Tag Archives: Christian Life

the sinners prayer PART III

I am back among the blogger living.  At least for another week or so.  It has been a busy school year as a teacher and a father of a now almost one year-old and almost four year-old.  But, I have finally found some time (winter break) to do a little writing.  So now it is time for the final installment of what God has taught me about the sinner’s prayer.

For a refresher, go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 and then come back.

Are you back?  Great!  Here we go.

Quick summary (in case you did not go read):

  • Part 1- I am amazingly disobedient and selfish toward God, and he is exceedingly patient and loving towards me.  His “no” and discipline it is out of love and care for my soul.
  • Part 2- Being a Christian and my hope of salvation is not built on a moment in time when I “did” something.  It is not a prayer, a pastor handshake, or a dip in water.  It is a life marked by change that can only be explained by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, I am a destable sinner in utter need of the saving, life changing gracce that is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  And that circle me back around to the original thought that sparked the start of this series of posts.  The sinner’s prayer and what it means for my life today.

The basics of the sinners prayer is communicating this to God:

  • We realize our sinfulness and inablity to do anything about it.
  • We know our separation from God because of this sinfulness.
  • We accept and believe that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died a gruesome death, and came back to life again…and that he did this all to make us right with God.
  • We commit to a life of loving, trusting, and believing God and following him.

Some of us were lead through prescribed prayers that cover all of this, some of us were given the basics and encouraged to pray from our heart, and others may even have just been lead to pray without any leading at all.  But the gest of it is that we acknowledge that we are sinners separated from God, Jesus paid the price for our sin before God, and that we will live in trust of this and follow where he leads our lives.  The sinner’s prayer.  Basic and simple.  Proof of a change of heart.

“CupofJoe Guy, we get it.  What’s your point?”

Well, my getting irrated with the comment I mentioned that I read on Facebook (mentioned in Part II), led God to work on my heart.  Why did the overemphasis on the prayer itself bother me so much?  What was wrong with my heart that this was such a big deal?

God started to burn in my heart and mind the idea of the simplicity of the sinner’s prayer.  If the evidence of my salvation is a marked life with change and not a momentary prayer, how am I doing with that?  What does my life look like?  Am I characterized by this change of heart and life?

Slowly, the fact was impressed upon me that the sinner’s prayer is for me.  It is about me.  It is about my relationship with God.  Not the time I said it when I was six, but it is about my daily relationship with him.  Do I start each day with an admittance of my sinfulness and separation, a renewal of trust in Jesus sacrafice and resurrection, and a commitment to follow and trust him?

I don’t.  I live many days without any thoughts in this direction.  I am so focused on my day-to-day life that my relationship with God is mostly an afterthought if I give it any thought at all.  God gave me the realization that I need to begin each morning with the sinner’s prayer.  I need to start each day fresh.  I need to live each day in trust of Jesus.  I need to remind myself of that.  I need to preach the gospel to myself, accept it, and pray to admit and commit that day to follow God.

Have I lived each day this way since these revelations?  No.  But I have somewhere to start from each day, and I pray that it will become a daily instinct to one day start each day this way.

I know it has taken a long time to finish this thought, blogwise, but hopefully God will use the lesson God taught me to help you in your daily relationship with him.

Father, Jesus, Spirit, I am a sinner.  I am sperated from you based on anything I do or offer of myself.  Only Jesus was able to live a life that did not deserve death.  I know that his death on the cross allowed him to take my sin and your wrath.  I believe that he really died and was truly raised again.  I commit to you today.  Help me follow you today.  Please lead me and help me to obey.  I love you.  your son, joe


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The Bubble Boy and the Bath Water

Earlier this week, I asked on Facebook if anyone had any topics that they might like me to try to find a story for.   A friend jokingly replied, “Soap Bubbles.”  I tried to think of something, and I thought I had a couple of ideas…but I want to take this blogging thing seriously, so I decided not to persue it.

Today I have been praying about what to share.  I really want Fridays to be for posts about lessons about my relationship with God that I have learned because of my relationship as a father to my son.  I my head I call it “Fatherhood Friday.”  Just a little while ago, in my thinking and praying about what to write, the soap bubbles thing came back to mind.  So, let me tell you about “The Bubble Boy and the Bath Water.”

