Today’s reading: Proverbs 3:21-26, Isaiah 31:1-3, Habakkuk 1:11
Today’s focus: Surrender
This week’s memory verse: Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best of everything you produce. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.
Ambition is good. Without it, infants would never learn to crawl and children would never master language. Ambition, when centered in Christ can be a wonderful thing, but, when centered in human pride and self-reliance, it can become our greatest weakness. Today multi-published author Lillian Duncan reminds us, no matter what we do or don’t accomplish, no matter how strong or weak we believe we are, God remains in control, and He wants us to rely on Him, not our gifts, talents, strengths, or accomplishments.
WHO’S IN CONTROL? by Lillian Duncan
Proverbs 3: 26
for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
I’ve been thinking a lot about control lately.
If you ask me, who is in control, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD . If you ask me who is my provision, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD. If you ask me who the source if my confidence is, I would give the good Christian answer—GOD.
And I believe that but….
On the other hand, I like to think of myself as self-reliant. I started working the same week I graduated from high school in…cough…stammer…uhm 1973 . I found a job the same week and have worked since then with the exception of one quarter in college when I saved enough money to take a break.
I put myself through college along with a few grants and scholarships—no loans. ME and MY WORK. I save my money—bought my houses-bought my cars. ME and MY WORK
So, even though I say and believe God is in control, believe He is my provision, I’m not so sure I’ve ever depended on HIM the way HE wants. Because after all, for almost forty years, it’s been ME and MY WORK.
That is until lately.
I’ve been retired and only working part-time for the past few years. That was really awesome! I had time to write and enough money not to worry! And then it happened!
NO JOB! I actually didn’t freak out at first. I assumed something would come along at the last minute. But it didn’t.
The last check came and then it wasn’t ME and MY WORK anymore! Just me! Oh, that’s right, I admit it—I forgot about God for a few anxiety-filled weeks. I worried, I grumbled to myself. I was more anxious than I’d been in years!
And it was driving me crazy!
Suddenly, my peace and joy was replaced with worry and aggravation. A lot of it and I didn’t like it. But I didn’t stop me from doing it until one day when I realized by worrying I wasn’t trusting God. I was NOT placing my confidence in God as my provider.
HE had been my provider all along but as with us fleshly humans, I forgot that for a while..
So, now each time the worry comes back, I say a quick prayer: “I know You love me. You are all-powerful and I know you will work this out for my good.” Sometimes, it’s simpler and even quicker: “I need you or Your Will be done.”
The anxiety and worry are slowly being replaced by the peace and joy again. And that is wonderful!
We don’t, can’t, and won’t always know why things happen the way they do, but we always have a choice in how we react to them. We can choose to believe God’s promises. We can choose to believe God loves us and will take care of us. We can choose to stay in faith.
My life circumstances may still a mess, but as long as I keep my eyes on God, my faith remains steady. I now know that GOD truly is in control and my times are indeed in HIS hands.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
THE CHRISTMAS STALKING by Lillian Duncan:
Overzealous fan or crazed stalker?
Country music superstar Destiny appears to have it all. Beauty, money, and fame. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. Being a celebrity comes with a price—loneliness, and now threats from an unknown stalker.
With Christmas approaching, and as the danger escalates in Nashville, Destiny has no choice but to disappear. She escapes to her grandparents’ cabin in the Adirondack Mountains near the tiny Village of Serenity & Peace. It seems to be the perfect choice for a hideout. Longing for the serenity and peace she experienced there as a child, Destiny sheds her celebrity persona and resumes her long-forgotten identity as Holly Stone.
Unfortunately, fame follows her to the tiny village—along with her stalker.
Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: http://www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: http://www.PowerUpWithGod.com
Let’s talk about this. As I read Lillian’s devotion, I thought of my daughter. She’s in highschool, and if you remember your highschool years, I’m sure you’ll understand, things can get tough. Especially for a Christian surrounded by those engaging in promiscuity and drug and alcohol use. My Mamma-bear longs to yank her out–to keep her home where I can shelter her.
But I have to remember God’s in control. That’s hard. It’s hard enough to relinquish control of my own life, but it’s even harder to surrender my daughter to God. And yet, it becomes easier when I remember God’s nature and promises. (Aren’t you glad we’re memorizing Scripture? 😉 )
Let’s talk about this. How is God speaking to you through today’s reading? You can share your thoughts in the comments below or you can join our Yahoo Proverbs study group:
Click to join ProverbsStudy
Some questions to ponder and/or discuss:
What about you? What area is hardest for you to relinquish control?
