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Monday, November 5, 2018

The End of the Rope

November 5

(2 Corinthians 4:8-11 NIV) “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. {10} We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. {11} For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”

(2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NIV) “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. {24} Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. {25} Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, {26} I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. {27} I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV) “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. {8} Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. {9} 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. {10} 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.”

Paul reached a point in life where he thought, "This is the end of the rope, the final curtain, the last hurrah.” Hope had slipped out the back door. All strength was gone. Despair loomed like a six-headed monster. There were no walls to lean against, no fine religious clichés to recite… no water left in the well, no place left to hide, no shade to be found, no relief in sight… only the ugly face of death and defeat. Perhaps this is where you are. Maybe these could be your words. This might sound strange, but you may be exactly where God wants you. Jesus can use any situation for His glory, if we give it (and ourselves) to Him. Sometimes we have to be flattened before we will fall on our face before the Lord. Sometimes God must take our legs out from under us before they can be strengthened enough to run the race for Him with stamina. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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