A universal cure for sin ∙

A universal cure for sin

For the wages of sin is death. – Romans 6:23

John 3:14-17

 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

 16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Cancer is one of the great scourges of the modern world. Approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2013–2015 data, https://www.cancer.gov/). Every year, 1 out of 6 people that die, die from cancer (https://ourworldindata.org/what-does-the-world-die-from).

A new breakthrough in cancer research provides hope for a universal cancer treatment. British scientists say they have found a class of immune cells that could one day be used as a “one-size-fits-all” therapy for most cancers. This cutting-edge treatment involves T-cell immunotherapies. Immune cells are harvested from the patient, genetically modified to search, and destroy cancer. They are reproduced in vast quantities in a lab, and then returned to the patient’s bloodstream.

It was somewhat of a serendipitous discovery. While examining human blood for immune cells that could fight bacteria, researchers at Cardiff University came across a T-cell with a new type of receptor. These receptors are proteins which let the immune cells “see” and recognize cancers at the chemical level. Tests revealed that these special T-cells can identify and kill cancers of the lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovaries, kidney, and cervix. (www.sciencealert.com, January 21, 2020).

The problem of human sin poses a challenge similar to cancer. Because of sin, the death rate for people is 100%.

Before the Father created Eve, He created Adam and placed him in the garden of Eden. The Father then issued an ominous warning.

Genesis 2:16-17

 16 But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden,

 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

Well you know the rest of the story, the Father created Eve and placed her in the garden with Adam. Both of them ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, universal sin was introduced into the human race. And people have been dying ever since.

Modern science will never find a cure for sin no matter how many dollars are put into research. No man-made solutions will ever be found. However, the Father in His grace and mercy has already provided a universal sin therapy for the human race..

REFLECT & PRAY

The Lord Jesus Christ has provided a “one-size-fits-all” cure for sin.

Father thank You that You loved us enough to send Your Son to die for us that we might be forgiven and have eternal life.

INSIGHT

During their time in the wilderness, the children of Israel were a cantankerous bunch. They were never happy wandering around about for almost 40 years. They often complained and griped. If it were possible to provoke the Lord God Almighty, the Father of all, they managed to do it. The story is told in Numbers 21. It would be a bit humorous if it were not so tragic.

But in essence the Father said, “So you’re not happy being alive wandering around in the wilderness? You are tired of whining, being uncomfortable, eating only manna and having little water? I have the solution: death.”

The Father sent poisonous snakes into the camp. Many people were bitten and began to die. They now had a much bigger problem than just being uncomfortable and eating boring manna. They quickly recognized the error of their ways and repented of their sins. They sought out Moses for help. He prayed to the Father. The Father provided a universal cure for snake venom.

Moses made a replica of one of the serpents out of bronze and placed it on a pole. The bronze serpent was then placed into the middle of the camp. Moses told the people who were bitten how to be healed. All they had to do was look in the direction of the bronze serpent. Indeed, it was surely “one-size-fits-all.”

Numbers 21:4-9

 4 Then the people of Israel grew impatient with the long journey,

 5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

 6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.

 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.

 8 Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!”

 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

The Father provided a universal solution for the venomous snake poison. This was intended to be an object lesson that would not be understood for 1500 years. The Lord Jesus Christ explained it. Just as the Father had provided a universal treatment for snake poison, He was about to provide a universal solution for sin.

John 3:14-16

 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

All people suffer from the poison of spiritual snake bite. It began in the garden when Adam and Eve yielded to the serpent’s lies and temptation. Everyone has been bitten by the curse of sin. To be cured, someone has only to look at the cross and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Their sin will be forgiven. The possibility of eternal death will be removed, and they will be given eternal life.

¯\_()_/¯ 4-25-2

© Dr. H 2022

Are you willing to play? ∙

Are you willing to play?

Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD. – Isaiah 1:18

Can two walk together, except they are agreed? – Amos 3:3

Genesis 3:8-10

 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Scientists have identified a possible explanation for why dogs became man’s best friend. Wolves are likely the first animals domesticated by humans millennia ago. They are probably the wild ancestors that became today’s dogs. Some wolves were willing to play fetch. The researchers at Stockholm University have discovered that wolves do not have to be trained or selectively bred to chase after an object and retrieve it. Instead, a few young wolves appear to have an innate playful streak and a willingness to respond to human interaction and direction.

