From the Inside Out

Seen on a stairway at a Burger King in Oxford, England: “Mind your head.”

Thinking about what we’re thinking about

Aside from taking care to avoid getting a knot on the noggin, there is another good way to mind one’s head: by cultivating the habit of monitoring our thoughts.

On one occasion Jesus rebuked Peter, “. . . you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23). In time, Peter learned to think in harmony with God’s interests. What he did, we all can do, with God’s help.


The place to begin

Since every word, every action starts in the mind, if we can get our thinking in line with the will of God, the rest will follow (Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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The Original Recycler

Recycling is in vogue, but our generation can’t take credit for it. God is the Original Recycler.

God does good work!

God uses evaporation and condensation to turn filthy water into fresh. He created the decay process, using microbes, and buzzards to take care of the carrion.

God made our bodies fully biodegradable (Genesis 3:19). Some of us, I’m afraid, are getting a head start on the process.


His best work!

But God doesn’t stop there. He recycles old, beat-up, worn-out, hopeless sinners, and He converts them into brand-new people with direction and purpose for living (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17). He can take drug addicts, alcoholics, convicts, and unwed moms and dads and turn them into something beautiful—a work of art!

That’s what God can do. And it’s wonderful!

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The Man in the Middle


He was executed between two criminals (Matthew 27:38; Isaiah 53:12). Though totally innocent, Jesus died a felon’s death, taking the punishment we deserve so we might live (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus is still the Man in the middle—in a far different sense (1 Timothy 2:5). He alone bridges the chasm between a high and holy God and us in our sin. When we accept the redemption He offers, He then serves as our faithful and merciful High Priest, interceding with His Father on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25).



Sometimes in business, cutting out the middle man is good policy. But Jesus is one Middle Man we absolutely can never do without (John 14:6).

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In Place


Out by the back fence is a stack of bricks left over from when the house was built. They are dirty. Some are broken. Even when stacked neatly, they’re just there, taking up space, not fulfilling the purpose for which they were made.

In the hands of a skilled mason, those bricks, after decades of just lying around, could become part of something beautiful and useful.


Put into place

The Master Craftsman intends for each of us to be “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone . . . growing into a holy temple in the Lord . . . built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22).

Only then will we truly be in place.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Before indoor plumbing, what a lot of trouble it was to draw water from the well, heat it on the stove, then fill the washtub on the kitchen floor. No wonder many bathed only on Saturday nights.

In our day of warm showers, deodorant, and washing machines….


Body odor and soiled clothing are not tolerated in our culture.

But defiling entertainment is. Foul language is. Impure living is.

How concerned are we that our souls are soiled with sin (Proverbs 30:12; 2 Corinthians 7:1)?

Washed where we need it most!

David had the right spirit when he begged, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7b).

God provides cleansing by Jesus’ blood as we are buried and raised with Him in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Colossians 2:12-13; Titus 3:5).

Thank God for His grace!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Dealing with a potential risk

A crotch in an oak tree near our house is rotting. Other dead wood is evident here and there.

This may be due to a severe ice storm that broke limbs all over town. Then too, some ants made their home in this same tree some time ago.

Is the tree endangering the house? Should it be trimmed way back or removed entirely?


A far greater danger!

Is there something in our lives that could jeopardize our eternal welfare—perhaps a sinful habit, a questionable friendship, a rotten attitude?

Is anything worth going to hell for? Jesus said, in essence, “Whatever hinders you, get rid of it now before it destroys you” (Matthew 5:27-30; see 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Hebrews 12:1-2).

How we respond reveals whether or not we really believe Him.

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Lost and Found

About a year and a half after I lost my wedding band, a man with a metal detector found it under several inches of dirt. I was glad!

Some losses hardly merit a shrug: a comb, a ballpoint pen, a sock. But then there are losses beyond calculation.

Ultimate Loss

By their disobedience, Adam and Eve forfeited their relationship with God and their paradise home.

Like our original ancestors, when we first sin we too are alienated from our Creator.

Lost Or Found Directions On A Signpost                                                                                              J. David Gibson


Ultimate Joy

Because He yearned for reconciliation, the Father sent His Son on a search-and-rescue mission (Luke 19:10). To accomplish this, Jesus paid with His blood. With it He purchased the church (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:1-2, 25).

What can compare with heaven’s joy when one who was lost is found? (Luke 15)

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