Today we’re going to look at hope, and a hope we can depend on. In this workout, you’re going to have doubts creep in, the same way Satan will begin to cause doubts in life. Focus on the verse below and repeat it to yourself as you go through this workout, and especially when you’re starting to doubt if you can finish it.
“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
4 ROUNDS FOR TIME
20 65/95 Hang Power Cleans
40 Walking Lunges
80 Double Unders
We can all probably agree that times are scary and people, sometimes, are even scarier. Wherever people are involved, you and I can not be absolutely sure of anything. If you haven’t yet realized, people will let you down. You cannot count on the world being a better place this next year. You cannot count on there being world peace. You can’t count on the economy. You can’t count on the fact that your loved ones will be here one year from now.
The main thing I want us to realize, at the beginning of this New Year, is that most of the world is out of your control. You’re not God. (I’m not God) You cannot control everything that happens. Just like in a tough workout, you need to start focusing on the things you can control, that you are responsible for, and begin to accept the things that are out of your control. That is emotional maturity.
There are a lot of things you cannot count on this Year. However, there is HOPE. 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) The Bible calls this God’s sovereignty. That means He is the absolute authority in life. He’s the number one ruler. He created nature and is ultimately in control of nature. He sustains nature. And He overrules nature when He wants to and when He does that we call it a miracle.
God is in control of history. History is His-story. We’re not going through random acts of events that happen in life. There is a grand design. There is a purpose. There is a master plan. There is a hope you can count on, and that is God is in control.
Let’s break it down, God is in control of your life… You didn’t choose where you were going to be born. You didn’t choose when you were born. You didn’t choose who you were born to. You didn’t choose your nationality. You didn’t choose your basic makeup. You didn’t choose your talents, your abilities, the giftedness that you have, your interests, your personality. Every gene in your body was designed by God and He made you to be you.
With God in control there is always hope. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have freedom of choice. You do have a freedom to choose, which is God’s greatest gift to you next to Jesus Christ. God is in control of the blessings and the consequences.
As we face another year where you don’t know what in the world is going to happen, have hope knowing that God is in control. Two BIG reasons you can hope when God is in control:
1. Because God is in control… 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? God had a better idea. God often changes our plans. One of my plans after high school was to be a high school wrestling coach. I didn’t marry the first girl I thought I wanted to marry. How many of you are glad you didn’t marry the first girl you wanted to marry? How many of you are now sorry you married the first girl you wanted to marry? (Don’t raise your hand, LOL ) We may make our plans but our plans have a limit.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have goals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make plans. In fact, the Bible says you should make 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 your hope is placed in God and God alone and not in self.
The key to making plans is to cooperate with God. Making plans, counting on God to direct us.
Here’s a good prayer for us to pray as we enter the New Year. “Lord, my hope is in you. What’s:
… the next step you have for my family?
… the next step you have for my business?
… the next step in that relationship that I’m involved in?
… the next step in the ministry You have for me?
… the next step in our finances?”
2. Because God is in control… My prayers have an IMPACT.
Do you ever wonder if prayer works? Sometimes I wonder. I get down on my knees and start praying. I close my eyes. Satan starts whispering in my ears. “Nobody’s hearing this.” “God’s not listening.” “You’re wasting your time.” “Your prayer is not going to get above the ceiling.” “You’re psyching yourself up.” “This is a psychological trick.” “Prayer doesn’t work.” “It’s mumbo-jumbo.” “It’s a waste of time.” Does he ever say any of those things to you?
The truth is, we can trust that 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, there is hope! 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. This is a hope you can count on.
“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)
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
1.When you think about praying, do you struggle with one of these attacks from Satan: “Nobody’s hearing this.” “God’s not listening.” “You’re wasting your time.” “Your prayer is not going to get above the ceiling.” “You’re psyching yourself up.” “This is a psychological trick.” “Prayer doesn’t work.” “It’s mumbo-jumbo.” “It’s a waste of time.” ? Which one? How do you normally respond?
2. What do you worry about all the time? Some of you worry about your business all the time, or you worry about your finances all the time, or you worry about losing your kids all the time, or you worry about dying yourself, getting ill, all the time.
You can’t control those things. Ultimately they are uncontrollable. But God can. Trust Him. And you can enter the New Year with peace, with confidence, with hope.
3.Since God is in control, then what is the best way to enter this New Year?
Acknowledge His control over my life. Don’t fight it, don’t run from it, don’t resist it. Accept it. Cooperate with it. Be grateful for it. Enjoy the blessing of it. Thank God for it. In His control, nothing can devastate you. Nothing that happens in this year can devastate you if your hope is in the one who controls it all. Let Him control the uncontrollable and you will have a hope you can count on.
4. What do your actions say you believe? The old saying is very true – Actions do speak louder than words!