Precious one ... how important is it to you to get to know God? Above all else, God wants you and I to get to know Him. Yet there is a barrier that keeps that from happening. That barrier is called sin. Yet God loves us so much that in His mercy, He provided a way for our sin barrier to be removed. What was that way?
Maybe you have heard this before, or maybe it’s the first time you have ever heard it: Jesus Christ died for your sins so all your sins can be forgiven - so that no barrier now has to remain between you and God.
Have you ever heard this: God Himself died for your sins so they can all be forgiven - so the barrier of sin between you and Him can be removed?
The New Testament Bible clearly states that literally, God Himself, was the one who purposely took the punishment on the Cross for the sins of every human being, (Read the entire first Chapter of the Book of John in the New Testament Bible for proof, or for convenience sake, click: HERE) so that they can be forgiven of all their sins, and they can have confident assurance that if they will believe this to be true -- fact -- they can be fully reconciled back to God in good standing, and can have full assurance that they not only are totally acceptable to God now … but have complete confidence that upon dying, they will immediately be in the presence of God for eternity, receiving His joy forevermore.
Simply stated, when you ask God to save you from your sins, and trust that He has (and He truly wants you to believe that He has, but the devil doesn’t!), you immediately are spiritually “reconciled back to God” in good standing. It requires nothing else! You don’t have to try to be “good enough” to ask Him, because there is nothing so bad you may have done that He won’t forgive. We are not lying to you.
However … sooner the better … you need to understand how you became spiritually separated from God in the first place. Here is what the New Testament Bible communicates:
Every person born on this planet is spiritually separated from God at birth, because of the sinful disobedience of the first two created people, Adam and Eve. All offspring of Adam and Eve was born with (inherited) this same disobedient nature to God, separating us spiritually from Him. It is our sin (and our sinfully rebellious nature) we inherited at birth that separates us from a holy God.
That's why Jesus tells us in John 3:5 that: "We must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God." We need to be spiritual reunited with God, because our sins – our sinful nature – God cannot tolerate and will not allow in His presence ... and furthermore, must judge it. An all-righteous Judge must give punishment for wrongdoing against Him and others.
Is there any way then, we can be saved from being punished in hell for eternity for our sins?
Do you want to hear some incredibly Good News? God the Father judged all our sins on the Cross! God the Father dumped His anger and wrath against our sins on Jesus Christ (who was fully God before He came to earth as a human being, and was fully God when He resurrected and went back to heaven) so that we can now be forgiven of our sins and be cleansed of them! Past sins we committed – sins we might commit tomorrow or next week or next year or next decade, if we live that long, are ... and will all ... be forgiven and He will cleanse us of them. Have you ever heard of such wonderful news?! Can you say? … “WOW!”
Let’s say it a little different way to try to help you understand what God did for humanity – for you. God Himself took full punishment for all your sins upon Himself on the Cross so that you could be fully forgiven for them and cleansed from them so that you are in perfect right standing with God again ... and have total, complete confidence that you will not be judged by God and sent to hell for those sins! If we believe this, and are willing to die believing it … we have been immediately and fully reconciled back to God in good standing, and with that comes our full right to believe that God totally accepts us just the way we are upon our asking the heavenly Father to forgive us for our sins. When we ask Him to forgive us for our sins – He promises that He does forgive us of them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness … and it’s as though we never sinned in His eyes! Simply incredible, isn’t it?!
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -- 1 John 1:8-9
But remember … you have an enemy who does not want you believing this incredible truth. His name is Satan.
(An important side note before continuing: God does in fact accept us just as we are when we confess our sins to Him and ask His forgiveness … but He loves us too much to let us stay “just the way we are” as we continue in our personal relationship with Him in the days ahead. Though He continues to forgive our sin and cleanses us once again every time we sin and confess our wrongdoing to Him and ask His forgiveness- blotting them out in His mind and never brings them back up to hold against us ... but He also has expectations that we will diligently strive to call on His help to stop committing those same sins in the future, because they will only do more harm to us than any good. God speaks a great deal about "repentance" in His Word - which means to STOP committing the same sin over and over. There is a Proverb that clearly tells us that confessing our sin to God is only HALF of what God wants from us. The other part is to FORSAKE sinning: Stop sinning. He wants to help us reach a place in our relationship with Him where we STOP committing sin against Him. Understandably - this can take years with some people to overcome one or strongholds of sin they keep committing, so don't let Satan put condemnation on anyone reading this who is struggling to gain victory over one or more sins they keep committing. God is so merciful and patient with each of us.
