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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dealing with Thorns

The Bible talks about a type of grace; a saving, a sustaining, and sufficient grace. God is always with us - even when we experience “the thorns” of life. The man who wrote most of the New Testament knew this all to well.  Because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep us from trusting in our own abilities sometimes God gives us a thorn. More importantly God gives us the grace needed to survive the struggle. There is never a challenge without providing us the grace we need to meet it.
When Paul asked God to remove the thorn his request was denied. He said he took, "pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecution, in distresses”, and  “When I am weak, then I am strong”. Paul’s thorn was a demonstration of God’s grace. The reality here is how you deal with your pain may be your greatest testimony.
God’s covenant of grace is available to all people. Look at John 1:14-17, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)  Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
In Romans 8:30-32 Paul brings God's grace in to focus. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
God’s grace may not always appear in the form that we’d like, but it is always there when we need it. We should accept it and be grateful.
How can you acknowledge His presence and grace in your life? Maybe it's how you respond to the "thorns".