Hope In The Dark: Finding The Strength To Go On
The last message in the series “Hope in the dark” is entitled finding the strength to go on. When faced with trials or negative circumstances, where can we find the strength to move forward.
Something To Talk About:
- Focus your attention on God: I know it sounds simple enough, but is it? If you or I are going to stay focused on God, we have got to include the things of God in our daily lives. Jesus uses the words “abide” or “remain” ten times in John 15:1-11. Jesus said in John 15:4 (ESV), “Abide in me.” Staying focused on God requires abiding or remaining in Him. I know things are hectic these days and Hurricane Michael has added another element to our day we did not need. But if you develop the discipline to spend the first minutes of your day reading the Word of God and talking to Him about the day ahead, you will have a greater focus on Him throughout the day. Read John 15:1-11 for the first few mornings to see just how profound scripture can be. This is a habit worth developing and isn’t as difficult as you might think. Then eliminate the distractions that prevent you from being focused on God.
- Ask God to remove your fears: Fear can be pretty powerful, especially when it overwhelms us and we can’t see anything but the fear. And when fear becomes a force in your life, it branches off into worries, stress and anxiety. And there is nothing that Satan likes better than overshadowing our life with fear and darkness. John 16:33 reminds us who is in control: “…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” God wants so much more for us than to walk through life full of fear, worry and anxiety. “Do not be anxious about anything,” the Bible tells us in the book of Philippians, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Don’t let fear control you. Rather, live life the way Jesus teaches us—a life full of faith, truth, hope, peace and joy:
- Believe God will restore you: Deuteronomy 30:1-5, 8-9, (MSG) explains this point better than I ever could: “Here’s what will happen. While you’re out among the nations where God has dispersed you and the blessings and curses come in just the way I have set them before you, and you and your children take them seriously and come back to God, your God, and obey him with your whole heart and soul according to everything that I command you today, God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors… And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you’ll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors” Read that passage before you let circumstances bring you down, when you don’t have the inclination to stay the course. Remember that God is with you and will restore you.
- How do you define spiritual strength?
- Is there any situation going on in your life right now where you feel your hope running thin?
- Can fear of failure be paralyzing and motivating? Why or why not?
- Living in fear keeps us from experiencing the life God intends for us. Agree or disagree and why?
- Knowing God and His Word allows us to face our fears with faith. Why? How can you do this in practical ways?
- It’s not uncommon to doubt God when life gets hard. What does this imply about what we believe about God?
- Who’s someone you know who seems to trust God no matter what they’re facing? What do you think is different about them?
- According to Isaiah 40:27-31, what does the LORD do for those who have hope in Him?
- God will restore you. What does that mean to you?
- What part of this message touched you. Why?
- What can we do this week to find the strength to go on?
Take one thing home with you:
God never changes. Remember that God is still in control. He is still on the throne. He is still calling the shots. Yes, we have a will and yes we will make bad choices and yes, we will face circumstances that are not of our doing. But, God controls how it will all work out. Not us.
There are things we can’t control and being out of control often results in fear. But what we can control, is our attitude and our response when circumstances zap our hope and have faith in God that He is in control and things will work according to His plans. The truth is you cannot handle everything that happens to you in your life, but God can, Lamentations 5:17 says “Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears.” But verse 19 adds, “But Lord, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation.”
So in the midst of circumstances beyond our control, remember that God still loves you and He’s never going to stop loving me and that He is all I need: “I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:24).