(Having said the above, we don't believe any Christian will attain absolute sinless perfection in this life indefinitely, but that is NO EXCUSE to continue to keep sinning. Our ever constant goal is to keep working with God to stop sinning. That is normal Christianity; the kind of attitude God wants us each having, and we'll truly be rewarded for it one way or the other).
Here is God’s promise to everyone of us from the Bible what we have sought to communicate about being "reconciled back to God" up until now:
Scripture assures us in Romans 5:8-11 of this fact -- (Words in brackets are ours to help people understand):
"But God (the Father) demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners (spiritually disobedient in our nature to Him because of our arrogant pride and rebellion - selfishness - self-will - self-centeredness - self-preoccupation - and our lust for recognition, power, money and pursuit of pleasure without any boundaries or constraints), Christ died for us.
"Much more then, having been justified by His blood (shed on the cross), we shall be saved from wrath (eternal punishment in hell at the Judgment Day, out of the presence of God and eternal joy ... forever) through Him (Jesus Christ -- The Son of God. This happens just to be two of His names).
"For if when we were enemies (separated from God because God cannot and will not bless our sin; and with our sins assuring us that upon Judgment Day, we will be judged and sentenced to hell for eternity for them) we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (if we put our trust in Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins, because He gave His life for this very purpose).
"And not only that, but we also rejoice in God (the Father) through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (the MEANS in which we can become acceptable and intimate with God the Father this very moment in time).
Scripture also assures us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 that we not only can be reunited in good standing with God NOW . . . we can also find purpose in helping others to know that they TOO can be used of God to help others spiritually separated from God to be reunited with Him in good standing as well:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (spiritual) creation; old things (our sin that kept us separated from God, and/or our attempts to be pleasing to God by "earning our way to heaven" and by "somehow trying to be good enough") have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
"Now all things are of God (The Father), who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us (saved - spiritually reborn - Christians) the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
"Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
"For He (The Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus Christ)."
[To help you understand what it means "that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" you can click: Here ]
So, precious one, if you would like to be spiritually reconciled to God this very moment, all you have to do is ask Him. You can do it in your own words, or you can repeat this simple prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you right now in the name of Jesus Christ ... asking that you save me from my sins ... so I can get to know you - so I can be friends with you.
God, I admit and confess that You paid the price for me to be able to be made right (be reconciled in good standing) with You . . . by dying that painful death on the cross and shedding Your innocent blood for me ... taking full punishment for my past, present and future sins, so they would not be held against me when I die: not held against me even NOW. When You were hanging there dying, You had me in mind. You died for me! You suffered for me! You took full punishment for ALL my sins! So now, Lord Jesus, I accept You as the one and only sacrifice that God the Father will ever find acceptable to pay full ransom payment for my sins, so that I can be reunited in good standing back to HIM, for the purpose of getting to know You, and to be qualified to be one of Your closest, most intimate friends.
Heavenly Father, I ask forgiveness for all my sins, and by my faith in what Jesus accomplished for me on the cross ... I receive your forgiveness. I ask You and thank You now for the help of the Holy Spirit [third person of the Eternal Godhead] to help me on this new spiritual journey of intimacy with You, so that I can be pleasing to You from this moment forward in every way You desire. I willingly and willfully give You my life now, to do with it as you please. I am Yours! I belong to you FOREVER! Use me to bring You glory from this moment forward and forever, however you want to do that!
In Jesus' name I ask it, and believe (trust) it to be so! Amen.
Here are some very important truths about your new Salvation (forgiveness of your sins against God and others, in other words) in and through Jesus Christ that you will want to hold onto the remainder of your life. WHY? Because Satan will be looking for every way possible to try to get you to doubt that you were ever TRULY saved in the first place ... and/or somehow you have LOST your salvation and so now God wants nothing to do with you ever again:
Because some Christians have not learned what truly saves them from the penalty for their sins and KEEPS them saved from the penalty of their sins is not just the ASKING of the Lord to forgive them of their sins, nor simply praying a prayer to the Lord that "I repent of my sins". Initially God honors that, but listen up: this is very important! Many Christians are never taught what Salvation really IS. Salvation is God forgiving you for your sins so they won't be held against you both now and more importantly, once you die. So HOW do you get God to forgive you for your sins? By BELIEVING that the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross taking the punishment for your sins was SO COMPLETE that it not only paid the penalty for your PAST sins, but any sin you may commit TODAY, and any FUTURE sins you may commit before you die.
Ephesians 2:8 tells us: For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Let's add some clarity to what God is getting at in the above scripture passage: For by grace (God's mercy for mankind; God's unmerited, undeserved, loving compassion and love for the entire human race to be restored back to Him in good standing -- sin no longer being the barrier that it once was between us and God) are you saved through faith (Faith in WHAT? This is so critical! Faith (trust - same thing) that Jesus Christ paid FULL penalty by taking our punishment on the cross for ALL our sins: Past, Present, and Future sins); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Gift of God given FREELY to humanity. God's sacrifice on the cross of Himself for every person's sin was never initiated by mankind. In other words, God never consulted a human being in HOW He should come up with a plan to enable humans to be freed to have to pay penalty for their sins for eternity once they died. It was God who initiated it and it was God providing the PERFECT sinless sacrifice of HIMSELF to fulfill it).
Satan will never be able to get you to doubt your Salvation once you have it deeply ingrained in your heart that no matter how angry you might become at God in the future - backslide into rebellion against Jesus Christ at some future point - that it is in your BELIEVING - TRUSTING - that Jesus Christ paid full penalty for all your sins - all your unChrist-like actions and/or thoughts. There is only TWO WAYS you can lose your Salvation. By your stopping believing that Jesus Christ paid full penalty for all your past, present, and future sins ... or stop caring. This is why it is so crucial to never stop trusting Jesus Christ (either by doubting or your anger) to deliver you from all deception regarding what saves you, and what KEEPS you saved.
Another issue: If you believe any false teaching that a born again Christian should never sin AGAIN once they have "become saved - saved from the penalty of their past sins" ... you are setting yourself up for Satan to mess with your brain BIG TIME! Every truly born again Christian (Saved Christian) will be sinning until they die, though less and less. It is impossible in God's sight for us to attain "sinless perfection" by our obedience to Jesus Christ in this life, yet God wants us working diligently to not give into future temptation to sin ... and hopefully we will not give in to sinful temptation/s like we did before we became Saved ... but if it were possible in this life to attain "sinless perfection", then the assumption is that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross wasn't REALLY all that necessary afterall, was it? It sounds "super spiritual" to somehow convince ourselves we have attained "sinless perfection" in this life ... but from God's perspective, we are doing nothing more than walking in spiritual deception - spiritual deceiving pride."
Positionally in Christ ... a born again Christian becomes as sinless as Jesus Christ is sinless once they enter into Salvation. Not in the next life: THIS life! Experientially ... not so. We are sinners saved by God's grace who occasionally sin until we die. (Here's a writing designed to help new Christians understand better: WHO GOD THE FATHER SAYS I AM IN JESUS CHRIST
Let's say it a little differently. If we fall into deception that we can attain (or are mandated by God to attain it, yet if we fall short, we will lose our Salvation) ... Satan will blend "religious self-works" with "God unmerited grace " in our brain. Here's a writing that may help you understand the importance of this matter: ALL CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO DO GOOD WORKS.
