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Are My Life's Struggles Due to a Lack of Prayer?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2023 5:20 pm

Are My Life's Struggles Due to a Lack of Prayer?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 14, 2023 5:20 pm

Episode 1183 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode


1. Is Jesus’s point to the Canaanite woman that the gospel is for the Jew’s first?

2. Is Isaiah 43 talking about a real or metaphorical place?

3. Is God waiting for me to pray harder before he answers my prayers?

4. Is the human spirit eternal?

5. What is the unforgivable sin?

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Core Question – Have I Committed the Unpardonable Sin?

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Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

Are my life struggles due to a lack of prayer? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. So now's the time to call 833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at questions at First up today, let's go to a voicemail.

Actually, let's go to a live caller, one from Indiana. This is Melanie. Melanie, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Well, I first want to tell you thank you because what you guys do helps me so much. So I'm sure I'm not the only one. Recently, I've been, my Bible reading has increased. And I was reading, I believe, in Matthew 15, where the Canaanite woman, her daughter was sick. And she went to Jesus and Jesus said that he it was, you know, he couldn't feed the dogs had to feed his people first.

And she said, but even the dogs eat the crumbs under the table. At first, I found that really offensive. And then the more I started thinking about it, it's like the Lord gave me a word. And I'm sort of curious, was that just in Jesus's ministry? Do you believe that he was just ministering to the is, you know, the Jews first, and it was always an intention to go all over the world?

Melanie, thank you for your encouragement. Grateful to hear that you're digging into the scriptures. And this is a passage, Matthew, Chapter 15, where Jesus is meeting with this Canaanite woman that a lot of people are confused by because Jesus does say, you know, she, she, she comes to him because her daughter is possessed by a demon.

She's looking for help. And Jesus's response to this Canaanite woman is I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. In other words, his focus in his ministry as he's come is Israel to call Israel back to himself. Now you're you're onto something because through Israel and ultimately through Christ, salvation was to go to the entire world. In other words, even when God called Israel in the Old Testament, it wasn't just for them, it was so that through them, they would shine as a light to the nations. When Jesus, the true Israelite, came, he fulfilled that purpose.

He is the true and perfect Israelite who brought light to the nations. And in part, that's what Jesus is doing here, ministering to this Canaanite woman. We know in verse 21 that Jesus is intentional about going to this space where he meets her.

Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And so Jesus is the one who has gone here. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David.

My daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. And he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us. And he answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But she came and knelt before him, saying, Lord, help me. And he answered, It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs. She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table. Now, just because a lot of people are offended by this, one thing I want to note is the word that Jesus uses there. We translated dogs there. It means little dog.

It's a diminutive form of the word dog. I don't think Jesus is referring to her in this pejorative way, per se. I think that the focus here is Jesus, his mission to the lost sheep of Israel, first and foremost. And yet he's the one who's gone to this place to have this interaction with this Canaanite woman. Why, I think, to demonstrate her faith and the fact that while Israel was rejecting her Messiah, people like the Canaanites were embracing Messiah. Jesus answered her, verse 28, O woman, great is your faith.

Be it done to you as you desire. And her daughter was healed instantly. And so this is a sign of the Gentile inclusion of the nations being brought into the salvific promises of God, as was prophesied in the Old Testament. The Canaanites, even those who were the enemies of God's people under the old covenant now being welcomed through faith in Jesus Christ.

That's what we're seeing here. Thank you, Melanie, for giving us a call. May the Lord bless you. I know that passage does cause a lot of people to get tripped up because they go, how could Jesus refer to someone as a dog, right? Yeah, well, and like I said, this is where we want to be careful.

Just looking at the text, I mentioned that the word there is a diminutive form of the word, you know, just like the little dogs. So I just think that we want to be cautious with how we approach those passages and understand them in their context. And certainly here, Jesus is highlighting her faith, and it's been contrasted with the unbelief of Israel. Really well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Joel calling in from Minnesota. Joel, what's your question for Adriel? Adriel, my question is, in Isaiah chapter 43, he talks about he'll make pathways in the desert and streams, or pathways in the wasteland and streams in the desert where the ostrich and jackal will praise him for his merciful hand. Is this talking about a real place or is this more metaphorical?

