During fall clean up in my yard last year, I cut down rose bushes. As I snipped the stems, they fell to the ground. Although I wore work gloves I still got poked in the fingers and hands by the thorns lining each stem. After each poke, I let out a little whimper; it hurt really bad.
But then I read in John 19:4-5
Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
Jesus “wore a crown of thorns”! His head was bleeding! In his humanness, I can imagine he let out a howl when they pressed the thorns into his skull. He could not escape the pain like I could when I flung the stem into the yard waste bag. He just stood there with nobody coming to his aid, instead, the crowd chanted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Paul was given a thorn in the flesh from Satan. God allowed it because in order to live with it, God gave Paul His Grace which is sufficient enough to deal with it. Paul isn’t the only one to have a thorn in his flesh. We all have some sort of thorn in our flesh. Usually it is not one, but many at one time.
God’s Grace was sufficient for Jesus. God’s Grace was sufficient for Paul. God’s Grace is sufficient for you and me.
Look through the pain today and cling to God’s Grace.
Welcome to day one of 2019! I won’t write in all caps in case some of you have a headache from too much midnight champagne. I don’t want to increase the pain of your self-inflicted wound.
Let’s celebrate having a clean slate at the start of this new year. Some people set goals, or intentions, to live better by exercising and eating better. Those who have had a really rough 2018 because of an illness, a death in the family, a job loss, or relationship troubles, they may feel hopeful with the turn of a calendar page. Perhaps they will get a reprieve from whatever bad has plagued them. To be honest, day one of the new year is not the only time for a clean slate to begin again.
Having a relationship with Jesus, the bearer of our sin, gives us a clean slate any day of the year and as many times a day that we need. We simply come to Him, with repentance in our heart for what we have done wrong. Because of the blood he shed on the cross in our place, we can celebrate having a clean slate right then and there, after our confession to Him. All of Heaven celebrates with us when our slate is clean from sin.
If tomorrow comes and you do not meet your goals or intentions to exercise or eat better, know that you can always start again. If you sin, you can confess it and begin again. You do not have to be stuck in your current situation. Jesus is a prayer away in helping you break a bad habit and He can redirect your path when you are tempted to sin.
Today is day one of 2019. Enjoy your clean slate.
Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.