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Renewing Your Mind for the New Year #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2024 12:00 am

Renewing Your Mind for the New Year #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

What if we looked at the calendar and said, another year has gone by, another time is rolling along, what should I be thinking in those terms? What if we took the opportunity to think like that?

Where would it take us? Well, Psalm 90 gives us direction. With the new year just ahead, we often like to anticipate what's to come.

These days it can be tempting to be pessimistic given serious global and national events. But as Pastor Don Green reminds us today on the Truth Pulpit, Christians should embrace the future with hope and thanksgiving. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright and we're continuing our series, As the Calendar Turns, with part one of a message titled, Renewing Your Mind for the New Year. And Don, how do we renew our minds anyway? Well, my friend, we certainly cannot renew our minds simply on our own.

We need help from outside. And the good news is this, is that God has given us in his inspired Word, the Bible, to bring truth to our minds that will change the way that we think. And when we change the way that we think, it changes the way that we feel and the things that we do in life. So my friend, let me encourage you as we approach a new year, read and study your Bible and you'll find that your thinking and your life are being transformed.

Thank you, Don. And friend, turn in your Bible to Psalm 90 as we join our teacher now in the Truth Pulpit. In Psalm 90, Moses meditates on the character of God and then he contrasts it with the mortality of man. And having reflected on God's eternal nature vis-a-vis the mortality of man, he then turns to prayer and makes certain requests that God would bless the labor of his hands. It starts out vertical, it goes horizontal, and then he turns to prayer.

He thinks about God, then he thinks about life, and then that brings him to pray. And what Moses does in this Psalm is he helps us put life itself into perspective. He helps us think about the realities that shape all of life. And here's what I would say to you, beloved, is that what you see in Psalm 90 is definitive for the way to think rightly about all of life. And without these things you cannot possibly have a correct view of life, a correct worldview at all, and yet with these things all of a sudden you are set in a place where you are able to have a perspective to think rightly about everything that would happen in the coming year, or anything that has happened to you in the past. And so this is a wonderful Psalm, and we're going to bring four points out here.

How is it that you should think about life? Well, first of all, in the first principle that we would say here is this, is that you must embrace eternity. You must embrace eternity. Moses draws on the eternality of God as he begins this meditation, as he begins this prayer that is Psalm 90. Look at verse one with me. He says, Lord, so he addresses God as Adonai, he says, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.

Notice that right from the start he goes to a lofty realm of thought. He goes and he thinks about and he addresses God from the perspective of God's eternal character. Speaking as the leader of the people of Israel at that time, he says, Lord, you've been our dwelling place through all generations. God called Abraham out in rough terms about 2,000, 2,100 years before the time of Christ. Moses is writing about 1,400 years before the time of Christ. And so in very general rough terms, for six or seven hundred years, God had been the God of the people of Israel.

He had been the God of Abraham and his descendants. And so Moses is writing here from a perspective of God's long, centuries-old dealings with his people. And he brings that out in verse one. He says, Lord, you've been our dwelling place in all generations.

And yet he goes even further back than that. He says, you've been our God for centuries, and yet in verse two he stretches back before time began. And he says, before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. He thinks about God from the sense that God is timeless. God never began because he had always been.

He is absolutely eternal in his character. And so he goes back to the earliest point in earthly time, the creation of the world and the mountains on it, and he says, God, you existed even before then. If we're going to set the cornerstone and square everything up with what reality truly is, we have to go back and see who it is that is the source of all existence.

It is the eternal God. And that God is not bound by time like we are. He is not affected by the motions of what happens in the world like we are. He's not affected by the ups and downs of life as we are. He dwells outside of that.

He dwells outside of history. God established his eternal purposes before time began. And we must understand that. We must have that at the cornerstone of the way that we think about life.

The life originated with an eternal God who in his great infinite omniscience determined where the course of history would go before the world began, and now in time he is working out those purposes. God is above the vicissitudes of time. He is above the rolling waves of time and life and death and birth and the cycle of life. He is way above that.

He is infinitely above that. And that is where you must start your thinking if you're going to think rightly about life going into the new year. You must embrace eternity. And what I mean by that is that you must calculate God's eternal reality in the way that you think about life and what happens to you.

After time ends, we will find that God has accomplished his purposes to perfection. So, think about this. For some reason, and I've mentioned this in the past, when I'm thinking about pre-eternal, you know, eternity before time began, it's always to my left and eternity future is always to my right.

I don't know why that is, but it helps me think spatially about it, I guess. But here's the way that you should think about life. Here's the way that you should think about existence. God existed before time began.

