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Thread: Answer to Prayer

  1. #1

    Answer to Prayer

    I am confused. Should we or should we not expect anything from God? The scriptures tells us that Jesus said (Mat 7:7-11)

    "Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask."

    So, will I receive or not? I have a wife and two kids. I got lay-off from the firm I was working from. I keep praying for a job, even if it's not as an architect. I received nothing! Yet I keep praising God. Im starting to believe that I should just be happy with receiving his forgiveness. Even if I do lose my home, my cars, my health; I already lost my job and these are probably next!

  2. #2

    Trusting God to Assist

    Great question Carlos, something that has plagued the religious systems since the beginning. Do I continue petitioning the monotheistic God or the polytheist Gods to fulfill my essential needs, even though I don't see change? Approaching this has much to do with perspective... meaning do I believe in predestination (Calvinism) or will my decisions complete my future (Arminiamism).

    The Arminiamist might say, “God will bless my efforts, I just have to apply myself according to the principals of the universe, and God will bless the efforts and provide perks along the way.” All this is based on my being right with Him through Christ, understanding God does not grant special favor to those who are living in rebellion apart from Him. Meaning, there all immutable laws (physical and spiritual), break them, and there are results. Discover the laws, be subject to them and live at your maximum potential. We are taught if we are in sin or defiance to the heart code of love, we should not expect God to hear our prayers.

    Here are some sample passages:

    Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.”
    Isaiah 59:2 “But your sins have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
    Proverbs 15:29 “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

    The Calvinist will say, no matter what I do God already knows what I will do and the outcome is already defined. Meaning no matter what I do, it was already prescribed to happen that way. As written in Exodus 33:19 and quoted in Rom. 9:15, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” In Malachi 1:2-3, God says Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated”. This was predefined before they were born or had done anything to merit approval or distain. Also look at Luke 4: 25-26 “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.” There are other examples of God only helping a select few when all suffered. Who are we to question the divine providence of the Creator?

    It is at this point that many will insist that this scriptural revelation of God isn't fair, that an all loving God would not make distinction of person. Our understanding is based on justice by equality, However the Lord only chose Israel and had the other nations decimated before them without prejudice. Who are we to question the divine providence of the Creator? Does the clay argue with the potter, to insist on what is formed and what to keep and what to discard? The book of Job does much to contemplate this.

    You have to quantify your position to understand the results, like you would have to be schooled in architectural engineering before expecting any benefits from it as an occupation. Personally, I grasp many aspects of the Calvinist position, but lean to the Arminiamist view of “If it is to be, it is up to me”. Not saying that I don’t honor God as supreme and trust in His preservation of my ways and life. However, the Creator has already created the earth’s elements, the body, the mind, the ability to coexist on this planet. It is up to us to take this gift called “life” and all the tools mankind has formed of the dust and harmonize them within our own experience toward a means of survival. We should do ALL this in collusion with the provisions the Creator has made for us through Christ. Meaning, without an established faith in a power greater than ourselves, our innermost soul will struggle to grasp its purpose and worth and ultimately be subject to our own defunct perceptions. All humans need FAITH outside itself to prosper in the spirit—we were designed by the Creator in this manner. I know this sounds almost humanistic, but one also has to crawl out from under the many perpetuated religious coverings which border cultish theosophies and embrace reality. Faith without a sense of reality can be a smack of the insane leading to all manner of religious delusions.

    If one hopes to find employment during these hard times, seekers may have to modify their standards and accept a baser position. Delivery drivers are always needed in every town and Pizza places always seek drivers. Is that below your standards? I have had to do such things even though an educated professional. Many have had to solicit outside support from government or family during these desperate times. As a closing comment, although blunt, one can praise God until they starve, or they can go out and kill an animal and eat it and thank Him for the provision while partaking.

  3. #3

    Contemplating Comments

    No, Iím not too proud to deliver a pizza, my good man. I wasnít always an architect while my degree stands dusty on the mantle. I suppose I can count change at a register or pump gas, this will pay for my gas to go to church and listen to someone tell me why God is so great while I pull 10% of nothing to go into further dept. Yes, this is what God has in store for me. Some scriptures apply, others donít. Now, this does not mean I donít love God, I just believe that something was lost in translation and Iím being confused by this. I do read the bible, perhaps too much, and perhaps this is my fault for believing in the invisible.