Behavioral ecologist Christina Hansen Wheat of Stockholm University began behavioral tests and observations on three litters of hand-raised, 8-week-old wolf pups. Ten of the wolf pups showed little to no interest in retrieving balls. But three pups from the same litter not only retrieved the balls but also responded to encouragement from unfamiliar people. One pup did so on all three tries.

“When I saw the first wolf puppy retrieving the ball, I literally got goose bumps,” says Wheat in a press release. It was so unexpected, and I immediately realized that if some wolves possess a genetic variation for human-directed play behavior, this could have been instrumental in dog domestication. Wheat suggests that the game of fetch may have been the key to the taming process. Humans identified and bred those wolves that were willing to play. “It makes sense, we connect with our dogs when we interact with them” (iScience, January 16, 2020; The Week, February 07, 2020).

Perhaps, the Father created sentient human beings because some pack members would be willing to play with Him. When Adam and Eve were created, the Father would walk in the garden of Eden with them. The Father wanted to spend time with His intelligent creation.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was on Earth, He enjoyed spending time with people, particularly His disciples.

John 3:22 Jesus and his disciples came into Judean territory, and there he spent time with them and was baptizing.

The Greek word translated as spent time is diatribo. Diatribo means to wear, rub through, and spend or pass the time in a place, remain, stay, tarry. He rubbed shoulders with His disciples. Today we might say, He just hung out with them.

Observing how the Lord Jesus Christ interacted with His disciples in the Gospels, I imagine the Father enjoyed just hanging out with Adam and Eve. But regrettably, after  Adam and Eve sinned, everything changed.

Genesis 3:8-10

 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

The Father’s only sentient beings created for planet Earth turned away from Him. They no longer wanted to play and just hang out. They were afraid and hid from Him. How tragic! Yet, the human race has been doing the same thing ever since. We treat the Father like wild wolves treat humankind. Wolves want nothing to do with humanity. For the most part, humanity shows little to no interest in the living Father God. Basically, they want nothing to do with Him. Only a few members of the human pack are willing to play with the Father.

We all know what it is like when a pet dog “gets out,” and we frantically go looking for it. The Father has been seeking us, calling to us for over 5000 years. Only those that are His, respond to the call.

John 10:27-28

 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father is not a harsh, cruel, mean, vindictive judge, as many people have been led to believe. Instead, He is warm, loving, tender, and, if you can possibly imagine, an affectionate “hugger.” He does not command us to come; He calls us to come.

Father thank You have called me by name, and I belong to You forever. Create in me a hunger and thirst for Your word and for spending time with You.

INSIGHT

The Father invites us to play with Him wherever we wish. For Adam and Eve, it was the garden of Eden. Many of the Father’s children have a special place where they can be alone with Him.

The playground for each of us is often uniquely different. Young children love to play in the sand or mud. Baseball players practice and play on baseball fields. A concert pianist requires a piano to practice and enjoys the thrill of a live performance in a symphony hall. For intellects, the playground is the mind and the realm of ideas.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD.

The Father allows people to reason with Him. But there is far more here than simply negotiating. He urges the people to talk things out with Him, using logic and reason.

The historical situation behind Isaiah’s words provides additional insight. The nation has violated the law of God. The Father has basically filed a legal complaint through the prophet Isaiah. The people had a significant problem that they must come to terms with. But they were in denial. He compares their sins and iniquities to blood-colored stains on their souls (scarlet, a red dye, and crimson, red-colored cloth) (BKC).

The Hebrew word translated as reason is yaḵaḥ. It is a legal term. It has the sense of arguing, convincing or deciding a case in court. The Father says to the nation, “let us debate our case in court” (TWOT).

The Father has an opinion on all things. The difference between His opinion and our opinion is that His position is always absolutely correct!

The Father wants them to realize for themselves and be convinced in their own minds of their guilt. And then take appropriate action and repent.

He is offering them a pardon if they repent, change their ways, and turn from their sin (Wiersbe). He would expunge their record and forgive and cleanse them. And they will become “spiritually white like snow or wool” (BKC).

When the Father plays, He has an endgame in mind. In this case, His endgame is total forgiveness.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”

¯\_()_/¯ 4-23-2

© Dr. H 2022

Thank God for Who He is ∙

Thank God for Who He is ∙

Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is.- Psalms 66:1-2

Psalms 95:1-7

 1 Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

 2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

 3 For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.

 4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.