What biblical promises might make this easier?
When have you been forced to surrender something, and what were the results?
As I read today’s devotion and thought about today’s focus, I was reminded of James 1:5-8.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
I also thought of Habakkuk 1:11.
“They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”
This verse is talking about the Babylonians, but I suspect it could apply to each one of us as well.
One of our Yahoo study group members asked if I could provide a schedule for our upcoming reading. I figured some of you may appreciate having a schedule as well:
I plan to stay in ch 3 until the 10th; then we will read and focus on ch 4 on the 11th; chapter 5 on the 12th, 13th, and 14th; ch. 6 on the 16th, 17th, and 18th; reading ch. 7-8 on the 19th and focusing on ch. 8; chapter 9 on the 20th;
chapter 10 on the 22nd and 23rd; chapter 11 on the 24th and 25th; ch. 12 on the 26th & 27th; ch 13 on the 28th and 29th; ch. 14 on the 30th and 31st; ch. 15 on Feb. 1st and 2nd; ch. 16 on the 3rd; ch. 17 on the 4th, 5th, and 6th; ch. 18 on the 7th and 8th; ch. 19 on the 9th and 10th; ch. 20 on the 11th-13th; ch 21 on the 14th-16th; ch. 22 on the 17th; ch 24 on the 19th-20th; ch. 25 on the 21st; ch. 26 on the 22nd; ch 27 on the 23rd-24th; ch. 28th on the 25th; ch. 29 on the 26th; ch. 30 on the 27th; ch. 31 on the 28th.
I also suggest, for those of you wanting more reading, that you read the other suggested passages provided on the days when our reading from Proverbs is shorter. The reason I am doing this is so we have time to really digest and
apply what we are focusing on, hoping by doing so, it will be more likely to
become a life-habit. 🙂
You could also go back and re-read previous chapters or read ahead.
What a wonderful post Lillian…thanks for reminding me once again who is REALLY in control.
Jennifer, I think that I struggle the most with trusting my financial future to God. I don’t know why, because he has always provided what I needed when I needed it…and in ways I would have never thought possible. Sometimes when I worry, I tell myself to stop, take a deep breath, and remember how everything has worked out for me (somehow, some way) in the past. It helps calm me and I can focus my attention back on Him and His answers. Worry is just one more bad habit in my life…and I am working hard on breaking it. God is good!
Audrey, I can relate! I’ve struggled with fear over finances for a good chunk of my Christian walk, up until recently, really. Not that I won’t have those struggles again. It seems I often need to revisit old lessons. 😉
I like how you remind yourself of what God has done. It reminds me of Psalm 78, and of God’s frequent reminder throughout Scripture not to forget what He’s done and the miracles He’s performed.
God’s blessings to you, my friend!
Thanks Jennifer, I’ll take all the blessings I can get!
Jennifer, thanks for hosting Lillian! Lillian–your devotional/uplifting words are such perfect timing that no way am I thinking that it’s coincidence: today I began a new work week that includes a reduction of hours, by choice. And by choice, I sought God’s take on this, and by choice will trust His guidance behind me making this decision even if it means a little less income but more time to be human again.
BTW, as a New Yorker, thanks for setting a story in the Adirondacks! New York is such a large, diverse, and beautiful state with incredible settings for stories.
Go New Yorker! I’m from New Jersey…
Beth, you just made me smile!
Beth, I didn’t realize that.
Yes, I am originally from New Jersey, Princeton, South Brunswick, then down to Point Pleasant. I lived there my whole life until I moved to Kansas in 1990. My whole family lives on the East. I go back periodically. I miss the ocean.
I remember your post about going home. I guess I never put the two together. 😉
I understa nd. Yup, mom lives in Maine and I used to spend my summers there. I love it there, would move if I could but my life is here now. Maine is beautiful. Talk about a place for inspiration to write. Wow! Well, off to work. Still working on my Prov 3:9. I love that verse. It’s really given me lots to think about. Have a great day.
Oh, Elaine, how exciting! I can’t wait to see where God takes you in 2013! When is your Friday now? Tomorrow? Make sure to let us know how this transition goes!
Isn’t it funny how we actually THINK we’re giving God control, when we’re holding the reins ourselves? We all do it. It’s a conscious effort to hand over the control and completely trust God. Lillian, I loved this post! Thank you for sharing.