(By: Tony Golez)

I've come to learn that there is a HUGE difference between religion and relationship. If we just settle for religion, religion can destroy any meaningful intimacy with God. To find meaningful intimacy with God, you need to do it The Bible Way. Please allow me to share how it happened for me, in hopes someone else can be helped by it.

I was raised by my parents as Catholic. I started going to church when I was a kid. I took catechism when I was in high school and even studied in a Catholic school. I was an academic achiever during those years and was given the chance to study in a college school which was overseen by a Catholic ministry. I could recite the rosary but did not really understand the real meaning of "FAITH". I trusted God in a few areas and I thought I knew Him, and that was about it, but I surely wasn't spiritually born again as the Bible says we need to be to enjoy all God has available for us, as is spoken of by Jesus in the Book of John, Chapter 3. (Becoming spiritually born again isn't knowing facts about God -- it's about personally getting to KNOW God. He WANTS us to! It's like getting to know someone you love very much.  Knowing about that person and then knowing that person personally - intimately - is worlds apart. Becoming spiritually born again is the process of our seriously desiring the Holy Spirit to join harmoniously with our human spirit likened unto a healthy marriage).   

At age 18, I became pregnant, so I decided to stop school and focus on raising my child. I worked hard but experienced dark financial and emotional struggles, yet I did not think of calling on HIM (GOD) for help. Instead, I relied on my friends and family. 

At the age of 26, I was already a mother of four. Money was so hard to come by. I worked really hard and made sure that I could find resources for my kids and family. I was too busy with work and my kids and I can only remember going to church during their baptism and maybe an occasional wedding ceremony of some friends. I was too materialistic, which put me heavily in debt. The only thing that mattered to me the most was MONEY! Money to pay my debts and to buy things for my kids (and of course myself if there was any money left over).

I began working in a BPO company and was given the chance to be promoted to a Team Leader post after years of being an agent. The pay was fair enough to sustain the essential needs of my family, but certainty not enough to climb out of the debt hole I had dug myself into.

It was in the middle of my financial crisis that I decided to stop working because of stress (work and all those people I owed money to). I was thinking of paying them but since I didn't have anything left out of my salary, I decided to stop for a while - which only added even more stress.

I stayed at home and was invited by a friend to apply for an online job (Home-based Virtual Assistant). I applied and was hired to undergo an 8-day training class. The training was the hardest training I've ever gone through. You needed to work by yourself. You needed to study and make sure that every lesson was learned and noted. Everyday more and more non-performing trainees were evicted. We started with 19 people and were down to 7 by the 8th day.

Prior to our final assessment day, one of my newly found friends invited me to join their Sunday church service. I reluctantly said 'Yes,' but in the back of my mind I was saying, 'It's a waste of time!' Every time someone invited me to church, I found it boring and time consuming.

On our final assessment day, I was so shocked seeing our chat room. There were only 3 of us left out of 19 people who had started training. I was so nervous! I was so afraid not to pass because I had spent money to set up my computer system and ISP, and of course the time involved. 

While waiting for the results, I was shaking and I was thinking...What am I going to do if I fail? I will again have to apply for another job, and having to do that will be so tiring!

When our trainer called me for the result, she said, "I'm sorry Tony but you are 2 points away from the passing score. Your final grade is 78% and the passing score is $80%. (Oh! My God! - I gasped to myself). She continued by asking, "How important is this job to you?" I then told her that the salary of my husband wasn't enough to be able to send my kids to school and my third son was t/c of rheumatic heart disease so working from home would be an advantage because if my children needed me, I could easily be reached. 

Then my trainer said, "Tony, I was just joking! You are at the top of the class. Your grade is 87%. Congratulations, you are now officially one of our Virtual Assistants! 

"Wow! God - thank You!" Without thinking, those were the words that came out of my mouth. I then began realizing how much I should be thankful - that despite the longest time of ignoring HIM, He was still watching me and silently working for me. Then I decided to accept the invite visit my friend's church with a little more enthusiasm. 

When I entered the church, I couldn't quite explain why, but I just felt something different -- something was filling my heart. I could feel someone hugging me and whispering, "Welcome, my child!" I cried because I could really feel that God was opening His door for me and helping me renew myself spiritually. 

Things began to change inside me. Before, I didn't find the bible valuable. I did not have any interest in reading it. But as change kept happening inside me, I began to realize that EVERYTHING I needed spiritually was in the bible. I came to understand that God has given it to us for our daily flight plan. It is where you grow to learn to understand the real meaning of faith (meaningful relationship with God) and how God works for and with His people, and why we need to become spiritually born again Christians, and a lot more. The Bible is Holy Spirit food - spiritual life - for our human spirit. God never gave us a spirit to be self-sufficient; self-sustaining. Just like our physical body, it needs nourishment for our body to function at peek efficiency. Our spirit needs nourishment as well to stay healthy, and God has given us spiritual food to keep it healthy: The Bible. (He also gives us the Holy Spirit to keep BOTH our soul, which is our mind, will and emotions, and spirit) healthy as WELL. But only those who desire to become intimate with the Holy Spirit through a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ qualify to have Him ... yet He so intensely desires EVERY ONE to qualify! But He leaves that up to each of us. He won't force Himself on us. We must daily pursue intimacy with Him - putting Him at the highest priority for our living and everything else secondary. (It's a process; it doesn't just happen overnight, so be patient). 

Today, I can say that I am continuing to build my faith in Him -- working to keep it burning -- and nurturing the love of God I've discovered that will grow in depth and appreciation for all eternity. 

I came to understand why I spent so much money and got into debt before - because I was not thinking of our needs; all I was thinking of were our WANTS. I was relying on my wisdom, but did not think how powerful it is if you ask and continue to keep asking and trusting for God's wisdom. I still encounter a lot of tests and trials, as all born again Christians do (the devil will see to it!), but now I have a different perspective on matters. God has and continues to expand my understanding of the forces of good and evil in the spirit realm that affect our lives: My life and my children's life.    

Matthew 11:28:  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  I go to Him often for rest from my stressed out soul, because He tells me to and promises it helps, and it does!

Before, I always had memorized prayers. Now, I can freely talk to HIM in prayer spontaneously - any way I feel to and not fear that He's somehow not going to listen to me or I'll offend Him. I now understand the wisdom of praising HIM for everything that HE has done for all people. He's offered them eternal forgiveness for their sins, and promises to give them the Holy Spirit to help them in their relationship with the Father and Jesus. I am able to receive HIS help and strength in the times that I've run out of my own emotional and spiritual strength to keep fighting this spiritual battle between good and evil through HIS strength.  

Before, I grew tired of going to church and found it boring. Now, I feel excited to be going to church every Sunday and even my kids feel the same thing. I always feel privileged and happy every time I hear the words of GOD sung and spoken there.  

I know I have HIM in me and I won't grow tired of battling the trials Satan throws at me. I won't be tired of serving Him and knowing more of His works. I won't hesitate to share my testimony to anyone because HE changed my life; totally changed my ways. I can feel the inner peace that I had been longing for before. 

By the grace of God, I will never be lonely anymore either. Isaiah 41:10 promises: "Do not fear for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; Yes, I will help you; Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness."

I you would like to contact me, my Email address is:   mary2netz@gmail.com

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)