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Filtered Light

The painting A Trail of Light by Colorado Springs artist Bob Simpich shows a grove of aspen trees with golden leaves lit by the autumn sun. The topmost leaves are brilliantly illuminated while the ground beneath the trees is a mixture of sunlight and shadows. The painter said of this contrast, “I can’t resist the light filtered through to the forest floor. It weaves a special magic.”

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In The Storm

A storm was brewing—not just on the horizon but also in a friend’s home. “When I was in Hong Kong,” she shared, “the local meteorological service announced that there was a superstorm approaching. But more than the storm that was looming outside my window, there was a storm brewing at home. While my dad was in the hospital, family members were trying to balance their home and work responsibilities while also traveling to and from the hospital. They were so tired that patience was wearing thin, and the situation at home was tense.”

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The Power Of Ritual

When I was growing up, one of the rules in our house was that we weren’t allowed to go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26). All our fights and disagreements had to be resolved. The companion to that rule was this bedtime ritual: Mom and Dad would say to my brother and me, “Good night. I love you.” And we would respond, “Good night. I love you too.”

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Amazing Grace

Pressed into service in the Royal Navy, John Newton was dismissed for insubordination and turned to a career trafficking in slaves. Notorious for cursing and blasphemy, Newton served on a slave ship during the cruelest days of trans-Atlantic slavery, finally working his way up to captain.

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Every Hardship

Like many towns, Enterprise, Alabama, has a prominent monument. But the monument in Enterprise is unlike any other. The statue doesn’t recognize a leading citizen; it celebrates the work of a beetle. In the early 1900s, this boll weevil made its way from Mexico to the southern US. Within a few years it had destroyed entire crops of cotton, the primary source of revenue. In desperation, farmers started growing another crop—peanuts. Realizing they had been dependent on one crop for too long, they credited the beetle with forcing them to diversify, which led to increased prosperity.

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35 thoughts on “Every Hardship

  1. socraftastic7 says:

    Insightful!

  2. dripmeister says:

    Paul’s use of the phrase “thorn in the flesh” most likely refers to an area in his life that was not fully consecrated to God. He was steeped in the Torah and his teaching was fully grounded in it.
    Numbers 33
    51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
    52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
    53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
    54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
    55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
    56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

    1. dripmeister says:

      Now consider the Lord’s answer to Paul’s prayers over the matter and Paul’s new way of viewing the situation:
      2 Corinthians 12
      5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
      6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
      7 And 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, lest I should be exalted above measure.
      8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
      9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
      10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
      Infirmities means disabilities,weaknesses,inability to prevail over adversity.My failure, His grace. My defeat, His victory. My shame, His glory. My weakness, His power.My want, His supply. My insufficiency, His sufficiency.If you want credit for your contribution,you need not apply to Jesus Christ. You have already been categorically rejected. Go work for the futile causes of this world. You’ll get all the worthless credit you deserve.

    2. poohpity says:

      If this passage is read in context then I believe you may find it is referring to the people that were to be cleared out before Israel took possession so that they would not be pricks in their eye or thorns in their sides. In other words down the road would lead to problems which happened then and we see even now happening in the land that is known as Israel.

      I do not see that as having anything to do with the problem Paul was having within his body and what he was learning from having it. Not to depend on his own strength but trusting in God to get through his struggle whatever it was. People usually boast in their accomplishments or how well they do all the right things but Paul seemed to be saying God’s grace was all sufficient and if he were to boast in anything it is how much he depends on God.

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