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Of Briars and Thorns

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Of Briars and Thorns

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Co 12:7-10 NIV)

I.        Introduction: Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and the briar patch

II.      Encounter The Crisis of Pain: A Sore Point (v. 7)

A.      Feeling the Thorn

B.      Fighting the Battle

C.      Finding the Purpose

III.   Express The Concern in Prayer: A Serious Petition (vv. 8-9a)

A.      The Request for Relief

B.      The Request is Repeated

C.      The Request is Refused

1.       Because God’s Grace is Sufficient to Face It.

2.       Because God’s Power is Strong in Weakness

IV.    Embrace The Conflict With Pleasure: A Switched Perspective (v. 9b)

A.      An Opportunity to Glory in The Presence of God’s Grace 

B.      An Opportunity to Glory in The Potency of God’s Power

V.      Experience The Calm Under Pressure: A Strong Position (v. 10)

A.      Appreciating the Value of Suffering

B.      Dedicating Yourself to Christ

C.      Celebrating the Power of God

VI.    Conclusion: Even though that ole fox, the devil  will try to destroy you with thorns, sometimes the briar patch is the best place to be, because that is where you find your strength in God.

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