October 15

Psalms 56:2-4 (NIV) 2My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

There are times in life when it seems the whole world has unjustly conspired against you. Slander can turn your good reputation into one in which people unwittingly believe lies about you. Those who join together to bring you down have believed the slander and think they are serving a righteous cause. It is their pride that tells them they are more righteous than you, and therefore they must see that you are removed from the place of respect that your life has earned.

It can seem that life is out of control, that evil has a free reign. That is a fearful thought. If there is no justice, if lies can destroy the innocent, what hope is there of any kind of godly achievement in life? That would cause anyone to fear. But when we are afraid, we need to look to where all power truly lies. It is not in the power of slander. It is not in evil destructive powers, even though it may appear so at the moment. To God belongs power and might. Those who trust in Him are never disappointed. We turn to His unfailing promises and find faith that moves us beyond the present to the promised outcome.

When we see life from this perspective, we can say with David, "What can mortal man do to me?" He can lie, slander, and deceive, why, he can even beat and kill my mortal body, but all power and might belong to God. I will be eternally rewarded for my trust in Him. My enemies will either be conquered by Him, as I was, and become my brothers, or they will be punished for their rebellion against His love and truth. Every knee will bow! Either way, righteousness and truth will prevail. I can count on it. His word has never failed and it never will.

Consider: When you are afraid, trust in Him. What can mortal man do to you?

October 15

Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I 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. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul was expressing his gratitude for the financial support of the Philippian church. He didn't want them to think that he was desperately in need, as if Christ did not supply his needs. Unlike some shameful ministers today who plead for finances, Paul said that he trusted God to give him whatever he needed. If he was in need, there was a purpose in it and something to learn. If he had plenty, there was also a purpose and something to learn.

Paul had learned one of the great lessons in life. He could be poor or wealthy and not have either influence his attitude and ministry. He could be well fed or hungry and still walk in the Spirit seeking first the kingdom of God. He knew God has a purpose in all things and all circumstances of life.

How could he focus so completely on the things of God, to the extent that even need or plenty did not influence him? He learned to rely on the strength of Christ. Christians often quote verse 13 out of the context of the passage. It is used to say, "God can help me do anything!" Well, that may be true, but the passage is referring to God's grace to do without, or to not let wealth influence attitude or decisions. That really takes the strength of Christ. Either is equally difficult, but in Christ we find the strength to meet either.

Paul went on to say that God would be faithful to meet all the needs of the Philippians with the riches in Christ Jesus (verse 19). When we are faithful to bless God's servants, we can count on God meeting our needs. Don't be afraid to give too much. Be more concerned that you are giving too little. Learn the lesson that God had taught the Apostle Paul, you can do everything through him who gives you strength.

Consider: Have you found the secret of contentment in all circumstances?