The Spirit of the Mind

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Ephesians 4:23

What a phrase—“the spirit of your mind.” We need the Truth to refresh our thoughts and give us a basis for sound thinking, mental health, and personal transformation. When we believe Truth, we’re grounded in a biblical worldview.

 Jeremiah Johnston wrote, “Faith and the mind are not at odds; faith is not believing nonsense, faith is not embracing unreasonable, illogical things. In short, faith is not stupid. Some people seem to have faith in faith (as Dawkins and other atheists have in fact pointed out). Faith is intelligent; it is educated; it is learned; it is hungry for understanding. A healthy faith is a seeking faith. A healthy faith is not satisfied to be ignorant, to be naïve, to remain in the dark, or to pass on misinformation.”[1]

God in His wonder and glory gave us the ability to think and reason. We’re to love Him with all our minds. Sadly, at times we use those gifts for misguided purposes. But if we stop and ponder our life in the light of our Creator, that’s a journey worth taking.

One of the most dangerous places to be is when we don’t seek the truth. The easiest way to eliminate confusion is to know the truth.
Jeremiah Johnston, Ph. D.

[1]Jeremiah Johnston, “Do you think Christianity?”, Christian Thinkers Society, August 10, 2020,

  • by David Jeremiah

My Notes on John 11 . . .

by Larry Dixon

Called to serve

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, andto keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 (NKJV).

Many of our readers will remember the simple yet profound words of the late President John F. Kennedy who, in 1961, stated: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” He was calling people to a noble life of service.

Other great leaders have confirmed the rewards of service. Albert Schweitzer said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

As followers of Jesus Christ we are all called to serve, and we serve God by serving our fellow man. Doing this is what God calls “pure and undefiled religion before God.” It is also laying up treasure in heaven which is what Jesus encourages each of his followers to do, saying, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV).

If you were called to stand before the Master today to give an account of your life, would you empty handed go? May I encourage you to make a commitment to God now to live a life of service to him? This can be a part of your everyday life in being “as Jesus” in some way to every life you touch; by becoming a part-time volunteer in a community service program through your local church or another organization, by being an effective parent, by teaching a Sunday School class, by leading a recovery group, or in any one of a score of different ways. God’s calling for each of us is different, but equally needed for His work.

God’s View of Our Sin

We should be careful not to downplay the seriousness of sin because it offends our wrathful God, and believers need to live in the light.

Ephesians 5:1-17 Do as God would do. Much-loved children want to do as their fathers do. Live with love as Christ loved you. He gave Himself for us, a gift on the altar to God which was as a sweet smell to God.

Do not let sex sins or anything sinful be even talked about among those who belong to Christ. Do not always want everything. Do not be guilty of telling bad stories and of foolish talk. These things are not for you to do. Instead, you are to give thanks for what God has done for you. Be sure of this! No person who does sex sins or who is not pure will have any part in the holy nation of Christ and of God. The same is true for the person who always wants what other people have. This becomes a god to him. Do not let anyone lead you in the wrong way with foolish talk. The anger of God comes on such people because they choose to not obey Him. Have nothing to do with them. At one time you lived in darkness. Now you are living in the light that comes from the Lord. Live as children who have the light of the Lord in them. This light gives us truth. It makes us right with God and makes us good. 10 Learn how to please the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the bad things done in darkness. Instead, show that these things are wrong. 12 It is a shame even to talk about these things done in secret. 13 All things can be seen when they are in the light. Everything that can be seen is in the light. 14 The Holy Writings say, “Wake up, you who are sleeping. Rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.”

15 So be careful how you live. Live as men who are wise and not foolish. 16 Make the best use of your time. These are sinful days. 17 Do not be foolish. Understand what the Lord wants you to do.


Some people consider sin no big deal and think breaking biblical rules won’t have any effect on them. But they are actually deriding God with their attitude. What’s more, they have fallen victim to the enemy’s deception that it’s possible to get away with wrongdoing. For this reason, right before teaching the principle of reaping what is sown, Paul tells the Galatians, “God is not mocked”(Gal. 6:7).

The truth is, what we or anyone else thinks about sin is not the issue. All that matters is what God thinks, and He has made His views very clear in the Scriptures. So if we trivialize our sins, it’s an indication we don’t understand how holy and just the Father is. To emphasize the seriousness of sin, Paul lists ways we offend the Lord with our motives, impure character, words, idolatries, and actions. And in verse 6 of today’s passage, he warns, “For because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

As believers, we need to remember how offensive transgression is to God. Although we’ve been saved from His wrath, we cannot sin as we please and claim it’s all covered by grace. Our aim should be to live as children of light, not darkness.