God determined the way that he wanted the course of events to go before the mountains ever existed. Now, as you step into time from that, here the meaning of time is that God is working out those purposes over the course of generations in order to bring it to the result that he intends to culminate in eternity future. It is very transcendent, lofty thought that Moses is laying out here for us. And so, for you to understand life at all is to realize that you are in a dot of time in a much larger perspective that is governed by the eternal God who is dwelling outside of time. That, God's eternal character, that, God's eternal purpose, that, God's sure outworking of that eternal purpose is the ultimate context of your life. You live life, watch this, this is foundational and no one can understand life until this is anchored in their thinking. You live life in a context, in a realm. You live life in the realm of God achieving his eternal purposes. And that is what is always going on in time, God inexorably working out the eternal purposes which he established before time began. Look, I mean that's the reality of history and those who would define God out of existence, those who would ignore him, they can't possibly understand what life is about because this is what reality is. Now, what is the implication of that for your earthly life today and as you look forward into 2016?

What does that mean? How should you think about what happens to you? Good things by earthly standards, blessings come to you, or tragedy strikes, or it's just a matter of routine and this year seems like last year.

What should you think about that? Well, look over at Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 14, just to the right in your Bible beyond the book of Proverbs, if you get to Isaiah you've gone too far. Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 14, we'll start in verse 13. Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 13, Scripture calls you to think in these terms. Scripture calls you to meditate on the transcendent reality of God and his purposes and to realize what that means for your life. Ecclesiastes 7, verse 13 says, Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what he has bent?

Who can change the purpose of God when he sets his hand to do it? Then in verse 14 it says, In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider that God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him. You must understand that whatever comes into your life is going to be something that God has appointed for you in that, and that if everybody likes the prosperous times, everybody loves the good health and the blessings and everybody can rejoice and be happy in that, and Scripture says good for you. If you realize that that's coming from the hand of God, be happy and take joy in it. But, and here's where a Christian worldview, a biblical worldview starts to shape the way that you think and respond to life, when adversity hits, you must remember that God has appointed that for you as well. Job said in Job chapter 2, The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. So in other words, you have to look past the outworking of your circumstances and embrace the eternal nature of God and the fact that he is working out eternal purposes. Sometimes that will be to the liking of your earthly desires. Sometimes it will be directly contrary to them. You must think about it from the perspective, whatever comes, blessing or adversity, this is what God has given me, this is what I must respond to, I must bow low in worship because I remember who he is.

He's the eternal God outside of time who existed before the mountains were formed. Kind of a mouthful, isn't it? It's a lot to take in. But you know, it's not until you really start thinking along those terms that you're really starting to think rightly about life. And we all tend to be too superficial. We tend to be too carnal in our thinking.

We tend to be too earthbound. Well, that's why we need Scripture to help us. And let me just bring this out and kind of work out a little bit of pastoral implication to you here. I speak gently to discouraged hearts. Speak gently and kindly to those of you who are weighed down. Are you entering into this new year with discouragement, maybe over chronic long-term trials that seem to have no end, no resolution in sight?

Does the new year bring trials to you? Well, beloved, let me encourage you to return to this perspective that we're talking about. The hand of God is in everything that happens. There is nothing that has happened in your life that God hasn't directed you to this very point of your existence. And that can be pretty hard to swallow sometimes if you've bought into a sugary view of God that God just exists to manipulate circumstances to your liking. But those of you that are going through really hard trials, that view of God doesn't do much for you in the end, does it?

What you need is something more substantial. What you need is to understand that the trials and the adversity that God has appointed for you has come from a wise, eternal plan that is outside of time and that God is wisely directing your life in order to accomplish His purposes. And when you think about it from that perspective, then all of a sudden you have a real foundation that you can stand on. You have a real anchor that can settle life for you and say, even though this is difficult, I realize that there's an eternal context to what's happening here far beyond my realm to be able to comprehend and see. But I can rest in this because I know who God is. I know that He is eternal and His eternal purposes, watch this, His eternal purposes are sure, they are certain, they are wise, they are good.

And here's the part that you need to get across the bridge to. And it is more important that His eternal purposes be accomplished than it is for me to have happy circumstances in my life. If God has appointed adverse circumstances to me for a time, I accept that, you say to yourself. I embrace that because I realize that His eternal purpose is at work and that is what I want to see advanced. So in the day of adversity, consider that God has made that day for you just as He did the longer ago times, the days of your prosperity.

And you can rest in that, you can anchor in that. And I realize that what we're saying here is just so contrary to what people that make you want to think, that God just wants you to be healthy and happy. God wants everything to go well for you just like you want it to go and God just has... Well, no. Some of the greatest things that have happened in the course of church history and of the people of God have come from people suffering and people being alone and people being isolated in the course of a difficult life. You know, what would we think about Christ on the cross crying out in derelictions saying, God, why have you forsaken me? Paul saying at the end of his ministry, only Luke is with me. And speaking in the Corinthian Epistles about what he knows about, as he describes, the adversity and the beatings and the shipwrecks and the sleeplessness and the hunger and thirst that he went through. You cannot possibly reconcile the biblical reality of Christ and the greatest men of the faith with this superficial sugary view of God that is being taught so broadly and roundly.