 5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

 6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,

 7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!

Paper greeting cards have a long and delightful history. Down through the decades, they have been filled with thousands of sentiments. It seems as though there is a sentiment for almost every occasion: weddings, birthdays, holidays, illness, friendship, just saying “thank you,” or “I miss you.” Perhaps one sentiment stands out above the rest, “Thanks just for being you.” It speaks volumes in only one short sentence. It draws attention to the fact that recipient is loved and appreciated for who they are and not for what they do.

When it comes to the Father, how can we say “Thank You” just for being You? The Scriptures are full of information about Who and What the Father is like. Some statements focus on His divine attributes: holy, righteous, good, all-knowing, all-powerful, always present, eternal, etc. Others center on His personality. He is kind and thoughtful. He is loyal and dependable. He makes an excellent protector and friend. He is wise, merciful, gentle, and magnanimous.

We thank the Father by simply contemplating upon His attributes or personality. We reflect upon the beautiful and delightful person that He is. We are free to talk to Him as a person. We are encouraged to praise Him and worship Him for what He is like.

Some examples.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Thank you, Father, for being good and faithful. Thank You that Your love for me will never end no matter what.

Psalms 8:3-5

 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place –

 4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?

 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.

David contemplates the marvels of the created universe. He can only consider what he sees with his naked eye. He recognizes that for an all-powerful Father God, the creation in all of its complexity and detail was utterly effortless. The formation of stars and the moon and placing them in just the location to function as they do were mere finger work for the Father God. David is awestruck just thinking about it.

Even so, an even more remarkable realization leaves him mesmerized. The Father, Who created all things in the universe, made one creature that was a reflection of Himself. The complexity of humankind mirrors in some small way the Creator God Himself. There are numerous similarities, but there are also immense differences that separate Him from us. He formed us from the dust of the earth. We alone are made in His image. Because of this, and this alone, each human life has significance, value, and worth. Our self-worth is derived from the wonder and excellence of the Father Who created us.

The Father is high and lifted up above all. His greatness trickles down to His creation and gives us value. The works of great artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, or Michelangelo reflect their own brilliance and talent. We are the Father’s works of art on Planet Earth (Ephesians 2:10). He imbues each of us with a tiny bit, an inkling of Himself. It is as though He moves throughout the Earth and leaves behind His footprints. We are His very footprints of the Father in the timeline of history.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father loves us just as we are. In return, we are to love Him just as He is.

Father thank You for being Who and What You are. Thank You that You love each child of the King individually and personally. Thank You for allowing us to love You back. May we praise and honor You from the depths of our hearts and soul

INSIGHT

Regrettably, in the world of the 21st century, so much of humanity is caught up in their own self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement, or even worse, an ungrateful attitude of “You owe me!” Appreciation and thankfulness are sorely absent. The Father is merely taken for granted or completely ignored.

Yet there are many kind, loving, generous, and helpful people present almost everywhere. How often do you recognize the kindness and thoughtfulness of others and make a special effort to acknowledge them and thank them for it? In difficult times, it is easy to give in to grouchiness, despair, and emotional and social distancing.

How often do we go out of our way to recognize the kindness and thoughtfulness of our Father God? Do we maintain grateful and thankful hearts just because of Who He is? David calls each child of the King to bow down before Him and love and adore Him.

Psalms 95:1-7

 1 Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

 2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

 6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,

 7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.

The Father is the firm and stable rock of our foundation. As such, He provides certainty, confidence, and permanence. Nothing can ever remove the strong and permanent love bond and kindness for His children.

The Father is the absolute authority in the universe. Final decisions and judgments rest in His hands and His hands alone. He is a great and awesome King and far above the man-made idols and gods of human invention and imagination. He is the one and only living God.

Psalms 66:3-5

 3 Say to God, How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.

 4 Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.

 5 Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people!

His name is wonderful; His name is wonderful

His name is wonderful; Jesus my Lord

He is the mighty King; Master of everything

Bow down before Him; Love and adore Him

His name is wonderful; Jesus my Lord

He’s the great Shepherd; The Rock of all ages; Almighty God is He

Bow down before Him; Love and adore Him

His name is wonderful; Jesus my Lord

He is the mighty King; Master of everything

His name is wonderful; Jesus my Lord.

