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God’s power and his provision are accessible through our personal relationship with Jesus

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10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul lists some of the sufferings he’s experienced during his ministry. If anyone has reason to be discontent, it’s Paul. He writes this letter to the Philippians from jail, another reason a bad attitude could have felt justified. But, it’s amazing to read and consider Paul’s attitude during his present difficulties.

Perhaps the key word in this passage is “learned.” Paul learns to be content in all situations. This is something Paul had to figure out and apply to his life. Throughout Paul’s ministry, which begins in Acts 9, we find it laced with adversity. Despite this, he’s finds strength to endure and to be content. Endurance is available only through the one who strengthens him – Jesus.

We all face difficulties and hard times. Just like Paul, we bump up against issues that test us, perhaps pushing us to the edge. During these times, we remember God’s power and his provision are accessible through our personal relationship with Jesus. We take advantage of our Christ-given privilege of prayer and lift our voice to God, asking for his help. God may choose to answer in deliverance. Or, he may leave us with the issue we’re dealing with. Either way, we can, like Paul, lean on Jesus for strength to endure. Our faith becomes stronger, our ability to endure increases, and we begin to create the habit of prayer in difficult times. As you go through your day today, ask God to help you identify an area where you might need to learn contentment.

 

Are theyservants of Christ?I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors,
far more imprisonments,with countless beatings, andoften near death.
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the
forty lashes less one.
Three times I was
beaten with rods.Once I was stoned. Three times Iwas shipwrecked;
a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers,
danger from my own people,danger from Gentiles,danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea,
danger from false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night,in hunger and thirst,
often without food,
in cold and exposure.And, apart from other things,
there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for
all the churches.
-2 Corinthians 11:23-28

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By Rich Obrecht

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