Solomon not a Good Example for Us

In reading through 1 Kings again, I am reminded that Solomon’s life and experience was astounding, by any standard of measurement. When the Lord told David that, even though it was a good thing that he had it in his heart to build a temple, he would not be allowed to because of his history of bloody wars in battle. It would be Solomon who would complete the task David began. So Solomon replaces David as king.

As a result, when Solomon asked God for wisdom to be a proper king, God gave him that and much more. The beginning chapters of 1 Kings reflects Solomon’s beginnings and extravagant kingdom. When you offer a formal sacrifice of 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep in one single sacrifice, you can begin to grasp the extravagant extent of Solomon’s reign and wealth. Reading 1 Kings chapters 1-10 reflects this in an overview of specifics to show how exceedingly great Solomon’s life and kingdom were.

Scripture also tells us that he wrote 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. People came widely to hear his famous lectures on trees and animal life. His wisdom exceeded all men past, present and future, and is credited as being the wisest man who ever lived. “The wisdom of Solomon” is now an enduring proverb that simply means someone is exceedingly wise.

But when you finish reading the first 10 chapters, you come to the word BUT; that is the first word in 1 Kings 11. BUT Solomon loved many foreign women. What? Say it ain’t so!, as the old saying goes. No, no, please Solomon, why did you go there? Why did you not keep taking heed to God’s word and heritage that had come through your father, David? Seven hundred wives and 300 concubines? And we are supposed to believe the more modern interpretation that Song of Solomon is his faithful love narrative for his bride? I don’t believe for a moment that the Song of Songs is about marital romance, but about Christ and the church.

Be that as it may, one of the enduring and most important lessons we can draw from Solomon is that there is nothing on this earth that insures persevering in the faith except one thing. Solomon had every personal benefit– a godly father, a godly heritage, phenomenal opportunity, the highest position, extreme wealth, and wisdom from God that no one else was ever given. He was the single man in the earth that led the true people of God, Israel.

Yet none of it kept Solomon from departing from the living God. The only assurance of continuing to go on with God in faith is to go on with God. Going on with God is the only genuine and final evidence of truly persevering in the faith. Continuing to love and walk with Christ is the only evidence that you love and walk with Christ now. The only proof and certainty of election and being a child of God is true perseverance in the faith to the end. Our perseverance in the faith is not what keeps us saved–it is proof and evidence of being saved.

Was Solomon truly saved? It seems, unlike Saul the first king of Israel, that he was. God told David at the end of his life that He would not remove his love from Solomon, as he did from Saul. God’s certain promise of his love for Solomon continued. Yet his end was not exemplary. Some mystery remains about how Solomon can begin so good and end not so good. But there is no mystery about one thing. Running well spiritually to the end is the only goal any believer should have. And we cannot presume on the past–our spiritual heritage, experience, knowledge, wealth, position in life or ministry, or even relationships–we cannot presume that any of those things are proof of a healthy spiritual life. Nor can we presume that anything that is earthly can insure our perseverance in the faith. Going on with God to the end of life means enduring to the end. And Jesus said those are the only ones who will ultimately prove to be saved.

— Mack Tomlinson

What an Example! – The Leisurely Christ

Privacy was difficult to obtain. Yet Jesus was always leisurely; He never hurried. Even when an urgent message came from Bethany that Lazarus was dead, ‘He abode two days still in the same place.’ He required and took sufficient time for His plan of action to mature. Interruptions never distracted Him. He accepted them as opportunities of a richer service. Interruptions were the occasion of some of His most gracious deeds and most revealing words. He lived intensely, yet entirely without tension.

– G. H. Morling

You and your Burdens

It is our Lord’s meekness and lowliness that made His great burden so light. And it is out of His own experience that He speaks to us. ‘Bring a meek heart to your burden as I did,’ He says to us, ‘Bring the same mind to your yoke as I brought to my yoke, and see how easy it will feel.’ Go to Him in any circumstance, and whatever He sees good to do with you and your burden, He will begin to give you another heart under it. He will begin to give you a meek and lowly heart. It is not your burden that weighs you down. It is your proud, rebellious self-seeking, self-pleasing heart. Had He dealt with you after your sins and rewarded you according to your iniquities, you would not have been here to find fault with the way He is leading you to pardon, peace and everlasting life.

