Today's Devotional Scripture
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11b-13, New International Version)
Paul Endured Hardships
The Apostle Paul endured many hardships during his missionary journeys. He was bitten by a snake, shipwrecked, put on trial and imprisoned. And yet as he writes the letter to the Philippians, the apostle is caught up by the contentment he feels in telling others about Jesus and what the Son of God did to free people from sin and death.
Now Paul was a well-educated student of God's Word. I have to remind myself that he was the leading persecutor of the church before he had a personal encounter with Jesus that transformed his life (Acts 9). Paul might find me amusing, because I am still amazed at how easily one scripture passage fits neatly together with another.
For example, if I didn't know better, I could claim that Paul (and not King David) wrote Psalm 23. Just compare the first three verses of the psalm with today's devotional scripture:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Now I have not mastered Paul or David's level of contentment. I still get frustrated by big and little things. And I sure appreciate the Holy Spirit and the help of friends who remind me that we are talking about "things" and not people.
Examples Set by Fellow Christians Help
There's also the examples set by fellow Christians who are dealing with terminal illness, unemployment, financial woes and personal issues. They still believe that the Lord is guiding them along the right path and they feel some level of contentment knowing that they are bringing honor to His name.
As we prepare for Sunday morning worship, may we all lean on the words of Psalm 121:2: "My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."
Heavenly Father, thank you for your strength. Please look at my life right now and review with me any area where I am discontent or unsatisfied. Help me to take positive action so that I can live in harmony with your will. Remind me that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Amen.
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