If Linda wants
a Personal
Relationship
with God . . .

[linda.jpg]

. . . let her think again!

IT WAS LINDA'S TURN to pick a card.
  "Movies for 10 points: Who played the father
  of a talking baby?
"

   Alice's face contorted, struggling for an
answer.
   "Oh, c'mon, Alice, this is easy!   You want a
hint?"

   "No, it wouldn't be fair."
   "He was a student of Mr. Kotter's."
   Alice shook her head.   "Forget it.   I'll never
guess it--"

   "He was a Sweathog!   The good looking one."
Linda frowned.   "I can't believe you."
   "It's no use!   I give up."
   "It's John Travolta!   Don't you
remember?
"
  Linda chuckled.
   "I don't know this stuff as well
as you,"
Alice said.
   Linda glanced up at the wall;
her clock said 8:36.   They had
been playing for almost an hour.
"A few more rounds," she said.
"Read the next one.   Guess who's
been giving me hard time?"

   "Who?"
   "Sheri Phillips."
   "Why?"   Alice grabbed a card.
   "It's that church of her's.   They like to harp on
holiness; bunch of Pharisees!"

   Alice read the card.   "Movies again for 10
points: Who played Jim Lovell in Apollo 13--"

   "TOM HANKS!"
   "How do you know this stuff?"   Alice put her
card down.   "What did she say?"
   "She didn't really say it.   But she kept hinting
at it."
  It was Linda's turn.   She studied the next
card.   It made her laugh.
   "What?" Alice said, smiling at Linda's laugh.
   "I can't believe it; what a coincidence!"   Linda
looked at Alice with a grin.   "Television for 15
points: Name one of the stars of Bosom
Buddies
."

   "I don't remember that show.   What else did
Sheri say?"

   "I told you, it's her holier-than-thou attitude.
C'mon guess, this one's easy.   We just talked
about him."

   "John Travolta?"

   "No, silly.   Tom Hanks!"
   "Look, maybe I shouldn't play anymore."   Alice
crossed her arms.   "I'm lousy at this."
   "Just put your mind to it.   Eventually, you'll
know as much as I do.   It's your turn."

   Alice, lost in thought, slowly reached for the
next card.   "Are you mad at her?"
   "Of course not!   I don't hold grudges; that's so
unspiritual.   By the way, have you seen his latest
movie?"

   "Whose?"
   "Tom Hanks.   It's written by Stephen King."
   "I don't like horror movies."
   "Well, I normally don't follow Stephen King,
                either; most of his stuff is satanic.
                But this one's about an Empath."

                   "A what?"   Alice returned the
                card to its pile.   "I don't wanna play
                anymore."

                   "How about a video game?   My
                husband's got Quake Three.   You
                wouldn't believe what Sheri said
                about it.   Rob was insulted.   She's
                never played Quake in her life;
                what does she know?"

   Alice barely listened.   She blindly stared at the
table.
   "So . . . where do you want to eat after
services?"
Linda said, trying to regain eye
contact.   "There's this Sunday brunch buffet
Rob wants to try."

   "I'm not going."
   "You're not going to church?"
   "Sheri's picking me up."
   Linda's eyes widened.   "NO WAY!   You're going
to her church
?   WHY?!"

   Alice shrugged.   "Why not?   Maybe there's
something to--"

   "Alice, HOW COULD YOU?   That church is
fanatical; they're too extreme.   They're a bunch
of legalistic Pharisees who go overboard on
holiness!   God hates Pharisees!   You want to walk
close to God, don't you?"

   Alice took a hard look at the trivia game
spread our before her.   "Yeah, I guess I do."


"Just put your
mind to it.
Eventually,
you'll know as
much as I do."

MANY professing Christians recognize
      the importance of having a personal
      relationship with God.   Many make
their profession of faith pursuing such a
relationship.   However,
"getting saved" is not the
only prerequisite to walking
with God.

Can two walk together?
God, through the prophet
Amos, asked Israel: "Can two
walk together, except they
be agreed?"
(Amos 3:3)   Can
a person walk with God
unless God and that person
are in agreement?   Can they
have a close, personal
relationship if they don't
share a common ground?
The answer is no.
   The Bible says: "But as he
which hath called you is holy,
so be ye holy in all manner of
conversation; Because it is
written, BE YE HOLY; FOR I
AM HOLY"
(1 Peter 1:15-
16).   God wants His children to be holy because
HE is holy.   Holiness is to be the common ground
between God and those who are saved.