    So, if I believe and donít receive, I believe wrong? I ask and not receive because I ask wrongfully? Iím Arminiamist, I believe without receiving anything in return and these are the true principles. Calvinist, Iím destined to live this life, buts thatís ok; I still get to live eternal life in heaven. I also believe that Iím blessed just for having met Jesus (No, not in person but in faith.) and that God is NOT fair!!! He is merciful; had he paid me in all fairness, I would be dead for my sins. So, with all the complexities of life in consideration, and all confusion faith brings us; I feel confident that God does love me.

    So, regardless of how I describe it, someone will entail me to some term and in return I will be categorized as Calvinist or Arminiamist, or perhaps ďOlsteenistĒ (No, I think he is alright, but you are correct, he never quotes the bible and rarely to never mentions God or Jesus. I'm not a fan of Olsteen). How come I canít just be a Christian with the minimum faith prerequisites? Instead Iím categorized by some term.

    Going back to my employment status, remember, men where recruited to build Salomonís temple in accordance to their field of trade (2 Chronicles 2: 13-15). I will entrust my Jaguar to deliver pizzas, this is what God has for me. Like Huram, I will sweep the decks and mop the floors while my true calling arrives.

    Anyway, worth reading, very interesting your answer and I do apologize for the bad MLA format. At least I did learn two new terms Calvinist and Arminiamist. And if I lost you in this message, I guess Iím right. Translation does lose meaning; after all, I can only write what I first think in Spanish. Thanks and God bless, my good man! I meant it, Thanks, and God bless.

  4. #4

    More Reflections on Expectations

    Thanks for your insightful and clear commentary Carlos. Your English is excellent. You are have approached a subject that has been obscure to even the most enlightened down through the ages. You are correct to question, "do I have to sit under some category or title to be a good Christian? Why can't I just be a Christian?" Yes indeed, Christ said in Matthew 18:3 "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." That our faith must be a simple pleasure to follow our Abba (daddy). That He will indeed provide for his children.

    "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:9-11 NIV.

    This reveals the mercy and love of God for his created, but these can become ‘cherry picker’ passages that give seekers a false sense of mystical expectations when reality is engaged. We know Paul had an eye ailment that was horrible to look at. He prayed for its removal and God said no, this will serve to restrain your pride. Our hedonistic culture expects God to make our life a pleasure cruise and to fix all the bumps. That’s not reality, but what is often taught. Anything that falls short of this premise leaves us on the ground looking up, wondering what went wrong.

    There are a vast number of position as to how God endeavors to operate with His creation. A person has to submerse themselves into Scripture primarily, then study the commentary from Saints of old to gain insight into their revelations. It can become confusing when you start realizing some of what the institutional church embraces is a little short of Aesop's Fables. I won't go into that statement, because such a discourse is too diverse. I say this to point out that things are not what they seem, and our evaluation of spiritual matters are often a far cry from how it is. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly." or the ESV translates "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." We can never grasp the full scope of our existence or fully perceive God's position on matters. Our mortal limitation on this physical plane blinds our spiritual eyes from seeing clearly. Jesus of Nazareth transcended in Spirit to perceive because He was part deity. Plus, He spent a good deal of time denying His human appetites by warfare in lonely places and personal prayer retreats. What He comprehended would make most of us keel over and expire.

    You questioned, "So, if I believe and don’t receive, I believe wrong? I ask and not receive because I ask wrongfully?" This again is a subject that can fill volumes. No matter how I approach it, I will not be able to encompass all the dynamics. The first verse that usually comes to mind is James 4:3 "You make your request but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only so that you may make use of it for your pleasure." Basic English Version. That covers only one facet of many possibilities why one might not receive. I warn people from taking the pre-Jobian position of "You are not being heard because you are in error." Self-abasement born from conduct is not how grace works, that is works justification. The ‘name-it claim-it’ crowd like those who follow Joel Osteen and prosperity teachers will indeed say you have failed to be positive and lack the correct heart in your giving. When a person boils away the fat of man's philosophies and erroneous spiritual understandings, you have left the bone of no employment, no income, and loss of self-esteem.

    Carlos, your reflections and position seems to be centered correctly to me. The choices of God sometime is not fair as we understand fairness. Ted Turner prayed for his 16 year old sister 30 or so years ago, she died anyway. He turned his back on the faith saying God is dead and pursued the riches of the world unabated. He succeed in attaining wealth, but he could never maintain a relationship with anyone, and his spiritual end will not go so well either. Should we say that when we pray for a teenager with stage 4 cancer, and he/she dies anyway, it was God's will or He didn’t hear our prayers? That is our typical conclusion, because we don't have any other answer. It is a pegged response, even though it might be that the child's death brought one person to the faith, who will bring another, who will in turn preach the gospel and bring 1000's. We can't possibly know without a birds-eye view from the spiritual realm outside of time in conjunction with knowing the perfect purpose of God in all things... impossible for us. Christ had a grasp on it though... he had the elevated view and the relationship.