Our religious Doing NEVER saved anyone from the penalty for their sins ... nor will OUR RELIGIOUS DOING ever KEEP THEM from the penalty for their sins. The SACRIFICE of the innocent blood of God HIMSELF is the ONLY thing God accepted in the Old Covenant with the Jewish people to cover their sins until the promised Messiah (The Word - Jesus Christ) would one day come upon the scene and qualify Himself to be the ONLY ultimate sacrifice God the Father would find acceptable to pay TOTAL and COMPLETE forgiveness of a person's sins against an all holy God. Once the sacrifice of a sinless human being was completed on the cross and the subsequent resurrection of Him back into glory ... the sacrificing of animals and the sprinkling of their blood was no longer acceptable to God the Father regarding a person's sins.
Another issue, and a very delicate issue at that: The "formula" on hanging on this scripture ALONE as assurance of one's Salvation can give Satan room to mess with a person's mind, so let's talk about it. Romans 10:9 reads:
That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9)
God never intended Romans 10:9 to be the ANCHOR SCRIPTURE promise for our assurance of Salvation. He intends it to be a COMPANION SCRIPTURE promise coupled with Ephesians 2:8. Our confession that we believe that Jesus Christ paid full penalty for our past, present and future sins is what Saves us from the penalty of our sins, and keeps us Saved from the penalty of our sins: Keeping us fully in the security and unwavering assurance of our Salvation.
Water baptism does not save us from the penalty of our sins. Yet I fully believe God wants Christians to be water baptized when/if possible. (The dying thief on the cross didn't have time to be baptized, yet Jesus assured him of his salvation. Many people have made deathbed confessions and didn't have time to be baptized. I hope to write a separate writing on this topic in the future to explain more of my reasoning). Being a part - member - of a local church or denomination doesn't save us from the penalty of our sins either. Considering oneself to be a "Christian" or "Catholic" or a "Protestant" or a "Mormon" or a "Jehovah's Witness" (etc.) doesn't save us from the penalty of our sins either. Being a reader of the Bible doesn't save us from the punishment for ours sins nor does trying to keep the 10 Commandments. Making Jesus Christ our personal Lord and Savior BECAUSE of what He accomplished for us by taking our punishment for our sins by dying that cruel death on the cross is what saves us from the penalty of our sins. Believing and confessing this ALONE is what God says is the ONLY assurance that our sins will not be held against us on the Judgment Day.
A lot of people "confess" the Lord Jesus, which means very little if anything anymore to God, anyway ... unless they confess Him as their one and only personal Lord and Savior. And believing that God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead is also easy for a lot of people to "confess" with their mouths. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a person to confess openly with their mouth and believe it and keep believing it even if it costs them their life - without the specific and sole enablement of the Holy Spirit working in their life - that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and Savior, and it is He only who has paid full price for their sins to be fully forgiven by God the Father.
Our initial asking His forgiveness for our sins and confession to God that we are sorry for our sins against Him and others (praying "the sinners prayer"), He truly honors. But after that ... it is our on-going BELIEVING - our on-going TRUSTING - our on-going CONFESSION - our on-going REPENTANCE (Meaning a change of heart - change our way of thinking - which THEN will change they way we BEHAVE) in the FULLY COMPLETED WORK OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS FOR US ... is what He wants us having full assurance of -- to never waver from believing and confessing.
Additionally: God wants us diligently seeking Him once we become Saved to receive full revelation from the Holy Spirit that not only the above is true - trustworthy - but that Jesus Christ always WAS God, and will always BE God. He's fully and equally One of the three eternal and holy Person's of the triune Godhead: The Father, the Word - God the Son, the Holy Spirit. You can start your journey receiving that revelation from the Holy Spirit by reading this writing: GOD DIED FOR YOU ON THE CROSS TAKING YOUR PUNISHMENT
There is another very important matter that God wants us fully aware of. You can do all of the above and still walk on dangerous ground with God if you don't take your Salvation very SERIOUSLY. There is a lot of "easy believism" and a lot of "easy confessionalism" going around these days without OBEYING the commandments of Jesus Christ. Those who truly belong to Jesus Christ understand the crucial importance in PROVING to Him by our ACTIONS that when we sin, we learn to understand that purposeful, on-going sinning, is a very serious matter to Him after we have made Jesus our personal Lord and Savior. He promises forgiveness - always - for our sinning: [See: 1 John 1:9], but God's grace is NEVER a license to keep ON sinning. God's grace is also God's power given to us freely to resist on-going temptation to STOP our on-going sin after we've received His Salvation. When a Christian's heart grows cold to on-going sin in their life once they have received Salvation, God has been known to administer some very painful discipline to apathetic - compromising Christians like that. He doesn't want to have to - but be assured He WILL if He decides that is what it will take for us to walk in greater OBEDIENCE to His Commands in the New Covenant Bible -- the New Testament Bible.
