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The Word For Today

The Three Thorns (2)

Heaven's answer to a thorn-cursed creation was a thorn-crowned Saviour. But notice something important. God didn't remove the thorns; He decided to use them for His redemptive purposes. That's why we each get the third thorn of redemption: a custom-designed thorn. Here's how Paul describes his thorn: '...Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me...Concerning this thing I pleaded 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 will I boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV).

The word 'buffet' means 'to render blow, after blow, after blow'. Does that describe your life at the moment? If Paul's experience is anything to go by, the Christian life is a series of blessings and buffetings. And the God Who promises the first, permits the second. Why? To make sure we live our lives dependent on Him. Look what God used to make sure Paul relied totally on Him: 'infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, distresses.' Where do you find strength to handle such a catalogue of complaints? From God - and God alone.

You say, 'I want to be more fruitful in the service of the Lord.' That happens when the thorny situations in life drive us closer to God!

Soulfood : Ezek 37:1-40:9, Mk 14:43-52, Ps 73:1-16, Prov 15:18-21

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The Three Thorns (1)

In Scripture there are three thorns that paint a picture of redemption. Today, let's look at the first two and see what we can learn.

(1) A thorn-cursed creation. When Adam and Eve sinned, God said, 'Cursed is the ground because of you... It will produce thorns... By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground' (Genesis 3:17-19 NIV). Everything changed for us in that moment. Roses began to grow thorns, fellowship with God was broken - and man, who was born to live forever, began to die. It was tragic, but God had a solution.

(2) A thorn-crowned Saviour. 'When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head...' (Matthew 27:29 NKJV). The curse that fell in a garden was lifted in a garden! When God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He placed an angel with a flaming sword at the gate to prevent them from ever re-entering it. But at the cross Christ, the last Adam, was cut down outside the gates to become our Saviour and substitute, and secure our salvation. Now we can re-enter God's presence. What did Adam lose? Fellowship with God, immortality and sinless perfection. At the cross Christ reclaimed and restored all these to us. 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). Notice the words, 'in Christ' - keep them close to your heart each day this month. Rejoice! God loves and accepts you 'in Christ'.

 

Soulfood : Ezek 34-36, Mk 14:27-42, Ps 80:12-19, Prov 15:15-17

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What Are You Hearing?

Three years earlier, God told Elijah to announce the coming of a severe drought. As a result, it was all people talked about. Then God told him to announce that rain was coming and they were to prepare for it. Understand this: unless you learn to attune your spiritual ear to what God is saying, you won't be ready for what life throws at you. God can tell you when to save and when to sow, when to buy and when to sell, when to come to the table and when to walk away. 'Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it"' (Isaiah 30:21 NKJV).

But Satan can also speak to you and tell you things like, 'You're going bankrupt. You're going to die. You'll never succeed. Nobody loves you.' You'll never hear that from God! In spite of what you're hearing around you or within you, you must believe in God's faithfulness and trust Him to fight for you. Knowing He would soon be crucified, Jesus prayed, '"Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from Heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered...' (John 12:28-29 NKJV). Isn't it amazing? Some can hear the voice of God, while others standing right beside them hear only noise. What Jesus heard that day galvanised His faith and gave Him the strength to march victoriously to the cross.

So who are you listening to? What are you hearing?

Soulfood : Mt 5:4, Is 51:1-16, Ps 30, 2 Cor 1:3-7

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