Three Times

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said,“ My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

three1

How do you know when you have prayed and received confirmation from God?

There are scriptures that state we should continue to pray and ask and never quit (Matthew 7:7). This is true. Persistence and patience is rewarded by our Lord. Yet when you receive the same specific reply three different times, maybe it’s time to accept the answer.

For example, we don’t know the specifics of Paul’s request (2 Corinthians 12:8) except that it was a pain to his flesh. Some think it may have something to do with his eyes. Others feel it may have been a demon assigned to agitate him. It could have been some chronic ailment that he received as a byproduct of all the shipwrecks and beatings he received during his ministry. What it was doesn’t really matter.

He asked and received the same reply three times. Rather than continue to make requests unto the Lord, he contentedly accepted God’s answer in obedience and faithfully moved forward.

Another example is Jesus Christ himself. On the night he was betrayed (Matthew 26), he spent three hours making three requests with His Father to find another way to fulfill the mission. Yet after the third prayer, He accepted His Father’s answer and the rest is history.

After his resurrection, Jesus met with Peter (John 21) and asked him three times whether or not “He loved Him.” Though this was for Peter’s sake, who previously denied Jesus, now Peter confirms that he loves him.

Peter witnessed the same vision three times (Acts 10) which confirmed the Lord’s decree that all men are included in His work of salvation.

Three identical replies seems to be the number for confirmation. So if you are looking for confirmation from the Lord, you now know when to stop praying and start obeying.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Entitlement

 ” …all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:15-17 ESV

entitlements 3

 

Where are we taught that the world owes us something?  That government, church, or business exists to satisfy our desires? What does life owe us besides our existence? Are we entitled  to fulfill all our dreams? These are some questions people may ask from the position of “what’s in it for me?”

Like a spoiled child, we believe all our desires and dreams should be instantly gratified.  When they are not, we become emotionally belligerent.  We turn our resentment against whomever has denied us our “rights.”  Whether it is our boss, mate, parent, government, and yes even God.  However, like a repented spoiled child, we learn over time to appreciate and be grateful for what we have. But for most of us, it takes time for the heart to morph into a channel of thankfulness.

One of life’s lessons we eventually come to realize is this world doesn’t exist solely for you and I. The Bible states that the world was created for Jesus Christ.  We are simply his invited stewards.

It is Jesus Christ who surrendered his eternal home on a mission for his Father. Faithfully and courageously he fought the battles of life to overcome Satan, Sin, and Death. He substituted His vicarious life for ours. He redeemed humanity from their initial rebellion against grace. His victory is humanity’s win. He earned the right for supreme leadership as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He is earth’s and heaven’s ultimate Ruler and Judge.

So what are we entitled too?

How about the opportunity to live?  Even though the quality and quantity is limited by many outside factors beyond one’s control, born in a favorable family or government increases ones odds. However, there is no guarantees under the sun. The results of what we pursue and chase after may or may not occur. Only physical death (and some say taxes, but if you have no qualified income, taxes are legally avoidable) is absolute.  Therefore, the only thing we are truly entitled too is the opportunity to live and die.

Everything else is only because of God’s unmerited favor. In fact, because of God’s grace, those who have gladly chosen to accept his authority have the guarantee of the 1st resurrection.  Otherwise, all other perceived entitlements are simply desires that blind and rob us from a more intimate relationship with our Creator: whose blessings are more than enough to handle in this life.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

 

 

 

Salvation: Relationship or Commodity?

“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 ESV
“…so that he(Jesus) might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:27-32 ESV

engaged

 

Growing up in the 21st century within a capitalist culture is challenging for one to fully grasp the teachings of the Bible. Take for example the concept of salvation. Is salvation a commodity to be exchanged or a relationship to be experienced?

There are those who believe that upon repentance one receives salvation. We exchange our repentance for a one-way ticket to heaven. Then there are those who believe that salvation occurred approximately 2,000 years ago upon Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. That upon accepting the reality of who Jesus is, we begin to experience the fruit of salvation.

I lean towards the second view. When we view salvation as a byproduct of our effort, we are treating salvation as a commodity. However, when we view salvation as an engagement, than we are treating salvation as a relationship.

The apostle Paul used the analogy of being engaged to Jesus Christ. In Paul’s time it was the man who selected his wife-to-be. He would work out the arrangement with the woman’s father. If the father approved, he gave his daughter to him. In a sense, the woman would wake up and discover who her husband is to be. She didn’t choose her husband. It wasn’t a decision she made. She simply acknowledged the reality that she was engaged to be married. Thereafter, she focuses herself in accepting the relationship of her husband-to-be and accordingly changed her thinking and behavior to that reality.

Salvation is likewise an engagement in a marriage relationship from a 1st century woman’s perspective. What saves us is not our decision. What saves us is Jesus Christ who became engaged to us before we even accepted that reality. When we wake up from our spiritual sleep, accept that reality, then we begin to experience the fruit of salvation. Otherwise, if salvation is a business transaction, a commodity that we acquire, then it has the weak link of a human decision. We will always doubt our level of repentance, faith, trust, or works. Or in other words, how good is good enough.

When I beheld salvation as a relationship and no longer a commodity is when the fruit of God became more active and the heart of God became more intense within my very soul. I for one am very thankful that Jesus Christ re-opened the door for us to have a relationship with Him, His Father, and His Spirit: The Triune God. How about you?

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married