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flower on thistle

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul told the Christians that he had asked the Lord to take away a “thorn in the flesh,” a “messenger of Satan” sent to “harass” him in order to keep him from becoming conceited because of the “surpassing greatness of the revelations” that had been given to him (2 Corinthians 12:1-8).

The Lord denied Paul’s request to remove this satanic messenger and said this interesting thing:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).1

What does God’s grace have to do with denying the removal of a satanic messenger? Doesn’t grace mean God’s unmerited favor? Really? It is God’s unmerited favor to allow this thorn from the devil to remain?

Was God thinking clearly?

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In the last post, we looked at how Jesus gave the Christians at Laodicea the first remedy for their blind, miserable, and pitiable condition: Buy of Him gold tried by fire. It seems to be apparent that the way we do that is by prayerfully pursuing a life of sacrifice, living as soldiers, as Paul wrote to Timothy. After entering into that pursuit, Jesus next tells the Laodiceans to buy “white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen” (Revelation 3:18).1

This statement shouldn’t surprise us, since He has already told these believers that they’re naked—they just don’t know it. They should be ashamed of that nakedness, but they’re oblivious to it. Before we discuss how we Christians could be so clueless, let’s talk briefly about white clothing.

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The question before us in this post is this: For Christians is grace or obedience to the law most important?

The answer is…both are.

Don’t you wish there were simple answers to questions concerning the Christian walk?

Sorry. There may be simple sounding questions, but the answers end up being deep and beautiful.

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Our trip to India was challenging, a reality check, tiring and—wonderful.

Challenging, because—at least in the cities we visited—there are no physical reasons for one to live there. These two cities are dirty, polluted, and kind of scorched-earth urban poor—where there wasn’t concrete.

A reality check because of the above challenges and because the relational, cultural and political issues we face there are complex, and there are no easy fixes.

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