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Control

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“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” Daniel 4:17

Over the last few weeks we have been in the middle of an election campaign.  Those seeking office have been making promises about a lot of things. With so much going on in our country, it is hard to know who to believe and who to support.  There were a lot of surprises when we woke up this morning.

This verse from Daniel was meant for King Belteshazzar, but it still is true in our world today.  God knows what is best for our country, He sees the bigger picture.  Everything that happens is part of His plan leading up to His coming again to rule the world.  The Scripture teaches us that He sets up rulers and puts down rulers.  We have a duty as citizens of our country to vote in our elections and try to choose who will be the best one to support.  But when it comes down to the outcome, God determines that.

Now that the election is over, whether we agree with the party that has been selected to lead our country or not, our duty is to pray for them and to do our best to be good citizens.  We must trust that the Lord knows exactly what is happening, and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.  He is in complete control.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we pray that you will help us to be good citizens of our country, abiding by its laws and praying for our leaders.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, New English Translation).

So many people want peace in their lives, but it seems elusive to them. We do not live in a peaceful world and many do not live peaceful lives. That lack of peace is taking its toll on our emotions, our relationships, and perhaps even our health.

Peace has been described as “a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances.” What are the peace-stealers in our lives? Worry. Fear. Frustration. Disagreements. Conflict. Hatred. Bitterness. Resentment. Shame. Regret. Busyness. The list could go on, but these are some of the things we frequently battle in our daily lives.

Looking for a Solution

What is the solution? How do we find peace?

A friend recently shared how she took her troubles to the Lord in prayer, handing her problems over to Him. Then as she finished praying, she found herself picking them back up and taking those same problems with her again. She took them to God but did not leave them with God. I think we’ve all done that—perhaps more times than we’d care to admit.

The Steps to Peace

We allow circumstances to steal our peace, but there is an antidote. Philippians 4:7 promises a peace which comes from God that exceeds our understanding. We can’t explain it, but it’s real. His peace will guard (protect) our hearts and minds. As we read Colossians 3:15 (above), we find that this peace comes when we allow the Lord to control our heart. When He is in control, then we aren’t. We give up that option. Also note those three words at the end of the verse: “and be thankful.”

To further add to our search for peace, let’s look at Isaiah 26:3. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (New Living Translation). We add two more elements, trusting God and fixing our thoughts on Him.

Now let’s add the final steps in the peace process. It’s found in Psalm 62:8. “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (NLT). God listens to our cries and becomes our refuge, a place to shelter in the storms of life.

Our steps to peace now look something like this:

  1. Relinquish control of the situation to God.
  2. Cultivate a thankful spirit.
  3. Trust God completely.
  4. Fix our thoughts on God, not our circumstances.
  5. Pour out our heart—tell the Lord what we feel.
  6. Make Him our shelter, our place of safety.

The Source of All Peace

Life will bring times of confusion and trouble. The enemy delights in weighing us down with negative emotions which rob us of peace. But God, our Prince of Peace, will walk beside us and bring the calmness and serenity we desire in our lives. He is the source of all peace.

Prayer: Lord, help me to relinquish control of my problems, my thoughts, and my emotions to You. On my own, my life is without peace, but You are the source of all I need. You are my place of safety, my shelter in the time of storm. I put my complete trust and hope in You.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Many years ago, when I was attending Bible College, one of our teachers had planned to go with us on a weekend trip. As we were preparing to leave, she suddenly said she felt a check from the Lord and decided not to go. We never did know why, but for some reason the Lord showed her that she was to stay home.

Have you ever started your day with a plan as to what you would do or accomplish that day? But during your busy day, a phone call came or something else happened that caused you to drop what you were doing and go to help a friend or family member. How do we react to these interruptions in our schedule? Do we view it as a sense of duty, something we are obligated to do? Or do we see it as a divine interruption, a chance God has given us to minister to another?

As we begin each day, we must acknowledge that the Lord is in complete control and ask Him to direct our steps. In the Lord’s prayer, we are taught to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” He knows where we are most needed each day, and sometimes He may interrupt what we think is essential, in order to accomplish something for His kingdom. It is human nature to become frustrated or even angry that our plans have changed. That is when we must reach out in faith, realize that He always has what’s best in mind for us, and trust Him to give us the strength for whatever He wants us to do.

God’s divine interruptions to our plans and desires, often can be the things we look back to as the greatest blessings we have experienced in life. It all hinges on how we react. We need to make plans, but we also need to be open for the direction of the Lord each day.

Prayer: Jesus, we give this day into your control, you know what is best for us. Direct our steps and use us in your kingdom.

Devotion by Anne Johnst