Is your thorn an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

August 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what it was that Paul had to put up with, just what it was that Satan used to torment him?

I find it very interesting and intriguing that the man whom God chose to spread the Gospel to the gentiles was given an affliction that too many of us would have simply said was too overwhelming. We would have simply given up if we had to face the “thorn in my flesh” that Paul faced.

All too often I find myself making excuses instead of doing what I know I should do. It is so much easier to make excuses than it is to obey. What a shame! I know that I miss out on many blessings and opportunities simply because I find excuses. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I don’t make excuses, but the times that I do make excuses weigh heavily upon me. I find myself thinking about Paul and ask myself a simple question. What would the world be like today if Paul had allowed his “thorn” to stop him?

By God’s grace, Paul listened to God and we, as Christians, can trace our faith back to Paul’s obedience. God gave Paul the strength to see things through in spite of his thorn. He did not remove the thorn. If a perfect person could spread the Gospel to the gentiles, why would they believe? He would simply be another man who could speak eloquently. God used Paul’s thorn to keep Paul focused on Him, to keep him dependent upon Him.

What is your thorn? Is it an excuse or is it your foundation of faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Here am I. Send me!

August 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Here am I. Send me!

How many of us would be willing to step forward and take on this responsibility?

Most of us probably sit looking around and thinking that somebody needs to step up and do something. Why do we always look for someone else to go where God leads and to do what God wants? Why have we become spectators in our faith?

Do we feel inadequate?

Do we feel overwhelmed?

Do we feel that we will fail miserably?

Are we afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone?

Even Paul had his problems.

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 12:7 (NIV))

What would have happened if Paul had sat back and reasoned to himself that because of this problem he was not qualified to do what God called him to do? Paul had a turning point that left him with a miraculous faith, yet faith without obedience is not what God desires. Jesus appeared to Paul and converted him, but how many did Paul convert after this experience? How many throughout history owe their salvation to Paul’s obedience?

How many people are you impacting by not stepping forward? Think about that? You may not be an evangelist who will lead thousands to Jesus, but you may be the one who leads the future evangelist to Jesus.

I want to ask a simple question. It will probably be painful if you answer it honestly.

Have you ever felt that you were supposed to answer God’s call and when you didn’t answer, you had a strange feeling within? Was it easy to get rid of that feeling?

I pray that we will all be willing, able and ready to respond with these words.

Here am I. Send me!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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