¯\_()_/¯ 4-19-2

© Dr. H 2022

Worry is the misuse of your imagination

Worry is the misuse of your imagination

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. – Philippians 4:6

Luke 12:22-31

 22 I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.

 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.

 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!

 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

 27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.

 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.

 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

Ed Foreman was born near Portales, New Mexico. He grew up in New Mexico and got a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from New Mexico State University. From 1953 to 1956, Foreman was employed by Phillips Petroleum Company. He invented a new method of drilling for oil. He soon became a self-made multi-millionaire by the age of 26.

Ed Foreman went on to live an incredible life. Ed became a motivational speaker who lived and embodied his message of health and happiness. He helped people reduce their levels of stress and anxiety. He coached people on how to turn worry into success, and experience enjoyment in life! His achievements are practically innumerable. He became an author and wrote multiple books. Here are some of his memorable quotes.

“Winners are those people who make a habit of doing the things losers are uncomfortable doing.”

“We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are.”

“You can never tell what type of impact you may make on another’s life by your actions or lack of action. Sometimes just with a smile on the street to a passing stranger can make a difference we could never imagine.”

“Worry is nothing less than the misuse of your imagination.”

Worry is often the product of one’s imagination. Worry is an anxious concern based on awareness of possible danger or misfortune.

In the English language, worry is defined as being troubled or giving in to mental anxiety. Peace of mind is lost and replaced by mental agitation or distress.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Jesus is not advocating a shiftless, thriftless, reckless, thoughtless, improvident attitude to life; he is forbidding a careworn, worried fear, which takes all the joy out of life” (Barclay).

Father I recognize how easy it is to be divided in my heart. Encourage me to trust You and simply surrender my goals and ambitions and lay them at your feet. So easy to wander, allow my imagination to run away, and become unduly concerned over possible, even probable issues.

INSIGHT

Ponder for a moment what it would be like if there were no God. Life would be random and haphazard or driven by an imaginary concept of fate or karma. People have no control over either.

Therefore, without God, worry or anxiety is a natural reaction of fallen human DNA to the troubles and vicissitudes of life. Such uneasiness drives people to attempt to protect themselves to the best of their ability from whatever difficulties confront them.

However, children of the King do not live in a godless world. We have a caring, loving Father who is actively involved in their lives. Thus the Lord Jesus Christ strongly exhorts children of the King not to worry. Worry is not merely discouraged; it is scorned and forbidden.

Luke 12:22 [Jesus said] I tell you not to worry about everyday life.

InLuke 12:22, the Greek word translated as worry or anxious is merimnao. It has the sense of over-anxiety, anxious care, being troubled, or unduly concerned. In the Greek language, words closely related to merimnao are meris and merizo. They have the sense of dividing or parting. When we worry, we divide our emotions. We become fractured and splintered internally. How sad it is that so many children of the King have known and experienced fragmented emotions of worry and anxiety.

“Food, clothing, and shelter represent the indispensable needs of humanity. Merimnan does not refer to forethought and planning about such things but rather to undue concern about them, which results in apprehensiveness and anxiety. Angst is a common theme in ancient as well as modern literature, including Jewish Wisdom literature. Hardships and difficulties are undeniably the common lot of humanity, but worry and distress over them result in sleeplessness, physical exhaustion, and bitterness (Ecclesiastes 4:4-6; 6:7)”(Edwards).

“Jesus is emphatic that his disciples need not be overly concerned with the basics of life, such as food, drink, or clothing. The intent is not to cultivate a carefree irresponsible attitude that refuses to work or plan for the future. The rhetorical question, ‘Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?’ indicates that Jesus intends his hearers to cultivate a sense of priorities where even the essentials of life are not given ultimate concern. After all, a life consumed by the concern for material needs will of necessity lack commitment and devotion to that which is of ultimate value” (Chouinard).

It all boils down to trust and priorities. We can trust in ourselves and seek to fulfill our own preferences. Or we can trust in the Father’s faithful and caring arms and seek first His kingdom above all else. We can either seek to remain autonomous and independent, or we can surrender our hearts, minds, and wills to the Father and depend upon Him.

1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

“Happiness is not a product of human striving, but of learning to surrender all of life into the faithful and caring hands of the Father” (Edwards).