– Alexander Whyte

Psalm 90 – Teach Us to Number our Days

This is one of my favorite psalms; I have several favorites – Psalm 1, Psalm 40, Psalm 84, and others; but among my favorites also is Psalm 90; I read 2-3 Psalms every morning as a part of my morning Bible readings. Whenever I see that I have come to Psalm 90 again, my heart warms and I look forward to it.

The author is Moses, and it is a prayer, a prayer about man’s smallness and temporalness, and the shortness of our life and years. Perhaps my favorite part of the psalm is vss. 12-17 at the end of the psalm.

What specific requests does Moses make here?

1. TEACH US (vs 12) – “teach us to number our days, in order that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Who doesn’t need that? Teach me, O God, all your ways; I need to be taught by God Himself. Even Moses himself was teachable, and cried out to God to be taught. Are we beyond this, even when life is fleeting by, and we are heading into our later years? We all need to be “taught” continually by the Holy Spirit, and one of the utmost things to be taught is to “number our days”, in order to gain a wise heart.

2. SATISFY US (vs 14) – Our hearts need and want satisfaction continually. That is why this world is continually in pursuit of vacations, fun, entertainment, and holiday get-a-ways to some remote beautiful destination; this is why people love to travel to new places they’ve never seen, and want to experience new things for the first time. Satisfaction–the heart needs it and longs for it. Here Moses prays that GOD would satisfy him; why? because only God can truly and permanently satisfy a person’s heart, soul, and spirit. Man cannot be satisfied by anything except by the One who made him. “Satisfy us early with your mercy.” When Christ Himself satisfies our hearts and lives, and we find true contentment in Him, then a dungeon or a jail cell can be like a palace to us. When Christ satisfies us, nothing else has to; but when Christ is not our satisfaction, nothing else will permanently satisfy.

3. MAKE US GLAD (vs 15) – Gladness? Yes, gladness of heart; Make me a truly happy man, happy in You, Lord; no one likes or is attracted to a gloomy, sad Christian. There is no beauty or attraction in such Christianity; yes, there are times of sadness, sorrow, and trials, but we normally should radiate the joy, pleasure, and gladness of spirit that emanates from Christ Himself. Even suffering Christians often do this in spite of their hardships. Why would Moses pray, “make us glad” unless it were a valid and godly request?

4. LET YOUR WORK APPEAR (vs 16) – God showing us progressively His purposes, will, and His kingdom work is all that ultimately matters in this life; all else is temporal and passing. “The world is passing away, and its lust, but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17) Can you pray, “Show us, show me, Your work, O Lord; show me continually all you want of me and all you have for me.”

5. LET THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD BE UPON US (vs 17) – God’s beauty and glory being upon our lives; what a thing to pray. It was upon Moses and is the desire of every true believer. Let it be upon me, Lord.

6. ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS (vs 17) – Each of us have a specific work, calling, and purpose that only we can fulfill; no one can live our life for us; we cannot be anyone else or do the work of another person; trying to be like others is always frustrating and failure; let us be ourselves and serve our own generation by personally, from the heart, do the will of God for us; He has a work for our own hands to fulfill that no one else can do. “Establish, Lord, the work of my hands.”

May God hear our cries for such reality as He did Moses; A greater than Moses is here–and He lives within every believer to fulfill each of these realities in our hearts as we cry out to him with such praying.