It's both. It is talking about a real place, but there's also some metaphor here going on. Isaiah 40 and following, you see this language continually about God making a way through the wilderness. Isaiah chapter 40 verse 3, a voice cries, in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. And then you brought up Isaiah 43 verse 19, behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth.

Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. In other words, this is imagery of dry land being watered by the word of God. And we get to that amazing, beautiful, powerful messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53. And if you remember how Isaiah 53 begins, it says this, who has believed what he has heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed, he grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground.

I said it's both, because when you think about the ministry of Jesus, Jesus is heralded by the forerunner, John the Baptist. And where is John the Baptist preaching? In the middle of the desert, around the cactuses and the dry ground. So he's literally in the desert. There's this pathway that's being paved in the wilderness. But there's also the metaphorical imagery of Israel at this time being spiritually dried out in need of the reign of God's word, in need of Messiah to come and bring salvation. So they're in the literal wilderness, John the Baptist is as he's preaching the coming of Jesus, but it is also a symbol of the spiritual state of the nation at that time. It was a wilderness, dried out, and Jesus came and watered the wilderness, if you will, with his great salvation, with the preaching of the kingdom of God that came.

And so I really think it's a powerful picture for each of us. Do you feel spiritually worn out, dry, like a desert, in need of God's life-giving water? Well, Jesus says, I am the water of life. I am the water of life. I am the one who quenches your spiritual thirst. Come to me.

Receive my life. And that's precisely what he came doing in preaching, bringing that wasteland water, the water of life. Thanks, Joel, for your question.

Great explanation. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You know, a lot of people call us and they ask, how can I figure out what God's will is for my life? They might be asking about a relationship, maybe engagement or marriage, maybe about a job or a move.

And they're really wondering, how do I discern that? And we actually have a great resource on that topic we'd like to offer you today. Yes, it's a short booklet that will help you in thinking about this question. The booklet is called What is God's Will for Me?

It's just four chapters. Chapter one, God's will for you is joy. Chapter two, God's twofold will.

We've talked about that on the broadcast before, but if you're not familiar with that, get a hold of this resource. Chapter three, finding and following God's will. And chapter four, God's will for you is cruciform.

And then there's a conclusion as well. Just a lot of really helpful information here. I hope that you'll get a hold of this resource over at for a gift of any amount. Once again, it's called What is God's Will for Me? You can find that at forward slash offers.

Again, forward slash offers. Well, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners. This is Sarah. Chloe, what a blessing you and Bill are.

You two make a wonderful team. I'm embarrassed that after many years of loving God, prayer is still such a great mystery to me. I really believe in God's sovereignty and yet cannot prayers, quote unquote, change his mind and affect someone's life spiritually, physically and or emotionally for the better as we see it. Conversely, can our lack of prayer for a loved one almost doomed them to a life lacking all those things we see as gifts from a loving God? I'm struggling with the fact that I didn't pray as much as I could have or should have when our children were young and that now as adults, our children are bearing the consequences of my prayerlessness on their behalf. Can you help me understand?

I really appreciate your help with this. Blessings to you both. Wow. Sarah, thank you for that question. And let me just take a moment to pray for you and to pray for your children, that the Lord would be at work in their lives and in your life and that he would encourage you through his word. Father, I thank you for Sarah. And Lord, we lift her up to you right now as she thinks about her life, as she reflects on the desire to have prayed more and wondering, Lord, what the consequences of that were and are. I pray that you would comfort her, Lord, in knowing that you are good, that you are sovereign. And Lord, that even now as she comes to you in prayer that you would give her the great confidence that you hear her prayers through Jesus your Son and, Lord, that she can come to you. Thank you for your mercy.

Thank you for your grace. I do want to pray for her children, Lord. Jesus, would you draw them close to you?

Would you be at work in their lives? Would you use their mother, her prayers, her encouragement, her sharing of scripture in their lives, Lord, to encourage them, to build them up, Lord, and to draw them back to you? I just ask, Lord, for your blessing upon this family. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.

