The Thorn by Martha Snell Nicholson
I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
“I Stood a Mendicant of God” The Next Chapter – Steve Saint
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Wow, what an amazing journey our family has been on this past year! I can say with certainty, that this has been the most difficult year of my life. I believe firmly that everything that happens in our lives is within the sovereign plan of our Creator, even though it is sometimes difficult or impossible to fathom, how what is happening at the time, could be part of God’s ‘plan’. This year was one of those years, where our life’s circumstances, as we were experiencing them, were hard to reconcile as being part of God’s plan for our lives! Thankfully, I have learned (and I’m still learning) that my perspective of my circumstances is quite limited and not very good at revealing the big picture of God’s grace and His glory. Continue reading
Today is the day that we meet our son Luke. The journey to this day has been very emotional. Through it all, God has been sustaining us, allowing our family to experience, once again, the mercies and provision of God and His people in a very tangible way. I don’t know exactly how today is going to go for Erica and I, but I do know that our Heavenly Father does know, and He will carry us through, as He always has!
So many of you have been faithful and relentless prayer warriors on our behalf since all of this started back in December – thank you so much! I know that I’ll never be able to personally express my appreciation to all of you, but please know that I take prayer seriously, and I am genuinely moved by all the prayers you have offered on our behalf!
The Bible, from cover to cover, answers the question,
“Who is this Jesus?”
In the Old Testament:
- In Genesis, He is the Creator God.
- In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.
- In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.
- In Numbers, He is your guide.
- In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.
- In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.
- In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.
- In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer.
The following acrostic is something that can be used with ANY Bible passage for your private study AND can be used at any time when you need to lead a Bible study.
S – is there a sin to avoid?
P – is there a Praise, Promise or Prayer?
E – is there an example to follow or avoid?
C – is there a command to follow?
K – is there a nugget of knowledge the passage is trying to teach me?
A – is there an application for me to apply to my life today or is there and action for me to do?
Bible study does not have to be hard. Let the Holy Spirit be your teacher as you ask the SPECKA questions.
A timely reminder in the wake of tragic events in Japan;
Author: John Piper
One of the reasons God rarely gives micro reasons for his painful providences, but regularly gives magnificent macro reasons, is that there are too many micro reasons for us to manage, namely, millions and millions and millions and millions and millions.
God says things like:
- These bad things happened to you because I intend to work it together for your good (Romans 8).
- These happened to that you would rely more on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1).
- This happened so that the gold and silver of your faith would be refined (1 Peter 1).
- This thorn is so that the power of Christ would be magnified in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12).
But we can always object that there are other easier ways for God to accomplish those things. We want to know more specifics: Why now? Why this much? Why this often? Why this way? Why these people?
The problem is, we would have to be God to grasp all that God is doing in our problems. In fact, pushing too hard for more detailed explanations from God is a kind of demand that we be God.
Spring football practice just started at the University of Florida in Gainesville and it puts a great big smile on my face to know that Tim Tebow, one of college football’s greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, walked out onto that practice field to complete his senior year, by-passing what certainly would have been a multi-million dollar NFL contract had he decided to go pro after last year’s season. There is an interesting story behind Tebow’s decision to stick around for his senior year that I thought I’d share with those who may be interested.
A day or so before last year’s BCS College Football National Championship Game God impressed upon Tim Tebow
that he needed to change the message he had displayed on his eye black all year long. Previously, he had a reference to Phillipians 4:13
on his eye black.
He talked to four or five others about switching the message and everyone except his parents told him not to do it because they had been so successful all year with the Phillipians 4:13.
His parents, Pam and Bob Tebow, supported the change and Tebow knew it was the right thing to do. So, he made the change and played the championship game with John 3:16
on his eye black.
We all know the outcome of the game (in case you don’t, the Gators played the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners
and they won 24–14), but the phone call that Tim Tebow received a couple of days later when he was back in Gainesville is where this story becomes interesting.
Tebow answered his cell phone and it was the P.R. guy for the UF Football team. He said, “You set a new record.” Tebow wondered what kind of record was he talking about, it’s not exactly a new thing
for Tebow to break a record of one sort or another. “In the 24 hour period from the start of the BCS championship game, JOHN 3:16 was Googled…93 MILLION times!
No other topic had ever been Googled
that many times in a 24 hour period of time.”
The follow up story from Urban Meyer
, Coach of the 2008 National Champion University Florida football team is where we get look at what kind of person Tebow is:
We all hear about the incredible family Tim is a part of. With everything going on in the world, you just know there is no way Pam and Bob Tebow can be as perfect as they are made out to be.
I am here to tell you I witnessed the most amazing conversation which is the truest testimonial to how incredibly good the Tebows truly are.
A few days after the championship game I sat at a table in the back of the Ballyhoo restaurant with Tim, Pam and Bob Tebow. It was just the four of us and I listened in amazement as Tim’s future about moving to the next level of football was decided. Unbelievably, the NFL was never once mentioned. Tim’s dad started the conversation by saying that Brett Farve spoke about his faith and no one ever listened. Here was a future Hall of Fame quarterback and no one heard his message. Tim then said…”I can think of 93 million reasons why I would want to stay in school and play my senior year at the University of Florida .”
That’s how the decision was made.
Now I know there are skeptics out there, especially those who are anti-Gators and/or anti-Christian. Seems to me though, it’s very hard to deny that Tebow is the real deal. It no doubt helps that I’m a Gator fan through and through and that I graduated from UF at the same ceremony as Danny Wuerffel in 1996, but I am really hoping that Tebow has an unprecedented senior year at UF!
Is poverty the world’s issue of “most pressing importance?” No, I don’t think so.
Easy for you to say, you are not living in poverty. True.
Does that mean I don’t have any responsibility to help change the situation? No. James 2:14-18
So, what IS the world’s most pressing issue? Lostness. Matthew 16:25-27
At Saddleback Barack Obama learned this: If you want to be president in the U.S., nothing on God’s green earth is ever above your pay grade.
Source: Wall Street Journal Editorial
Tebow is coming back, “Rocky Style.” Cue the music – “Eye of the Tiger”
By quarterback Tim Tebow’s reckoning, his offseason training regimen stretched over three continents and included four countries.
Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and a member of Florida’s 2006 national title team, begins two-a-day practices with the Gators on Aug. 4. He spent his summer with his father’s ministry that took him to the Philippines, Croatia and Thailand.
“I have been a lot of places, and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for me,” Tebow said Wednesday in Hoover, Ala., at the Southeastern Conference’s annual news media summit. “You get to do a lot of unique training, running up mountains, running up steps. I trained Rocky-style a little bit. It was pretty cool.”
“I love doing it, and it’s something I’m very passionate about,” Tebow said about helping others. “Doing those things, taking my platform as a football player and using it to be an influence and change peoples’ lives — that’s more important than football to me.”
I don’t think I could like this guy any more than I do. I believe that even if he wasn’t a Gator, say a Seminole, a Volunteer, or a Bulldog, I’d still love him!