
once, said, "that I can't afford to spend
less than three hours in prayer."


Follow Jesus to the place where you see time brought under
the power of the Spirit, cleansed with the blood of the
Lamb, and filled with sabbath peace.  And this is what
happens when you go into your room and shut the door and
ask the Father to help you to deal with the pressure.


2.    We need to walk with the Lord in the realm of sanctified time

       through watchfulness.


"But of that day or that hour no one knows,
not even the angels in heaven, nor  the Son,
but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for
you do not know when the time will come.

It is like a man going on a journey, when
he leaves home and puts his servants in
charge, each with his work, and commands the
doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch there­
fore, for you do not know when the master of
the house will come, in the evening, or at
midnight or at cockcrow, or in the morning,
lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.


And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."

                                              Mark 13:32-37


I need to stay awake and be alert to every situation of

God so I don't miss it...God may want me to change my

plans today:


On the other hand, if Satan wants me to change my plans
I have to be alert to that. I need to be alert to every
visitation of the father of lies that attacks my mind,
gets me off the track.


If I'm watching,

- I won't be as likely to slip into self-pity,
- or the nursing of a grudge,

- or the distracting enchantment of some fantasy.


If I'm watching,

- my thinking will be clear,

- my emotions will be tied to reality,

- the flow of time in my life will be holy.


3. We need to enter the realm of sanctified time through labor.


"We must work the works of him who sent me
while it is day."


Work - steady,

well done work in the place where we are puts us
into God's time! Holy time! If you have to go up and
down the street and wash windows free of charge, do it,
rather than doing nothing.


Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by all that seems to be
crowding in on us. But as soon as we take hold of the
work right in front of us, suddenly the pressure is gone.
Our vision clears, because through labor in the Vineyard
of God we have entered again into the realm of sanctified

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom
came, and those who were ready went in with
him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.

Matthew 25:10


The press of time will, sooner or later, destroy those
believers who have lamps of faith,

who are waiting for the bridegroom, but haven't

taken the trouble to get oil ... to get out of the pressure

cooker and into the realm of sanctified time.

- God's time.

- God's sabbath.
- God's peace.
- God's works,


"We must work the works of him who sent me

while it is day, night comes when no one can work."


The daylight of God is closer to us than the air we
breathe. God help us to enter it, and live in it, that

when night comes when no one can work our lamps

will still be burning and take us right on into the

marriage supper of the Lamb.