Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thrones or Thorns?

The other day I was reading a devotion which stated, "The ministry of THORNS has often been a greater ministry to humankind that the ministry of THRONES. For some reason these two words have continued to stick within my heart and mind. What would I choose? Would I choose to sit on a throne of ease and comfort in this life and never feel or experience any pain or disappointment? Or would I rather have a position to touch another life and to feel one's pain because I have thorns myself?

How can I truly encourage others and be a vessel of hope in this world if I never had a thorn? Satan wants to crown us with many thorns just as Jesus was crowned with the same. The enemy has set about to pierce our minds with daggers of lies that God is not for us. Our adversary also wants to discredit us so that we will be of no influence.

However, we are more than conquers through Christ Jesus. Everything that the enemy uses to flatten us and to damage us is merely pavement for the road God is constructing in our lives to lead us to victory. In the storms of this life, we can use the winds to our advantage. An eagle does this very thing. He sits upon the ledge of a mountain and waits. When the storm approaches, he soars and uses the stongest wind currents to help lift him to a higher place. We too have the opportunity to be like the eagle. As we wait upon the Lord in the midst of the storm, He will enable us to use the winds to lift us above the storm that we may fly above the clouds.

What are some thorns you are suffering today? Maybe you are struggling in a relationship or have financial struggles. You may be facing an illness or have lost a loved one recently. It could be a weakness in your soul such as rejection, depression or loneliness. Jesus wore a crown of thorns for a greater reason than the obvious mocking and humilition He received. Paul had a thorn in the flesh for a greater purpose than just a physical weakness. These lives demonstrated that God will bring us to a place of victory if we choose not to lose. He said we are more than conquerers through Him who loves us. (Romans 8:37)

When we claim victory in ourselves we set ourselves up for thrones of pride and self sufficiency. These thorns are damamging to us as well as to others. However, when we claim victory through Christ, calling to Him constantly and leaning upon Him moment by moment, our thorns then become a throne that is everlasting. I like to think of it as a THRONE OF THORNS. May our thorns be turned into thrones of hope for others. May the briers of our lives pierce our hearts to release a gush of love that others so need in their distress and plight. As painful as it is at times, I choose thorns. Jesus' crown of thorns was transformed to crowns of glory...the Glory of the Father. May we all choose to allow our thorns to be a ministry unto our Lord and to others. So what will it be? Thrones or Thorns?


(From the hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Thirty nine excited children came through the doors of City Life Church with bright smiles and expectant hearts. These were some of the most loving and happy children I have ever met. They were all special and beautiful. Each one glowed with the glory of God even though they had no realization of it. Also, each child knew they would be receiving something new that day...a shiny new bicycle.

There was a beauty present in a way that I have never experienced. This was something lovely that started weeks ago. Even though the children were such a blessing and were so precious, I cannot stop thinking about the beauty of a group of people who joined together as one to make this Outreach happen. Many people gave in so many ways. Many members of the City Life Church family gave donations. The total amount given was around 1400 dollars. This family not only gave of their resources, but gave of their time to help prepare for the event and to also serve the children and the single mothers that attended. We served together as one body which included children and teenagers. Everyone had a part to play.

We also had support from two different "Curves" facilities in Woodstock and Marietta. The members donated 14 bike helmets along with stocking stuffers and over 700 dollars in Walmart gift cards. I would like to thank every individual and business who contributed to the lives of these children. Their Christmas will be brighter because of you. Your generosity, thoughtfulness and especially your love has touched these children in a way that they will never forget. You have left fingerprints of hope in their hearts. You have sent a message to them from God that says, "I have not forgotten you dear little one. Your heavenly Father knows you and delights in you."

Most of these children have no father present in their lives. Some of them live in shelters because their parents cannot provide for them due to negative life patterns which include abuse, drugs, and neglect. Thirty nine children is a small number compared to the number of people in Atlanta who cry a silent cry every night because they have lost hope and believe they have been forgotten. People are starving for love and we are the answer because the Answer resides within us.

It was a gift to be able to spend the short afternoon with these important people. The children and the mothers who came are beautiful to God and are lives cherished by Him. What a privilege it was to touch their lives and to have them touch mine.

I pray that the Lord will give us more opportunities to touch others in this way. His beautiful face was seen in many. His countenance was in the children. His arms were the ones who reached out and served and gave. His beauty was there. This is what I long for. Oh so lovely is the Savior we serve!