Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:1-3

As I was having my devotional this morning, the Lord started speaking to me, not verbally of course, but in my spirit regarding the challenges I have been facing lately. I like to call them challenges, because that means they can be overcome with God’s help. For the Word tells us , “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

The Lord used the analogy of a rose. You know, you can’t pluck a rose and leave the thorns behind. The rose comes with the thorns…the beauty comes with the briar…the petals come with the prick. We can choose to focus on the thorns or the rose. Our attitude will be determined solely by the focus of our choosing. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to stare at the barbs when you have unfolding before you lovely silken petals? Wouldn’t it be foolish to sacrifice the soothing aroma for the anxiety of the prick? So life is like a budding rose. Each day unfolds anew with awesome beauty and fragrance. But many times, along with the beauty comes a thorn or two. Sometimes it seems that there are more thorns than petals! Continue to focus on the flower. Continue to revel in its beauty and fragrance. When you do, God will make a way, not to avoid the thorns, but to overcome them.

Go back and read our scripture verse again…slowly to let each sentence sink in. It tells us that Jesus had thorns to overcome…literal thorns. Not only so, but He shed His own blood on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for our sins, past, present and future. He chose not to focus on the thorns, but on the throne! He was joyful about the final outcome…our salvation! Oh, how much He loves us! So consider Jesus when you feel the thorns of adversity. Consider Jesus so that you don’t become weary and discouraged in your soul. You haven’t striven so much that you shed your own blood the way He did. Be thankful for the Rose of Sharon who took a crown of thorns so that we might…“have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)



God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.

 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
      toddlers shout the songs
   that drown out enemy talk,
      and silence atheist babble.

 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
      your handmade sky-jewelry,
   Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
      Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
   Why do you bother with us?
      Why take a second look our way?

  Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
      bright with Eden’s dawn light.
   You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
      repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
   Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
      even animals out in the wild,
   Birds flying and fish swimming,
      whales singing in the ocean deeps.

 God, brilliant Lord,
      your name echoes around the world.

Psalm 8:1-9
The Message Bible

When I read this passage of scripture, especially this poetic rendition from The Message Bible, my heart swells with excitement and awe! Why? The psalmist is talking about my Heavenly Father and His unprecedented, unequaled love for me. The brilliant God who made the macro vastness of the universe cares for micro me!  And in His eyes, I am not micro, but macro also. He loves me so much that He made me in His image and put me in charge of His glorious creation.

I know you’ve often heard stories of kids bragging on their dads. Each one thinks his dad is the greatest! What about the children of famous actors or football stars? Well, let me tell you, they have absolutely nothing on us! Our Father is not just world famous, He is universally famous. His power and influence extends to the far reaches of the earth, the universe and beyond. His exploits are renowned to every people group that inhabits the earth. Even creation itself proclaims His existence with voices loud and clear! And we have the awesome privilege of saying, “That’s my Father…that’s my Dad!”