Caesar Augustus was a dangerous man. He proclaimed “My peace I give to you” known as Pax Romana—the peace of Rome. However, his peace came at a high price. Many people were killed to attain it and even more were killed in order to maintain it. A great deal of money was spent to pay a standing army of 500,000. Caesar ruled all of the known world; his throne was as secure as any earthly throne could be. When he declared that “all the world should be taxed” people began to scurry at his command. It was his authority that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where the prophecy would be fulfilled—the Messiah’s birth. Caesar thought he had everything under control; he was the ruler of his kingdom. However, God used Caesar’s misguided lust for power and false sense of control to bring about His ultimate plan of redemption. Even an evil ruler’s plan can be used to fulfill the Lord’s purpose, because God’s purpose will ultimately prevail.

Scriptures
Mi 5:2; Ps 46:6, 90:4, 139:8-10; Pr 19:21; Lk 2:1, 3-4, 11-14; Jn 14:27; 2 Co 8:9

Verse
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Pr 19:21) And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Lk 2:1) “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.” (Lk 2:11-12)

Thought
We all have plans; we all have hopes, dreams and desires. God has placed some of these plans in our hearts, while others may be in our DNA or of our own choosing. Sometimes we decide to take a turn when God wants us to go a different direction. We run into roadblocks, and obstacles separate us from our goals. We become frustrated because we can’t control our little kingdom, but we are not living in our own kingdom; we live in God’s kingdom. We don’t rule the kingdom we occupy; God does. God’s purpose will always prevail, with or without our cooperation. Jesus came to bring peace and redemption. He is the true and only peace. Nothing could thwart God’s plan for the Messiah’s arrival and God’s plan will ultimately be fulfilled when Jesus returns again. In the mean time, we do have a choice. We can try to fulfill our little plans, struggle to control, fight for our rights and stress over all that’s gone awry, or we can submit to God’s plan, accept Christ, attain peace, and live securely under His authority. His purpose will prevail; choose wisely!

Questions
Has there been a time when your inability to control a situation caused you great stress? Has your desire to control ever cost you a job or a relationship? How hard is it for you to relinquish control of a situation to another person? How hard is it for you to give God control? What’s the most difficult thing for you to release to God’s control? How much have you turned over to God and how much are you still trying to control? What do you need to do to fully turn control over to God? If you have things you are trying to control, how much do you really trust God?

Response
List the things you struggle to control—include situations, people, whatever is stressing you. Pray for God to give you the strength to release to His care those things that are keeping you from experiencing His peace. Make a list of the reasons you trust God. Include the answered prayers, the times he has given you guidance, direction and blessings. As you affirm your trust and confidence in Him, you will more easily be able to release your control issues to Him.

Prayer – Most Holy God, I know that your purpose will prevail and not mine. Help me to trust you more and to let go of the things I cannot control. I want your peace to dwell in me. Thank you for your perfect plan. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.