If it is so obvious that Jesus is the Messiah, why didn’t the disciples understand it?


Over the years, I have been asked if the messianic prophecies are so clear about the coming of Jesus, why didn’t the disciples understand His mission? This question can be dealt with in a number of ways.

First, we must understand the different messianic expectations at the time of Jesus. As I have  said before, there wasn’t one dominant messianic expectation at the time of Jesus

Secondly, we need to understand the various ways the New Testament authors interpret the Jewish Scriptures. 

Third, we need to possibly consider the words of Michael Heiser here. He says:

“Have you ever wondered how it was that the disciples never seemed to get the things that Jesus told them about himself? Think about it. When Jesus told them that it was time for him to go to Jerusalem and die, it angered and scared them (Matt. 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32). No one replied, “That’s right—I read that in the Scriptures.” Peter even rebuked Jesus for saying such a thing (Matt. 16:21-23). The truth is that the disciples had little sense of what was going on. Even after the resurrection their minds had to be supernaturally enabled to get the message (Luke 24:44-45). We shouldn’t be too hard on the disciples. They weren’t dumb. Their ignorance was the result of God’s deliberate plan to conceal messianic prophecy. Paul talked about the need for that when writing to the Corinthians: But we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew. For if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. 2:7-8) Had Satan and the other powers of darkness known that instigating people to kill the messiah was precisely what God had designed to accomplish their own doom, they never would have done it. The gospels are clear that Satan and demons knew the prophesied son of David had come (Matt. 8:28-29; Luke 4:31-35). The Old Testament was clear that would happen at some point. But what it concealed was the plan of redemption.

Let’s take Isaiah 53 as an example. It’s clear that God’s servant would suffer for sins—but the Hebrew word translated “messiah” (mashiach) never occurs in the passage. It occurs only once in all of Isaiah—and then it is used of Cyrus, a pagan king. The word never occurs in Jeremiah or Ezekiel, and is only found once in the Minor Prophets (Hab. 3:13) where it speaks of the nation. The occurrences in the Psalms refer to Israel’s king. Only a handful of them are quoted by New Testament authors of the messianic king—but their application only became clear after the fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Even the label “son of God” isn’t helpful since Israel is called God’s son in Exod. 4:22-23, and kings like David got that title, too. As shocking as it sounds, there isn’t a single verse in the Old Testament that refers to a suffering messiah (mashiach) who would be God incarnate, die, and rise again. That’s deliberate. What we do get in the Old Testament are all the pieces of that profile scattered in dozens, even hundreds of places. The portrait could only be discerned after the fact. The plan of salvation was a cosmic chess game that had to be won. The rest of prophecy figures to work out the same way—fulfilments hidden in plain sight.” – Michael Heiser, The 60 Second Scholar: 100 Insights That Illumine the Bible

Feel free to check out our post called Are There Over 300 Messianic Prophecies?

Also, see Heiser’s clip here: How Biblical Prophecy is Unclear and Why- Michael S. Heiser

When God Is Silent

Like Mary and Martha, we can easily believe that God could have done better for us in difficult situations, but if we trust His timing, all will be good.
John 11:1-44

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in the town of Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the Mary who put perfume on the Lord and dried His feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, your friend is sick!” When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. It has happened so that it will bring honor to God. And the Son of God will be honored by it also.”

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. But when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. Then He said to His followers, “Let us go into the country of Judea again.” The followers said to Him, “Teacher, the Jews tried to throw stones at You to kill You not long ago. Are You going there again?” Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walks during the day, he will not fall. He sees the light of this world. 10 If a man walks during the night, he will fall. The light is not in him.”

11 After Jesus had said this, He spoke again and said, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping. I will go and wake him up.” 12 The followers said to Him, “If he is sleeping, he will get well.” 13 But Jesus meant Lazarus was dead. They thought He meant Lazarus was resting in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them, “Lazarus is dead. 15 Because of you I am glad I was not there so that you may believe. Come, let us go to him.”

16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to the other followers, “Let us go also so we may die with Jesus.”

17 When Jesus got there, He heard that Lazarus had been in the grave four days. 18 Bethany was about one-half hour walk from Jerusalem. 19 Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to give words of comfort about their brother.

20 Martha heard that Jesus was coming and went to meet Him. Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 I know even now God will give You whatever You ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again when the dead are raised from the grave on the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the One Who raises the dead and gives them life. Anyone who puts his trust in Me will live again, even if he dies. 26 Anyone who lives and has put his trust in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God. You are the One Who was to come into the world.”

28 After Martha said this, she went and called her sister Mary. She said without anyone else hearing, “The Teacher is here and has sent for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up and went to Him. 30 Jesus had not yet come into their town. He was still where Martha had met Him.

