Time and Planning

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The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, (Nehemiah 1:1 NKJV)

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. (Nehemiah 2:1 NKJV)

It Takes Time to Plan Well
In the Jewish month Chislev Nehemiah heard about the conditions in Jerusalem. He fasted, prayed, and planned. Four months later in the month Nisan he stood before the king, shared his plan in detail, and received what he needed to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Let that sink in. He took four months to plan a strategy that allowed him to lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in a miraculous 52 days with ancient construction methods and mostly unskilled labor. 

The level of success we experience in our projects, events, and initiatives is directly proportional to the amount of time we spend in quality planning. Last minute, knee jerk, rapid fire planning causes us to lean more on talent than excellence. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to rely on talent alone because deep down inside I know I’m just not that talented. Quality, strategic planning gives us the ability to position people and resources to make up for our flaws as well as take advantage of opportunities. 

What are some other advantages of time and planning?

Staying Connected

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Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks of your companions? (Song of Solomon 1:7 NKJV)

Song of Solomon is a love poem that speaks about the intimate relationship between a Shulamite woman and her Belived, King Solimon. The poem has stanzas where they each express their love. In Song of Solomom 1:7, the Shulamite woman asks her Beloved where he feeds his flock and where he rests at noon. In modern term she’s asking where he’s working today and his plans for his lunch break. 

She isn’t being nosy or trying to meddle in his business. She’s not being needy and she’s not a stalker. She’s simply trying to make a connection with him. She’s seeking to maintain their intimacy in their daily routine. Strong, long lasting marriages are fueled and protected by emotional, physical, and social intimacy. When we’re physically apart from our spouses we’re still married. To maintain the relationship we need to know when, where, and how to connect even when we’re apart. 

“What time are you having lunch” is a question that opens the door for connection. The Shulamite woman could take a break from her day to meet and share a meal. She could send him something special to eat by a messenger. Today, we have many more opportunities for connection than the couple in Song of Solomon. We can share a phone call or video call at lunch time. We could connect quickly when we arrive at work to let our spouses know we’ve made it there safely or just as we’re leaving the office so they can anticipate our return. We can share a text or picture message on our breaks just to say “I love you”. 

These little connections help us maintain intimacy throughout the day. It’s important because without these connections, we or our spouses may inadvertently make ourselves available to connect intimately with others. The Shulamite woman asks “why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?” She’s basically saying without the connection to her Beloved she’s like a single woman who’s open to the advances of other guys. Let me be blunt about this. If we disconnect from our spouses we leave the door open for others to fulfill their need for intimacy. We’re leaving the door open for us to connect with others as well. 

The remedy for this situation is the same for every area of our marriages. Stay connected. Marriages that are disconnected are insecure and vulnerable to outside influences. But marriages that are intimate with full disclosure are closer, deeper, and last a lifetime. 

Opened Doors

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“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens” : (Revelation 3:7 NKJV)

Recently I had a great conversation with Rev. H. Frank Centrallo, my father in the ministry. As usual, he shared a nugget of wisdom with me that helped me put things in the right perspective. He paraphrased Revelation 3:7 and said “God opens and closes the door of opportunity, not us. Our job is only to walk through the door. We can’t force it open when He’s decided to close it.”

As I accept the closed doors in my life and look to the future of my life, family, ministry, and business, his statement reminds me to allow God to be my guide. Here are some things we can learn from this verse.

God can be trusted.
God is holy and true. There is no one like him, full of wisdom and knowledge, who always wants what’s best for us. This why God can be trusted. He doesn’t have an alternative agenda that only benefits himself. In every situation, good or bad, God is working things out for our good.

God has the key.
The “key of David” is a figurative term that symbolizes royal authority. As a sovereign king, there are no areas of the kingdom where his influence isn’t permitted. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we can rest assure God has complete access to every area that concerns us. God can unlock any prison that binds us, open any opportunity to bless us, and lock the doors to our lives so the enemy can’t harm us.

God’s power is absolute.
There is a song that says “what God has for me, it is for me.” When we consider how he opens doors that no one shuts and closes doors no one may open, it should give us hope. The opportunities God will open for us cannot be taken by anyone, no matter how powerful they may seem. Conversely, closed opportunities cannot be opened to us no matter how hard we try.  God uses opened and closed doors to guide us on a path to our future.

We must learn to trust his judgement at each door of opportunity whether open or closed. We must have confidence in his authority and power as he acts on our behalf. When we lean and depend on him, we will find we’re right where we’re supposed to be.