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What is a Personal Relationship With God?

Picture on a Box of Kleenex

While taking note of the trial of Anders Breivik, one of the issues that has come up is the fact that many people in Europe and America  identify themselves as Christians in a cultural sense, without meaning that they are claiming a personal relationship with God.

As a friend of the blog clarified, many believe it is possible to be an atheistic Christian in the sense that their family and national roots link them to the moral and cultural aspects of Christianity regardless of whether they believe there is a God or not.

The point raises a number of questions that deserve a response:

1.  Can we understand why many believe it sounds arrogant for a mortal to claim a personal relationship with God?

2. Do we see how it could sound like the ultimate form of name-dropping– i.e. like getting a sense of exaggerated or imagined self-importance because a famous actor or actress is a cousin of ours?

3. Can we  see why cultural Christians question how the Bible can be read as God’s personal mail to us even though it was addressed to people living in different times and circumstances a long time ago?

4. Does talking to God without hearing an audible response from him amount to the kind of conversation that would qualify us for a personal relationship?

5. How can interacting with general information about who God is and what he is like qualify as a personal relationship?

I was going to take these one at a time, but am guessing that it might help to raise the importance of the issue by listing several questions together. Am hoping that you might think of additional questions that might be in people’s minds when they hear us talk about God as if he were a family member or friend.

If we could together come up with answers to these questions, am guessing that it would not only help us clarify the nature of our own faith, but offer something for others to consider– if they only think of themselves as cultural Christians.




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62 Responses to “What is a Personal Relationship With God?”

  1. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… thank you for asking. My time right now is very limited so i will not develope my point much, but my first and formost thought is this, You are not born a Christian. If your born a Christian and that is how you identify yourself, then it is cultural birth only. Later… Gary

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    All the questions you have posed are interesting, but these two interest me the most. I have heard actual answers from atheistic, culturally Christian persons:

    4. Does talking to God without hearing an audible response from him amount to the kind of conversation that would qualify us for a personal relationship?

    5. How can interacting with general information about who God is and what he is like qualify as a personal relationship?

    I have had individuals who know and interact with me on a personal level tell me they feel as though they are talking to themselves when they try to pray. Whereas I myself might find an answer before I can formulate the question – in Scripture or in considering a “Jesus-sighting” I have experienced in life – these friends of mine seem to believe and behave as though all things are initiated or all things emanate from themselves. They believe they live in their own heads, it seems.

    Number 5 is particularly interesting to me when a person experiences a change (or not) in the level of understanding of who God is – especially in Jesus – when information about the acts of God becomes personal and intimate to life. The classic example is John Wesley, in a time of personal turmoil and defeat, hearing an inspirational talk about the Book of Romans and suddenly feeling for the first time (in his 30s) that Jesus had actually loved him so much he had removed the sin from his soul by his sacrifice on a Roman cross. For those who learn about God’s love, the entire world is turned upside down – or inside out – and we begin to live the life Christ purchased for us. We receive the life to which Jesus was resurrected.


  3. remarutho says:

    Dear Mart & Friends —

    Just in case you may believe my response is impersonal or intellectual, let me share that I need your prayers today, Earth Day 2012!

    I am praying for Jesus to pull my bacon out of the fire — to undertake in my behalf — to rearrange my life and my ministry to answer the personal request I have had before Him for a little more than a year!

    It will make the difference between being equipped to go on as the Lord’s effective servant — or faltering for lack of moral support and spiritual food. I am asking the Lord to remove me — body, mind and spirit — from the desert and to place me in a well-watered land.

    I am asking God for a personal, hand-tailored answer to my long and fervent prayer! This is not so much a prayer request for physical health, or financial provision, but rather for a way to walk with God’s people in spirit and in truth. I am not at liberty to share specific details, but I ask for prayer today.

    Yours in Christ,

  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Thank you, Maru, for opening your heart to us. I’m sure many of us will stand with you today in asking our Father to make his personal respsonse of grace overwhelming real to you.

  5. remarutho says:

    I am so grateful, Mart. Our Savior is personal, immediate and intimately present with each one who cries out to Him in spirit and truth! (John 4:23)
    This occurs for those who have never beleived before — as well as those elder sons who have served him all their lives. (Luke 15:25, 31)

  6. poohpity says:

    These are my personal responses to the questions asked;

    #1 No I can not understand why some say it is, “arrogant for a mortal to claim a personal relationship with God” when I believe that from the time of creation God created us to walk with Him in the midst of all He created for us to study and enjoy. Because I believe what Genesis 3:8-11NIV says.

    #2 No I do not consider it “arrogant for a mortal to claim a personal relationship with God”. Only if I used it to feel superior to another and because I believe it is available to all it humbles me that the job given to me is tell others that God wants that same relationship with them.

    #3 I believe if they will only read the bible they will understand that it’s truths are for all peoples in all times who live any place in the world. I believe that those who do not read it may have a lot to say about many things but once you have with an open and humble heart gotten into it you will also see and experience that the Words are meant for all.

    #4 God’s voice does not need to be audible to hear it. When God has something to say to you He will use whatever means possible to get your attention and once you have experienced that your life will never be the same. God does not need to be bound to our way. When God speaks once and we are not open to respond to it then He does not need to repeat Himself but is patient enough to wait until we will act on it. Sometimes we are asked to step out in faith before He gives us the next step.

    #5 We are given more than general information about God we are given the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Once you have experienced that then you will be able to answer this question too! :-)

    Praying for you too!

  7. poohpity says:

    I laugh to think that at one time God spoke audibly to human beings and they ran because His voice was very scary to them. Exodus 20:19

  8. jell23704iott says:


    My prayers are with you Maru. You indicated that you serve in a ministry. Hope that God answers you in a mighty way.

    As for the questions posed by Matt De Haan, there are no simple responses. People come to an acceptance of Biblical truth at varying rates. However, that begins with the reading and understanding of the Bible. It is often very difficult to come to terms with any concept until they dig beneath the surface and stop coasting by on connections and culture.

  9. remarutho says:

    Thanks to any and all for your prayers — Mart, Pooh, Claudia and Jell.

    Jell, it seems to me you have mined a jewel of understanding in the “dig beneath the surface” statement you make. To have a concept of God is nothing like calling upon God for the provisions of life. I do not pray for hardships for unbelievers — but for that transformation of mind and heart Jesus gives the willing. (Luke 24:44, 45) Especially verse 45.

    You have your motorboats and your submarines. Blessed are those willing to go “deep” with Jesus.


  10. foreverblessed says:

    Maru, I will pray for you too.
    With all the questions Mart asked, these are difficult to answer with human understanding, to start reasoning.
    Jesus is the Life, the Way and the Truth,
    How can human reasoning understand this?
    The spark of the Holy Spirit is needed.
    Although there are many people who with their human understanding start to ask questions and come to a more spiritual understanding,
    but many who do not use their mind, just feel it in their hearts, and the truth is suddenly there.
    I was more of the mind person, slowly from the head it lowers into the heart.
    As a mind person I would like to give an answer to all Mart’s questions, that would take me a long time to think, so I agree with Claudia:
    We need to pray for those people around us, the ones we come in touch with, the ones we already know, we as priests of God, 1 Peter 2:9. We have the priestly blessing Numb 6:22-27.
    Tell God, this and that person: put a mark on them, bless them with Your special blessing, so what Claudia wrote can happen to them.

  11. foreverblessed says:

    The devotional of -God at eventide, by twolisteners- of today is very appropriate:
    “Lord, show me Thyself” is a cry that never goes unanswered.
    Not to physical vision comes the awareness, but to spiritual insight, as more and more you realize My Love, My Power and the manifold wonders of My character.
    Its Humility, its Majesty, its Tenderness, its Sternness, its Justice, its Mercy, its Healing of sore wounds, and its consuming Fire.
    Man turns to books, he studies theology, he seeks from other men the answer to life’s riddles, but he does not come to Me.
    Is there a problem?
    Do not worry over its solution.
    Seek Me. Live with Me. Talk to Me. Company with Me, daily, hourly. Lo, suddenly you see.

  12. vsfg06 says:

    I have followed Been Thinking About for some time and appreciate the ministry.

    The basis–the itch–that Brother De Haan began to scratch is the trial in Norway.

    The questions relating to cultural Christian (note lower case c) status are very relevant in today’s world. I met missionaries on their mission fields over the years and almost all posited that it was easier to lead a native to Christ—without which there can be no “personal relationship”– than an American–

    Americans already considered themselves Christians (obviously many years ago—US Govt policy now is that we are to be, assertively, “nothings” in order not to offend diversity!)

    Brother De Haan’s questions are actually composed or reside on a flat tabletop inside a totally surrounding globe or bubble titled “how can a man be saved?”

    Without satisfying that question the others cannot be completely answered—they are valid and understandable enough but God is a Spirit and we must worship (substitute experience or relate. . . .) Him in Spirit and in Truth (His word is Truth).

    Thanks for all the good helpful comments. I am still learning, Praise God.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    “What is a personal relationship with God?”

    Let me begin with what is a relationship that is not personal? If by cultural Christian we mean people who identify themselves as being Christian simply because it is expected of them or their culture identifies with the *religion* of Christianity. Then there is no relationship at all only a cap or uniform one might wear of their favorite sports team.

    Do you *believe* what God says? If you do then it begins right there you personally accept Him as not only existing, but someone you can trust, listen to and talk with; a personal relationship.

    Jesus makes it possible by His sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit, not only is it personal but *They* become a part of you an indwelling of God’s Spirit in unison with your own spirit, can’t get much more personal than that.

    Maru I join with those in praying for your needs.

    Snowing all night and today, wet and heavy.


  14. oneg2dblu says:

    Maru… I have a bracelet on my wrist that says…
    ” iPray God Answers Yes-No-Wait ” I bleieve as you.
    If we pray, He hears our prayers. If we pray and we already believe that we have what we ask for, then it will be given to us. Remember that last prayer Christ gave up to His Father when He was on the Cross? His words, “It is finished!” Let that be our answer as well
    when we present our petititons before an Almighty God who will give us the desires of our hearts, and with basketfuls of leftovers, for there is no provision which He can not meet if our hearts are alingned with His Will, then we will also has His Answer.
    I know I’m preaching here, but I know you know, what I speak of here as well. Be Blessed my Brother in knowing that the step of Faith that one must take to prove one’s Faith, is not always given clearly for one to see! It is not finished until it is taken by Faith!
    God Provides! Gary

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    Here’s the rub… there is an impossible chasm to be crossed between the two pinnacles of this profound position or crisis of identity, as one is identified as a cultural Christian and the other is a committed Christian.
    The culture follows only the culture, and the committed Christian follows only Christ. That is the chasm that must be crossed, and only God can provide that bridge of crossing which changes one’s identity for Eternity.
    Man cannot on his own build that bridge, nor can culture build on its own that bridge which God has already provided for the Christ Follower.
    If we take all the imaginations of man, all the books ever written, all religious paths and achieve all the titles created by the world, we still can not cross that chasm. We still can not overcome that identity crisis. We stand alone, naked, guilty, empty and lost, until He calls us to Himself. Until He calls us to Himself we are on another path which only leads to our destruction.
    Until He calls us to Himself, and we obey Him, we are on a path to our destruction.
    Until He calls us to Himself, giving us the words which only he can provide, through Faith which only He can provide, we are on a path the leads to our destruction.
    But, if we chose to believe, if we chose to listen and obey, if we surrender to him who provides all that we will ever need, we can then identify with being His, and then we become a committed Christian.
    Until that moment of faith is discovered, that moment of mystery remains unanswered, and we remain on the path to our destruction.
    To an Almighty God I pray that He will provide that bridge to all who now feel identified as cultural Christians and know in their hearts they are not committed to Christ, because that is the only place where the relationship becomes very personal! Gary

  16. poohpity says:

    Do Christians really believe that the God of all creation wants to spend time with you everyday, just you and Him? If you do believe that then how would you describe that personal time?

    Please pray for me today as I go in for my hip revision at 5pm MST. Thank you and I probably won’t be around for a while, just remember I love you. Deb

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I will remeber you today in my prayers, or my personal time with the Lord, who is of course ever present, or omni-present. Whenever and whereever we take time to be with him also is what makes it become personal. I can not be with you personally today, but through shared faith and in prayer do we who follow find we are connected, and together with Him we are in His presence. That is not possible through a cultural understanding, but a shared miracle of faith, which is both acted on and believed. Be encouraged, be strong, and be Blessed, Gary

  18. davids says:

    Prayers for you Deb!

  19. BruceC says:

    Don’t have a lot of time.

    Will pray for you Maru!!!

    I don’t think a cultural Christian exists. You either are a follower of Christ or you are not. You believe He is either your Lord, Saviour, King, and Creator or you do not. It doesn’t really matter IMHO what folks “call themselves” it is what God knows is in your heart.
    Once heard a survey about why people in the US thought they were Christian. I was shocked; and I was also embarassed to even hear the answers. Our land has become so academically and spiritually ignorant it makes me want to cry.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  20. remarutho says:

    Praying for a good report Pooh!


  21. dja says:

    Pooh, please know that I am praying for you.
    Maru, I have been praying for you since I read your post this morning.
    Steve, I had been missing your posts and then I read why you had not been able to post. Please know that I have been and will continue to pray for you, Glenna and Matthew. May each day bring strength to you.

    I have been reading the posts most days, but have felt unable to write. Our family has had some trials, and for awhile, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. But the Lord is so good, and He is the One Who lifts us up when we are down.

    Along with having shingles, I had a heart catherization which showed no blockages for which I was so thankful. During that time, our 2nd son used bath salts and went beserk, wound up in intensive care and then was arrested on release from the hospital because they had a hard time containing him. He spent a week in jail (while I was in the hospital), and now he is home with us. While in jail, he cried out to the Lord and asked for forgiveness.

    After we got him home, we received a call from our daughter to say that her husband (age 33) had a stroke. This was his second one in 2 years. I went to help out, and came home on Easter morning, driving right to our church. There sitting in the pew with my husband was our second son who hasn’t been in church for about 20 years. I don’t know his heart, but he has told us that he is praying, and his old Bible is next to his bed. We are so thankful!

    But, before all of this, our firstborn son came back to the Lord. Unlike his brother who the Lord brought down to the pits, he just began reading his Bible and many good Christian books after being in touch with some Christian friends from years ago. Then he and his wife found a church and are going every Lord’s Day.

    We had been rejoicing with the angels when our first son came back, and then all this happened with our second son. I’m sure the devil just loved that our joy was squashed as our hearts were so heavy for our second son. From what he took and from how badly he was beaten, he could of died (without the Lord), but, once again in his life (he has had many near death times), the Lord held him, cared for him, and our son cried out to His Savior.

    Although we have many appointments (drug counseling, lawyer, etc., etc.) to go through over the next months, perhaps years, our prodigal son is back, and we rejoice with the angels that as hard as it is, the Lord has brought him back. I would so appreciate your prayers for him and for us as we go through all these things that are so foreign to us, but we know that the Lord has a purpose in all this and that all that He does is good and right.

    In line with the subject at hand: The other day, as I was praying, I was crying out to the Lord, “Lord, I gave birth to him, I nursed him and took care of him, and this hurts so much!” In my mind the Spirit of God spoke to me, “I knit him together in your womb!” If I didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord, His words from Psalm 139 would not have come to me. If I didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord, I would not have then felt this peace inside of me-a peace that I did not have when I began praying. The Lord is so good to us, isn’t He!

    Praying for the needs mentioned as I read them, and so thankful for the prayers I know many of you will be praying for me and my family.

    Cold in NEPA and rainy-might be a frost tonight, so we will cover some of the plants. Steve, we didn’t get snow, and I must say, I am thankful:-)


  22. davids says:

    Naturally, all of us understand what it means to have a personal relationship with God, but Mart does raise an important issue.

    We can get so caught up in our own beliefs and terminology that we lose the ability to meet others in their terms. I remember some years ago when I started getting involved with church organization, I had to learn lots of new terms: sanctuary, refectory, manse.

    To many people, the idea of a personal relationship with God is absurd at first. It’s like saying that I have a personal relationship with President Obama, although I have never actually talked with him.

    After all, the Bible does not say that you need to have a personal relationship with God. It simply says that you need to believe in Jesus and obey His Word. The idea of a personal relationship with God is a US expression of what will result if you do that.

  23. emi82 says:

    I suppose I would like to give my two pence worth on an interesting topic, but, it should come as no shock to us that the majority of people in Europe and the USA say they are Christian. After all whatever stage we are in rebelling against God we are His creation. Therefore, it would seem logical that we are innately somehow to understand he is our Lord. Jesus told us to become fishers of men nothing else – what does a fisherman/woman do; wait patiently – what does our Lord do; wait patiently for us to repent and stop rebelling.

    As for the monstrosities that Christians have done in the past – well only a Christian (born of the Holy Spirit) can truly understand. We live in a fallen world for the moment. I personally think that until God reveals himself to you, brings back His lost sheep, uncovers your eyes or unhardens your heart you to the Good News you will not truly understand the meaning of being a Christian. A good friend of our family gave me some wise words – “if you ever have a problem the answer will always be in the Bible refer to it, live by it and love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul”. To those who have not yet received God or are rebelling, being a Christian can be offensive we should be patient and loving always….
    Hope this makes sense!!

  24. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Each post here seems to me to be a testament of evidence of Jesus’ presence in our lives! (Matthew 28:20)

    The old see-saw debate over the existence of God rages on. The convincing evidence is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:16, 17) There is no proof on either “side.”

    I saw a news report of the pro-active atheists in the military asking for a chaplain of “their own.” They held a festival and asked Dr. Richard Dawkins to be the keynote speaker. An atheist chaplain has not yet been put in place…

    It’s like the churches in a city asking a well-known evangelist to come lead a huge outreach event — as Billy Graham did in the 50s and 60s! Though I continue hope and pray for those who seek to be acknowledged and affirmed in a self-defined spirituality — the apostle Paul’s prophecy echoes in my memory: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15)

    On a hopeful note, the prayers you have offered up — Foreverblessed, Gary, Steve, Della and all — are making the difference in my petition before the Lord. So grateful! May the Lord pour out blessings on you!

    Yours in Christ,

  25. marma says:

    davids: Interesting that you bring up the great commandment (“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…”) as that was impossible to me before I believed in Jesus, and what He did for me on the Cross.

    We use the terminology “personal relationship” as shorthand to describe what happened when we trusted in Christ. We were restored to the relationship God always wanted to have with us.

    Maybe it is because the “cultural Christian” doesn’t get it that he/she stands in opposition to God that they don’t understand that concept of a personal relationship and the need for one. I didn’t.

    Before I came to Christ, I prided myself in being a Lutheran, and therefore in the “upper crust” of protestantism. All the while not believing Jesus was the Son of God. As the scripture says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22)as was I before the Lord showed Himself and myself to me through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

    Christ is the door, the shepherd, the way the truth, and the Life. No man or woman comes to the Father except through Jesus, God’s Son.

    A person can call himself or herself whatever he or she wants. However, John 8:24 still stands.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Knowing that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ and is the second part of the God Head, as Son, means to me that who ever calls upon the name of the Lord is saved (Acts 2: 21) and thus becomes a Christian by way of salvation through Christ.

    What can be more personal than this, Jesus (God) has given me a personal invitation to be saved, I have accepted; ergo I have a personal relationship with God.

    I now have the ear of the Father anytime I go to him in prayer, because Jesus is my advocate (1 John 2: 1), this is a personal relationship with God.

    Now, how well do we keep up our end of any relationship? Do we take the time to pick up the phone and call to say hello. Or send a note via email or a card; do we stop in to see how things are?

    Or do we just go along selfishly centered only on our personal desires and distraction remembering we have a friend or family member somewhere never keeping in touch only counting them as one of many ignored?

    Here is the difference between our failure to keep alive a relationship with others and our personal relationship with God….He is always there, and when we fall down He is already there to help us back up, He never let’s go of His relationship with us, we are just complacent.

    Psalms 139: 8 tells me no matter where I go God is with me, how more personal can His relationship with me be? And If he has such a relationship with me, once I call Him Father is not my relationship restored with Him through Jesus Christ, is there any relationship more personal than never being separated?

    I am feeling better, glad for your prayers and concerns.


  27. SFDBWV says:

    Claudia, you and your husband are going to have to come visit this summer. Yes the weather channel scarred us all into thinking we get hit hard, but we ended up with a little more than 3 inches of the wet heavy snow.

    The power did kick once but came right back on. my brother had been here with us and before he left Sunday night I had him get my generator out of my garage and got it set up so all I had to do was start it and throw a couple switches and we would have been ok.

    I hope all is going well for your husband; heart surgery isn’t all that pleasant. my prayers and love for you and yours.


  28. bretnb says:

    It has been a long time since I have posted here, try to read the blog often.

    I truly believe if you are born again you can have a personal relationship with God.

    Pooh I know it is a few day ago but I have prayed for you!

  29. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day my freinds in Christ, today we hold several among us in prayer knowing that Jesus has good things in store for us all.
    If you know Him as your personal Saviour, He is with you in all your trials and in all your victories. If you don’t, then you are a cultural Christian, and still on your own, still in need of a Saviour.
    If you realize your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit because He reings in your heart, then you are not a cultural Christian, you are His.
    If you feel His presence always with you and you know that presence is Christ, you are not a clutural Christian, you are His.
    If you bring yourself to His table, eat what he has prepared for you and give thanks to him, you are not a cultural Christian, you are His.
    Have a blessed day in knowing this, cultural chrisitians
    don’t know Christ as being personal to them and they can’t fake it either, because until He calls them to himself they will find him as distant, spiritually unreal, and never as being personal.
    If nothing in them changes, then nothing changes because He has not called them to himself and changed them!
    We need to pray for all those cultural christians because they can not show the world just how personal Our Lord Jesus Christ becomes until they become His.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  30. SFDBWV says:

    I have been thinking about this *cultural* Christian idea some this morning between ramping up on all my other duties.

    I can’t at all speak for any other country or how those in other countries may think, but I can say a little about the people I know and have came across here in the USA.

    Because the USA is a mixture of all kinds of cultures and free and open ideas, I don’t think I know anyone who may qualify as a *cultural* Christian. Weak maybe complacent and lukewarm but either acknowledgeable as a believer, on the fence or not at all.

    Many of the people who died or lost loved ones in the attacks on 9/11 were not Christian at all, but most all were American and I think most people see it that way.

    I don’t think that people who are American identify themselves with automatically being thought of as Christian.

    It may be different in more Catholic dominated countries, but not here and not in my experience with interacting with other people. People understand that our country was founded by Christian peoples, but to say that being American means being Christian doesn’t fit in with any experience I have ever had in talking with others about faith matters.

    Off to doctors today…..snow is gone.


  31. Bill says:


    I’ve been familiar with RBC Ministries for three decades. I used to buy and hand out your booklets by the dozens. I have yet to encounter a Christian organization so well run, with such a sterling reputation. RBC Ministries is the cream of the crop.

    I thought I knew most of what there was to know about RBC Ministries. However, I discovered two things this morning:

    1. This blog: Been Thinking About. Looking through the postings I can see you’re extremely well read, and very bold with your views, unafraid to tackle contemporary issues (especially politics) with gloves off. I commend you highly. Very, very few Christians believe that’s their job and, so, shy away from getting involved. Thank you.

    2. You’re an exceptionally nice man. This morning, for example, you stopped me as I walked past you in a local restaurant. I hadn’t seen you sitting there. But you spotted me. You remembered my name. We shook hands and made small talk. All the while I’m thinking, “Mart DeHaan remembered my name from a conversation from several months — perhaps even a year — previous. Amazing.”

    You walk to the talk, Mart. You are an remarkable example of what it means to be a Christian. And RBC Ministries is a shining example of what a Christian company should look like.

    Thank you.


  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Please pray for my friend Charley, a cultrual christian.
    Yesterday he told me he was excited because he was going to see a very well known medium. He is being led there by other cultural christians. I felt a sense of overwhelming human tragedy playing itself out in the only world it knows. They have no Personal Saviour to take their greif, their sorrow, their mourning, their diseases, their displeasures, their all searching for what we already have, becuase they do not known Him personally.
    I told him personally that I at one time in my life would probably have done the same, but I would never go there now, knownig what I now know. I told him the bible forbids us to seek those things, for the spirit they come from is not His. I could only tell him that I would pray for him to find some level of resolve for the passing of his 24 year old son which haunts him and his wife daily. They were both raised as Catholics and as cultural christians they go to church, but as hurting parents who do not know Christ, they do not know where to go…
    Cultrual christians do not have a place that personally
    empowers them to know where to go for help, and they instead search it out in the world, and try to find it somehow in man. Their culture fails them, and they know they have raised their child up in that culture.
    The Peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding they do not understand as personal to them.
    That is the tragedy of mankind who follows only culture.

  33. BruceC says:


    I once saw a program on Christian TV (can’t remember the station) where a believer was asking people on the street if they were Christian and why they thought they were. It was very sad. There are people out there who think that because they live in the USA they are Christian. And there are those who think they are because their parents are or were. Makes me wonder what their parents believed. That is why I say that I do not believe “cultural” Christians exist because you either are a Christian or you are not and you KNOW why you are.
    Now; there are many who say they are Christians and yet deny the deity of Christ, who don’t believe in the historical resurrection of our Lord, who don’t believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, etc., etc. It’s like saying because you are in a garage then therefore you are a car. Going to a liberal “church” that doesn’t believe in the basic tenets of Christianity doesn’t make one a Christian either. We live in a truly messed up world and the enemy has deceived many. Just my humble opinion.

    I will pray for continued healing and for your family.

    Love in Christ,
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  34. SFDBWV says:

    In looking at Mart’s comments I am reminded at how angry the Jewish leaders were with Jesus’ comments about God being our heavenly *Father*. Explaining that God loves us and wants to embrace us all as did the father in the story of the “Prodigal Son”.

    If I were to make wild assumptions about a personal relationship with the creator of the universe on my own, that could be seen as an arrogant attitude, but I don’t make the personal connection on my own the scripture does it for me.

    We don’t bow down and worship earth and fire or stone and wood, we worship our creator who personally died on the cross for each and every one of us, excluding *none*.

    If we accept that he died for us how more personal can His attitude be toward us and if we accept the invitation to have that personal relationship with Him, He is there already knocking at our door with out stretched arms ready to embrace us and welcome each one of us into that personal relationship complete with the mystery of the Holy Spirit merging with our own.

    Nothing in heaven nor in the earth can separate us again from that personal love between we and our Creator.


  35. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… you said two things that make all the difference in the world, If we accept that He died for us, and if we accept the invitation to have a personal relationship with Him.
    Those two “impossible leaps” of faith are the only reason some remain just cultural Christians and others are now personally Following Christ!
    I’m so glad you didn’t say if we read about Christ enough, if we can just attend a good Church enough. If we are born within the borders off, or belong to a certain nation, or if when we have to fill in the space on a form that asks us our religious affiliation and we check off Christian, then you are a Christian.
    That’s exactly what a cultural Christian is doing right now, and it fells right to him, as he identifies himself with some familiar group of peers.
    The only personal thing going on for them is personal identification crisis resolved, but that is not a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    God alone provides all that is needed to embrace the, “If we accept…” for He alone gives us the Faith to both Believe and Accept. He puts us in a place where we can not call upon our own intellect, our deserved or acquired positions in life, our family or worldly past relationships, or anything else we know and feel comfortable in knowing.
    God alone puts us in need of a Saviour, and one that only He can provide. That’s when one becomes Born Again to Him, or a true Christ Following Christian. We are a Christian only if we accept…Christ as our Saviour! If we don’t, then we can always claim to have our cultural Christian stance to identify us instead, because having a blank on a form is not acceptable to the world around us… but true Christians thank God that He filled in the blank! Gary

  36. kingdomkid7 says:

    Hello all,
    BruceC said what I was thinking when he made the analogy to the car and the garage. I work with a lot of “cultural” Christians who say and do a lot of anti-Christ things. They think they are “good” people because they are generous with their time and often their money. But they think they are earning their way into heaven and basically scoff at people who have a vital relationship with God through believing — really believing and accepting –Jesus and receiving the precious gift of salvation and The Holy Spirit indwelling them. I’ve just been praying for these folks. They really don’t know how blind they are. So, yes, I think they might see us believers as a bit arrogant. Sadly.

  37. poohpity says:

    What is in “people’s minds when they hear us talk about God as if he were a family member or friend” hopefully rather than assuming anything they will ask us about it. Then we have an opportunity or open door to express our faith. It may be a sad thing when no one ever asks us why we talk to God like a friend, I wonder what that says about where our heart is. I pray that all who call themselves by the name of the Lord have such a close relationship with Him that outsiders will ask, “How can you talk to God like that?” or any other questions they may have about God.

    I think that when no one ever asks us about the faith we hold so dearly to, it would show that there may not be a difference in us compared to the world around us or that we may not be around enough people who still need to hear about Jesus. There are a lot of questions I still need to ask of myself if no one notices a difference in me compared to those who do not know the Lord other than the name I call myself as a “Christian” whether it is of a cultural significance or bringing attention to if I am really living out what I believe.

    I hope I made some sense because I am under the influence of pain meds, lol. Thank you for all the prayers they were answered and the outcome of my surgery was far beyond what the doctors or nurses thought and I came home yesterday. Praying for all of you guys too!! :-)

    It was good to talk with you Steve it has been a while but that brought me such joy.

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Thank God, Pooh that everything is OK with you, it is good to hear again from you too!
    Thanks kingdomkid7, for praying for these people, that is what they need!
    What we could ask cultural christians, are they being comforted when things go wrong? Do they have peace in their hearts? Are they free from guilt, do they feel forgiven for any wrong they have done in the past. Do they experience a warmth, do they have a blanket of love around them, so much that they want to to share this love with others who are in need.
    If you could ask such questions , I have not done that so far, I listen to what the Holy Spirit inspires me to say, and if He doesn’t say anything, I just pray for them, and ask God to bless them.
    And by the way, I can ask these questions to myself as well, and know that in Jesus I have all these things, and do all these things: love my neighbour as myself.

  39. poohpity says:

    foreverblessed, that is similar to what I was thinking about those who say they know the Lord but yet do not trust God in hard times or even some who say they know God but blame God when things go wrong or even say if God is God why does He allow bad things to happen to good people. There are many areas that we do not understand about God but do we who are called by His name still trust when we do not understand or have faith when everything is crumbling or what we view as crumbling around us. Can we come to a point as Paul did when he could praise God in ALL things knowing that God is in control.

    That is like when one has a good friend yet that friend does not really know anything about the other. (i.e. like favorite food, or color, or favorite movie). Those who spend a lot of time talking but never really share who they are down deep inside. I have found that a lot of people who are married do that. They do not know their spouse down deep the true meaning of intimacy. Their likes and dislikes and what makes them tick, it seems to be more of a superficial relationship. I wonder if some do that same thing with the Lord they say they know Him but when it comes to the tough questions, how would they answer those. Things that even determine our basic faith beliefs enough to share with another. Some good things to think about.

    Do we know how to bring another to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to pray with them, to know what to say if they wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts? Do we know well enough the gospel to share it or are we hesitate because we are not sure what to say?

  40. kingdomkid7 says:

    Those are good questions,Poohpity. I only know what I do — which is to share who Jesus is for me. Unfortunately, I work for the government and am under some restrictions about what I can say to people without them asking me about God first. So I jump on the opportunity to share when they do ask. No hesitation.

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… how nice to hear your voice again, and to know that prayers have been answered. I believe that the Holy Spirit will provide the words we need to bring others to Christ when we are presented with the opportunity. He has prepared the way for us, the meetings for us and the open doors as well. We only need to obey that still small voice. Healing prayers to you and with a full recovery. Gary

  42. BruceC says:

    The Lord be with you sister pooh and may He speed your recovery!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  43. dja says:

    So thankful to hear that you are home and on the mend. May the Lord strengthen you each day. Good to see and read your postings. I continue to pray for you.

    Steve, it is good to hear that you are getting stronger each day, resuming your daily work. May the Lord continue to strengthen you and encourage your heart. You are also in my prayers.

    Maru, hoping that things are going well for you-praying for you also.

    It’s a beautiful sunny day in NEPA this morning. A bit cold-we had a frost last night. Thankfully, we covered all of our plants.

    Enjoy your day all my BTA brothers and sisters. The Lord has made this day-Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

  44. poohpity says:

    kingdomkid7, it is a sad thing that our government does not even hold to our 1st Amendment rights, lol. Sometimes the risks involved in sharing the gospel are great. You go girl!!

  45. foreverblessed says:

    Della, good to hear you are praising God, whith all the trouble is your family! Good that you give all your cares to Him, I have been praying for you all, keep on praising and thanking

  46. sjonesd3 says:

    Hello everybody I’m a new member to the blog. I was reading the thread, it got me thinking as a young adult and seeing so much death around you it becomes hard to believe, and reach a personal relationship with God. Like with everything we learn in school and see on TV it always seems if the non-believers are coming out on top. It might just mean my faith isn’t strong enough yet. Would anyone have any scriptures that would help with strenghtening faith.

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    sjonesd3… Welcome! Glad you spoke up to let us know you are there. For starters I would say, let not your heart be troubled. God is in control of all things.
    Yes, what we hear and see in schools and on TV today are all about the world system, which is designed to make you think if you are worldly as well, you win!
    Christ says, you are either for Him or against Him, and if you love the things of the world, you lose!
    Those who sin seem right now to get away with murder, but what they murder is their own soul by their own sinning. Sin’s appeal is that it must feel good, gratify, satisfy, and entice us away from the things of God.
    Our very sin nature is by its nature opposed to the things of the Spirit of God. So, walking in the Spirit may look less enticing for the moment, but the rewards are Eternal. Here is the truth; sin always has its consequences, here on this earth and throughout eternity
    and none can avoid them. However, today we live in the Age of Grace where we do not always see the sinners getting their due justice. But, judgment day is coming and all will stand before the Throne of God and have to be held accountable for what they have done with their lives, their time, talents, and treasure. Surrendering yourself, Walking with Christ daily in Obedience to His word, and praying without ceasing is having a personal relationship with Him. A personal relationship is a running dialogue between Christ and yourself where the communication is ever present, ever teaching, and guiding you through His Holy Spirit. When that relationship exists you experience never feeling alone again, a place the world can not know. You begin to make better choices with your whole life, no longer running after the sins of the world as the world now does, they will just begin to take second place for you will possess a sense of guidance that the world can never know. The world knows it is guilty of sinning, and you have a forgiveness the world can never know for only Christ who is God can forgive you of your sins. You will have a peace that the world can not know; for only Christ who is God brings to his own a peace that surpasses all understanding. You will have the riches and glory of the Promises of God which the world can not have. Through Christ you will be an Heir to the Kingdom which the world can not know.
    The world is lonely, guilty, empty, and afraid of death.
    In Christ we are never alone, we are forgiven, we are fulfilled, and death has lost its sting, for Christ has overcome even death on the Cross. When you are in Christ, being fully obedient to the word, you have overcome the world and all its temptations to sin and separate you from God.
    This is something we all grow into daily as we walk with Him who the world can not see. This is something we learn from daily, as the world can not hear or sense His Presence. Yes, we live in the world and we are tested daily, and we will fail as well. But, Faith that is not tested can not be trusted, so our walk is challenged daily also as our faith grows.
    We daily run the race which God has placed before us, each in our own way to help us grow into a deeper understanding of that which the world can never know.
    It is the mystery of God in us that keeps us protected,
    Engaged and growing. Specific verses will be given to you through many voices here, I’m sure. I want you to know this, that if you have any faith in God at all, He gave it to you to bring you closer to Him. Even in the midst of this darkening world around us, we will still have His Light in us through the faith He has given us, and through His Son Jesus Christ whom He has given us, do we put our Faith. Be Strong, Be His, and Be Blessed.
    Your very asking is growing you already. Gary

  48. poohpity says:

    Welcome sjonesd3!!

    I have learned that our faith is a gift from God (Romans 12:3NIV) so if we would like our faith developed I believe we need to ask God to develop it but hang on because you will be taken into situations that you will only have God to depend on and trust in. It will however be the best thing to happen in your life and with that faith development there comes responsibility so make sure that is what you want.

    I know it is a big book but the entire Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit will guide you into the truths about God to help you know Him better and through that journey we learn that although things look so bad around us that God is still in control. May God bless your journey.

  49. BruceC says:


    Read Psalm 37.

    The wicked will have their day. God is patient with them as a man is not. He does not want any to perish.
    But a day will come when that patience comes to an end.

    Welcome aboard!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  50. bratimus says:

    Hey sjonesd3,

    I would say read the Gospels for the teachings of Christ this will strengthen your faith. Pray for the strengthening of your faith from the Lord.

    As believers we are not of this world, so the world isn’t going to give us much if anything at all. School and TV are very wordly organization.

    Jesus did say in the Gospels “To gain the whole world, but lose your own soul, what does that prophit a man”

  51. SFDBWV says:

    Hello sjonesd3, please allow me to begin with Psalms 139: 13,14,15,16,17,18. Here we see that God knew you before you were born and how uniquely personal you are to God.

    Then allow me to jump way ahead to Revelation 3: 20, here we see Jesus ask you to open the door (to your heart) and He *will* come in and have that one on one relationship He wants to have with you.

    Understanding that God is revealed to us in the God head as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the verse found in John 14: 16 clearly says that God will *give* you the *Comforter* (Holy Spirit) and that He will abide with you *forever*.

    This is a union that nothing in heaven or earth can ever separate you from, this *personal* relationship with God (Romans 8: 38, 39)

    I hope I have given you something to start with, blessings on your journey.


  52. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thanks, Pooh. I pray God continue to bless you mightily! ;-)

  53. foreverblessed says:

    Well what a big welcome to you, sjonesd3, but your question rings with me, I see so much hurt pain around me, and looking at all the bad, does no good to my faith in God, you start to waver, is Jesus really stronger then death?
    Living a life in faith with Jesus, going out in the world to the needy makes my faith grow slowly.
    Last week a little miracle happened, I sat at the bedside of a person who was ready to die, so much pain, no more food, coughing, I prayed and prayed to our Lord and Savior, put my hand over her forehead, then she said, the pain is going away (although she had had her first morphine plaster just a few hours ago, you could reason it was the morphine, but the timing of her saying that and the prayer that was around it)! She fell asleep, peacefully. The nurse came and said, I could go home, would not have to stay that night. I took it as a command from God. Then I left the house, and there was a beautiful skye, big and high clouds, the sun was setting and the red glow was over the clouds, and look liked big and mighty angels to me, covering the old peoples home I just left. The sight was awesome, and I marveled at it, and was thankful to God, for showing that to me. God is all powerful, ever present, ever looking for souls He can put His arms around to comfort, to love. Sending His mighty angels to the ones He chooses through us, going around in the world and meeting people (let us do this as christians with a living faith to the ones who are cultural christians!). And I went home at peace.
    The next afternoon, the family phoned me, to say, a miracle had happened, she is alive, talking, coming out of bed, wanting to eat a little, laughing crying.
    I take this to be a miracle, as a sign from God to me personally:
    God is greater then death!
    Acts 2:34-35

  54. sjonesd3 says:

    I had the chance to read everyone’s comments who responded to my comments thank you for responding. I will continue to pray for strengthening.


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