¯\_()_/¯  

© Dr. H 2022

Invincible

Invincible

[Moses] chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. – Hebrews 11:25

Hebrews 12:1-4

 1 Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then, you won’t become weary and give up.

 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-2

 1 You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure.

 2 You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition.

In Greek mythology, Antaeus was the son of Poseidon, the sea god, and the Earth goddess Gaea. He compelled all strangers passing through his territory to wrestle with him. In Greek wrestling, the object was to throw your opponent to the ground and pin them. That didn’t work too well for opponents when wrestling with Antaeus.

Antaeus was invigorated and renewed whenever he touched the Earth (Gaea, his mother). If he was thrown to the ground, he became stronger. He was invincible. He always won and destroyed his opponents.

Enter Hercules. The tactics of Antaeus worked perfectly until he met Hercules. After multiple attempts, Hercules soon recognized that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground. Hercules realized that each time he pinned Antaeus to the ground, he was energized and became more powerful. A new strategy was needed.

The solution was quite simple. Simple, that is if you’re strong enough to carry it out. Hercules grabbed Antaeus in a body lock and held them aloft above the ground until all his power had drained away. Hercules then crushed Antaeus to death.

Sadly, children of the King are repeatedly mistreated, “thrown to the ground,” and defeated. Is it possible to turn this around? Yes indeed.

Paul shows the way!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 9 Each time [the Lord] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s all about heart, attitude, and trust. Paul responded to mistreatment by learning to rejoice in his weaknesses. Rather than being upset or angry, he accepted them as part of his training regimen as a servant of the Father. This requires a total perspective transformation from our normal fallen reactions.

That which should have defeated him only made him stronger. He was often bruised and beaten but invincible until his mission was accomplished. Down the road, he had a date with Nero’s executioners. But until then, he was fearless and was willing to suffer any hardship as a soldier of the King.

REFLECT & PRAY

The more children of the King are mistreated and respond appropriately, the stronger they become.

Father I want to embrace and hold fast to Your promise that Your grace is sufficient for me. When I am weak, I am strong! Thank You.

INSIGHT

Paul outlines the struggle with his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12. We are never told precisely what the thorn was. It is not wise to speculate about what we do not know and what the Father has not revealed. Whatever it was, Paul struggled with it and asked the Father to remove it. But the Father refused his request. Why?

The Father had something entirely different in mind. The Father gave Paul greater awareness and understanding of what He was crafting in his life. The circumstances were unchanged, and the situation did not improve. The thorn was still in his life as a source of torment.

“As Paul prayed about his problem, God gave him a deeper insight into what He was doing. Paul learned that his thorn in the flesh was a gift from God. What a strange gift! There was only one thing for Paul to do: accept the gift from God and allow God to accomplish His purposes. God wanted to keep Paul from being ‘exalted above measure,’ and this was His way of accomplishing it.”

“When Paul accepted his affliction as the gift of God, this made it possible for God’s grace to go to work in his life. It was then that God spoke to Paul and gave him the assurance of His grace” (Wiersbe).

The Father did not offer any explanations. Instead, the Father gave Paul a tremendous promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). “We do not live on explanations; we live on promises. Our feelings change, but God’s promises never change. Promises generate faith, and faith strengthens hope” (Wiersbe). In the kingdom of God, this is the way the Father works in the lives of the children of the King.

The Father’s grace allows children of the King to rise above their circumstances, concerns, opinions, fears, suffering, and feelings.

Paul experienced a major perspective transformation. He became invincible when he realized that the Father intended for him not merely to surrender and accept his hardships but also to thank the Father for them.

For mere human beings limited by fallen DNA, this is an amazing way of looking at the trials and difficulties of life. “God’s grace enabled Paul not only to accept his afflictions but to glory in them. His suffering was not a tyrant that controlled him, but a servant that worked for him” (Wiersbe).

Tribulations and difficulties, “thorns of the flesh,” are not meant to destroy us but rather strengthen us. It all begins with an attitude of giving thanks for all of our afflictions.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

As children of the King learn to do this, something totally unexpected and marvelous happens. Our weaknesses are transformed into strengths.

When children of the King are thrown to the ground and become weak, they are supernaturally strengthened and become strong!

¯\_()_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

%d bloggers like this: