INTIMACY WITH GOD JOURNAL
BY LINDA SCHREURS
Linda in a mountain cabin in Washington
IT'S NOT RELIGION, IT'S RELATIONSHIP
Here in Iowa, we have been inundated with presidential candidates and their opinions on just about everything under the sun, including their stance on religion. Along with that, another famous and outspoken person, Oprah Winfrey, has broadcast her stance on this topic as well with a freshly minted TV special portraying that it’s all about ‘being positive’ and having ‘faith of some kind.’ In other words, her belief, like many these days, is that as long as you have a positive mental attitude, no matter what your religion, you will do well. That may be true – but only to a point. Point being - that kind of ‘faith’ only get’s you so far, but it does not get you into the realm of eternal blissful life with the Lord Jesus Christ! All of us are headed for the eternal realm whether we believe it or not, like it or not. Eternity has always existed and mankind has only been introduced to it since God made him and placed him in the Garden of Eden. Upon our birth into this world, we are a ‘forever being.’ Upon leaving this earth at our death, our ‘forever being’ still exists whether it’s in eternal bliss with our Lord and Savior Jesus, or in the torment of an eternal hell. This all involves one thing – our faith and relationship with Him. It’s our choice. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Most of you reading this have made this significant choice toward your eternal relationship with our Lord Jesus, and know exactly what I’m writing about here. However, as I’m penning this month’s IWG Journal, the topic of the day has focused recently on each presidential candidate’s faith and what that involves, what church they belong to, how active they are in their faith, etc. Most newspaper columns and TV commentaries direct these questions in worldly terms about their ‘religion.’ Unfortunately many ‘faiths’ are more into religion which involves doing good deeds, traditions, rituals, rules and obeying the hierarchy etc. rather than having a living, active, close and intimate, one-on-one personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! When you have this kind of closeness with Him, you also are drawn to know His Words in scripture, living out its pages in your everyday life.
Recently, one of the presidential candidates stated it quite well I thought. He said, “There are some people who live and breathe a particular religion, and I live and breathe a relationship with God…A lot of people are very ceremonial. There’s this tradition and that tradition and their lives are kind of controlled by tradition as opposed to relationship. The relationship with God is what really constrains your activity.” He goes on further to say: “One of the reasons there’s been so much carnage in the name of religion is because people take on these traditions of man. They say, ‘This is the most important, and mine is the most important.’ That’s not the way God is.” I found his statement rather interesting since the Lord had laid this topic of religion verses relationship on my heart for this month’s IWG Journal. I’d say the Holy Spirit is speaking to us in various ways these days and we ought to be listening with an open heart.
The apostle Paul who used to persecute Christians became a changed man when he went from religion to relationship with the Lord Jesus. He declares in Galatians 1:12 that he received a revelation from Jesus and goes on to say in verses 13-15, “For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” [See also Acts 25:19; 26:5] As with thousands of people through the millennia, Paul’s life was powerfully transformed by an intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus.
Pure and undefiled religion as ordained by God has its positive aspects when it’s connected with His Words recorded throughout the Bible. In the book of James we see this in the first chapter. Verses 21-22, “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. “ He states it even more clearly in Verses 26-27, “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” And how does one keep himself ‘unstained by the world’? It’s by having that up close and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Pure and undefiled religion begins first with this intimacy with God and then it naturally flows out to do good works and loving others as you love yourself. [James 2:8]
Know His Words
A lot of people have religion, but they don’t know Jesus in a personal way. They don’t even read His Words that were recorded for our information, blessing and pleasure that we might grow in our walk with Him and be endowed with victory through life’s battles.
Jesus Himself calls attention to this very fact of having ‘religion’ versus ‘relationship’ in Matthew 15. You should read the whole chapter. Better yet, read the whole Bible! But I’ll quote part of this chapter here: “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?...You invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” That pretty much speaks for itself. So we see here that the Lord is very clear that it’s not about church or nice buildings or outreaches even though those are wonderful things, but it’s all about intimacy with God and knowing Him as close as you can get to Him!
You can have all the religion you want, but it’s simply not ever going to be enough. Believers in the Lord Jesus are called to know Him up close and personal and that makes way for a lifestyle of victory through His wonderful and powerful Name – which is above all names! “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12] Saved from what, you may be asking? Saved from spending eternity in a state of torment and a hellish existence forever and ever! Eternity is in the here and now, in this moment, and forevermore. It has come to us just by being created in the womb. But each individual has to make their own decision to make it a personal, committed and affectionate lifestyle of communication as they engage in a living relationship with our Creator God and His Son Jesus who came to die for Adam’s mess up of all humanity. When we bow our hearts and minds, and entire being to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, then we will have our eternal existence in unbelievable bliss and glory affirmed and secured! Seek this relationship!
Know the Bible
It is said that history repeats itself. It seems that humanity has to learn some of its basic lessons over and over again with each new generation. Each one has the free will to choose whom they will serve.’ Deuteronomy 30:14 says, “But the word [God’s Word, the scriptures] is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it….I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life…” This is stated over and over again in the Bible.
