Often times I allow my emotions get the best of me and take over my thoughts. You ever feel this way? With questioning the crummy things that come up in my life, day to day stuff, or maybe just a comment from someone. With these situations we can begin to doubt if God is really there or has our best interest in mind. Maybe you have just graduated high school or about it too, that is a huge time to feel confused and overcome with emotion. Perhaps you have gotten into an argument with your parents and you just don’t think their rationale is fair. Maybe the guy you like asked another girl out and feel like it was something wrong with you, not the fact that that silly boy didn’t see what an amazing girl he passed up. Whatever the thought might be, we are constantly bombarded by lies that Satan tries to tell us. He is a schemer. Even though he can’t hear our thoughts, he watches our moves, habits and wants to do whatever he can to destroy us. This is nothing new to God. Satan has been on the hunt to destroy people since Adam and Eve in the Garden(Read Genesis 3:13). I think one thing to remember however is that good people who have a heart for God can be deceived. The reality is that our sinful nature can tend to kick up, our guard goes down and we can let Satan in without even realizing we have till after the fact. The amazing news is that God has provided us a way out! When Jesus died on the cross he already defeated Satan thus causing us when we accept Christ to have the power to defeat Satan as well.
I’d like to share with you just a few verses that have stood out to me regarding this topic.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:37
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
One more tidbit on your thinking: If you know the thought isn’t true(which if it doesn’t line up with scripture it is not) throw it out, don’t think it. Your mind is your own and you are in charge!!!!!!!
If you haven’t yet, go read the first part of this story in last week’s post.
By now I couldn’t tell if my manicurist was joking or if he was just plain crazy. I thought about getting up and leaving right then, but I reasoned that he must be mostly done by now.
I stopped trying to make conversation. Obviously he needed all the concentration he could get. It didn’t help that the TV overhead was playing a show titled “Life in the Paranormal” and he kept turning his head to watch it instead of looking at my nails.
After a while he tired of watching stories about sightings of UFOs and vampires, and asked me some questions. “What’s your name?”
“How old are you?”
He started singing in a tuneless voice, “I know a girl named Aimee…She’s seventeen…she afraid to get nails done…Do you have a boyfriend Aimee?”
“You pretty girl. Maybe you would have boyfriend if you weren’t such a scaredy cat!”
Finally he was done. I stood up to gather my things and wait for my mom and sister to be finished. I examined my nails, which were bloodied at the cuticles and scratched under the surface of the nail polish, and I haven’t wanted a manicure since.
Yes, this is a laughable story. At the time, I couldn’t decide whether to laugh at the absurdity of it or to be totally creeped out! You might still be reeling from events that have been going on in your life as well. In these times, it is hard to know how to react; should you hunker down and wait out the strange things going on, or should you accept this as the new normal?
Jesus gave us some direction in John 14:27. He said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” There is one option that we don’t have: giving in to fear. Jesus has promised us peace that is different from any other peace you seek. It is ‘not as the world gives.’
In what areas are you seeking God’s peace in today? How have you experienced his peace in the past? I’d love to hear about it!
I’m sure you’ve experienced the ‘I forgive you but I can’t forget’ scenario, especially if you’re living in a difficult family situation. We’ve been taught to forgive like Jesus forgave and to forget like Jesus forgets. The act of hurt or betrayal remains etched in our memory bank like a bad dream stuck on replay.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I’m doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
This verse seems non-applicable if you’re living in a divorced home or you’re living with someone who has betrayed you. The situation itself is a constant reminder. How does God really expect us to forget? We’re human, after all, and the enemy enjoys reminding us of the past. You must have God’s power to move forward so your past (or the situation you’re living) doesn’t determine your future.
I once heard a pastor say, “We move forward to the future through eyes of the past.” This has really stuck with me. We learn from our past and we are better prepared for our future because of what we’ve experienced. God says in Isaiah ‘I’m doing a new thing.’ You’re not prisoner to what has happened to you or to what you’ve done because our wonderful Lord has moved on and is opening doors you could never imagine. You will never see the ‘new thing’ if you don’t lift your eyes from the doldrums.