There's a lot of pressure that it sounds like you're putting on yourself, sister. Now, let me just say prayer is a gift that God has given to us. He has opened the doors for us to be able to approach his throne of grace through his Son, Jesus. But let me just say, I think for each and every one of us, those doors are doors that we don't enter into as often as we should or would like. I've never met one believer in Jesus Christ who didn't say, I wrestle with prayer. I struggle with prayer.

There are times where it feels like it's just natural and it comes easily. There are other times where I struggle to lift my voice to the Lord, to lift my head even, and all I can say is with the publican, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Sometimes it feels like that's the only prayer that we have. And so what I want to say is if you look at your life and you say, okay, Lord, I know that I should have prayed more or that I should pray more, pray about that. Say, God, have mercy upon me.

Forgive me for not coming to you like I should and know that he does forgive you. And then pray. Pursue the Lord. Pray for your children. Pray for your family.

Pray for your church. Pray for the things that Jesus told you to pray for in Matthew chapter 6 when he gave us the Lord's prayer for his will to be done in your life, for his kingdom to come around you in the lives of your children, your family members. And one of the things you said was, you know, or you asked, was do our prayers change the mind of God? In other words, is it, and this is what a lot of people think, is that, you know, through prayer, as we're praying, we're sort of bringing God's will, his purposes, his action down to us. We're bending his will to our own even. Think of prayer not like that so much, but think of it more like this. Through prayer, we are aligning ourselves, our hearts, with the will of God. We're praying for those things that are in accordance with his will. So it is not that we're changing God's mind.

No, God is sovereign. It's that we're coming into alignment with the mind of God as we pray for the things that God has called us to pray for. And we believe that mysteriously, somehow, God accomplishes his sovereign purposes in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones through prayer. And so we should be encouraged to pray, and we should be encouraged that our prayers really do have a powerful effect around us, that God hears our prayers and that he answers those prayers, again, that are in line with his will. And so you should pray and not lose heart. And when you're discouraged, brothers and sisters, about the fact that you don't pray enough, that you haven't prayed as you should, again, you take that to the Lord and know this. Jesus, as our great high priest, ever lives to make intercession for us. You think of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus imploring them to pray, to watch and pray, to stay up with him.

And what were they doing? What we oftentimes do instead of praying. They were dozing off, falling asleep in that moment of Jesus' great need. And yet he continued to pray. Even when we sleep, our great high priest is praying. That's not an excuse for us not to pray, but it should be a comfort to us in knowing that our prayers and even our prayerlessness is covered by Jesus. And that should encourage us all the more to approach him and to pray to him and to call upon his name. And so may God be with you and strengthen you and bless you. Thank you for giving us a call. Amen.

Good word. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. Maybe you're struggling with a particular passage of scripture that's always kind of stumped you. Well, Adriel would be happy to provide some clarification.

Or maybe you're dealing with some sort of doubt in your life, in your Christian walk. Give us a call right now. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Well, let's go to Jeff who's calling in from Kansas. Jeff, what's your question for Adriel?

I do. Thank you for taking my call. I was wanting to, so I, for a long time now, I have believed that you're, from what I'd heard, that your spirit was eternal so that when you passed away, you know, your spirit lived, your body went somewhere else. And then I heard a preacher just recently on the radio say, don't believe that your spirit's not what's eternal. It's your, you know, when you leave this earth, you get a new body, and that's what's eternal. And so, anyway, that confused me a little bit. I wanted to get some clarification from you guys. Yeah, Jeff, let's, well, one, thanks for that question.

Really important stuff. Just to be clear, we wouldn't want to say that our spirit is eternal. There's only one eternal being, and that's God. That is, he has no beginning and no end. We are creatures created in the image of God, and so we can say that our spirits are everlasting, that we're going to experience everlasting life, that we're going to live forever, if you will, through Christ, and that's certainly a promise that he's made to us, but we aren't eternal in the way that God is eternal.