– Mack Tomlinson

Godly Companions

“And this man (William Burns), the friendship of this man with all he was and had been, was the gift and blessing of God at this particular juncture to Hudson Taylor. Week after week, month after month they lived and traveled together, the exigencies of their work bringing out resources of mind and heart that otherwise might have remained hidden. Such a friendship is one of the crowning blessings of life. Money cannot buy it; influence cannot command it. It comes as love unsought, and only to the equal soul. Young and immature as he was, Hudson Taylor had the capacity to appreciate, after long years of loneliness, the preciousness of this gift. Under its influence, he grew and expanded and came to an understanding of himself and his providential position that left its impression on his later life. William Burns was better to him that a college course with all its advantages, because he lived out before him right there in China the reality of all he most needed to be and know.”

(pg. 364, The Growth of A Soul – Hudson Taylor in Early Years)

The Romance of the Christian Faith, Pt 1

We sometimes meet Christians who use scriptural words and thoughts with no more feeling than if they were licking stamps. They seem to belong to a religious world whose citizens live always north of the Arctic circle of emotion. Their spiritual affections are buried beneath yards of ice and snow.

When they venture to talk about the things of God, they use good words and express sound ideas, but they are evidently in compete control of their own emotions at all times. In such company, the doctrines of God’s Word have the fascination of an ice-crystal or a snow flake–the truth of Scripture look beautiful, but feel icy cold. One senses that it would be an impertinence to breathe a sigh in their presence or to utter a stifled sob. To shed a tear would be unpardonable.

No doubt emotion can be overdone in religion, as in all other areas. Not everything we say on biblical subjects needs to be said in a gush of tears or punctuated with a solemn ‘amen’. We concede readily that some people spoil our appetite for holy emotions by their working too hard at them. We remember hearing of a preacher whose every sentence almost was greeted by an ‘amen’ from someone. But the voice gave itself away at one point in the service by shouting ‘amen’ when the number of the next hymn was announced. Thus, their zeal was artificial. For false emotions of this kind we make no appeal here. But we plead for more expressions of genuine emotion both in the pulpit and out of it.

It is not difficult to show from Scripture that outward expressions of emotion are proper and right at times. Saintly men whose calling in life involved them in great responsibility and self-control are occasionally represented in the Bible as overcome with profound feelings, either of sorrow or of joy. No-one who has read the story of Joseph’s self-disclosure to his brothers could ever forget the power which this passage possesses:

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them who stood by him . . . And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of
Pharoah heard . . . And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept . . . Moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon
them. (Gen. 45:1,2,14,15)

Nothing in this lavish outpouring of emotions has any connection with emotionalism. It is a scene of holy and spontaneous affection, the springs of which are both earthly and heavenly: love of his own family so long parted from him; delight at seeing Benjamin, pleasure at hearing that his father is still alive, his inability to do anything else other than forgive his brothers’ conduct toward him and the realization that his brothers were better men than they once were, and above all else, a sublime realization that God had fulfilled his earlier dreams by giving him pre-eminence over his brothers. Never do our feelings rise so high as when we come to some great crisis or climax in life. When God’s hand of providence becomes visible, we must have a sense of destiny which stirs us to the depths. If we are not so stirred, we must be either little men or men of stone.

David’s emotional experience must be safe for us to learn from, not least because he was ‘a man after God’s own heart’. The various inflections in David’s feelings are worthy of more study than they have received. His affections were as capable of variation as the melodies he played on his well-tuned harp. To our information in the books of Samuel must be added all we learn out of the Psalms. The emotional life of this holy man was played out on an instrument of ten strings, now soaring to the heights and now plunging to the depths.

We may select one incident out of many to illustrate this emotional side of the Psalmist: ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would to God that I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!’ (2 Sam. 18:33). Again, as with Joseph above, we must see here spontaneous and profound feeling. David’s emotional outburst is more violent than Joseph. This is partly because he was a man of war, but also because the occasion of his emotions was much darker. He saw the sin of Absalom, his beloved son, as the immediate cause of death. But David perceived the hand of God to be pointing also at his own prior sin with Bathsheba. It was one of those moments in life which possess a high sense both of drama and destiny. The sword would never depart from David’s house (2 Sam. 12:10). God was pursuing his quarrel with David, and the recent dramatic death of Absalom was a powerful reminder to the king that every syllable of God’s Word is right and inescapable. The tears which flowed down the face of that noblest of men were salted by thoughts of self-reproach more than by anything else. It is those who love God greatly who smite most violently their own breast when they see what their folly has brought on other men’s heads.

