Second Epistle to the Corinthians

Do you have a thorn in your flesh?


Everybody has a thorn in the flesh. One that you desperately want to remove. Ironically, you have asked God to take it away several times, but nothing happens. It seems God did not hear you. So, you begin to wonder whether He is listening to you at all. Before long doubt and fear set in and you find yourself going backward instead of forward.

Let me be clear, a persistent thorn in the flesh is not a sign that your heavenly father does not care about your well-being, neither does it mean that He did not hear your request. However, It could mean that He has already acted upon your request, but you have refused to accept His proposal. It could also mean that the thorn is the execution stake you need to pick up daily to follow Jesus.

The Apostle Paul struggled with a thorn in his flesh too. He had petitioned God to remove the thorn three times, but every time he did, the answer was always the same, “My grace is enough for you”, (Read 2 Corinthians 12:9). Of course, like all of us who suffered from thorns in our flesh, the beloved Apostle, was not happy with the answer God gave him, but after three, tries he realized he was fighting a losing battle.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, as I reflect on the thorn in my flesh, I am reminded with absolute assurance that the closer I get to God is the less concerned I am about a thorn in my flesh. Further, the thorn in my flesh may be one thing that keep me grounded, resolute and steadfast in pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.

Do you still look the way you did before you met Jesus?

It has been more than twenty years since I came in contact with Jesus, and I must admit, I have had my share of ups and downs. Over the years my experience has thought me not to take my Salvation for granted, so now and then I do a soul-searching. I usually replay situations where I think I did wrong and ask God to forgive me. I also devise strategies that I think will help to stop me from making those mistakes ever again. Sometimes I fail, but I keep trying.

Astonishingly, recently while I was doing my usual soul-searching the following question pops up in my head: “Do you still look the way you did before you met Jesus?..Now, this is a difficult question. Nonetheless, I would like to think I have changed tremendously for the better over the past twenty years. Conversely, If I have not, then I would be one of the biggest Dr. Hyde and Mrs. Jekyll because it is impossible for anyone to stay the same after he or she, came in contact with Jesus. If I sound stupid, and naïve, I am not the only one.

The apostle Paul, in one of his letters to the Church in Corinth states: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Perhaps the apostle was thinking about his own conversion and later transformation (Acts 9), when he penned those words. For there was no fiercer opponent of the gospel of Jesus Christ than Saul, yet when he came in contact with Jesus his life transformed like a caterpillar morphed into a butterfly. images[2]

My dear brothers and sisters let us face reality. If we say we are Christians, and family, friends, neighbors and co-workers do not see the change in us, something is wrong. It is either we have aborted the transformation process or it never occurred at all. Surely, Saul did not suddenly become this perfect person after his Damascus road experience. Neither did the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well, but the changes in these two people were blinding.

Hence, if family, friends, neighbors and co-workers do not see any changes in your attitude, behavior, language and modus operandi you need to ask yourself this question: “Do I still look the way I did before I met Jesus?” If the answer is yes, then it is time for a soul-searching.

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Faith and Religion: Fervent prayer availeth much

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“O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Therefore, Lord, I pray that you would direct my steps. Lead me in your light, teach me your way, so I would walk in your truth. I pray that I would have a   closer walk with you and an ever progressing hunger for your word.

May your presence be like a delicacy I never cease to crave. Lead me on your path and make me quick to confess when I stray from it. Reveal to me any hidden sin that would hinder me from walking rightly before you. Lord, bring me to a place of deep repentance when I do not live in obedience to your laws.

Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Don’t cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me (Psalm 51:10, 11).

Lord, Your word says that those who are in the flesh cannot please you (Romans 8:8). So I pray that you will enable me to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh and thereby keep myself  “from the path of the destroyer” (Psalm 17:4). As I walk in the Spirit, may I bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23,23). Keep me on the Highway of Holiness so that the way I walk will be integrated into every part of my life.

Supporting Scripture

Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:1,2).

He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shut his eyes from seeing evil; he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure (Isaiah 33:15,16).

Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Lord, may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speak the truth in his heart (Psalm 15:1,2).

My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me (Psalm 101:6)

God’s Word Is The Source Of Faith


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where does faith comes from? How can faith be increased? The word say “Faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Since this is true, faith is increased as believers fill their lives with the Word. This is quite revealing because it exposes the opposite truth. The reason believers have so little faith to exercise is the lack of the Word of God filling their livers.The application from these thoughts is, that the more Christians exercise themselves in Scripture the more their faith will grow.

There is one disclaimer to this application, some believers make it a ritual to read the Bible, some even memorize it, but their faith doesn’t seem to grow. Does this nullify the truth that the Word of God brings faith? No. The bible says it is “it is not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). It also adds, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63)

Exercising oneself in the Scripture without the illumination of the spirit is less effective or as the Bible say ineffective, to increase faith. Two Greek words are often translated as the Word in the Bible, logos and rhema. Logos speaks of the expression of God and is used in John 1:1 saying “In the beginning was the Word.” It refers there to Jesus or to the whole council of God elsewhere. Rhema  is often used to speak of a particular passage of Scripture that is illuminated by the spirit for a specific application. Some have called it a word from the Word. With this in mind, it would be a rhema from the  logos that the spirit would used to build faith.

Believers who experience faith rising as they engage in God’s Word are usually inspired by the Spirit in a particular passage which specifically speaks to illuminate their situation. That is a rhema from God’s logo, a word quickened by the spirit from the Word of God. So what should Christians do, wait with their Bible in hand till the spirit inspires them? No. Believers should search the Scriptures for passages which speak accurately and directly to their needs or situation. By meditating on these sections of Holy Scripture they are filling their minds, hearts and spirits with God’s thoughts, His Word.

As believers work with the Word, searching it and applying it in this way, the spirit will illumine some part and faith will come forth. Rather than waiting passively and praying for faith, believers can dive into God’s promises and then experience the spirit bringing light to their needs and faith to their hearts. Believers who understand this begin to stand up and say, “God’s Word say it, and I am believing it to happen.”