Learning the Secret of Love


Phil. 4:10   I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.

Phil. 4:15   You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.


The Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Philippi and wanted them to know that he had learned much about life. He was very grateful for their love and their concern for him and he knew that they weren’t able to take care of him in every situation. That was okay, because he had learned the secret of living well through God’s holy love. He had become content because it was not the things of the world which would sustain him, but rather, God’s strength. At the same time he did not discount the empathy which had arisen from these people. 

Paul affirmed the church and thanked them for their generosity. He graciously received what they offered for he knew that this would be a blessing to them as well. As they gave to Paul they would also learn the secret of living in holy love and have hearts filled with the satisfaction that can only come from God. 


Today my husband and I have the privilege of celebrating thirty-five years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long and I am very grateful for the man with whom I have been able to journey throughout life. I love you, Chuck!

A very hot day in Russia at GUM. Celebrating life together. 

We have spent the last two weeks back in Russia, the very place where we spent thirteen very formative years of our lives, and where we raised our daughters. We were amazed at how our Russian came back to us and we were able to communicate. This was a different kind of a trip for us because we were helping to host a group from Nazarene Theological Seminary and we were on a guided tour. Often the guides would ask us why we spoke Russian and when we told them we had lived there in the 90’s they all responded, “Oh, those were difficult days.” Economically they were exceedingly difficult days but they taught us to live into the words of Paul and contentment became a part of our lives. The focus wasn’t on things, but on relationships, both with God and with others. We learned a little secret in the midst of economic crisis and it was a gift. 

In thirty-five years of marriage we have also discovered that every day isn’t a honeymoon. We’ve had our ups and downs and our moments of frustration but in the good times and the difficult, we have chosen to love to another another. This is the secret we have learned; that love is a choice that we live into and therefore we are able to live in beautiful contentment. In this way marriage, itself, can become a fragrant offering, poured out as a sacrifice “acceptable and pleasing to God.” 

There is nothing extraordinarily fancy planned for this day. We will unpack our bags and do laundry, pay bills and get caught up with life, but we will do it together. After thirty-five years of marriage, I simply love being in the same space with my husband, sharing and doing life together. Today I am grateful for learning a little secret called love. Thanks be to God. 


Lord, thank you for revealing yourself through love found in marriage. Amen. 


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