It can't be right and it can't be reconciled to what the biblical testimony is. Once you recognize that and you say, okay, that's true for me too, then what happens is that there's this powerful understanding. There's this force almost, this spiritual force that overtakes your thinking and you realize I don't have to be prosperous. I don't have to avoid adversity in my life because I'm just part of something bigger, the eternal purposes of God and knowing that and belonging to that and recognizing and embracing it, that's what I want my life to be about anyway. And so whether it's prosperity or adversity, either one is simply an expression of the eternal purpose of God and that's what I'm after.

That's the way that you think. And that kind of thinking sets you well. It sets you to be able to look to the future with serenity, without fear of bad things happening. All of a sudden, you can look forward and say whatever happens is going to be a further outworking of the purposes of God and if it's adversity, I'm going to bless God just the same if it's prosperity.

It changes life. Sometimes, I don't know if I should say this or not, but I'm going to. There are times where I say things and I preach things simply because this is going to sound too self-centered and it's not like this.

It's always for your upbuilding to the best of my ability. But many times at this stage of my life, I am preaching things that I wish I had heard when I was a young man, when I was 16 or 20 or 22, when I was going through some real adversity in my life and I didn't have this perspective. It would have transformed everything. If I had only known then what I know now from Scripture, I wouldn't have been so anxious and worried that somebody was going to break in and steal one of my kids when we were living in a crime-infested area in Southern California. I wouldn't have been so worried about what was happening with my career or when things turned against me in the places that I was at.

I needed this. I didn't have it in my heart. I just didn't know God that well.

I didn't know Scripture in the way that being able to study over time is broad. And so there's this sense that I know that you need this too because I needed it and didn't have it. I want you to have it so that you can sink the roots of your life in the soil of the sovereign goodness of God and stand like a man when adversity hits.

That's what I want for you. To stand like a woman of God. That perspective comes when you know God deeply and you know God deeply when you see how Scripture describes Him. And that's what we're seeing here from Psalm 90. And so in the midst of your hardship, beloved, I would say, yes, it's hard. I realize that. It's very difficult for you.

And I sympathize with that. But what I want you to see from Scripture is is that your God, your Heavenly Father, your Lord Jesus Christ who laid His life down for you to secure your eternal redemption, that God that you belong to is certainly working out His purposes in your life without fail. And because that is true, you can know that it will be good for you in the end even if you can't see or understand how that would be true right now. And so knowing that God's in control changes everything. Knowing that He is eternal means that there can be no human opposition or circumstance that could raise up and counteract and stop His eternal purpose from being accomplished.

How could we think anything else? You know, God is God. God is in control. Not Satan. Not adverse people in your life.

Not the hardship. God is. It's true of you that know Christ, God is your Heavenly Father. God is the Father of your Lord Jesus Christ.

You know He's good. That's why He was on the cross, loving your soul at the sake of His own life. He can't possibly have anything other than the highest, noblest, holiest purposes for what He's doing in your life.

So rest in that and trust Him and obey Him. And yes, even, let's say it this way, even to humble yourself under the hardship and trust Him, to say, Lord, I accept this because I believe that you're working out your eternal purpose. And 1 Peter 5, 10 says, that chapter says that God is opposed to the proud but He gives grace to the humble and at the culmination of that, Peter says, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Do you know what it means to be a Christian? It means that God has called you so that you would share in His eternal glory forever. That is the purpose for which He saved you. He saved you so that you would be fit for His presence in all of eternity. He saved you so that you could become conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That you would be gathered around giving glory to Him and receiving eternal blessing from Him in a perfect realm of bliss that we can't begin to comprehend or speculate on.

How wonderful it's going to be. That's why God saved you. And Peter says He called you to His eternal glory in Christ. Well, what if your adversity, your present adversity, was simply the training ground, the preparation that made you fit for that eternal glory? What if life was like that? What if that's what life was about? It is. What if God is simply using your hardship to shape you and perfect you for the glory that He's called you to receive?

An inheritance that belongs to you and is reserved in heaven for you, waiting for you to enter in just a little while from now. What if that were the reality of life? Well, that would change everything, wouldn't it?

Wouldn't that change everything? That would just reorient your whole perspective of everything that happens to you. And if you embrace this eternal purpose of God, if you embrace eternity in your thinking, then you're going to completely see life differently than if you didn't.

Keeping an eternal perspective is an important first step in renewing your mind for the new year. But Pastor Don Green will offer three more principles next time here on The Truth Pulpit, so be sure to join us then. Right now, though, here's Don with some exciting ministry news. Well, my friend, it's always meaningful for me to be able to preach God's Word to God's people and to share it with you here on the radio.

Recently, I completed a series that is one of my all-time favorites. It's called The Bible and Roman Catholicism. It was several messages designed to test Catholic teaching by what Scripture says. We'd like to share a copy of that with you, a full, complete CD album of 10 messages.

Just go to our website and request it, or you'll find the downloads. We just want you to have this material at no cost as our gift and ministry to you. Thanks, Don. And friend, as Don mentioned, visit us at thetruthpulpit.com for more. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-03 04:46:40 / 2024-01-03 04:55:44 / 9

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