When we find ourselves facing life’s challenges, it is helpful to remember how God has provided for us before. This fills us with hope, trust and stirs up our faith, enabling the miracle of provision to happen again.  Jesus answers our prayers when we call out to him in distress, he will hear our cry, “In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me”. (Psalm 86:7)

God cannot change his nature, “Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). If Jesus has answered your prayers in the past, because he never changes, he can do it again for you because he has no favourites.

Challenges can come in the form of ‘thorns’. In 2 Corinthians 12: 6-10 we find the Apostle Paul talking about his own thorn which was unique to him, “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”.

We all have unique challenges, the ‘thorns’ in our lives. They may come in the form of brokenness, bereavement, sickness, resentment, barrenness, low self-esteem, jealousy, unforgiveness and more. A thorn can affect how we hear God and see ourselves, it can hinder us. It is how we view these thorns and what we do with them which is of importance.

Three times Paul asked God to remove his thorn. God answered him by saying that His grace was sufficient for him; His power is made perfect in our weakness. The answer from God is the same for us.

God cannot change his nature, “Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). If Jesus has answered your prayers in the past, because he never changes, he can do it again for you because he has no favourites.

We love to talk about our successes and victories in the Christian life but we are hesitant in talking about our challenges and failures. We need to humbly come before Jesus and show him our brokenness or whatever our ‘thorn’ is. He can deal with it and he wants to meet us in our challenges.  It seems as if Jesus says, “Take me to the place where it hurts, and don’t give up”.  God always has your back. Friends will let you down but God stands with you and asks you to trust him, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make”. (Proverbs 3:5.  The Passion Translation).

God did not remove Paul’s thorn but he provided something else instead, His sufficient grace. Thorns can interfere with our destiny. If we focus on them we give the enemy a foothold.  Instead of looking backwards we need to look forward to see where we are going. Take a step of faith today and ask God to deal with your thorns. He wants to release you and give you perfect peace.

It is also the time to remember and bring back to life our hopes, visions and dreams which we may have put on the shelf. Go back to that time when you were given a prophetic word in the past, remember it and resurrect it, claim it.

Graham Cooke prophesied about how you are coming into a new place of fruitfulness. Gods favour and blessing is upon you, take hold of it. Attack your circumstances with Gods favour, he is teaching you to grow up. The time of barrenness is over; you have not because you ask not. Let God advance and promote you. There is a vineyard in front of you, live in Gods fruitfulness; there are many vines of promise and fullness.  God is teaching us to remain in constant abiding in His favour. You are to soar into the place of provision. God is taking you into your own land of promise. His is biased towards you. Do not live as you did yesterday. This is a new season, the beginning of times for you, feel the pleasure of Gods pleasure for you. Examine the words God has given you. Look at those desires and dreams you once had. God will breathe new life into your plans.

God wants to restore what has been taken from us. Now is the season to rise up and to boldly approach the throne of grace as a son, not in our own strength but with Heavens backing, “Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Do not let the enemy stop you from entering into this season of fruitfulness.

Club 203 Connect & Reflect
1 It is easy to forget with the passage of time how God has provided for you in the past.
In what practical ways can you ensure that these times of God’s provision are remembered?  (For example, are there any members of your group who keep prayer journals?)

2 Graham Cooke speaks about ‘attacking your circumstances with God’s favour’. What do you think this means?  (God’s favour = kindness, goodwill, generosity, goodness, bounteousness)
How can you do this in your day to day life?

3 He goes on to say ‘You have not because you ask not’.
Why are there some things in life which we are reluctant to ask God for?
Give examples from your own experiences.

4 In what ways can our ‘thorns’ affect how we hear from God and how we see ourselves?

5 Paul only prayed three times for his thorn to be removed. Why do you think this was?
Could it be that his thorn was an instrument for a greater anointing?  Discuss this with your group members.

6 Heidi Baker says that God fills us with visions that are impossible for us to accomplish in our own strength or by our own resources. Reflect on the things God has spoken over your life or told you to do, and if needed, ask Jesus to enlarge your vision of what he wants to accomplish through you.

Pray for each other, emptying yourselves and asking Jesus to fill you to overflowing.  Ask Him to work supernaturally in your lives to fulfil everything that He intends for you.  Now enter the secret place of His presence and trust Him for everything.

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