Insights from my travelsI am on vacation with Leigh and family. We have a spectacular view from our villa in a cove on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. We are enjoying this view because of the blessings of my employment with Insperity for 20 years. I glanced out last evening and viewed a yacht that had anchored in the cove. As I fixed my gaze upon the multi-million dollar, high-end condo on the water, I considered the people on board. Surely they have a crew to sail the seas at their bidding, a chef to prepare gourmet meals and premium European wines to sip at their leisure. As I pondered, I heard a whisper; You could pursue such a life; it is within your grasp; if only you put the time and effort into such a pursuit, you could have this.
Our daughter Beri Folks, this is my last post on trials and suffering. Please read it. This is an important post! I'm going to take off the month of August from posting my blog. I'll be back in September with a revised web site and a new series. God bless you all and thank you for your kind support and encouragement! Let's keep Living Scripture Daily! Give Me Grace … When God Says No 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 "Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." The criticism of Paul was that he lacked power, charisma and dynamism. The Lord would not let him fall into the trap of comparing himself to the world's standards of power and influence. How did the Lord keep him from this? He filled his life with insults, distresses, persecution and difficulties, (verse 10). He kept him weak, because in his weakness, the power of God became evident. Additionally, he didn't remove the thorn in the flesh even though Paul pleaded that He would. God said no, not now. But God didn't leave him alone in his difficulties. He carried him with an infusion of grace that would not only sustain him but would lift him up and make him stronger and stronger and stronger.
Toothless has never been so cute! The Thorn, 3 2 Corinthians 12 "And I know how such a man—whether in body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows –was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses." Verses 2-6 The false teachers who had infiltrated Corinth boasted and promoted themselves. We can assume they boasted about... who they knew (Peter and the apostles who actually lived alongside Jesus), that they were sent from the Jerusalem church, what they had accomplished that they performed miracles, etc. Paul instead boasted of his weaknesses; sufferings, beatings, hardships, etc.
My brother David with Aiden and Aria in France. The Thorn, 2 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 "because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations (Paul had just told of being transported to heaven and hearing the Lord utter words described as inexpressible), for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself," 12:7 As I have read, reflected and studied this passage in recent days, some of my previous assumptions have been diverted. I had assumed the thorn in the flesh meant a painful disease of some sort and that the disease/ailment was the messenger of Satan. I don't think so now. First, the problem was pride. This is a problem of the "flesh". When Paul uses the word flesh, he usually means our “tendency toward sin,” not our physical body. So, God gave him this thorn (the word literally means a stake) to kill or diminish his fleshly tendency toward pride. I mean, after all, let’s face it, the man had been to heaven and had interacted directly with God. God gave him this trip to heaven, I believe, to sustain him through a life of service to Christ that carried with it suffering, pain and opposition. Suffering and opposition such that few have endured before or since. We know heaven is to be glorious but we believe it completely by faith. Paul knew first hand and that experience kept him going through unspeakable suffering and opposition. Paul could say with complete truthfulness that he had personally encountered Jesus in a way that no other man alive had experienced. This experience could and did tempt him to be proud.