Friday, April 21 2017
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, (to beat as a punching bag) lest I should be exalted above measure. II Corinthians 12:7
One of our faithful men was discussing with our group the other night his battle with anger which manifested in the form of rage and profanity. He also said he felt dry and didn't "feel" God anymore because of his "Thorn in his flesh!"
In my weekly devotionals on God's love and the fact that it is not an emotional response toward us, but an act or deed of affection and not a feeling as many suppose, we must look at the "Thorn in the flesh." Paul was given one to keep him from boasting about his revelations and it has been argued throughout history what his thorn was, some believed it was a disease or affliction in his eyes, no matter, to him it was a nuisance that kept him humble.
God's thoughts toward us are so much higher than ours and throughout our spiritual journey He works in our behalf to make us into instruments of righteousness, vessels of honor and even supernatural weapons of spiritual warfare. In order for God to perfect us and make us spiritually strong He must remove all pride and any deed or work of our flesh that would exalt us or cause us to believe in our own ability rather than surrendering our lives into His capable hands.
Concerning this thing I pleaded with 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." II Corinthians 12:9
I believe the apostle Paul understood completely why he had this thorn in his flesh and that it was not going to leave even though he pleaded with God to remove it. This would not be accepted in most Charismatic circles today because of all the prosperity teaching and the success, health and wealth preaching that leads the unsuspecting into a tailspin when they experience anything bad in their lives that God meant for good. Thorns, although seemingly bad and unpleasant are put there to make us strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might and not ours.
Over the years I have experienced several thorns and various trials and usually didn't understand why they were there and squealed like a pig all the while God was doing a work of grace in me for my good. I never understood the scripture in Peter that exhorts us to rejoice in trials and tribulations until recently when He gave me revelation that when we don't feel His presence and all Hell is breaking out around us, know this: God is working a work of grace in you to perfect you and complete the work He has begun in you to make you more like Him! It is like the person who questioned the silversmith burning the impurities and dross out of the precious metal saying, "How do you know when it is ready and he said, "When I can see my image in it!"
When dealing with a thorn in your flesh and especially if you are in ministry, praying for the sick, casting out demons and preaching, it can be hard when you are sick or have a loved one sick and the devil constantly tells you that God doesn't love you anymore or He's done with you, or your sin is just to great for Him to forgive. Nonsense, rejoice and be glad because He's just doing a lasting work of grace on a chosen vessel of His, so tell the devil to take a hike and give God glory because of His great love for you!
Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:9,10
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
Monday, April 03 2017
As Saul journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from Heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Acts 9:3,4
Saul of Tarsus before his conversion was feared throughout the land as a violent opponent of Christianity who persecuted and imprisoned those who followed Jesus. Obviously the disciples had been praying for Saul, believing God to stop him in his tracks, maybe not for his salvation, but for an end to his attacks on the church. God had other plans for this unlikely, soon to be apostle and preacher of righteousness, to make him into an instrument and chosen vessel to take the gospel around the known world, but first He had to set up a "Divine Roadblock!"
A few days ago a woman called me in tears about her son whom we had been praying for and trying to help him change his life. The man had been in trouble and had done prison time and when I first talked to him he was homeless, living in a shed behind his mother's home. I arranged for him to go into a residential program for a year at no cost where he could learn about Jesus and have Him transform his life, but he wasn't ready and didn't show up. The mother called me to tell me he had been arrested for car theft and I said, praise God! I think that startled her but I proceeded to tell her he had just entered Holy Ghost University, a place where God could deal with him and change his life.
We as believers want our kids saved and also our friends and loved ones too, but there is a process that God has to use to bring a person to the end of themselves so He can change their heart! Remember what it took for you to be saved, more than likely you had to go through some things just as I did when God put up a "Divine Roadblock" in my life? Ask the prodigal son about his stay in the pig pen and how that was working out for him, I am sure he would tell you it made him desperate, wanting to go back home. Don't stop the process and enable someone that you are praying for to escape God's plan by easing their affliction or you could be getting in His way and upset His "Divine Roadblock" meant to stop your loved one long enough to save them!
I have seen it over and over for almost forty years, people that God had to stop in order to save them and deliver them from whatever they were involved in. The apostle Paul had to be knocked off his horse and blinded in order for him to finally see the light! What will it take for those whom you are praying for to be stopped so that they can be transformed into new Creations in Christ? Don't give up, God loves them more than you and knows what He has to do to save them, pray and stay out of the way of His "Divine Roadblock!"
"Arise and go to a street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he is praying. "And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hands on him, so that he might receive his sight." Acts 9:11,12
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin