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One of Paul’s thorn experiences!

I usually have lots of pictures on my blog but today less pictures so that you can just take this all in and let God’s scriptures and commentary do its work in you. If you are going through a thorny time and you got the tee shirt…I’ve got the same tee-shirt because I’m going through the thorn experience too.   I feel for you! I’m here to tell you today that we can do this!!!! (With Jesus…I ain’t that crazy to do this alone!)

Let’s read the scripture about Paul’s  thorns:
2 Corinthians 12: 1-10 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.

6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.

There is a purpose for the thorns….let’s explore this.

What is a thorn in the flesh? In doing my bible research from several scriptures that mentions thorns I came up with the following answer:

A thorn in the flesh is any difficulty that causes pain and torment to a person because of the work they are doing to build the kingdom of God. For Paul the thorn was the obstacles he faced during his evangelistic work.  Paul’s obstacles might have been as a result of his suffering for promoting Jesus Christ, having heavenly visions, writing the scriptures and for training up other Christians to promote Jesus.

Some examples of thorns can be:
1. Being bullied, persecuted or harassed by people who treat you with contempt and insults.
2. Situations that cause you extreme weakness and severe hardships.
3. Beatings, abuse and torture almost to the point of death.
4. Unbelievably hard difficulties from excruciating physical pain or extreme mind blowing attacks.

I have a thorn in the flesh. It hurts a lot. It’s very painful everyday day. Some days are more painful than others. It’s been constantly tormenting me for a long time now. It doesn’t get to the point of killing me but it has been close a few times. For those of you who follow my blogs you know that I’ve been through a lot.  There have been many more events that are to long to post.  I have asked God to take stuff away but so far it’s still  continues to be a part of my life. I’m thankful though for God’s sustaining grace! Like Paul said:  “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.”

 
I use to think what’s happening to me was really cruel. It’s very hard to process this sometimes. In fact I use to get very angry about it. I didn’t understand how could someone who said they love me could let me suffer and be tormented like this.

Over the years I’ve figured out that suffering for Christ has its “purpose.” I also know that God has explained as much as He’s going to about this kind of suffering to me.  I believe this kind of torment and its complete purpose will eventually be revealed to me when I go home to heaven.   Until then I gladly accept my Father God’s amazing grace. Many people say it’s wrong to be tormented in this way. They have accused me of not having enough faith or that I must have unrepented sin in my life as well as other reasons.

There are plenty of people in the bible who went through extremely painful situations and torment. Two that quickly come to mind is Job and Paul. I’m sure you know their story so I’m not going to retell it today. Many of Jesus disciples who were personally trained and loved by Jesus were also subjected to torment and died a horrible death. Many famous evangelists and ministers also had extreme difficulties in their lives.

 
This is Gods ways and He has offered grace to all those who suffer in this way. He has His reasons as to why He has allowed it all. This is His world, it’s His rules and His way. It is what it is!  I still believe, have faith and ask God for help during my difficulties.  He always responds  through His word or with direct help.  But many times He just doesn’t explain some things.

There have been many many times that God has answered my prayers. My family and I have been healed hundreds of times and delivered from crisis’s.  Looking back at my past troubles I have always made it through.  Yet… there are still many times that God just says… wait! 

 God has used me for His kingdom in unique ways over the years since I became a committed Christian. He’s given me many visions and some dreams. God has also given me hundreds of messages for people. I’m in constant communication with Him and have a deep relationship with Him.  He’s given me spiritual gifts which I use for His kingdom and most importantly I try to share the gospel with someone almost every day. God does not want me to be conceited, puffed up or haughty about how He uses me. I do try hard to humble myself.   But to make sure that I know that everything I do for Him comes from His power, the thorn in the flesh keeps me in check. Let me tell you…the thorn is no joke!!! It’s very painful but it gets the job done!  Thorns do this: Less of me…more of God and God gets all the glory!!!  Gotta’ love those thorns!

God’s plan to keep us humble by use of a thorn in the flesh is peculiar to me but again it’s God’s way. It’s in the bible. Paul made the explanation of why his thorn was there very clear. 

 A thorn is a wood-like prickly projection and the hardened pointy sharp part of a plant or bush. These thorns can be anywhere from an 1/8 of an inch to over 1.5 inches. Thorns protect the plant against anything that would try to destroy it. I believe our thorns also protects us from  being proud like satan by keeping us humble. Paul had a thorn and even Jesus Christ had thorns that caused Him to suffer but for different reasons. The soldiers twisted together euphorbia milii which is a thorny plant and they made a crown of thorns and pressed it into Jesus head.  We workers for the kingdom truly share in Christ sufferings with the presence of our thorn in the flesh.

 
Everyone will suffer when they have come in contact with a thorny bush.  Can we view the thorns purpose in our lives as beneficial?  How we respond to the thorn is up to us.  We can either boast gladly about our weaknesses or we can fear our thorns, curse our thorns or have a fit about them.

Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 I do know that we will be rewarded for our suffering and that God will wipe away our tears and we will never suffer like this again. I know that our eternal life will be more than we can ever imagine. This may seem like a Debbie downer blog today because who likes suffering…but clarity about suffering can be a relief. I needed my own blog today. I needed clarity for my present thorns. Recently I’ve been praying for many people who love the Lord but are going through tremendous trials. Knowing that God has a mysterious perfect purpose for our trials should calm us down and help us not to be afraid. God is a Holy and powerful supernatual being! He is our Father. He knows what’s best for us. His motives are at the highest level for us. He told us not to lean on our own understanding and that His ways are much higher than ours.

 

God’s got this…God’s got you!!!

How can we deal with a thorn in the flesh?

1. Have a very close relationship with God!!! Know Him for real!!!
2. Pray as often as possible!!! Be a blabber mouth with God!!!
3. Stay calm, fear not and don’t be anxious!!!
4. Keep your heart clean!!! Repent!!! Get rid of any sin!!!
5. Do your job for God!!! You know…kingdom building!!!
6. Put on the whole armor of God!!! You’re gonna need all of it too!!!!
7. Accept His grace!!! (Very important!)
8. Don’t get weary!!!
9. Encourage yourself in the Lord!!!
10. Read and believe the bible!!!
11. Encourage others with thorns!!! This really helps your own thorns!!
12. Trust God!!!

This scripture brings it all home……….
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

 

God is going to “whap” His glory on you when you see Him face to face!!! Hang in there!

thorn 2

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Revelation 2:10 

 

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