NB, my son (for an explanation on why the initials, see “The Monitor and the Incredible Yelling Boy“), is a classic two year-old boy.  Like most children in said age group, he fell in LOVE the first time he saw his beloved “bubbles!!”

His love of the filmy air pockets only grew when he got a bubble-blowing lawn mower for his second birthday and we bought bottles of bubbles to play with at the house.  Any time we go outside to play we have make sure the “tank” is full on the little mower, and every time we open the cabinet with the stash of the bottles we have have to answer the question, “I get bubbles?”

All of this is the reason that I decided it was time for him to try the bath time favorite of most young children, the bubble bath.  I picked up a bottle from the local Wally World to give it a try.

That night I got him psyched up for his bath by telling him there was going to be an extra special surprise.  He watched in anticipation as I ran the water.  He giggled as a poured a couple of capfuls of the mystery liquid.  He could barely contain himself as he watched the foam grow.  “BUBBLES!!!!” he squealed.  He tried to jump in with his clothes on…I stopped him, of course.

Now, I would like to say that this was one of the most wonderful experiences of his little life, but I can’t.  He loved to look at the bubbles.  He loved to splash the bubbles.  He loved to cover his toys in bubbles.  He did not, however, want the bubbles to touch his body.  It was actually really funny to watch him avoid them touching anything but his hands.  I made the mistake of trying to get him acclaimated to them by putting some on his arm.  He freaked out!!  I rinsed them off and decided that it was not a great idea this first time.

Though it was not as glorious of an experience for him as I thought it would be, he obviously liked the bubble bath (or the idea of having bubbles in the bath with him) because for the next few nights he begged for “BUBBLES!” every time I ran the water for him.  We did bubble baths for the next couple of nights, but eventually we wanted him to become accustomed to the idea of it being an occasional treat.

It was slow, but eventually he realized that Mommy and Daddy would surprise him with it every once in a while.  A by-product of this is one of the cutest things.  For a long time after weening him off every night bubble baths, any time he saw collections of little bubbles he would get giggly, point to them, and say, “Bubble bath, Daddy!” or “Bubble bath, Mommy!”

Bubbles in the sink after washing his hands = “bubble bath!”

Suds in the water while we wash disher = “bubble bath!”

NB spitting in the sink after brushing his teeth and there being tiny spit bubbles = “bubble bath!”

He doesn’t do this any more, but it was so funny when he did.  He saw bubble baths in almost everything.  I think this led to added excitement the times he really got a bubble bath.  It was no longer just the reminder of the bubbles, it was the real thing.  As NB would say, “Ahhhhhhhhsome!”

“Okay, Mr. OneCupOfJoe, what was the spiritual lesson for you?  I know it is coming.”

Somehow, God has showed me two lessons from this.

First is this.  Do I love God so much that I see him in everything?  Do I get excited by sunsets?  Do I watch in wonder as the wind blows through my front yard trees?  Do I giggle with the awesomeness of my son’s laughter?  Do I feel more loved by my wife’s acceptance of me for who I am and not who I am trying to become?  Do I see the chances to increase faith and trust when life gets difficult?  Does seeing God in all of this make the real experiences of his presence (during prayer, worship, and him breaking in to my every day life) even more real and life-changing?

Do I see bubble baths in soap and spit bubbles?  (check out my friend Bill’s story of looking for God in the world around him)

The second thing that came to mind is, what do people see in me?  Do they see the presence of the Spirit?  Do they see the love of Jesus?  Do they see the acceptance of the Father?  Do my actions show my faith and trust in the transforming work of Christ on the cross and the power of the Spirit that raised him from the dead?  What am I showing to the world around me?  Am I showing them reflections of the reality of God and their need for Jesus through my life, attitude, and words?

Do others see bubble baths in me?

How are you doing?  Are you seeing “bubble baths” every where you look?  Are the reflections increasing your joy when you experience the real thing?  Are people seeing “bubble baths” in you?  Are you drawing people toward the real thing?

What do you think?  What are your thoughts?

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