– to be continued

Maurice Roberts

The Blessedness of Christian Friendships: Remembering Mike Morrow

(I was reflecting recently on missing my friend, Mike Morrow, beloved Kentucky pastor, who went to be with the Lord one year ago this past April. I wrote this the week of his death, and it reminds me afresh to appreciate friendships we have.)
A delightful man’s body was buried under a beautiful tree in a lovely country cemetery in rural Kentucky this past Tuesday. Mike Morrow’s soul had taken its heavenly flight the previous Friday, and his earthly ‘tent’ was laid to rest in Union Cemetery, immediately beside the Union Baptist Church building, where Mike had pastored for sixteen years.

I use the word ‘delight’ about Mike Morrow. It might sound like a strange word to those who knew him to describe him as ‘delightful’, because he was a serious-minded, spiritually-minded, tested, deep Christian gentleman who had suffered deeply in life over the years. But I use that word intentionally simply because it was spiritually delightful and spiritually rich to be with him.

I cannot even remember the very first time I met Mike. It must have been around 2003 or 2004 when several of us went to Eastern Europe to do conferences for Heartcry Missionary Society in Romania and Ukraine. This began a deep and lasting friendship and bond of fellowship among the various preachers who began to labor together in Eastern Europe for a number of years. The times together there were tremendous, and the more we returned there over the years, and the more we saw the Lord do wonderful things in Eastern Europe, we developed a feeling well-expressed by Charles Leiter: “We somehow felt that those times [in Romania, Ukraine, and Moldova] would always continue.”
Mike Morrow’s last trip to Eastern Europe was last year, when he and Charles Leiter ministered there together again. It proved to be the last time they ever preached together, and the last time they saw one another on earth.

It was in 2005 that Mike preached one of the greatest sermons I ever heard. It was at the Heartcry Missions Conference in Metropolis, Illinois. And it was one of the finest conferences Heartcry ever had. The conference theme was the attributes of God, and each sermon dealt with a different attribute of God or Christ. Mike’s message was the greatest sermon I have ever heard on the love of God in my 42 years as a Christian. There was a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit during the conference, with a long period of brokenness, tears, repentance, and confession of sin by many in the conference.

Mike’s preaching was always devotional, deep, theological, experiential, and pastoral. It was the presence of Christ upon him and his loving pastoral heart that made his ministry so edifying. But his heart of love and interest in people one-on-one was exceptional as well; some preachers, the more they are used of God, grow more aloof and unapproachable. But Mike never evidenced any of that. He was always humble; he loved people, was interested in anyone who approached him, and had a loving and kind heart, especially in nurturing, mentoring, and encouraging young preachers who would gather around him with questions.

Mike had a gift of speaking with spiritual authority on various subjects, whether when preaching or talking personally with a small group. When he spoke, wisdom was communicated and people listened. He was at his finest when gathered with a group of men who were talking about the things of God and the Bible. He was a man of the Holy Spirit; he knew what it meant to walk in the Spirit, commune with the Spirit, and preach in the power of the Spirit.

In the 2015 Fellowship Conference in Denton, Texas, Mike preached on gospel conversion and genuinely coming to Christ. That morning, he passionately exhorted everyone to make sure they had truly come to know the Saviour. It was one of the finer messages of the conference.
Five months later, in August, 2015, four of us had the privilege of preaching together in Maine at the Fellowship Conference New England, held annually in Portland, Maine. Tim Conway of San Antonio, Jesse Barrington of Dallas, preached the three-day conference with Mike Morrow during that first week of August. Mike preached three marvelous sermons: The Sovereignty of God and the Choices of Men, Seeing Him who is Invisible and Don’t Doubt in the Darkness what God Promised You in the Light. I sat on the front row, loving and soaking up his rich preaching that week, which was as good as any series I ever heard by him. Even toward the end of his life, his preaching was getting better and better.