Dovetailing with the above paragraph, here is another SOBERING WARNING. Satan wants to get people to believe that sin is NOT sin (Or at the very least, not CARE that it is sin). The topic of homosexuality is classic. If a Christian starts believing sin is not sin, they won't be repenting of that sin to God nor asking for His forgiveness, will they? And then they won't be asking for and trusting Him for deliverance from that sin for sure. NONE of us want to risk missing out on what God has for us in eternity by becoming a top-secret traitor of God and joining in union with Satan over this matter. The New Testament Bible clearly reveals to us what sin is, if we have any questions or doubts. If Satan could only rid this planet from the trustworthy translations of the New Testament bible, his goal of keeping people from Salvation in Christ Jesus would become so much easier. God isn't going to allow that to happen on a global scale, but it certainly isn't going to stop Satan to discredit God's New Covenant Word every way he can.
This too needs to be written: There is not ONE devout Muslim who is saved from their sins. God does not hear their prayers many times a day nor ever will until they seriously start seeking Truth and ultimately walking in Truth - God's Truth. That means there is not ONE devout Muslim who is truly right with their Creator and Judge when it comes to the matter of their sin. The Koran (Quran) that Muslims consider to be their inspired words of God is as Satanically inspired as it gets. Even a hard core Satan worshiper can be one of the nicest most pleasant and peaceful people you can ever want to meet, but they will die in their sins and pay the punishment for them once they die just like every Muslim will or anyone else believing there is an alternate way (another way) of having their sins forgiven other than obeying Truth. Truth is not for just a few. It is for EVERY person.
A highly recommended reading on what God accomplished by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is given in the following link: The Third Law: What God Demands, He Supplies
Dear one, if you have just made this decision to trust God to save you from your sins through the Lord Jesus Christ and mean it, there are a few things we would like to encourage you to do now that you are reconciled back to God in good standing:
1) Tell another Christian about your decision. It's the most important decision you have ever made!
2) Obtain a Bible as soon as possible. Trust God to provide you with an easy to read New Testament Bible. God speaks to us in different ways, but the primary way He speaks to us is through the Holy Scriptures. To hear God speak to you, lead you, and instruct you, you need to read the words He has written to you. (I realize, depending where you are right now, obtaining a Bible may be a bit difficult. So - you can have confidence that He will communicate to you in the days ahead, as is needed, even without a Bible. God is not limited in His ability to communicate to us, wherever we happen to be).
3) Take advantage of this ministry and diligently absorb the precious information it provides: FOLLOWING CHRIST
4) Trust God and actively seek Him to lead you to a group of Christian believers who you can grow with and be encouraged by. The devil is now going to assault you with his harassment, because he has just lost you from his grip. You will need help from other mature Christians who can encourage and pray with you from time to time or until you are strong enough to stand in prayer against the enemy on your own. Please, be wise and do NOT isolate yourself from other Christians.
