Summary: A serious discussion on how both THORNS and THEOLOGY help us to more fully understand God’s power and providence at work in each of our lives...

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Irritated But Illuminated

Scripture Text: II Corinthians 12:7 – 10

Introduction: If there was a mind reading device that would allow me to lend you access to my thoughts, I’m not sure that I would even let my parents touch it because if they read my mind they would probably be repulsed because of the thought processes that have the potential of developing there. I’m mentioning my parents because I’d like to believe that they would love me regardless of my circumstances, but sometimes my own thoughts scare even me. It’s not so much physical or ascetic things that I find myself wrestling with; my battles take place almost entirely on the battlefield of my mind. My mind is critical in this affair simply because if I allow the enemy to take over my mind, it won’t be soon after that my body will follow. That’s why I have to be careful about the sites I peruse on the Internet and be careful about the things I watch on television because it sets up residence to some carnal and confusing things within the periscope of my own mind simply because human beings have the proclivity and the propensity to perform those things that have been on their minds. Whether the thought function is positive or negative, it won’t be long before my actions follow suit. If you think about exercising for an extended amount of time, [sooner or later] you’ll find yourself in some form of exercise. If you think about cheating on your wife or your husband or your significant other but don’t use the weapons of your warfare that are mighty through God to pull down that stronghold [and]…

II Corinthians 10:5 – …casting down arguments [imaginations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Then, there is a possibility that you will be more susceptible to do what you know you have no business doing even though you’ve seen it coming. Why is that? It’s simply because your mind is a powerful tool that either develops you or detracts from you. [And] That’s why the devil does NOT want your mind on anything that has to do with Christendom or Christianity; that’s why the devil wishes to assault our children’s minds with amplified images of prosperity and vanity. That’s why he stirs up confusion within the congregation and strife among the saints, because if we ever got to a point where God received the faithfulness of our focus, the power and the presence of God would make the devil’s endeavors a disaster. We find a prime example of this preaching presentation with the apostle Paul, who discovers the sheer energy and essence of God in a place called “the third heaven”. Now, to my recollection, I’ve never been to the third heaven, but I have experienced an earth moving invocation of the presence of God. [And] I recognize that when I’ve been in the presence of the Lord, it’s something about His presence that intoxicates you to the place where you forget where you are and how long it took for you to get there. Don’t believe me? Just ask Peter, for when he received “a private showing” of the Master’s glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, he lost what Bobby Brown called “all stamina and stutter” and forgot that while he was in worship mode on top of the mountain, there was a work mandate at the bottom of the mountain. When you get into God’s presence, shackles fall off of your feet; in other words, your feet feel a little lighter when you’re in His presence. In His presence, not only do shackles fall off your feet, but shame falls from your face, because I remember reading in

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