31 The Jews had been in the house comforting Mary. They saw her get up and hurry out. They followed her and said, “She is going to the grave to cry there.” 32 Mary went to the place where Jesus was. When she saw Him, she got down at His feet. She said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 Jesus saw her crying. The Jews who came with her were crying also. His heart was very sad and He was troubled. 34 He said, “Where did you lay Lazarus?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus cried. 36 The Jews said, “See how much He loved Lazarus.” 37 Some of them said, “This Man opened the eyes of the blind man. Could He not have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus went to the grave with a sad heart. The grave was a hole in the side of a hill. A stone covered the door. 39 Jesus said, “Take the stone away.” The dead man’s sister, Martha, said to Him, “Lord, by now his body has a bad smell. He has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say that if you would believe, you would see the shining-greatness of God?”

41 They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank You for hearing Me. 42 I know You always hear Me. But I have said this for the people standing here, so they may believe You have sent Me.”

43 When He had said this, He called with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were tied in grave clothes. A white cloth was tied around his face. Jesus said to the people, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go!”


In times of urgent need, our prayers become fervent and our desire for a quick answer intensifies. It seems that if the Lord doesn’t intervene soon, the very thing we dread could happen. And without a detectable response from God, we may feel as if He doesn’t care—even though Scripture assures us He does (Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7).

This may have been the way Mary and Martha felt after asking Jesus to come and heal Lazarus. They knew that the Lord loved them, but when He didn’t show up in time, their pain overtook their faith, and they both voiced disappointment: “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, John 11:32).

We have all said or thought something similar when the Lord didn’t answer our prayers as we hoped. But we know from Scripture that God’s purpose in all His choices for us is His glory (John 11:4 above). His goal is not to inflict pain unnecessarily but to let Christ’s life shine through us in hardship, to stabilize our confidence in the Father’s goodness, and to strengthen our trust in His loving sovereignty. His glory is for our good, and in this we can rejoice.

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit

Friends: I’ve been working on this manuscript for quite a while. And I now have a contract to get it finished! Here’s a sample of what I’m putting together for this book:

Jesus says the Holy Spirit would be “another paraclete” to His disciples. Would the term “comfort” be the first to come to mind when we think of how Jesus was to His disciples? He rebukes them for their unbelief, for their sleeping, for having no faith. He defends them when they are accused of violating sacred rules of ceremonial washing or ignoring Sabbath observance. He “comes alongside” them when their faith is too weak to exorcize a demon-possessed boy.

“Comfort” seems to imply bringing solace to one who is weeping. The disciples (during the earthly ministry of the Lord) did not know enough to weep. He does not “comfort” them – He challenges, chastises, corrects, and even cajoles them. “Comfort” is far too weak a term. And sometimes the last thing the believer needs is a sympathetic companion who wipes away his tears. We need One who is fully divine to come alongside of us and put His finger on our sins and remind our hearts, “You belong to Your Heavenly Father.” We require One who will motivate and empower us to take risks for the Kingdom of God, One who will not be satisfied with one-seventh of our week, with the leftovers of our hours and days. We need One who will be “called alongside of” us even when we ourselves don’t have enough wisdom to invite His intrusive presence.

Read more:

10 Reasons to Study the Holy Spirit

Joel R. Beeke, Paul M. Smalley

It is sufficient that God’s word speaks much of the Spirit, for the only warrant we need to study a truth is that God teaches it in his word. However, to strengthen our motivation to study this topic deeply, let us consider reasons why it is crucial that we study the Holy Spirit.

Keep Reading

Leave Room for God

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
James 4:15 

How many times a day do we say or think, “I’m going to…”? When we say or think in declarative terms, it calls to mind the old joke, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” That’s an overstatement, of course; God doesn’t laugh at His children, even when He can see the error of our ways. Instead, the saying suggests that we ought to remember a biblical truth: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Whether we remember every time to say it or think it, all our plans should be predicated by, “If the Lord wills.”
That was the apostle James’ advice in a parable he wrote to his readers (James 4:13-17). He wrote about people who planned to go to a city, start a business, and make money. James suggested, “Not so fast.” It is wiser to submit our plans to God and ask for His blessing and guidance since He has already planned our steps (Psalm 139:13-16).

Today, if you say or think, “I’m going to…,” remember to leave room for God in your planning. We plan, but He directs.

God has no problems, only plans.
Corrie ten Boom

  • David Jeremiah

Jesus Rejected

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

No one can be on neutral ground with respect to Jesus. We must either receive Him or reject Him as the promised Savior. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in Luke’s gospel by addressing the hostility Jesus received in His hometown of Nazareth.