Peter denied Jesus three times but God forgave him and started doing a new thing almost immediately. God used Peter’s life to change so many lives. I can’t speak for Peter but I feel pretty confident he never forgot denying Christ, but he didn’t let his shame determine his future.
Jesus will do no less for you.
Everybody has a story and your story won’t always be good things. Your character is developed best by your reaction to difficult situations. Thank goodness God’s infinite power will help you do the right thing. Forgive and get ready, because God is doing a new thing! Don’t miss it.
Know I’m Praying for You,
It was my mom’s birthday, and my mom, sister, and I were entering a small salon where we would get manicures to celebrate. When we arrived at the front desk, a short Asian man with spiky hair came towards me. “You ready?” he asked in a clipped accent. I sat at the table while he finished setting up.
He began by rubbing the surfaces of my nails vigorously with a sandpaper board. I was getting worried at the scratch marks appearing on my nails. “Is that good for them?”
“No.” He answered matter-of-factly.
“Umm, are you sure you should be doing it then?”
“No.” He paused for a second to look at me, and then went back to work.
“Okay…” I glanced over at my sister where she was waiting. She shot me an alarmed look.
The man transitioned to trimming my cuticles. To get my mind off the sharp object in his hand, I tried to make conversation. “So, how long have you been working here?”
“This my first day.”
“Oh, okay…so what did you do before this?”
“Nothing. Just this.”
My attempts at conversation were failing. I saw his work license on the side of the workstation. “How do you pronounce your name?” I asked curiously.
“Oh, that not my license. That is picture of twin brother. I’m filling in for him today.”
Then I looked down at my fingernails. Three of the nails had red marks where blood was oozing from the cuticles. “They’re bleeding!” I exclaimed.
“Oh, that nothing.” He grinned mischievously. “This morning I was giving pedicure and lady moved just like you doing. Almost cut off my finger.” He showed me a bandage on the end of his finger and peeled it up so I could see the ugly wound underneath. “Poor lady, she didn’t come out so good. You should have seen it.” He made an ominous gesture with his hands.
This is a humorous (but true!) example of one of the bizarre circumstances that can enter our lives every day. Maybe the circumstance in your life is just as bizarre but not nearly as humorous. Maybe you are still trying to convince yourself that your parents really are getting a divorce.
I have good news for you: there is a way for you to have peace even in the middle of your most difficult trials. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” When your mind is on God, all your troubles dwindle in comparison to His all-consuming nature.
What trials are you trusting God through today? How are you working to keep your thoughts on Him?
P.S. – Visit next week to hear about the rest of this manicure visit!
If God has you in a situation you don’t understand especially if it’s the fallout from your parents’ divorce, please don’t let this stalemate your hopes and dreams. God can and will use this situation for His good so don’t be distracted by your circumstances. Press on. Detours in your life do not deter God.
Paul mapped out his missionary journey to build churches, heal the sick, and share the gospel with thousands of people. Spending time in prison was definitely not part of the plan. However, he did end up in jail through no fault of his own. The way he reacted to his circumstances was unprecedented.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.
Can you imagine rejoicing from prison? Paul did. It bumfuzzled the other inmates and the prison guards, but he never waned from his purpose despite the worst circumstances. Paul wrote, from a prison floor, words and books that have changed people’s lives. His journey had many setbacks, as will your life, but you must press on to accomplish your dreams and God’s great purpose.
Are you praying and waiting on God to fix your situation? Good, but don’t be paralyzed while you’re waiting on God. He has you in this place for a reason. Is there someone around you who is hurting? Reach out to them. The best way to lift your spirits is to help someone else. Have you discovered your purpose in life? Maybe now’s the time. I recommend The Dream Giver for Teens by Jessica Wilkinson.
Bathany Hamilton’s story is an inspiration. I encourage you to read her book, Soul Surfer.
Know I’m Praying for You,