It’s extremely important to know what the Bible says. Know it for yourself and not just through your pastor, Sunday school teacher, or friend. How will you know if they’re speaking truth or not? Jesus tells us in John 18:37 as He speaks to Pilate before being condemned to death, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” [My emphasis] There is no other book on the face of the earth that is going to bring you the strength, victory, healing and joy that the Word of God does and will for all of time. The words recorded for us therein are for our intimate relationship with Him so that we can know Truth Himself and be set free from all bondages.
Listen to Joshua, in the book by his name as he admonishes the people just before they’re about to cross over into the Promised Land: “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” The next verse describes his own heart when he says, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The choice is given to all people, to all generations for all of earth’s existence. The choice given is to serve, love, honor and have a relationship with the Living God, or – it’s the ‘or’ that gets us into trouble! Take note. Take heed. Choose Jesus!
Know for yourself
Choose relationship. Get to know Him. Talk to Him. Walk with Him. Get to know His Words, His heartbeat of love for you. After all, it was the apostle John who gave us a literal interpretation of this as he lay his head on the chest of Jesus listening to every Word, every breath, every heart beat of the Divine Master, Savior, Lord, and King of glory! [John 13:23-25] It wasn’t enough for John to hear about Jesus. He longed to know the Lord up close and personal for his own self! We too must seek this closeness with God.
It’s such a blessing to share with your children, grandchildren and those within your sphere of influence about the living, vibrant and personal relationship that we can have with God. It’s not about religion. It’s about relationship. I know my husband by relationship and not like any other person. Thus our relationship with Jesus is knowing Him personally and not just learning about Him, as if He were another historical figure. Each one must seek this relationship for himself. In Luke 16 there is a story of a man named Lazarus who died. About the same time, a rich man whom he’d tried to get a few crumbs of bread from also died. So Lazarus goes upward into the ‘bosom of Abraham,’ [heaven/God], and the mean, ol’ rich man went downward to [hell]. Read this passage for yourself in its entirety, but it speaks of his five brothers who are still alive and that they must be warned of this place called ‘hell.’ But Lazarus says to the rich man across the chasm, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead,” which Jesus did of course! So it’s all a matter of faith in the Lord Jesus for your own self. No one can go rolling into heaven on someone else’s coattails. Every man, woman, and child has to come into this personal experience with Jesus. It’s all about relationship, not religion!
Intimacy with God has its rewards
In the book of Genesis, we see how Enoch walked so closely with God that God just took him up to heaven as they walked along together in spiritual intimacy at a depth of heart and soul we can’t imagine. No death for this guy, the Lord just took him right up! Wow! Likewise we see the prophet Elijah, who was taken up by a heavenly chariot! [2 Kings 2:11] What a ride that must have been! This prophet’s obedience and love for Jehovah God was astounding. Thus his reward was likewise.
Another example of this kind of up close and personal relationship is shown with the man Moses. Wonderfully, powerfully, and amazingly he knew the Lord so closely that he spoke with God face to face! Perhaps the relationship was manifested this way because Moses was being asked to do a humanly impossible task in leading hundreds of thousands of people out of the bondage of Egypt. But through his close encounters with God, even though this assignment came with a fight with Pharoah and the world, Moses won! [Ex. 3:11] There are many other examples throughout Scriptures and through the ages.
We must realize that knowing the Lord Jesus for our own selves, walking with Him closely, listening and reading His God-breathed Words in scripture will enable us to do far more than we ever thought possible. [2 Tim. 3:16] “But He said, ‘The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.’” [Luke 18:27] Do you have something seemingly impossible facing you? Then isn’t it time to get up close and personal with the Lord Jesus? He is the restorer of broken lives and that’s the most wonderful thing on earth. There is indeed POWER in a personal relationship with Jesus! Trust Him. Obey Him. Love Him!
False religion persecutes
There are all kinds of false religions in the world which I will not address here, but suffice it to say that it’s religion that persecutes. In the name of religion, so many have perished as we see more and more of in this day and age. It was religion that killed Jesus. It was the religious leaders of the day who refused to listen with open hearts and be touched by heaven itself with the love of God through miracles, healings, signs, wonders and life changing transformations. False religion kills. Relationship with the giver of life, the Lord of lords, King of kings and Savior of all mankind through Calvary’s Cross that Jesus suffered for our sins, this is relationship that radiates a never-ending heavenly existence after our deaths. As Joshua declared in 24:15, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” [Joshua 24:15]
Women of Fire Fellowship – Only a few more meetings for this year! Come if you can on Saturday Nov. 7th and 21st. It’s held at the Schreurs’ home, 6829 River Bend Dr., Johnston, Ia. 50131. This is a time to ponder, pray, and praise as we seek the very breath of God and His holy, spectacular Presence. If you have any questions, call Linda at: 515-270-0231
Linda’s Books: These can be purchased on the website or ordered directly from the address below:
- Armageddon Bride
- Word’s Aptly Spoken
- Holy Communion! Holy Invasion!
- Linda’s CD: Holy Communion! Holy Invasion! (Spiritually intimate prayers set to music)
INTIMACY WITH GOD MINISTRIES
Mike and Linda Schreurs, P.O. Box 1294, Johnston, IA. 50131-1294, Phone: 515-270-0231. E-mail: LindaSchreurs@intimacy-with-God.com. Website: www.intimacy-with-God.com
*All gifts tax deductible. *Member of Morning Star Fellowship of Ministries, Charlotte, NC