Prayer and reconciliation with God

Red Rocks Amphitheatre 
Morrison, Colorado

God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. God does this to all who believe in Christ, because there is no difference at all: everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence. But by the free gift of God's grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.  

~ Romans 3:22-24 (Good News Translation)

The Bible begins with four words In the beginning, God...  All things have a beginning in God. The Bible goes on, And God looked upon all that He had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31 Berean Standard Bible.)

Creation was very good, until it wasn't. That is when sin entered the world. Sin caused separation between God and his creation. 

I hope that sharing part of my story will bring clarity to how it is possible to bridge the gap created by sin. 

As a young boy in the Deep South, church and belief in Jesus came naturally since it was part of the culture. Even today in the South, it is common to ask a new acquaintance, “Where do you go to church?” Christian belief is assumed.

That worked out fine for me because I like certitude. Thus, I didn’t have questions as to the validity of what the bible said was true. I believed that God created the world, the existence of heaven and hell, life after death, Jesus’s miraculous birth, his sinless life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Additionally, everyone knew that I was a “good kid.”
To be honest, being mostly morally ok allowed me to feel good about myself and my relationship with God. Following the rules is in my DNA. I still feel moral superiority because I am so good at following the rules. Hence, the defining “J” (Judging) trait on my Meyers-Briggs personality indicator.

My faith was built on not messing up - or at least not messing up too badly. While I knew I would never murder anyone - I’ve never had inclination to violence, there were other areas of morality where I didn’t always “color inside the lines.” I considered these “venial sins” and didn’t worry much about it because I accepted that I was human, like everyone else. I always knew how to confess and justify myself that Jesus was understanding. I know now that I was blind to repentance and change.

I spent the summer between 12th grade and freshman year of college living with my uncle and aunt in Los Angeles. I worked as a day-camp counselor at a YMCA. My closest friends that summer and throughout the coming year were Wally and Scott. I don't remember the exact sequence, but they met a family in Playa del Rey who took them to a Billy Graham Crusade, which resulted in their lives being changed. They invited me to meet this family and to attend a weekly bible study with them at the family’s home. That lasted the entire first year of college.

At the end of that year, and about a week or two after my 19th birthday, Wally and I met up one night. That night, even though his faith was fresh, Wally shared in simple terms what it meant to become a Christian. What he told me made sense to me, and I prayed with him to ask Jesus to forgive my sins, and to come into my life as Lord and Savior. 
Flannery O’Connor is my favorite author.  She wrote in an essay:
Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.

That does a great job summing up how having beliefs without seeing one's sin and need for Jesus falls short.  The Bible says, ...  everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence.  That was true in my life. Like Paul when the scales fell off his eyes after being blinded for three days, accepting Jesus allowed me to truly see.

My relationship with Jesus spans decades. My heart is full as I write this account. I can confidently pray as David did in Psalm 32:1-7:

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man
whose iniquity the LORD does not count against him,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones became brittle
from my groaning all day long.

For day and night
Your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was drained
as in the summer heat.

Then I acknowledged my sin to You
and did not hide my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the godly pray to You
while You may be found.
Surely when great waters rise,
they will not come near.

You are my hiding place.
You protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.


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