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
Image:pixabay

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1 Corinthians 13:3 niv

boxIf we sacrifice what we have so others will think more highly of us
we are not sacrificing with love we are sacrificing with pride.
If we suffer to gain attention to ourselves our resolve is not love but pride.
Pride is an opportunist always trying to find a way into our hearts.
Only love can overcome pride’s ambition.

Have you done battle with pride?  
How do you protect your heart from pride?

Blessings this day of grace,

patricia

Image:PublicDomainPictures

Habakkuk 2:4 kj

2

Those who are prideful rely on themselves.
The righteous live by faith and complete trust in God.

In this world we are constantly being told to be self-confident and self-sufficient. 
But that is not the way the Lord’s people are to live.
Our confidence is in God and all we need comes from Him.

Is your faith in God or yourself?

Blessings this day of grace,

patricia

Photo: morgueFile

Lies and Truth

 

Most, if not all, of us know lying is wrong.  And most, if not all, of us know that one of the Ten Commandments tell us not to give false testimony, do not lie.

But we do lie and we tell ourselves it is no big deal–everybody does it.  And we grade the lies, little, big, necessary, bad, not too bad, accidental, the list goes on.  There are the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.

We tell little white lies to others to make them feel better or because we do not want to hurt them.  Things like—no, that dress does not make you look fat, your new hair color looks so natural, everybody cheats on their taxes, do not give it another thought I am fine that you forgot my birthday, or you look the same as you did twenty years ago.  We tell little white lies to ourselves, too, one piece of cake will not throw me off my diet, I will start exercising tomorrow, I am fine one more drink then I will go home, as long as nobody gets hurt it is okay.

When we exaggerate to make others think we are more important, smarter, braver, more disciplined, happier, or more successful than we are we are lying.  Sometimes we want sympathy or we want to shock someone so we embellish the truth–with lies.  We even exaggerate situations or circumstances to ourselves.  We say we are starving or stupid or so tired we cannot move a muscle or that we will die if we have to do something we do not like or are afraid of.

Then there are the lies of omission.  We simply ignore the truth or reality of something.  We look away from the difficult or ugly denying it exists.  We do not speak up when we see or hear distortion of the truth, when there is deceit and perversion.  We keep quiet because it is none of our business, or we are too busy, or surely someone else is better equipped or qualified to deal with the issue.

Bottom line–pride is the beginning of lies whatever kind they are.  When we tell a lie to protect or help someone we are really protecting or helping ourselves.  The biggest lie is that it is no big deal to tell a little white lie or exaggerate or to turn away from a truth.  After all everybody does it.  We need to know, really know in our hearts, that all lies are destructive.  Lies destroy trust, confidence, reputations, friendships and families.  Lies wreak havoc with the mental, emotional and physical well being of us all.

Here’s what I have learned about lies and the antidote, truth:

Lies tear down, contaminate and pollute, like a cardboard box they offer false security, hidden and confusing, are never satisfied and exhaust us, limit and confine, imprison, restrict and stagnate and end in death.

Truth builds up, is pure, natural and real, protects like a strong fortress, open and transparent, content and filled with energy, encourages and enlarges our world, frees, is lush and abundant with life.

Lies hurt and sometimes truth hurts; the tears that result from lies are bitter and sting, the tears of truth are sweet and refreshing.

The Lord detests lying lips,but He delights in men who are truthful.  Proverbs 12:22

I wonder if the Lord has found delight in me today?

Just wondering…

Raise the sails…

This weekend I attended a Christian Women’s Conference. I am quite glad I went. There was wonderful worship, great teaching, good food, and of course sweet fellowship with sisters in the faith.

As usual when attending something like this there is one thing that has stayed in my mind. One thing that made me wonder. There will be other things, I know. But right now this has my attention.

The afternoon speaker said something—not his main point—just an aside—but I cannot get it out of my head.

“If you do not raise the sails of the boat for the Holy Spirit to fill, you will wear yourself out rowing the boat.”

That is what he said. Pretty simple but thought-provoking. Made me think about my “boat’ and how much time I spend rowing without the sails unfurled. Why have I ever left the shore without raising the sails?

The Holy Spirit is with me wherever I go. Yet how often do I attempt to navigate my life without the wisdom, the guidance, the help, the power of the Spirit? Too often I am afraid. But why?

Is it pride, the desire to be independent and self-reliant? Jesus told the disciples that He would send a Helper who would teach them and remind them of all He had said. I do not have to invent the wheel—it has already been done!

Maybe it is the side of pride that does not want to appear weak. Yet I am weak. I need the strength of the Spirit. He is powerful and available to me–I need only to ask and He will fill the sails to help me on my journey.

I do not like to be told when or where to go. I want to do it my way. So I row row row my boat. And for a time I may be merry but in truth left to my own devises I will go where I am not meant to be or get lost or most often spend a lot of time going in circles. If I let the sails fill with the Spirit He will change my course if need be, keep me from where I am not meant to be, show me a better way. Take me where I will learn, where I will grow, where I am needed, where I will find rest, where I will be with Christ.

We are told in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that where the Spirit is there is freedom. Wonderful freedom from the past we try with all our might to row away from–wearing ourselves out. Silly people. Sails filled with the Spirit will put the past far away and power our boats to unimaginable places—even Heaven.

Great is our Lord, and of great power; His understanding is infinite.

Ps 147:5

The reality of God’s presence is seen when the power of the Spirit fills our sails.

Is this not awesome?

Just wondering…