While making plans for New England, we decided we would spend some extra time together after the conference, so we planned a three day drive to various parts of New England, not only to see some church history sites, but also to share 3 days of friendship. If one doesn’t plan such times, they will not happen. So we planned and set aside three days after the conference was over.
Tim, Mike, and I had three days of relaxed time, sharing long conversations, driving through the New England countryside, relaxing meals together, times of prayer, and visiting church history sites. It began on Sunday afternoon, as we drove south from Portland one hour to Newburyport, Massachusetts, to the Old South Church, founded in 1746 by George Whitefield. Here we saw the vault crypt in the basement under the pulpit where Whitefield is buried, and we discussed the great revival that occurred under Whitefield’s ministry in the First Great Awakening.

We then drove one hour further south for the evening, sharing dinner at a New England inn. The next morning, we drove west to Northfield, Mass., the home and ministry site of D. L. Moody, the 19th century American evangelist. At Northfield, we saw his birth home and museum, the summer conference buildings, and the graves of Dwight and Emma Moody, which sit on a hill on the beautiful grounds. Our visit was approximately 2 hours long, spent with pleasure in looking at the history and museum of the anointed Moody, who pledged to be a man who was totally surrendered to God.

Next we drove another hour southwest to Northampton, Mass., and stood at the graves of Solomon Stoddard, grandfather of Jonathan Edwards, and also those of David Brainerd and Jerusha Edwards, Jonathan’s daughter. As we lingered in the cemetery, we reflected on the sacrificial and holy lives of Brainerd and the Edwards’ family.

We then made our way southeast toward Boston, arriving mid-afternoon, and drove directly to Harvard University in the suburb of Cambridge, Mass. Harvard was founded through the financial gift of John Harvard in 1636. Harvard, a young British minister who came to the new world, lived only 31 years, and left his earthly means to be used for the establishment of the college for the purpose of training gospel preachers, which became Harvard College.

Our visit at Harvard was brief, but heart-felt, as we thought of its gospel foundation and early heritage, as well as the powerful revivals that took place in past centuries locally, not only in the greater Boston area, but on that very campus, when during certain years of the 17th and 18th centuries, movements of the Holy Spirit swept across such colleges as Harvard and Yale. Oh, for God to do it again in our day!
We then shared our evening meal at a diner on the Harvard campus, famous for its Boston burgers, and then retired to our accommodations, for a relaxed visit until bedtime prayers.

The next day, we toured Boston by trolley car, getting off and on all day around town, seeing what we wanted to see, including a boat ride around Boston Harbor, and some historic Boston churches. We were reminded that George Whitefield preached in Boston to at least 12 thousand or more people, at a time when the city’s population was only 14 thousand.

I have vivid memories of Mike, standing or sitting in the center of historic Boston one afternoon, and I remember thinking at the time how much he was taking in and enjoying it, and how thankful I was that we were there together. We then enjoyed a lunch down near Boston harbor, and hopped back on the trolley for another 4 hours of seeing more of the city’s history.

The final evening on Tuesday, we settled in earlier to enjoy a relaxed time to review and reflect on our entire week together and talk about how much we had enjoyed being together. We spoke of living life fully, and finishing well our Christian pilgrimage, regardless of what amount of time we had left. The next morning, on Wednesday, we then headed to the Boston airport, and parting ways for different flights home, we expressed love and appreciation for each other.

That was in August. Little did any of us know that eight quick months later, Mike would be in heaven. He had eight months still to live when we enjoyed New England together. After that week, he and I spoke on the phone and prayed together regularly, and we always remembered our New England time together. Now that he is gone, I miss him even more and am so thankful that we planned a time to enjoy friendship.
When I realized in those recent weeks that Mike might not make it through his sickness, I felt more grateful for our friendship, sensing we were losing a great preacher and a dear friend; I also felt more thankful for the time we had planned to spend together. Then on a Friday, when I received the call telling me of his home going, I treasured him all afternoon, his life and ministry, and the memories even more. And I felt great peace and appreciation that we had not neglected our friendship. How I praise God for the life and legacy of Michael Morrow. Paul Washer said at the funeral: “Mike Morrow was one of the greatest men in the world.” Those who knew and love Mike Morrow feel the same.

