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Can you take a few pricks?

12 I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason he made me his. 13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. 14 I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. (Philippians 3:12-14 ERV)

I have heard it said, "Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses." (Alphonse Karr)  Tough question for your today: Are you a thorn or rose person? Is your focus on the toughness of life, or are you able to see the beauty in even the hard places? Believe me, the latter is harder, but when we get our focus away from the thorn that has been pricking at us, it is then we begin to appreciate the beauty of the rose's soft petals, richness of the aroma of the opening bloom, and the supreme magnificence of the bloom's deep colors displayed in mornings dawning light.

All of us will have thorns sticking at us from time to time. Sometimes we don't think we can escape their prickling effect, but let me assure you of this, the thorns won't impact the beauty of the rose. The rose will still be displayed in all the splendor of the rose. The thorns might give us a little challenge in discovering how to best enjoy the beauty of the rose, but they don't have to stop us from enjoying it! A prickly thorn bush doesn't have much beauty, but the rose bush produces magnificent beauty amidst the thorns!

For years and years, mom played every sweepstakes that came to her in the mail. You know the thought behind it, don't you? If I buy a little of their product, maybe I will win the prize. It is surprising to me how many times we think we have to "buy into" something in order to enjoy the prize. You know how many times she won? None. Yet the thorns of buying into their gimmicks didn't deter her from trying to win that "big prize". Amazing how it is we can overlook the "thorns" of some things and then get so hung up about them when it comes to other things, isn't it?

There is a college locally with a huge rose garden out front. I have more joy in looking upon their roses than I do trying to produce them in my own yard. For some reason, they grow well there and not so well in my garden. I don't even have to deal with the thorns to enjoy them, but I do have to position myself in the right place in order to enjoy them. In other words, I have to get up from where I am and move toward that garden. In most of our days, we are either taking steps toward or away from something. When movement ceases all together, we stagnate. We neither enjoy the roses, nor do we experience the thorns.

Some may feel that is the way to exist, but I'd rather think the best plan is to move toward what is going to bring deep satisfaction in life. In order to do so, it means we change our perspective a little. We choose to ignore the few thorns along the way and take in the richness and beauty of the roses that emerge when we get near enough to actually take in that beauty. Roses aren't fully appreciated until you take in their full beauty - and that requires nearness to their lush blooms. The thorns may prevent some from ever getting near enough to enjoy them, but how about you? Just askin!

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