Just a few days ago we celebrated the 4th of July. It is one of my favorite holidays perhaps because there isn’t the pressure of buying presents, decorating the house (though I do like to put out some flags), or trying to make everyone happy. It’s just a nice day to visit a pool, lake or ocean with a picnic lunch or barbeque and being with friends and family.
But it also caused me to stop and thank God for our freedoms. Our nation is still one of the few in the world with a government by the people and for the people. And it made me fully realize that Christians have a vital responsibility to pray for their nation and leaders.
I know some of you are thinking, “I didn’t vote for those people so I certainly won’t pray for them!” But in truth, God is sovereign over every nation and ruler on earth. Though the future of a nation appears to be in the hands of its rulers and lawmakers, an omnipotent hand is orchestrating a good and glorious plan: the Lord is the one who “removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:20-21).
The Lord is working behind the scenes all the time. He is working all things according to His divine plan. We tend to think that a ruler has to be righteous for God to use Him, but Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the Lord can direct the heart of any national leader wherever He wishes: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
Timothy understood this principle and so called us to pray for “kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (I Timothy 2:1-2).
Action Plan: The best course of action is always to pray. Why is this so difficult for so many of us? Maybe because it doesn’t look like we are doing anything! But God hears the prayers of His children and He longs to hear us pray to Him.
You may want to make a prayer list or have a prayer journal to record your prayer requests. Especially if someone asks you to pray for them, don’t say yes unless you will follow through by writing it down and praying for them. Put the date by the request. And when God answers that prayer, put a check mark by it. After a few months and then years, you will be able to look back and see all the many prayers God has answered!
When we don’t understand what is going on in our world or the decisions our leaders are making, it is easy to become afraid. But God has delivered us! He first delivered us at the death and resurrection of Christ and then again at each believer’s conversion. We are now transferred as free people into the peaceable rule of Christ! By Jesus’ death, believers become free citizens in the kingdom of light.*
Emotional Check-Up: Fear is a normal, human emotion. And when the world we are in begins to fall apart, whether it’s an illness, a fractured relationship, a job loss or the world system, we can become paralyzed with fear. Jesus understood how easy we can fall into this emotion and so He repeatedly said to us, “Do not fear.” In fact, 24 times in God’s Word He said, “Do not be afraid.”
If you are struggling with fear in your life, go to the One whom you can lean on. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. Pray to Him day in and day out and fear will lose its grip on you.
Healthy Fit-Fact: We all know how serious to our health over-eating is. Almost every health issue is related to how and what we eat. But ask yourself this question, which I saw in a magazine: “If you had only a week to live, do you think “binge” eating would be on your to-do list?”
What a great question! Why not think about what you would do if you only had one week to live. And then, start doing what you think are the most important items on that list! I have a feeling that over eating would not be on it.
*from Our Daily Bread devotional