We should make time to spend with those we love. It is a great lesson to learn and a great truth to realize, that life is not meant to be lived by rushing from one responsibility to another, rushing so much that we are always under pressure in our schedules and can never plan to be with dear friends. Such times have to be planned, and when they are, and when we have special times together, we will never regret that we took time to enjoy and treasure such friendships.

Someone has said, “Give flowers to the living, so they can enjoy them, not to the dead, when they are already gone.” Leonard Ravenhill, in the same vein, used to say, “Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going.” Now is the time to choose the best and choose to show love to friends. At one point, three friends wanted to spend some time together in New England, so we planned it. I am so glad today that we made that choice then. O, the blessedness of Christian friendships.

– Mack Tomlinson

What Happens to Christians when They Die

Here’s a comforting word for the Christian believer. At the moment you breathe your last breath, your soul will leave your body and you will enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures, to myriads of angels, to the general assembly, the church triumphant, and your soul will be made perfect. On top of this, you will enter into your rest. You will rest from your labors.

Perhaps you were sexually molested as a child. Perhaps this went on for many years. I cannot even imagine the pain with which you have lived all of this time. No one can, unless they have suffered similarly. You probably live with a continual sense of shame, guilt, pain, and self-loathing. You may even have a litany of broken relationships, both in failed marriages and with children or friends. Maybe you now are a Christian, and you now know that you are not responsible for these horrible things which were done to you, but knowing this intellectually and applying it comfortingly and productively in everyday living are two different things. You may have attempted suicide to end it all, reasoning that your life is not worth living, that you can no longer endure the pain of your past. Perhaps you have tried Christian counselors and for a season you appeared to do better, but you always seem to come back to the same self-loathing and shame.
Or maybe when you were in your late teens or early twenties you became sexually promiscuous and reveled in it for a season. Maybe you were given over to homosexuality. And then, God reached down by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and saved you and changed you, giving you the ability to hate your sin and to love and obey God. You know you are forgiven but there are certain trigger points which arise from time to time and you are tempted to fall back into your former lifestyle. You feel horribly guilty and defeated when these thoughts come. Maybe you have even fallen into the actual sexual sins of your past. You feel like the fight gets more and more difficult from time to time, and you are tired of fighting.

Or maybe, after many years of drug or alcohol addiction, God reached down and delivered you from this bondage. You had been clean for many years but then one day, something triggered a relapse and you fell off the wagon again. God was gracious to restore you but it has happened many times in your life. You have paid dearly for your sin, losing your spouse, your children, and your good paying job. Your loved ones believe you when you say you are clean again, but they have experienced the back-sliding too many times. They simply cannot live with you any longer, so you find yourself living alone, coming home each night from a job for which you are over qualified, to a small apartment.
Or maybe you have long been in the fight for propagating the gospel to your community, nation, and world. You believe God has called you to this ministry, but there have been many lean times. Your financial support has been minimal. Some have actively opposed you in your ministry. It is one thing for the world to oppose you. You kind of expected that, but it really hurts when fellow believers have dismissed you as too narrow, too rigid, too zealous. You are tired of the fight. You would like to quit, but you know God has called you and you must continue.

Or maybe you have a special needs child who was born to you later in life, after your other children were grown. You know you will care for this child the rest of his life. You long ago settled this in your heart and mind, and you have made provision for him after you leave this earth, but nonetheless the process is tiring, exhausting, and unrelenting. The same can be said for your care for your spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s.

But my dear Christian friend, I have some very good news for you. Upon the last beat of your heart, you will be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. Your soul will enter into the presence of Jesus and you will have your eternal rest. Jesus promised you long ago that if you came to Him as one weary and heavy laden, He would give you rest. You have experienced something of it on earth, but then you will have it in its fullness.