    In the spiritual realm, our calculated physical time does not exist nor does matter in substance or dimension. Therefore what we see as an event, combined with emotions, conversations, planning, weeks or months, is not even a measurable millisecond on the spiritual side. Imagine all things since time began folded together to fit on the tip of a needle point. Where is the space to reason, debate, worry or complain? The Creator comprehends all things as started and done at the same time, but can engage as to participate. Remember, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He was not created for He self-existed transit infinity—He is "I Am." We can't comprehend any of this because our sphere of measured time has no reference point by which to compare.

    The best we can do is live in the moment. Trust God to open doors and close others. Not worrying about the future because it will be as it is. Our internal fortitude must be directed toward solutions not possible failures. Failure and loss are inevitable, we should not cower at them, but face them with boldness and absolution under the banner of Christ. For whatever the mind dwells upon, it will seek to construct. Our subconscious constantly seeks to complete what we perceive in the future. With this in mind, it is abundantly clear we must focus on positive expectations while accepting setbacks, trusting God and His promises. We must also realize that life is but a brief vapor and then we are gone. Whatever trials we currently suffer alone or as a collective will pale in comparison to eternity. Therefore our choices must be careful and wise, not allowing ourselves to be overcome by challenges, all delivered in submission to the counsel of God (reflecting on Word of God). Whereas each choice is a bridge to another that networks to an consequential end.

    Selfless Unconditional Love (SUL) is our greatest power through the Holy Spirit who offered this to us through the sacrifice of Christ. SUL will always find a way. It can grow in the barren places when nothing else can survive, as it did from the hill of Golgotha 2 millenniums ago. God's provided SUL through Christ is enough, it is all we need. From these deep riches spring all things for our internal health and outward needs. This was Christ's message, we simply have to apply the truth within to experience it without.

  5. #5

    Final Thought

    Thanks again, my friend. That is by far the wisest commentary I have ever read. It has become clear me that my condition is perhaps a virtue seeing how I may still praise him while I lose grasp of worldly possessions and positions. I have been blessed greatly, and while it may be taken from me in this life I know that beyond it there is more to life than I can possibly hold at hand and limited awareness can fathom. I also understand that I may only be on this earth for a very limited time as man withers away and Gods name remains.

    So, again, I will continue to move forward as a well qualified Christian that has met the requirements through Jesus’ blood and advocacy. Thank you, and God bless. (I do apologize for any misinterpretation in this post, as English is my second language. If in anyway I have offended in my translation, please forgive me. Dios les bendiga.)

  6. #6
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Such a moving discussion to read. It brings tears to my eyes to read of such a real life struggle but to stay so grounded in Christ Jesus. Carlos, your faith is amazing to me and I cannot help but to wonder if God is actually blessing you with this trial because He knows you can handle it, and as a result you will experience Him in even more and meaningful ways because of your dependence on Him. You will have to keep us all updated on these experiences with God and how He has provided for you and your family. James 1:2-4 (NIV) comes to my mind:

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Mark's Avatar
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    Fighting the Fight

    Thanks Steven (EternalPath) for moderating this conversation. Your last response to Carlos really ministered to me. I'm not only dealing with losing my family, but my business, home, farm, and everything else as well. It seems easier for me to trust God with my family and the relationship problems, but for some reason I'm struggling more in trusting God with the financial problems. I believe I'm in a battle where my enemy is trying to destroy me in every single way, on every front, and my only hope is in God, but I need to remember to put on the full armor every day. Thanks again!

  8. #8

    Thoughts on Suffering

    Yesterday I met with a good friend and spiritual partner in Lafayette. He lost his job six months ago and recently filed for chapter 13. He is having marital troubles and is in some despair along with diabetes and some chronic medical conditions that virtually make him not hirable. He has advanced degrees in education and administration, is a veteran and now is doing substitute teaching while still holding to a strong faith in God. Job is perhaps the best example in Scripture of a human enduring suffering, from him we take some belief that there will be mercy. Who desire mercy or justice. But the Truth actually died so we all could live. The Pascal Mystery is still that, a mystery that we believe in, thus the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are imbued through the mystery and by His Love.