After salvation, personal holiness is a necessary
prerequisite for having a personal relationship
with God.   Read it again: "He which hath called
you IS HOLY, SO BE YE HOLY IN ALL MANNER
of conversation
[LIFESTYLE]."   God is holy in
what He does, thinks, and says.   You could say
He has "a holy lifestyle."   Anyone wanting to
relate to Him on a personal basis, must also
have a holy lifestyle.   Remember: "Can two walk
together, except they be agreed?"
  God hates
sin--He separates Himself from it.   That's what
it means to be holy.   And if we don't practice
separation from sin, we will offend and

"distance" the One we are trying to relate to:
"For what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness?"
2 Cor. 6:14

In all manner . . .
                          To be holy means to be
                          separated and sanctified.   And
                          among the chief things God
                          wants us to separate from
                          are the world's lifestyles,
                          philosophies, and principles.
                             Being holy "In all manner
                          of conversation"
means
                          separating ourselves from
                          the world in every area of
                          our lifestyle, including the
                          one area many often
                          overlook--OUR THOUGHTS!
                          Notice what God commands
                          of His children: "Be not
                          conformed to this world: but
                          be ye transformed BY THE
                          RENEWING OF YOUR MIND."

                          Rom. 12:2
                             The renewing of one's mind
                          is very important.   That's why
                          God says: "Be not conformed
                          to this world."
  In other words,
don't imitate it, don't follow it, don't behave like
it, and especially don't think like it, nor spend
most of your time THINKING ABOUT IT!   "But be
ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Holiness begins in the mind . . .
Jesus Christ taught that holiness begins with
the mind.   Notice what He said: "Ye have heard
that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt
not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her
hath committed adultery with her already in his
heart"
(Mat. 5:27-28).   Lustful thoughts are just
as sinful as the acts they induce.   The Apostle
Paul, under the inspiration of God, wrote: "...
So then WITH THE MIND I MYSELF SERVE THE

Why does God single
out the world?

God's Word says: "Ye adulterers
and adulteresses, know ye not
that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? WHOSOEVER
THEREFORE WILL BE A FRIEND
OF THE WORLD IS THE ENEMY
OF GOD."
  James 4:4
   If you want to really have a
relationship with God, the world
can't tag along.   This rebellious
world hates God.   Jesus Christ
said: "If ye were of the world, the
world would love his own: but
because YE ARE NOT OF THE
WORLD, but I have chosen you
out of the world, THEREFORE THE
WORLD HATETH YOU."
  John
15:18-19

LAW of God..." (Rom. 7:25).   God commands
us to cast down "every high thing that exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God, and
bringing into captivity EVERY THOUGHT to the
obedience of Christ..."
(2 Cor. 10:5-6).   As
truly saved, born-again, new creatures in Christ,
we are to "PUT OFF concerning THE FORMER
CONVERSATION
[LIFESTYLE] the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR
MIND."
  Eph. 4:22-23
   There's no doubt that God not only commands
us to act holy, but also to think holy.   God sees
it all; our thoughts are open to Him and we can't
walk with God in agreement if our actions AND
OUR THOUGHTS are constantly offending Him.
Christians should not be filling their minds with
thoughts pertaining to this God-hating, sin-filled
world: "SO BE YE HOLY IN ALL MANNER of
conversation."

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there
be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
THINK ON THESE THINGS."
  Phil. 4:8

Examine yourselves . . .
No one is saying a saved person could never
have an unholy thought.   However, we definitely
should not be feeding them into our minds by
exposing ourselves to worldly things that will
induce them.   For example, ask yourself:

n Do I go to the movies and allow nudity,
swearing, violence, or any other anti-God
sentiment to be fed directly into my mind?   The
Psalmist said: "I will set no wicked thing before
mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn
aside; it shall not cleave to me"
(Psa. 101:3).
"Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD" (Psa.

25:15).   What the eyes take in, often becomes
food for thought.

n Do I play ungodly video games?   Can I
honestly say that during the game my mind is
subjected to "whatsoever things are PURE,
whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever
things are of GOOD REPORT; ..."
  Do these
games praise God?   Remember God says: "if
there be any virtue, and IF THERE BE ANY
PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS."
  Phil. 4:8

n Do I constantly try to be holy when it comes
to my thoughts--"Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalteth itself against
the knowledge of God."
?   Or do I purposely
ponder upon worldly things: sports, Hollywood,
the latest music, or idle gossip, producing what
God would consider unholy thoughts?

My friend, many professing Christians are fooling
themselves into thinking they have a personal
relationship with God while, in reality, they
constantly "Grieve the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 4:30)
with their stream of worldly thoughts.   Perhaps
some of them have never even been converted.
They never truly got saved.   The Bible says,
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW
CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new."
  2 Cor. 5:17

How about you?
Are you truly saved?   Perhaps you profess to be
saved and claim to have a personal relationship
with God.   Do you practice any semblance of
holiness?   Does your "holiness" begin with the
mind?   The topics you tend to talk about the
most reflect what goes on in your mind, and the
Bible says: "They are of the world: therefore
speak they of the world, and the world heareth
them.   We are of God: he that knoweth God
heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us.
Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the
spirit of error."
  1 John 4:5-6

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because, "Not by works of
righteousness
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
us
,"
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
WHY
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
."
  Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved."
  Romans 10:9

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