Change Your Thinking, Revolutionise your Life
It is early 2023, and the year is well and truly ahead of us.
I have had a few people say to me, “Some people your age are retiring and you could too.” With all that I have been thinking about lately, it hasn’t even occurred to me to stop. That’s not to say anything about people that do, but how we step forward in our life is about the attitude we bring to it, isn’t it?
It says in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 23:
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.
In the original language, the word ‘heart’ could be interpreted as ‘mind.’ So, in other words, this Scripture says to be careful how you think because your thoughts determine how you will go.
In the Good News Bible, which is a translation of a translation, it says it this way:
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
At the beginning of 2023, will you achieve what God wants for you? Whether you are 20 years old or 80 years old, will you be in the place that God calls you to be? The Scriptures tell us that no matter our age or circumstances, this could be the best year we have ever had if we can see it through God’s eyes.
Today I want to read the story about the life of Moses. In Exodus chapter 1, verse 8 it says:
Now, a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.
The Egyptian Pharaoh worried about the Israelites living among them because they were growing strong from working hard. But on the other hand, the Israelites were frightened of the Egyptians because they had grown up being dominated by them.
The Pharoah ordered all baby boys born to Israelite families to be killed. This is the time that Moses was born. Moses’ mother hid him for three months, but when she realized she couldn’t keep him hidden, she put him in a basket and sent him down to the river where the princesses of Egypt and Pharaoh’s daughter were. The princess finds baby Moses in this basket and realizes he is an Israelite baby. Unbeknownst to the princess, she called on Moses’ birth mother to nurse him and take care of him.
For years, Moses is raised in the house of Pharaoh. He learns leadership in this environment, and his view of the world is expanded. Then, one day Moses saw an Egyptian man beating up an Israelite. He intervened and, unfortunately, ended up killing the Egyptian. Moses knows Pharaoh will kill him if he finds out he killed an Egyptian. So, Moses leaves the palace and Egypt and all he has learned and becomes a shepherd. He goes from the palace to the pasture. He goes from being a witness to the most powerful to be with a group of sheep for a long time.
Can you imagine how Moses felt? What would it be like for him to have been in the palace and then to lose it all? He probably despaired. He probably felt deep disappointment and that he had messed up his whole life. But one day, God intervenes because God has a bigger plan.
In Exodus, chapter 3, we read:
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness and came to Horeb, mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at the great sight and see why the bush is not burned up. When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush. “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.
Moses is standing looking after his sheep, and then he notices a burning bush, but the fire is not consuming it. Scripture says, ‘He turned aside. He turned aside to go and see what this miraculous thing was.
Sometimes, we must make space to ‘turn aside’ toward God. When my children were little, turning aside was very difficult because it was so busy. We need to be deliberate about ensuring we have time to turn aside.
Moses turns aside and hears a voice say, “Moses.” God is not silent. God is a speaking God who communicates in a different way than what we are used to. Moses replied, “Here I am.” God says to him, “Come no closer. Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
Imagine if God decided to speak to you today in your home or at work. Would that place become a holy set-aside place? And then it goes on, and it says in verse 7:
Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their task masters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I’ve come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.
God says,” I’ve seen and heard your prayer. I know what you are going through, and now I’m coming. But I am coming through you.” When I first read this story, I thought God would turn up. But, no, no, no, God chooses a person.
We might think that we would do whatever God asked of us if we saw that burning bush. But Moses does what many of us probably would and begins to make excuses. Moses comes up with a list of reasons why he can’t do it. He says, “Who am I? I can’t go. I am not a good speaker. You need to get someone else.”
Many of us are not in the place where we are meant to be in our lives, and we have got all sorts of excuses. Look how old I am. Look how young I am. Look at the finances that I have. Look at the people that are helping me. Look at the place where I am. But God doesn’t listen to our excuses when He has asked us to do something.
Eventually, Moses goes to his father, Jethro, asking if He will let him return to Egypt. He has had a change of heart and goes back and becomes a giant in Israelite history.
Moses lived his life in phases. The first phase was the first three months he was with his mother. Then he gets sent down the river and ends up in Pharaoh’s home, being looked after by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then due to a fight, Moses ends up looking after sheep a long way from Egypt. Finally, having gone from the palace to the pasture, Moses became a great leader of history who would lead the people out of 430 years of captivity. Why? Because He turns aside and meets God.
So, wherever you are today, at the beginning of 2023, know this; God is with you.
If you are a student, God is with you.
If you are a parent of young children, God is with you.
If you are working hard in your career right now, know God is with you.
As you can travel and do things you haven’t been able to do, know that God is with you.
God said to Moses, “I will be with you.” It is precisely the same for you; God is with you.
What dream do you need to dream big in 2023?
What do you need to do today?
How do you need to change your attitude today?
Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23 says, “Keep your heart (mind) with all vigilance for from it flows the springs of life.” As you think, so you will go in 2023.