    Driving home, the traffic was stopped on St. Rd 26. When I neared the bottleneck, I witnessed a young woman stopping a semi tractor in the middle of the road to lift and carry a dog recently hit and killed by a car. Not knowing the entire story, I witnessed a great act of Charity to one of Godís creation. Would not a sparrow fall from the sky that God did not know of this passing. If God had any emotion other than complete Love, would He not feel our pain? He gave His Son to us to die for us, who among us could do that?

    After my first wife died of cancer, sick only four months, I felt there was no pain worse than mine. I did not, have not given up hope. His Love is everlasting, as my love for my late wife is too. Look around at the sick and infirm, those addicted to many temporal ďthingsĒ In this I have Faith, even though it might be smaller than a mustard seed. Forgiveness is still the first step to reconciliation. There was/is no sin in losing a job. My friend is suffering as well as Carlos. Prayer is really all we can do for those in pain as we all suffer some pain, it is easy for each of us to ďfeelĒ the loss. Loss is job, friends, spouse, whatever. Our personal emptying the soul of pain always must come first to make more room in the tabernacle of our soul and room for the Savior in the Inn of our hearts. I will pray for Carlos and lift him up in my prayers to that all merciful and loving Abba.

  9. #9
    God bless all. I had posted here on this a site during December of 2008. This last year had not gone well and so I stood while I lost everything I owned. I resorted to selling all my possessions one by one to feed my children. Christmas was none existing for this kids this past December. Yet I waited for employment that never came. Never was there an opening for another architect anywhere in sight. Having to rid myself of my transportation I had to find a job near home in order to provide for my family. My new job had no leather chair in a fancy office suited for a highly educated man with two prestigious degrees in Architecture and Civil engineering. Instead I walked to a near restaurant approximately a mile and a half to work. There I proudly washed dishes and moped floors. My wife would help me prepare my uniform by neatly ironing my shirt while I would brush lint off my work cap. Occasionally I stood in front and asked politely if they wanted anything to drink with their order. Well, some time went by and the owner said to me "you are a special man". I replied "well, that is too kind of you." I accepted the compliment as a praise as I judge by own condition. He immediately followed with, "you are no dish washer and you must evolve and or return to what you really are". I replied with “what do you mean?” He said that my gestures are of no simple man, and that I had something special that he can not understand. I said “I did not mentioned it before because was discriminated for being honest and telling factories I was educated with limited labor experience in parts making"..."I am an Architect and Engineer". He was impressed with my background but he said that was not it. There must be something else that separates you from the rest of the crew. In all my years never had I felt more joy to see that I still held God’s blessing in me. I also replied that I was a firm follower of Jesus and that he guides my every step. Well, sometime after he asked my advice on promoting the business as business was slow, and that he would like to update the restaurant to attract more customers. Needless to say, I did just that; I redesigned the store. We went out to purchase the materials and select colors for the dining area. I also design his website and design new promotions for the store and advertised in the local newspaper. I was so happy to perform as an architect, that not for a minute I remembered that I was only making $9/hr. No big commission check, no $180/hr. fees and fancy lunch meetings. Only careful design over some free lunch. The same talent I had provide my other clients (Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Coach, Sacks, Bank of America, NBC, Stanley Tools, Rolex, Foxwoods Resort, Six Flags, and others.). Only I was doing it for a friend. Well, sales went up, and in a short period of time the investment broke even and shortly after that he has more customers and so he now opens seven days of the week. Again, never did I ask for a raise, and I was exited to walk that mile and a half to see the new place. I never really get to enjoy anything I design. My work has extended from Bangkok to Hawaii so I’m never around long enough to enjoy my design. Now I had the pleasure of working in my design for the first time. My employer was so grateful that he granted me more than a friendship, he lent enough money to start my own business and extended me his credit line to purchase new equipment to furnish it. I never expected this to pay off the way it did. Not for a second did I imagine that I would come across such opportunity because of God’s blessing in me, not for my education. This fine gentleman had blindly trusted his wealth in my hands because I had Jesus in me. Well, I just thought I come in and thank everyone for their prayer. I am deeply in dept with you all for your time and kind words. I may not be far from where I started, but Im closer to where I want to be. God bless you all.

    Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

  10. #10
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    WOW! WOW! WOW!

    Praise be to God! Praise be to God! Praise be to God!

    That post surely got my spirit moving!

    God Bless you Carlos for trusting in Him despite the trials.

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