5) Be wise in who you make spiritual relationships with. The devil has all kinds of spiritually misinformed and arrogant, know-it-all Christians (questionably "Christian", it would seem at times) to use to try to hinder your new relationship with God, and even counterfeit "Christians" on this planet (Scripture calls them "wolves in sheep's clothing"). The Holy Spirit will give you peace about who you should fellowship with, and who you should not. Follow your "heart" and not your emotions or fallible human logic. God tells you in scripture to be wise as a serpent, yet gentle as a dove. There is so much spiritual deception floating around this planet and it operates the most effectively when the label "Christian" or "Godly" or "Spiritually enlightened" or "supernatural revelation and/or divine visitation" is attached to it. You may not know a whole lot about what I'm talking about now, but I can assure you, you will in time, if you hang around here on earth for any length of time. Demonic deception has one ultimate purpose: to somehow try to shipwreck your faith and effectiveness in Jesus Christ, and/or to get you to believe it so you can pass along it's spiritual poison to others.
A demonic "religious spirit" (which often includes a "controlling spirit") covers this earth and operates at "peak efficiency" in many churches as well as in nice, cozy home settings where "religious people" often meet. The Bible calls this simply the working of the Anti-Christ spirit. It is difficult to spot often-times ... until it slowly begins to chip away at every tiny piece of joy and peace you may have. It best functions with a Bible in one hand so-to-speak and a FREE cross in the other for you to wear that injects secret tiny poisonous darts into your soul and spirit, if you innocently wear it around your neck. A dimension of the anti-Christ spirit may well even be residing in your spouse or other family members or friends, and you haven't a clue, until it seeks to devour your faith and confidence and joy in God. It is the same "spirit" that operated through the Pharisees and the Sadducee's ... the very ones who hung Jesus on the Cross. It will seek to "spiritually hang you too" ... to try to get you so discouraged and even angry with God to the point that you will want to quit trusting Jesus Christ for anything ... let alone staying engaged in helping advance His kingdom in the lives of others. It doesn't want to hang you to spiritual death in a moment of time (unless it can persuade you to commit suicide). Ideally, it wants to put you in a pot of cold water like you would a frog and let the water heat up so slowly so that you don't even realize you're dying, but having a nice, hot, relaxing bath ... until you slowly cook to death! It doesn't like to get exposed, so it operates as subtly as possible. It appears as very "religious," always remember that.
You may have never heard this, but Christianity was never meant to be "religious." It was and is meant to be "a relationship" -- a personal relationship with the living God. "Religion" will not impart to you spiritual life. It will only in the end impart to you spiritual death, in one way or another.
The demonic anti-Christ spirit will also try to get you to mix Old Testament teachings that never were to be applied to New Testament Christianity. Be extremely cautious of "teachers" who are not teaching you the critical importance of understanding Law and Grace. Mixing Law and Grace is one of Satan's most lethal yet subtle and effective strategies to confuse what you are to believe ... to walk in maximized freedom and joy in your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Learn everything you can about waging effective spiritual warfare as quickly as you can. You're going to need all of the Armor of God, learning how to effectively use it as soon as possible to keep any degree of joy and peace. Satan and his demonic hordes may not have liked you all that much before committing your life to Christ, but now that you have ... you are their most hated enemy, other than God and His holy angels and other true believers in Christ. You will remain their hated enemy as long as Satan and his helpers are allowed to continue to operate on this planet, and the Bible assures us they will until Jesus Christ comes back again for all the world to see ... yielding one big, bad sword that is more lethal than all the nuclear warheads of the world combined!
6) Commit yourself to spending time each day talking with God in prayer. Above all else, prayer is the means God has given us to develop our personal relationship - our personal friendship with Him. He is the one who saved you from being punished for eternity for your sins, and He is the One you will NOW spend eternity with. To become intimate with Him, you will need to begin talking with Him on an intimate basis. Prayer is our direct link to God. Treasure this privilege from the very beginning, and never let ANYTHING stop you from maintaining priceless on-going communication with Him. Satan will do everything in his power to frustrate your prayer life (intimate communion - intimate communication) from this moment forward. He has a lot of strategies to do that. If you let Satan "devour" your prayer life ... your peace and joy will also die with it. Don't ever let the devil trick you into that, please!
And finally . . . CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome home, child of God!
You have made the most important decision of your life! You now have the barrier of sin removed that stood in the way between you and God to become intimate friends.
From this moment forward ... make it your number one priority in life to develop your personal relationship - your personal friendship - with the Creator of the universe!