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Paul knew a secret… He knew the secret of contentment, whether he was hungry or well fed.. whether he was comfortable or not. He learned how to not complain.

What was his secret? Jesus. He learned to be content in hunger or in a feast, in comfort or the hardest of circumstances… in the midst of having plenty or being in need. He learned to be content in all of these because he got to know his Savior. He became close to Him. He discovered through this closeness that through it comes strength given to us by God Himself.

I don’t see this as meaning that Paul was some kind of superman. This is just my guess, but I am pretty sure he didn’t want to be hungry. He didn’t want to be in need or uncomfortable. But I do think he realized the way God changed him and his needs, and he realized that he could do anything with God. Anything. He could be living like a king, or he could be in the deepest pit of poverty, and so long as Paul kept his eyes on Jesus and walked alongside Him in everything, living to please Him with his every breath, he would be able to do it.

Maybe in reading that, it seems weird to think that we would need strength from God to live like a king. It’s true though. Without His strength we are nothing. And without His strength we are corrupt. Because that’s our very nature. He is everything good in our lives. Without His strength, living like a king would only multiply corruption in us.

Similarly, without His strength, living in poverty could only wear us down. Poverty is very discouraging, very demanding, very life-consuming. I think that’s why impoverished neighborhoods are often very dangerous places to step into.. it’s why people say “lock your car doors” as you drive through certain parts of certain cities. People are driven to great lengths when they have no money and when they are also without God’s amazing strength.

When we are following after Him in our everyday life though, when we let Him be our strength, the difference is evident. It really transforms our lives.

Sometimes I guess we have to get to the point where the only certainty is that He is our every ounce of strength.

This isn’t to say that I have it all figured out. It doesn’t mean that I have a good understanding yet of that secret that Paul knew. It means I’m learning. Continually. And it’s taken the past 2+ years of stuff that I really would never have chosen to go through to get to the point where I am now. This is stuff that He has been teaching me so constantly over the past 29 months… it’s often involved tears, because honestly.. these things aren’t what anybody would ever want to have happen.

In the midst of every moment of my life, I want to live with the strength that comes from Jesus.. and Jesus alone. I want to live sharing the “secret” that we can do all these things with the strength that God gives us. This is the only real strength there is.

“… 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 all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:11b-13, NIV

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Thank you so much for your every prayer for Jon and his family. Please keep on praising, praying, and believing for his next scans to be great. Praise for all the healing that has been taking place and pray that it will continue, with no returning tumors. If you’re not familiar with this family, please take a few minutes to catch up on his story. These are Amy’s words about the scans yesterday: “Thank you friends for your continued prayers for our family. Jon had his 6 month MRI and body scan today. All residual brain tumors are stable and the body scan was clear!! We’re praising God for his continued faithfulness. He is good ALL the time. Let the summer begin!!”