Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I Corinthians 1: 9
“Give me a new, a perfect heart,
From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free,
The mind which was in Christ impart,
And let my spirit cleave to Thee.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Howbeit I believed not the words until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.”
1 Kings 10: 7
“Lessons Taught By the Lady From Sheba” Part 5
Lesson #5 – From the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 14: 5 -- “Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his (her) own mind.”
Romans 14: 5
“Think through me, thoughts of God, and let my thoughts be lost like the sand -- pools on the shore of the eternal sea.”
Amy Wilson Carmichael
Do I think for myself or do I allow others to influence the way I make all my decisions?
What do I believe the Apostle Paul meant when he encouraged us to be “convinced” in our own minds?
“May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.”
Kate B. Wilkinson
“Almighty God influence us and work in us, through our minds, not without them, or in spite of them.”
John Henry Newman
It was twenty-five years ago this past month of May when my young, vibrant dad, suddenly dropped dead with a massive heart attack. While the tragedy of this event still affects me, with the passing of time, I’ve found that one of the greatest gifts my dad left implanted in my life was the thoughtful and valuable time he spent sharing nuggets of wisdom he learned through the years. Thankfully, before one of his many overseas trips, he took the time to write a letter for me to keep which outlined some of the most important values he felt would enhance my life.
One of the highly regarded elements which he included was this, and I quote: “Do not let anyone try to divide you in your concepts. You are as intelligent as any scholar, so work things out for yourself.” Let me be clear. This was not some type of “you know it all advice!” My father was a deeply spiritual person. And many times while he was alive, I heard him refer to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 14: 5, where he tells the believers, “Each one should be fully convinced in (their) own mind.” I’d like to paraphrase this passage the way my dad explained it to me: “Study, pray, read, learn, and then follow the conviction of your mind and heart.”
Unfortunately, way too often, we don’t do the tough work of studying and digging for the truth. In our rush about world, it becomes easy to let others sway us with their opinions or ideas and in the end we are left believing that “hearsay” is truth when, in fact, it may not be.
Here’s where we find the core of Lesson #5 from the “Lady From Sheba” and it is this: Let everyone, man or woman, be convinced by the evidence in their own heart and mind.
To get a better understanding of this point, I checked out the definition of the word “hearsay.” This word means: “Unverified information heard or received from another.”
In the legal world, hearsay is “evidence based on the reports of others rather than the personal knowledge of a witness and therefore generally not admissible as testimony.”
You may be wondering why I would want to look so closely at the word “hearsay.” However, I think the Queen of Sheba is a perfect explanation as to why facts being passed from one individual to another may not do truth justice!
As the Queen of Sheba expressed to King Solomon, “First of all, I didn’t believe what I was told until I saw everything with my own eyes. And guess what, I was correct. I wasn’t even told half the truth. Your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame I’d heard about.” It seems that this Danish Proverb could have come straight from the Queen of Sheba’s lips: “Sight before hearsay.”
This woman was not going to have her beliefs tainted by others. Instead, no matter how long the trip, no matter how many questions she asked, and no matter how much she had to see with her own eyes, she would do what was necessary to come to the real truth about Solomon and the God he served for herself. No surrogate would do.
And I asked myself, “Should I be any less diligent in my search for the truth God has laid out for my life?
If you and I, like the Queen of Sheba, desire to “know” the God of heaven and earth, we should leave no stone unturned in our willingness to explore the depths and majesty of our heavenly Father. Then we should use our minds, yes, our very own God-given minds, to come to a knowledge and understanding of God’s will for us. David Lloyd-Jones writes these instructional words regarding the use of our mind as we study God’s Word: “Let us never forget that the message of the Bible is addressed primarily to the mind, to the understanding.” And as A. W. Tozer so effectively noted: “The mind is good -- God put it there. He gave us our heads and it was not His intention that our heads would function just as a place to hang a hat.”
Does it take time and effort to learn for ourselves? To study deeply? To dig long hours? Yes! But as we learn from the Queen of Sheba, it was well worth the time and effort for the result of her trip and the knowledge she gained was double what she imagined it would be. And that’s a huge payoff.
Over the past five years, since I began to write everyday for Transformation Garden, I’ve found that the increased time I’ve spent, seeing for myself, studying for myself, and learning for myself, has given me a reward I could never have imagined. For so many years, I was content to listen to hearsay about Biblical characters and their history. However, once I began to really feast on God’s Word and take it into my being, what strength and courage I have found -- unlike any other time in my life.
This is why the Psalmist, David penned these beautiful words: “O taste and see that the Lord our God is good!” Psalm 34: 8. David understood what the Queen of Sheba teaches us -- once we study for ourselves, once we see with our own eyes, and once we taste of God’s greatness, we too will cry out, “The half wasn’t even told to me.”
O Taste and See
“Now is the time for the good wine
Pressed from the fruit of the tree
Now is the time for rejoicing
In the place where the feast will be
O taste and see
And refresh us with love.
Leave all the cares of the growing
Just let the mystery sing
Magic of ripening and pruning
And the fullness that time will bring
O taste and see
And refresh us with love.
Sweet-tasting cup of our loving
Promise of pleasure and pain
Take it and drink of it deeply
For the new life it will contain
O taste and see
And refresh us with love.”
“God help us to find our confession,
The truth within us which is hidden from our mind,
The beauty or the ugliness we see elsewhere
But never in ourselves;
The stowaway which has been smuggled
Into the dark side of the heart,
Which puts the heart off balance and causes it pain,
Which wearies and confuses us,
Which tips us in false directions and inclines us to destruction,
The load which is not carried squarely
Because it is carried in ignorance
God help us to find our confession.
Help us across the boundary of our understanding.
Lead us into the darkness that we may find what lies concealed.
That we may confess it towards the light,
That we carry our truth in the center of our heart;
That we may carry our cross wisely
And bring harmony into our life and our world.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.