No more pain, no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more death. The first things have passed away.
No more fear, shame, guilt, or self-loathing. You will totally forget the sexual abuse you encountered.
You will be gazing into the eyes of the One who loved you and gave His life for you. You will be done with your propensity to return to your formal life of sexual immorality or drug or alcohol addiction. You will be released from this temptation and battle immediately. Your seemingly perpetual battle for the truth of God’s word and His gospel will be over. No more maligning by friend or foe. No more rejection by the brethren who thought you were ‘over the top’. No more loneliness. You will be with all the great saints of all the ages, others who battled similarly, who also have entered their eternal rest. And your long, faithful service to your special needs child is completed. You have made provision for him, and God will care for him. You will then be at rest. No sorrow, no fear, no apprehension, no anxiety.
Perfect peace forever.

Comfort yourself with these precious truths, dear believer. These magnificent gifts await you. If, however, you are not yet a Christian, you must soberly understand that none of these things are awaiting you. Instead you should expect a certain, terrifying judgment in hell where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies. Your only hope, my friend, is to flee from the certain, terrifying judgment of God which hangs over your head this very moment and run in repentance and faith to Jesus, the great lover of your soul. He will save you if you humble yourself before Him and cry out to Him for mercy. Wait no longer. Come to Him now. Ask Him this very moment to save you.

– Al Baker

As a Man Thinketh: The Importance of a Renewed Mind, Pt 2

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:9).

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).

For God has not given us a spirit not of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds (Hebrews 10:16).

How central a place man’s mind has in the Bible! My intent is not to weary you with an overload of scriptures, but only to show the major emphasis the Bible’s places on this area of our lives. In our unending battle with sin, a renewed mind is essential. In our ongoing need of comfort and encouragement, a renewed mind only will receive God’s comforts. For true perseverance in the faith year after year, a renewed mind will keep us on the right path, not allowing us to stray from the narrow way. In spiritual warfare, a renewed mind is not an option.
The only means and source of our minds being renewed is God’s Word. Truth is the only thing we are to believe. In any situation, we will either believe a lie, a half-truth, or the truth. A renewed mind is one that has been transformed in its thinking and views to see reality for what it truly is, to believe what God has said in any situation, and to walk in that light. This is the renewed mind.
It is significant that Paul, in Romans 12:1-2, says that renewing of the mind follows two things: 1) presenting our bodies (our entire beings or all of us) as a living sacrifice to God, and 2) not being conformed to this world–consecration and transformation! Full yieldedness to Christ produces within the believer a transformation of the mind, rather than allowing the world to squeeze us into its mold. We are not to be conformed to this world, but the only alternative to conformity to this world is transformation out of the world’s unregenerate way of thinking into Christ’s way of thinking according to God’s truth.
I can now look back and reflect on forty-four years of Christian experience and realize that my choices in living the Christian life were always based on what I believed at the moment. Reading a bad book as a new Christian, I suddenly felt and believed it was a bad book and I chose to throw it in the trash can. Good choice! I was moving toward marriage to a Christian young lady, and came to see it was not God’s will for me, and chose to not continue the relationship, and that choice resulted in my marriage of 39 years to Linda. My, what a difference our belief at any moment can make for the future! Over the years, I have increasingly loved the doctrinal standards of historic Presbyterianism, and the stalwarts of the faith among that communion, such as B. B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, J. Gresham Machen, and others. But as much as I love their history and theology, I could never come to believe they were correct on pedo-baptism (infant baptism). That conviction, flowing out of a renewed mind to what the Bible reveals, has kept me a Baptist all these years, though I have loving relationships with godly Presbyterians to this day.
What we believe in our hearts and minds is what we are, and determines what we choose and do. What we believe shapes all decisions and choices. Yes, ‘tis true–as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he! Our constant prayer and goal should be a renewed mind and heart. That will keep us walking on the Lord’s highway of holiness all the days of our lives.

– Mack Tomlinson