So just a little bit of clarification there with regard to language. Now, we are going to get new bodies, but that doesn't happen at the moment we die. When we die, our bodies go down into the ground, and our spirits go to be with God. All those who believe, if you're trusting in Christ, if you're united to Jesus Christ by faith, when you die, your spirit or your soul is perfected in holiness, and you pass into glory immediately. Our bodies, you know, they go down into the ground. They experience decay, corruption, waiting for, until that time of the resurrection, what's described throughout the Bible in places like the Book of Daniel, but certainly in the New Testament, the final judgment and resurrection, and so we believe that at one point in the future, on the last day, our bodies, which have gone down into the ground or wherever they are, that they'll be resurrected, perfected, glorified. The apostle Paul talks about this in places like Romans chapter 15. This is where we get the doctrine of the resurrection from and why Christ's resurrection is so important.

He rose from the dead bodily. In him, we too will experience that bodily resurrection, but not until the day of the resurrection. And so, yes, we are, our spirits are going to continue after we die in the presence of God. It's what we sometimes refer to as the intermediate state, the time between our death and the final resurrection. We're going to be in the presence of God, worshipping him together with all those who have believed in Jesus Christ and the angels in victory, reigning with Christ in heaven, waiting for that final resurrection when our bodies and spirits are reunited by the power and glory of God, and we live in the new creation, new heavens and a new earth.

And that's what's described at the very end of the book of Revelation. And so hopefully that provides some clarification for you, Jeff. Appreciate your question, and thanks for listening to the broadcast. Hey, Jeff, thanks so much for being a regular part of our listening family. We really do appreciate it. By the way, just a reminder that core Christianity is listener-supported.

We count on people just like you to stay on the air. So if you'd like to find out more about becoming one of our supporters, just go to and click on the donate button. While our phone lines are open, in fact, we'll be taking calls for the next 35 minutes or so, because we're going to record a second episode of core Christianity here after our live program ends in just a few minutes. So if you weren't able to call in earlier, feel free to call right now or any time during the next 35 minutes at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 833-843-2673. We would love to hear from you. Let's go to Dana on the line from Missouri. Dana, what's your question for Adriel?

Hey, good morning. I was wondering what exactly is the unforgivable sin? Mm-hmm. What is the unforgivable sin? It's described as the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels in Mark chapter 3, in Matthew chapter 12. And specifically, it had to do with the religious leaders there around Jesus during his earthly ministry who had seen his miracles, who had heard his preaching, who had experienced his power and yet rejected it. And didn't just reject it, but they hated him and his work. And so Jesus says in Mark chapter 3 verse 28, Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin, for they were saying, He has an unclean spirit. You see, what they were doing, what the religious leaders were doing, who should have known better, by the way, was they were attributing the works of Jesus Christ, which he had done by the power of the Holy Spirit, to Satan. And you've got to be blind to do that.

You have to be in a pretty bad place to do that. And so the unforgivable sin is not, and this is what a lot of people are concerned with. Dana, I don't know if this is your concern. Sometimes people think, Man, I've been in this struggle with a particular sin, and I keep falling into this sin.

It seems like it's this recurring thing. Have I committed the unpardonable sin? Or maybe you think of something you've done in the past, and it just seems so bad to you, you know, if God threw with me. Look, if you're coming to Jesus, asking for his grace and mercy, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner, well, then you haven't committed the unpardonable sin, because the unpardonable sin is the rejection of Jesus. It's not only saying, I reject you, Jesus, but here, in this context, it's saying, No, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, that's the devil.

I mean, it's the total opposite. It's such a hard heart of unbelief that it attributes the works of Christ to Satan. And that's what the religious leaders were doing. And so there's this blindness, this hardness of heart, this rejection of the gospel entirely. And if we reject the gospel, if you reject the gospel, well, then there is no hope of forgiveness, because there's only one means of forgiveness and of experience, the grace of God, and that is through the gospel. And so, brothers and sisters, this is a terrifying thing for those who reject the gospel, for those who harden their hearts against the Christian faith, against Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. But for those of you who are struggling with sin, for those of you who wonder, is there enough grace for me, again, you think about what Jesus says here. All manner of sins will be forgiven, whatever blasphemies they utter.

We have hope that when we come to Jesus, no matter what we've done, His grace is sufficient to cleanse us of all of our sins. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 18:14:07 / 2023-03-14 18:24:43 / 11

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