I think I have the cutest granddaughter in the world. Everything she does makes me smile. She recently started walking. I just love watching those cute, little chubby legs toddle around the house. I love her smile, her laugh and her curiosity. I love watching her different expressions and her funny gestures. I love seeing the wonder in her eyes while she explores new things. I think she is cutest little human in this world.
“I think” are two pretty powerful words. The way we think controls our actions, our demeanor, our beliefs, our emotions, our moods, etc. The mind can be a a very powerful weapon, and because of that fact, we must gain control of it. Because there are so many negative and frightening things going on in the world right now, I know that I have to change the way I think and react. I have to ask myself, “What am I focusing my hope on?”
When I read this verse, “Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope, even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12 I had to ask myself, “Am I a prisoner of hope?” My answer was “no”. I was a prisoner of discouragement, fear and angst. There was a war going on inside me because I wanted to be a prisoner of hope. I wanted to break away from the other things that were holding me captive.
So, I was led to a study called “Finding God Faithful” by Kelly Minter. This study focuses on the life of Joseph. I have always loved studying the life of Joseph in the Bible because his story always reminds me that good can come from evil. Kelly states, “I’m hoping you’ll see that what must have felt entirely out of God’s will for Joseph was actually part of God’s plan. The interplay between God’s sovereignty and human evil is a mystery for the ages.” ( Oh yes it is! )
Evil. I see it. I feel it. I am very sensitive to it. I see it waging war with good. It always has been that way. And, even though evil things were happening to him, “The Lord was with Joseph.” Genesis 39:2 Joseph was not alone encountering evil and neither are we in these unsettling times. My mind needs to remember that important fact. God is with me and He is with you. My mind has to not only think it, but know it deep within my bones.
And…..God not only was with Joseph, but Joseph actually prospered in captivity. Genesis 39:2 Being in captivity is not something that I want or enjoy. I don’t know about you, but I definitely felt like I was in captivity while I had to shelter at home. It was miserable for me. But, when I look back, I can see how many times the Lord showed me kindness. Two of our daughters lived with us for 6 weeks. I would never have had that time with them without the virus. They gave me lots of laughter and helped me stay sane. One Saturday, I received donuts from my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. I actually cried over donuts. (Yes, I am a 2 on the enneagram. We cry! A lot!) I was having such a hard time social distancing from them. So, that one act of kindness meant so much to me! God was helping me get through a very hard time.
I believe that setting my mind to look for good is key to getting me through whatever I am going through. I know that I have missed seeing things that are right in front of me and it has taken a friend to remind me of what they are seeing or have seen God do in my life. And let me tell you that what was happening to Joseph didn’t go unnoticed. Joseph’s master saw that “the Lord was with him and gave him success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3
I am convinced that Joseph set his mind on the Lord because his mindset kept him from temptation. “It seems we are never more susceptible to a major act of sin than when we’re suffering.” Minter Joseph stayed strong when his master’s wife tried to seduce him. HIs reply to her was, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9 He knew he had a choice to make. And so do we.
“Do I choose sin or do I choose God?” I know that I have been tempted many times these past three months to doubt the Lord. I have panicked. I have been angry. I have allowed the media to scare me. I have lost hope. I have been discouraged. I have been fighting for peace and calm. I have gone to the Lord and cried out. Confinement has messed with me, but it also has refined me. Like Joseph, I also ran. I ran to my journal to write things down. I ran to my chair to pray and talk with the Lord. I ran to the One who can help me more than anyone else can.
Evil can be very deceptive. It can grab a hold of us at times without us even realizing it. “Joseph treasured his relationship with the Lord and didn’t want to sin against Him.” Minter Think about that for a minute. He treasured his relationship with the Lord. Is my relationship with the Lord a treasure? And, how many times do we think that we are actually sinning against God when we sin? Honestly, when I sin, I don’t think I’m sinning against God. I just think I am sinning. The fact that I am sinning against God has a different connotation to it. It makes it more serious and dangerous. It definitely makes me want to flee from it. Sin is like fire. When you play around with it, you will get burned.
I am trying to be an open book here. I grew up around a lot of evil. I didn’t realize how much until I was in my forties. I also didn’t realize how much my environment affected my thinking. I wanted my father to love me more than anything else. I wanted it more than I wanted God. And when you put other things before God, you are asking for trouble. Many decisions that I made were based on pleasing man instead of pleasing God. My thinking was wrong. I formed many habits that were not easy to break. But, through lots of therapy and time with the Lord, I have been able to open my eyes to God’s way of thinking. I am not perfect. I still make mistakes. But, I can say that I treasure my relationship with the Lord more than I ever have. I don’t want to sin against Him. And if I do, I want to repent and turn from it. I will always be a work in progress.
I want to leave you with this. “Sometimes a change in perspective is more powerful than the change we hope for in our circumstances. God will not waste a moment of our pain or waiting. He’s preparing us for what He’s prepared us for.” Minter
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things (center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart)”. AMP
Until next time…