None of us know what’s going to happen, over the next 365 days. You cannot count on the world being a better place this next year or world peace or better economy. We don’t know if all of our loved ones will be here. . .
The main thing I want us to realize early on in this New Year is that most of the world is out of your control. You’re not God (I’m not God). We need to start focusing on the things we can control, that we are responsible for, and begin to accept the things that are out of our control. This is what we call emotional maturity.
There is one thing we can count on at all times, that God is in control!
“Everything in the heavens and the earth is Yours, O Lord. We adore You as being in control of everything.”
1 Chronicles 29:11 (LB)
As we face another 365 days where you don’t know what in the world is going to happen, we do know that God is in control.
Because God is in control…
1. My plans will have a limit.
People say, “The sky is the limit!” That’s not true. God puts a limit on things. God sets the limits.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Would you agree that things do not always go as planned? How many of you have ever had God change your plans? Because God had a better idea. One of my plans after high school was to be a high school wrestling coach. I graduated college and never taught at a school that even had a wrestling team. In fact, during my first four years of teaching , I coached competitive cheerleading. I didn’t marry the first girl I thought I wanted to marry. (thank the Lord 🙂 ).
We may make our plans but our plans have a limit.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have goals, or plans… “We should make our plans counting on God to direct us.” Proverbs 16:9 (LB) You see, the more mature you become as a Christian, the more flexible you become, the more open you are to change. As you become mature you realize your best plans, your best efforts are only tentative. My plans have a limit. . . **Insert your own personal story here**
Here’s a good prayer for us to pray as we enter the New Year:
- Lord, what’s the next step with my family?
- What’s the next step with my business?
- Lord, what’s the next step in that relationship that I’m involved in?
- What’s the next step in the ministry You have for me?
- What’s the next step in our finances?
Instead of praying, “God, bless what I’m doing.” Let’s start praying, “God, help me to do what YOU’RE blessing.”
2. My problems have a purpose.
That’s good news. Life is not a series of random events with no meaning. Life has a purpose. Your problems have a purpose.
I am not saying that everything that happens to you is God’s will. I’m not saying that God causes everything. He doesn’t. God does not cause your problems. He doesn’t have to. But He does allow them. And He does use them for good in your life.
Instead of asking God “How do I get out?!” We should ask, “What do you want me to get out of this?” God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. He loves to bring good out of bad. He loves to bring something better out of something bitter. He loves to bring growth out of hurt. I’m glad Jesus didn’t quit when things got tough. . . .
If our problems have a purpose, then no matter what happens this next year, God’s going to have a plan behind it. “At present you may be temporarily harassed with all kinds of trials. This is no accident. It happens to prove your faith which is infinitely more valuable than gold.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (Ph) Problems in your life are no accident. Don’t quit when things get tough . . . Don’t give up . . .
If I know God’s in control and my plans have a limit and my problems have a purpose, then this next verse should be my response? “This is the reason we never lose heart [we never get discouraged, we don’t give up]. These troubles which are temporary are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward all out of proportion to our pain.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (Ph)
What we need to do this next year is to look past the pain to the purpose.
It doesn’t matter what the future brings. I have a hope and that hope has a name, Jesus.
God is in control. My plans have a limit, but I don’t care. He’s in charge. My problems have a purpose. He’ll handle them; He’ll help me handle them too.
3. My prayers have an impact.
Do you ever wonder if prayer works?
The truth is, prayer works because God is in control. If God were not in control, prayer would be a waste of time. But because God is in control, He can control the uncontrollable. He can do things that you never thought possible.
Prayers have an impact because God is in control. This is the basis of all miracles – If He wants to overrule nature, He can. If He wants to overrule a human law, He can. If He wants to overrule a government, He can. He can do whatever He wants to do.
“God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.
Ephesians 3:20 (LB)
This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
1 John 5:14 (NIV)
If God is in control, nothing can devastate you. Nothing that happens in the next 365 days can devastate you if you’re trusting in the one who controls it all. Most things are out of your control. Ultimately they are uncontrollable. But God can control them. Trust Him.