Posted by: heisourstrongtower | December 6, 2013

Many Strands Challenge ~ Seeking God’s Wisdom for 2014 ~ Day 67

seeking god's wisdom - day 67

Today’s Assignment ~ Make sure that you have your prayer journal with you as you complete each day’s reading.  You are going to want to keep track of the verses that are resonating with you, as you read.

1. If you have not already done so, answer the questions in this blog-post;

https://heisourstrongtower.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/many-strands-challenge-seeking-gods-wisdom-for-2014/

If you have answered them…review your answers prior to reading today’s assignment.

 

2. Say a prayer asking God to reveal Himself to you through His word.

 

3. Read 2 Corinthians 10 – 13 and as you read, highlight verses that are speaking to your heart and reflect on these questions…

•           What is the main point of this portion?

•           What does God – Father, Son or Holy Spirit – reveal of himself?

•           What insight am I given about myself and into my life situation? Is there an example of a warning to heed? A promise to claim?

•           What does Christ require of me now, in thought, word or action?

A reflection on today’s reading…

8 “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he 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.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Diamonds on Black Velvet from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible

“Why won’t God heal me? Doesn’t he love me?” Perhaps you’ve asked similar questions.  Maybe you’ve been frustrated because God didn’t answer a prayer the way you had hoped.  Could it be that he is using those difficulties to keep you dependent on him? Like placing sparkling diamonds on black velvet, our human weakness provides a contrasting backdrop against which God’s power can be displayed.

Paul was faced with such a dilemma.  He came from the best family line, studied at the best schools and encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He experienced revelations from God.  It would have been easy for him to be proud.  But Paul suffered a thorn in the flesh.  Three times Paul asked God to remove his thorn.  Three times God said no.  Did that mean God didn’t love Paul?  Absolutely not!  It simply meant that God decided to empower Paul despite his thorn, to keep Paul dependent on God’s strength.  God proved to Paul that God’s power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness.

Paul didn’t tell his readers the nature of his thorn.  If he had, we might be able to dismiss his words as not applying to us.  Because he did not, we can identify with him – and wonder what our own thorns are.  Is is a chronic illness, a debilitating disease we’ve suffered with or a painful injury we’ve sustained.  Is it a chemical depression or bipolar illness?  Is is cancer or chronic fatigue?

All of these “thorns” are hard to live with, especially if we’ve asked repeatedly for healing.  They can make us weak and spiritually deficient.  They can make us feel isolated, undeserving and ineffective.  They can cause us to become self-absorbed and self-pitying.  But there is another way to look at them: We can offer our illness or disability sacrificially to God and allow it to keep us on our knees asking God for strength.  We can allow God’s love and power to push us through difficult and painful times, to use our “thorns” to make us more tender-hearted toward others.  We can see them as the black velvet against which God’s grace glitters.

Memorize God’s words to Paul, and every time you are tempted to feel that your “thorn” disqualifies you from God’s work, remember them: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

1. What would you say is your particular “thorn in the flesh”?

2. How might you have grown prideful had it not been for this thorn?

3. How has God proven himself strong on your behalf?

 

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