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Posts Tagged ‘thorn in flesh’

ID-100169178How do you see someone who is being a thorn in your flesh?

I am struck by David’s words in 2 Samuel, Chapter 16 when Shimei, a relative of Saul, curses him and pelts him with pebbles  David, God’s anointed king, could have ordered the man to be imprisoned or killed. But instead, he tells his soldiers to leave him alone because, “It may be the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.” (vs.12)  David also indicates that God may have told the man to curse him. Why? My guess would be as a test of humility. The interesting thing is this happened while David was in a low period in his life. His own son was trying to dethrone him and kill him.

Is there someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way? Maybe it is a neighbor who always complains, a coworker who is a backstabber and gossip, an in-law you just can’t please, or even a ID-100156152member in your church who likes to find fault with every little thing. How will you react? When our tolerance levels are like a rain gauge in a drought, it seems people just get on our nerves more than when our lives are overflowing with happiness. Is it because it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or might it be because God is sending us a message to lean on Him a bit more instead of on our own understanding and strength?

Christ came to love the unlovable, which if I am totally honest about it, includes me. Who am I to judge others?

Perhaps the best thing we can do when someone needles us is to take it to God. Maybe He is allowing this person to be like a sticker burr between our toes for a reason.

  • Is He using them like a mirror to reflect a sin we have yet to deal with in our own lives? (Remove the log in your eye before you comment about the speck in theirs idea.)
  • Is He testing our humbleness, or our faith-strength?
  • Is He preparing us to deal with someone ten times worse who is just around the bend that He can see coming into our lives even though we cannot?

True–Christians, in turning the other cheek,  are not called to be like wimpy spaghetti noodles and people should be held accountable for their actions. But, Scripture tells us to give thanks to God in all circumstances — that goes for those we just cannot seem to get along with at the moment.

Maybe if we all had the attitude of King David, it would then open the pathways a bit wider to spreading Christ’s message of forgiveness and love.

 

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I read this in a blog I follow by Lori Benka –

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says:

“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

ID-100169178Let me give you a little background about Paul leading up to this verse. Scripture tells us that Paul was a great man of God. His ministry was growing and he performed many miracles through the power of Christ. But we see that Paul had something that was bothering him.  It bothered Paul so much that he prayed three times for it to be removed. We are told about this “thorn in the flesh” that was very grievous to Paul.  It is uncertain what the “thorn in the flesh” was, but many scholars believe it could have been acute bodily pain or sickness.  Some even believe it could have been spiritual in nature – such as a temptation or persecution from an individual that constantly harassed Paul.  In any case, He was growing very distressed.

After Paul prayed three times for this thorn to be removed, we see that God didn’t remove it.  It is at this point that I ask myself why didn’t God answer Paul’s prayer? He was a faithful servant full of faith and yet, God didn’t remove the very thing that was distressing him the most.  God’s answer to Paul is that His grace and strength would be sufficient for him to bear through the pain. Paul was drawing closer to God with his “thorn in the flesh.” Could it be that sometimes our prayers are not answered quickly because God is wanting to use our circumstance to draw us closer to Himself?  

I think about a medical diagnosis that I have been praying about for thirteen years to be taken away. I don’t like the pain and uncertainty that comes along with the disease. But as I look back, I realized that every time I would have a flare up, I would begin to press into God more by praying and reading the Bible. The “thorn” was actually bringing me closer to God.  I realized when I was weak and feeling like I couldn’t go on anymore, was when God would demonstrate His power to me the most. God’s grace flooded over me to allow me to push through my circumstances.  Although unpleasant, I begin to see that my “thorns” act as an aid rather than a handicap….

What amazing insight! Please read the rest of her blog at http://lorilbenka.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-wont-you-remove-this-thorn-lord/#like-320. It will bless you! And if you know someone in pain right now, share this with them. It just may be the comforting thing they need to hear.

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courtesy answerfitness.com

Do you love your body? A recent study  published by Glamour Magazine showed the average woman has 13 negative or destructive inner thoughts about her body every day.  I admit, most of my life I have been disgusted with my short, frumpy body that seems to want to hang onto weight as if it was the rarest gold. Even as a child I was “well-rounded”.

Paul told the church in Corinth –“Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory.” (1 Corinthians 15: 42-43, NLT)

I don’t think he meant “disappoint” the way I do, and the way most modern women do. He meant the aches and pains, age setting in and chronic ailments. After all, he admitted he had a thorn in his flesh.

Paul stated the thorn in his flesh was one way God was keeping him humble. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.                        (2 Corinthians 12:7NIV)

My thorn is my own, lifelong negative image. God is calling me, and perhaps you, to turn to Him for the renewal of our thoughts about our bodies. I know I do not have the gumption on my own to lose a bunch of weight. I also know I must call upon the name of Jesus each time a negative inner thought about my appearance surfaces to the forefront of my brain. Otherwise I will turn to the fridge for comfort instead of to Him.

Now that mid-age sag has become a reality and my bones and muscles ache a bit more each day, it seems as if my body is holding me back from doing what I want to do. Of course, sitting at computers all day writing doesn’t help – I know that. So,  another negative thought would loom to the surface as if in a Magic Eight ball- “you need to exercise but you are too weak  and achy to do it.”  This blame the body game is a bad habit.

A dear friend from Canada, who is also a Christian writer, blogged this today: “…we know that these human bodies will be one day glorified and be with God forever.  I have gained a new appreciation for the unique way our bodies are made. We need to respect and take care of them, knowing that we will still have issues and our bodies will one day say ‘enough’.   Because of our faith, we are guaranteed a glorified body in a glorified forever  home.

As my friend likes to remind me, “God is good–all the time.”  He is. He will help us walk through our aches and pains with a promise of new health, new bodies, and a forever future. When we get discouraged with our physical bodies we can be encouraged because we have a promise to cling to.  (To read the whole devo, go to http://powertochange.com/blogposts/2012/11/29/the-skin-i-am-in/)

 

Today, I found God in a devo from a friend, and subsequently when I looked in the mirror and began to see my body in a new way – through the helping strength of its Maker.

Dear Lord, may I concentrate more on not disappointing you as being your hands and feet in this world. Let me dwell less on my disappointing body which only spirals me into a negative image and blocks You from working through me. Help me to take my eyes off myself and focus on You. You will provide the strength I need to get this temple in better shape, but to also accept it is what it is – flawed and aging but still something You can use. Let me thank you for the parts that do still work well and are my assets. Above all, let me truly absorb that I am precious in Your sight, as we all are. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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