This is a short review of the first part of chapter 8 of “Forgiveness” from Think and Grow in Grace.
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“The first and only step to receiving God’s life changing grace is to have faith in Jesus Christ.” – Lionel
Romans 1:1-5 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I believe the most compelling way to attest to anything in life, is to speak from experience. As of this writing, my beautiful wife and I have repeatedly experienced the power of prayer during our 15+ years of marriage. Through times of immense joy and adversity, we have relied on the peace and power of prayer to change the circumstance.
As I began to pray about the subject of marriage and prayer, the Lord gave me this lesson and title, “Marriage and the three cords of prayer.” By no means is this lesson exhaustive of marriage and prayer, but I believe the three cords the Holy Spirit revealed to me are essential to a healthy marriage.
The basis for “Marriage and the three cords of prayer” derives from Ecclesiastes 4:12 which states “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” There is strength in multiples especially multiples ordained by God.
I believe the three cords of prayer in marriage consist of the following:
- The cord of submitting: Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
- The cord of oneness:Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
- The cord of forgiveness:1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Many years ago, when my wife and I were vacationing in Destin Florida, we learned the cord of submitting to one another in the middle of an argument. My wife didn’t like the way I was parking the car, (I had a habit of ALWAYS touching the curb) which drove her nuts every time!
Of course, my ego took over and I took the position of, “I have driven longer than you, so who are you to tell me how to drive?” Such a caveman thing to say! Well, that did not go over well at all. After much quarreling, the pain of silence took over. At that moment, there was no one to call to help settle our differences. All we had was the Bible, prayer, and each other.
In that moment of silence, the Lord led us to Ephesians 5:21 which states, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We began to realize that it wasn’t about who was right, it was about what the word of God said was right.
You see, at that moment we realized what it meant to proclaim Jesus as Lord. This was more than a catchy slogan of words; Jesus had to become Lord of our emotions, marriage, submission, prayer, and lives. Long story short, we resolved the issue and went on to have an amazing vacation.
That one moment became the cornerstone of our walk together with God. Now, is that saying we get it right all the time? Not at all. Sometimes we fail, but the Holy Spirit always takes us back to that moment in Destin Florida of submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. One more thing, I don’t park hitting the curb anymore. Thank God for a wonderful wife!
The cord of oneness according to Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Only the divine wisdom of God can seal the likeness of two as one.
The Cord of Oneness is like an onion because it has so many layers to explore. I also liken the cord of oneness to dominos because if one is knocked down, the rest will follow. For example, a husband and wife must focus on taking care of each other i.e. listening and catering to various love languages (quality time, communicating, etc.). When the husband and wife take care of each other, this will flow over into the lives of their children. In other words, the family unit is happy and in harmony.
The cord of oneness as it relates to prayer, in my opinion, is the most powerful cord. When couples come together in prayer, the divine ordainment of marriage becomes the special revelation of Matthew 18:20. The Lord said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” The two ordained by God to become one encompasses the mantle of Mark 10:9 which says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
The two whom God has made one are now the force of complete unity in the sight of God and man for their words are in agreement as one divinely appointed by God Almighty. This is more than a mystery, this is the amazing work of the spirit of God who sets us up to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
The cord of oneness in prayer joined with unshakable faith will indeed move mountains. I remember not too long ago when my wife and I were hit with a million-dollar lawsuit. We came together in prayer united with the cord of oneness.
For two years we earnestly prayed for the person filing the lawsuit to find peace with God and that the lawsuit would be settled with all parties in agreement with no further damages being sought. The Lord answered our prayer by granting everything we asked for and more. The God we serve is awesome indeed.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the cord of forgiveness is crucial to the longevity of all marriages…period! With forgiveness, the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:8 enables love to cover a multitude of sin. Without forgiveness in marriage, the words of Galatians 5:15 written by the Apostle Paul will prevail every time.
Paul says in Galatians 5:15 that “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Countless marriages have been destroyed due to lack of forgiveness. The lack of forgiveness stems from keeping prolonged records of wrong.
“The shadows of conflict must be brought to the light of resolution” – Pastor Lionel
It’s something about the person you love that deposits more weight on what is perceived as an offense. The offense takes on a life all of itself because we are vested in the offender. We feel at times “How dare you treat or talk to me that way after all I’ve done for you.” Then the divisive expression of “You always” is thrown around like mud. In this passion of mud-slinging, all parties are defeated before the mud dries. However, the power of the cord of forgiveness can and will defeat any weapon that sets itself up against the power to forgive.
They say forgiveness is for the individual, but I say forgiveness as it relates to marriage is for the spirit of oneness which God divinely made from two. The two cannot be separated under the covering of God’s divine protection of marriage.
Furthermore, Jesus put a premium on forgiveness for Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Forgiveness is not a one-time event especially when multiple offenses have been committed by the same offender. Jesus said we are to forgive repeatedly. In and of ourselves we cannot do this by sheer willpower. However, by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Jesus also used the cord of forgiveness to unite those who submit to Christ in the spirit of 1 Peter 4:8, for Peter, also said above all else, love each other deeply. This love is rooted in the foundation of Jesus Christ and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 which says: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
My prayer is for all marriages to be strengthened by the cords of Submitting, Oneness, and Forgiveness under the blood and grace of Jesus Christ. That nothing covered with the power of prayer can or will ever fail that is the will of God.
Isn’t it good to know that the God we love and serve intended for you and me to find strength in each other? A strength that though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Prayer for today:
Father, in the name of Jesus we thank you today for the grace that sustains us in marriage. We thank you for the power of oneness in marriage as you intended for it to be. Father, I ask for the cords of Submitting, Oneness, and Forgiveness to overflow in the hearts and marriages of every couple reading this book today.
May your spirit continue to shape our thoughts, actions, and belief in all that is good, perfect, and pleasing to your will for marriage and unity. In Jesus’ name. Amen!