I have often asked myself if I had the opportunity go back in time to talk to my younger self, what would I say?
Now with hindsight, what advice could I give the teenager who was so full of energy and whose world revolved around friends and football?
1: Stop wasting your time trying to fit in
All the boys that seem to have it all are nowhere to be seen today. While they spent all their time and energy maintaining a cool image they failed to prepare for later life. In the meantime, others were adjusting from being boys to becoming men.
Spend more time in developing yourself and learning new things
2: Plan more for the future. Your mind state is that you’re immortal which is great. Then put more planning into how you will enjoy your long life. Become more financially savvy and at all cost avoid debt. The rule is “do not eat or buy what you cannot afford today”. Stay away from credit cards until you have mastered their use.
3: Read a lot. Comic books are fun but add no value to your life. Get into the habit of reading self-development books ,make it a goal to read at least one book a month. Here is a list of books I wished I read in my younger years –
- Outliers: The Story of Success, By Malcolm Gladwell
- Think Grow Rich, By Napolean Hill
- Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
- The Richest Man in Babylon, By George Samuel Clason
To be continued…..
It’s funny how no matter how many times you read something in the Bible you can always learn something new. There may be a detail you missed, something you didn’t realise, or a fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit.
In reading Joseph’s story I suddenly wonder if prison was ever part of God’s plan. Perhaps God intended to take him from Potiphar’s house straight to the palace. Potiphar was the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Genesis 39:1) so I expect would have had direct access to him. Therefore, come the time for Pharaoh’s dream, if Potiphar (or someone in his house) had already had a dream Joseph interpreted, perhaps it could have been Potiphar to introduce Joseph to Pharaoh rather than the butler. Then the rest, as they say, is history.
It seems a very plausible alternative. True? I don’t know. But one thing is for sure; either way Joseph made it to the palace. In our lives it may seem that the enemy has derailed us from God’s purposes but be confident of this: God can turn around any situation. Whether or not it was part of God’s plan, Joseph found himself in prison. A far cry from his dreams of greatness in Genesis 37. Yet his present situation did not determine his future. God turned his situation around and he became the second most powerful in all of Egypt (Genesis 41:40).
Do not allow your current circumstances to dictate how far you think you can go. However things may look now, if God has a plan and purpose for your life (and He surely does), He can turn around any situation to cause His perfect plan to come to pass.
Denial is one of the mental tricks we unconsciously use to save us from feeling what we are really feeling. To paper over a hidden feeling is not to get rid of it. In fact the more we deny them, the more they pop up in disguised forms. The end product of our denial is behaviour that contains our unacknowledged feelings but in concealed forms: depression, irrational anger, anxiety, obsessional attachments and so on. Or the symptoms could be physical – masks of the feelings we are trying to avoid. Denial compounds the problem and causes the issues to well up and eventually erupt uncontrollably with no warning. We carry not only the weight of our unacknowledged feelings but the extra baggage of the symptoms they trigger. (from “Hope Has It’s Reasons” by Rebecca Pippert)
She goes on to point out that transparency alone does not solve the issues we face – but we certainly ought to get very real about what’s deep inside us. God is the only Person who sees us all the way through, yet His love for us is infinitely beyond measure. He knows everything about you yet He loves you more than you could ever love yourself. He is the only Being you can trust with your whole life and He will never turn away from you, even in your ugliest mess or your repeated, stubborn and intentional filth. We can’t hide anything from Him anyway. More than that, we only hurt ourselves more by being in self-denial. All of this is to encourage us to open up to God about everything and be willing for Him to come in and work within us. Sometimes we don’t want to get real with God because we know that He will get real with us too. But let’s trust Him with everything in our existence – the good, the bad and the ugly. He is on your side and nothing surprises Him. He already loved you enough to DIE for you whilst you were yet dead in your sins, what more now that you are adopted by Him through Christ? Also – realise that these areas of your weakness are really just opportunities for growth. If you trust God with everything and in everything, no matter how ugly the process may get – you will arrive at HIS intended destination for you and it will be more beautiful and glorious – beyond your greatest expectations and hopes!
This week, let’s resolve not only to get absolutely real with God but to allow Him to respond; having faith that He will make us perfect as we trust Him and His impeccable plans for us.
Joel B :
Dynamic Faith Church
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