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Tuesday Thoughts 9-11-18

To an enemy intent on bringing destruction, chaos, and fear, the response and rebound from the devastating loss of life suffered seventeen years ago must have been frustrating.  The two Towers, symbols of American success, were destroyed.  The Pentagon, a symbol of strength, was damaged, and 2,997 lives were ended in our nation’s fiery trial.  But heroes were revealed that day, and a unity of spirit and purpose brought together a people divided by ideologies, politics, and desires (even if it was all to brief).  What we share in remembrance are the stories of first-responders who faced the flames and rescued many but could not save all, and even gave their own lives.  Or the tale of ordinary passengers on a plane who defied the terrorists plans to take out another significant target and died in the process.  And there are the retellings of countless instances of generosity—providing food, shelter, and counsel to broken families and weary workers.  And even though we know not all were saved, served, or supported (and sadly, some were taken advantage of) we still celebrate the miracle of togetherness that arose from the ashes.  This is the same kind of miracle that Paul, the last disciple called by Jesus, shared with us in telling the story of his, “thorn in the flesh.”  He was attacked by the ultimate terrorist, Satan, with a physical affliction beyond his ability to conquer.  Three times Paul asked God Almighty, the Healer, to take it away, and here we see the answer given: “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.” 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 (NIV).  The intention of the enemy was to stop Paul from having any influence, but the grace of God gave him maximum kingdom impact in spite of the lingering affliction.  All of us suffer from the condition of human weakness.  Our strength runs out, we need rest, sleep, and recharging, our wisdom is limited, and our resources are small and easily used up. And, just like Paul, the devil will bring specific trials against us, but our God is Almighty, never slumbers or sleeps, knows all things, and has unlimited and always available resources!  He will show himself through our weaknesses!  On November 3, 2014 a new building, nicknamed “Freedom Tower” opened on the site of the two that collapsed on that terrible day, symbolizing the victory which came out of a day of weakness. You, too, can have a freedom tower!  What are your afflictions?  Bring them to the Father.  Enjoy the healing that comes, but walk with him in what remains because, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)

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