Thorns and Strength

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us he had visions and revelations from the Lord. He doesn’t say what the visions and revelations were only that they were so astounding they cannot be expressed in words and no human is allowed to tell.(1-4) Then he tells us he was given a thorn in the flesh to keep him from becoming proud. (7b) He begged the Lord to take it away but the Lord said,”My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul then tells us he is glad to boast of his weakness so the power of Christ can work through him.(8-9)) Paul learned when he was weak, then he was strong.(10b)

I am nothing like Paul. I have never been given visions or revelations, there is nothing about the Lord I am not allowed to talk about, but I have a thorn in the flesh that keeps me thorny-dragon-387217_640from becoming proud.  It’s not a disease, it won’t kill me. It is just a physical anomaly that can be painful but usually just bothersome and sometimes embarrassing. No one can tell anything is different about me by looking at me but there are times it is obvious I feel unwell. And unlike Paul, I continually ask to have this “thorn” taken from me, not just three times but over and over. I know I am weak and during a bad spell, I don’t feel the power of Christ resting on me. Oh, how I want to be like Paul!

There are times that I stand strong and weather the storm but there are as many times I am weak and I just go home, lock the door, and feel sorry for myself. I am blessed to know Jesus and He doesn’t leave me alone in my self-pity. He reminds me;

A joyful heart is good medicine. But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Prov 17:22 nas

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
Ps 103:2-3

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isa 26:3

I don’t write this for sympathy or to make myself sound like I am so good and holy.  I write it to encourage you.  I think we all have a thorn of some sort. It may be physical, mental, emotional; caused by disease, an accident, trauma, circumstances, financial or family problems, whatever is chronic or continuous. My hope is that you will know that you are not alone. There are many who are hurting and none need be alone. Call on Jesus, He is never too busy to take your call, there is never a busy signal, you will never be put on hold, and never disconnected. Talk to Jesus and all will be well with your soul.

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

All scripture unless otherwise noted
from New Living Translation
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What I Learned

I was reading Psalm 116 and in the first nine verses this is what I learned about the Lord:

  • He hears my voice. My voice. He hears it! (v1)
  • He bends down to listen. He wants to hear me clearly so He comes close to me.(v2)
  • He is kind, good, merciful to me. (v5)
  • He protects me when my faith is childlike and has saved me from death. (v6)
  • He lets me rest and is good to me. (v7)
  • He saves me from death, tears, stumbling. (v8)

All of the above is amazing. It humbles me. Who am I to deserve all this attention from God?  I don’t always speak to Him with quiet reverence. Sometimes, I shout in anger or whine and complain. Still, He bends down to listen to me.

He is kind, good, and merciful to me though more often than not I deserve a good thrashing. He protects me in spite of my lack of pure faith and He has redeemed me so I will live though death is what I should expect. He gives me rest when I am weary of the realities of today. He gives me life, wipes away my tears, and keeps me from falling away from Him.  He does all this for me though I am not worthy.

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Guard Your Heart

I am very careful with my heart. I don’t want it to be hurt in any way. Not physically or emotionally. Whatever happens to my heart determines my overall health. I could take better care of its physical health but I tend to take that aspect for granted.  Not wise, I know, but a fact. But taking care of my heart’s emotional health is a different story. I guard my heart. We are told in Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.marguerite-1358773_640

So, it is a good thing that I guard my heart. Maybe…maybe not.

There are some broken places in my heart that have healed and don’t hurt anymore, with scars that have made my heart stronger. Other places seem to be targets of unintended hurts and are often bruised and tender, nothing serious just bothersome. But there is a part of my heart that has been shattered. It has been pieced back together. I live with the pain. Sometimes months go by with only an occasional twinge to remind me of it, then there will be a memory triggered and the pain is unbearable. This was why I protected my heart, put a guard around it to keep it safe and untouched.

I  guarded my heart by not trusting many people and letting only a few  have access to it. I didn’t freely share my heart, I was selfish with it. But talking with Jesus has taught me I had it all wrong. He wants me to trust people and let them into my heart. He wants me to share my heart and be generous. What I must guard my heart against is evil in all its forms. I am to use His teachings as the touchstone, the standard, for what and who I share my heart. Yes, I am to guard my heart, with His words, not mine, with His truth, not mine, with His love for me, not my love of self.

My prayer today,
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
Ps 119:18

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

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Wait Quietly

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. (Ps 62:1-2)

How I want to say this is true of me! I know my victory comes from Him but I struggle with waiting. Outwardly I am quiet, I am a quiet person, but inwardly I scream and yell and rage. I know He is my rock and salvation and fortress, but I am not strong, I tremble and shake.

Lately, when I talk to Jesus and I tell Him of my weakness and my fears He tells me to be quiet and wait. But for how long? I have been waiting a long time for victory in this peace-of-mind-349815_640struggle. Why is the end of this not in sight? Why do the attacks continue? I am not given an answer to those questions. However, He does remind me that He will give me rest, to put on His yoke and to let Him teach me and I will find rest for my soul. (Matt 11:28-29).

If you are struggling with something that seems endless listen to what Jesus says. Be encouraged. He has promised to never leave or abandon us (Jos 1:5) Sometimes it seems that we are left alone in the wilderness of our sufferings but that is a lie that satan wants us to believe. The Spirit dwells within us and will guide us to the fortress of the Lord.

This is my prayer:

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Ps 62:5-6)

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

Imperfectly Perfect

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
            Wonderful are Your works,
            And my soul knows it very well.
Ps 139:14 nas

I have this verse on my refrigerator, front and center, where I can see it every day. I know that this is true.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God made me, He put all the parts and pieces together, complex and simple, creating a body to express my life outwardly and to hold His Spirit within. All His creation is wonderful. I know this. But sometimes I forget.

My body doesn’t always work the way it was created to.  It’s not God’s fault. I know this but sometimes I get mad at Him and I tell Him so. Then I am reminded of all the things my body does that I give no thought to, all the processes so complex and intricate that neverthe-wonders-of-mak-815283_640 fail. Why do I complain about one part of this amazing system? Why do I take for granted all minute details that keep my body functioning and alive? Because I forget what I know. I forget to be thankful in all circumstances. (1 Thes 5:18) I forget to keep my thoughts on Him, to trust Him, for that is where peace is found. (Isa 26:3)

I thank God for this imperfect perfect body. I am thankful that when I forget how blessed I am living with this wonderful work of His He reminds me that He knew me before I was born, that He thinks about me, and is always with me. (Ps 139:16-18)

Today I pray that I don’t forget.

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

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