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May 4 | Philippians 4:10-13


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


What is the Secret?

by Mary Alice McGinnis


How do you feel about your financial situation right now? If you were to describe your current circumstances with one word, what would it be? Take a few minutes to really think about it.


Take a piece of paper and draw a line. On the left end of the line put a dot and labeling it “need.” On the opposite end of the line, put another dot and label it “plenty.”


Now pick a place along that line where you feel your circumstances are right now.  


What things are concerning you right now? What are your concerns about the future? As you think about your concerns, what ONE word rises to the surface?


Write that one word on the spot you picked on your line to describe your current situation.


When Paul wrote the book of Philippians, he was in prison. His circumstances were pointing toward “need.” He was likely lacking the basic provisions of life. When he says he knows what it is like to be in need, it is real. Earlier in his life, he had “plenty.” Prior to encountering Jesus, he had been a high ranking, wealthy man. He also knew what it was like to have plenty.


But Paul says that he learned something. This indicates that what he learned did not come naturally to him. When we are in need, don't we naturally feel anxious or fearful? This natural inclination may lead us to feel like God is against us, forsaken us, or just doesn’t care about us.


On the other side, when we have plenty, don't we naturally feel self-sufficient and tend to base our security on our "stuff"? But that self-sufficiency can lead us to grasp and hold tightly to things in order to keep our flimsy security intact. Deep down there is a nagging feeling that just around the corner, it will all crumble into a million shattered pieces.


Paul says he learned a secret. On your piece of paper, draw a semi-circle above your line starting at “need” and ending at “plenty.”  Between your line and the top of the semi-circle draw a giant heart. 


Inside your heart, write THIS one word  - CONTENT. 


Paul uses two different words for CONTENT. First, he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” This contentment is sufficiency, possessing enough, being fully satisfied - independent of external circumstances.


Then he says, “I have learned the secret of being content.” He discovered a mystery, but also one which he had become intimately acquainted.


His secret? Whatever circumstances, whether in desperate need or excess abundance,

“I can do all things though Him who gives me strength.”


Jesus said it like this,

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”


Write these two phrases below your line.


God’s all-encircling provision for us creates a reality beyond our circumstances. It is the TRUE reality of God’s full, abundant, never-ending LOVE for us. He is All Powerful, and Faithful. His strength is what defines us, not our circumstance. Remembering that we are frail, wayward, and often broken individuals also grounds us in His strength, because “apart from Him we can do nothing.”


How is God revealing this secret to you today? Where is He calling you to trust Him more? Where is He asking you to surrender control of your life and trust His all-encircling love will always be enough? Talk to Him about it now.


PRAYER

Bring your heart to God in prayer through this song today.


Jireh by Maverick City Music


"Jireh, You are enough.

I will be content in every circumstance.

Jireh, You are enough.

Forever enough,

Always enough,

More than enough!"



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2 Comments


robin.lorms
May 04

Good afternoon, Mary Alice. Your graphics are spot on to depict the wide range of emotions we experience in our journey with Jesus. My one word answer was "comfortable". So often i feel that we should be doing more to assist others financially. Other times i feel we are on track with a "holy retirement" plan. Up and down! Years ago I prayed from my heart Pr.30:9 "give me neither poverty or riches". God has provided us with sufficient income for retirement, good health, a healthy family, a very nice home, wonderful friends and a Christ centered church where the Word is preached in life changing and profound ways. Blessed, wouldn't you say?

We pray for appropriate stewardship of these…

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Judy Webb
Judy Webb
May 04

This really hit home for me Mary. I'll be keeping this devotion close by, probably tucked inside my Bible. Thank you.


Judy

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