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Faithlife

Made Up Mind

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E. Stanley Jones states it graphically, "If you don't make up your mind, then your unmade mind will unmake you.  Here is the place where there must be no dallying.  For any dallying will be the Trojan horse that will get on the inside and open the gates to the enemy. God can do anything for the man who has made up his mind; he can do little or nothing for the double-minded."

 -- The Way to Power and Poise, p.258

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:5-8, NIV) [1]

We are gathered this afternoon to pay our respects to a brother who has passed from us.  If we mourn today it is only because we shall see him no more in this life.  Regardless of how well or long a person has lived, we feel a sense of personal loss when he or she has gone.  If any man or woman ever left a clear trail to follow, it would be my feeling that Olin Raymond Hillman has done this. 

Our prayers are with you today Myrna as you mourn your father’s absence here and as you rejoice in your father’s presence with the Lord.  I know, we know, that you have tremendous comfort, in the assurance your father is with the Savior today.

I pray that we all might be challenged to leave the same assurances to our families when we trade worlds.  No question marks.

From my own experience with Olin in the latter years, I found a gentle man, soft spoken and warm-hearted.  He gave me that impression that he had learned much from God and from life.  It seemed true in Olin’s life that the more we learn the less we need to speak.  It reminds me of the poem that my Dad used to repeat to me.

The old owl sat on the limb of the oak

The more he saw the less he spoke

The less he spoke, the more he heard

I want to be like that wise old bird.

There is no witness or testimony quite so powerful as a life well lived.  I mean the witness that we find when someone declares their direction and follows it daily through the good times and the bad.  Everyone has their ups and downs.    And a life well lived has several obvious

In order to live consistently a person must come to the place where he/she makes a decision or a determination.  There is a time to “choose” our path.

As Robert Frost wrote: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by--and that has made all the difference."

"“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14-15, NIV) [2]

I would say that Olin made his mind up a long time ago and he never changed it.  He came to a place in his life where he asked for direction, he accepted what he was given and he acted upon it.  It’s a fairly simple recipe for stability and consistency in living.

James says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

1.    We have to come to the place where we realize that we need help and input before we choose a life direction.

Men are chided often for their lack of willingness to ask for directions.  One man defended himself by saying, “Why would I ask a complete stranger for directions?  He doesn’t know where I am going.”

Rule # 12 of “15 Laws For Women To Live By” says, “

 

“12. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.”

We have a tendency to walk in circles when we are lost in the woods.  The same is true in life.  Lost people tend to wander in circles.  And they spend entire lifetimes doing just that, repeating the mistakes of the past.  A failed marriage, another relationship on the rebound and the anguish of discovering that they have once again chosen someone who is little different.  The journey out of indebtedness and financial distress repeated by a quick trip back to the place that we have just come from.

But there’s more than just asking direction. 

2.    A person must be willing to accept what he/she is given.

 

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can't believe; unbelief is won't believe. Doubt is honesty; unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with darkness.

   John Drummond (1851-1897)

Doubt is not the absence of fear and faith is not complete certainty.  Faith is a willingness to trust above and beyond our human instincts.

Everyone has a different idea that can throw us into indecision.  People have different ideas as to how carpentry work should be done.  They have different ideas as to how government should be run.  They have different ideas as to how sports teams should be coached.  You are responsible before God for your life and how you spend it and sooner or later in the process of growing up we have to learnt to trust God as He directs us and live our lives accordingly.

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:14-15, NIV) [3]

There are thousands of water cooler counselors who will meet you incidentally and they all have a different idea.  A friend of mine, formerly an investment counselor used to battle unqualified advice that came to his clients.  This would throw them into panic and confusion.  These incidental conversations with unqualified people who cast doubt on their investment strategies.  The same people exist to confuse people relative to matters of faith.  People who are crippled by this confusion are people who have not made a decision to trust the wisdom that God has given them and they waffle.  They are spiritual weebles who wobble and hopefully don’t fall down.

3.    And then a person has to act upon the wisdom that they have been given.

This is the ultimate test of faith.  Not what we say we believe but what we do with our beliefs.

That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

The failure to act on direction that God gives brings “instability”.  It is bad enough that our own lives become unstable but we bring it to everything that we touch.  Instability comes into the home where parents are quasi-Christian.  Children who are raised in a home where people are not quite sure adopt the same posture when they are in a position of leadership themselves.  It is a rich blessing when men and women step boldly forward in their faith.  They practice what they profess.

I am afraid we modern Christians are long on talk and short on conduct.  We use the language of power but our deeds are the deeds of weakness.  We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly.  It is easier to pray, "Lord, help me to carry my cross daily" then to pick up the cross and carry it; but since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of the words.

n      A. W. Tozer

A man sat down to supper with his family, saying grace, thanking God for the food, for the hands which prepared it, and for the source of all life.  But during the meal he complained about the freshness of the bread, the bitterness of the coffee and the sharpness of the cheese.  His young daughter questioned him, "Dad, do you think God heard the grace today?"

He answered confidently, "Of course."

Then she asked, "And do you think God heard what you said about the coffee, the cheese, and the bread?"   Not so confidently, he answered, "Why, yes, I believe so."

The little girl concluded, "Then which do you think God believed, Dad?"

The man was suddenly aware that his mealtime prayer had become a rote, thoughtless habit rather than an attentive and honest conversation with God.  By not concentrating on that important conversation, he had left the door open to let hypocrisy sneak in.

Olin’s decision years ago to serve the Lord has been a tremendous light and influence to friends and family alike.  Today we celebrate with thanksgiving, his home going and we trust as He did that God will begin in all of us the work that He has begun and will faithfully and daily bring it to completion.


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[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[2] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[3] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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