Warning: is_dir(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/) is not within the allowed path(s): (/storage/content/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/:/storage/configuration/wrappers/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/:/tmp/) in /storage/content/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 1623 It’s Relationship Not Religion - Bernard Ritchey Warning: is_dir(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/) is not within the allowed path(s): (/storage/content/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/:/storage/configuration/wrappers/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/:/tmp/) in /storage/content/86/1009386/bernardritchey.com/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 1623

It seems that the further along I am in my walk the more the statement “it’s a relationship not a religion” rings in my head and in my heart. Most of my life it was about the rituals, traditions, rules and regulations of organized religion. But the sad thing is that I didn’t realize it because I had never “owned” my salvation. My salvation was in the hands of others, based on their knowledge or title or whatever it was that made me think that they could do a better job of getting me to heaven than I could myself, so I spent the better part of my first 40 years trusting others with the most important thing in my life.

After finding myself at NorthRidge Church in Plymouth, Michigan the Senior Pastor stood up in front of 3,000 people, looked at me and said “Bernie it’s not about rituals, tradition, rules and regulations, it’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ, go home, read your Bible, God wants to talk to you and have a personal relationship with you”. Ok he didn’t actually look right at me and he didn’t call me out by name, but he may as well have.

I went home and I opened my Bible for the first time in years, I read every page, the whole Bible in less than 3 months, WOW! What I learned amazed me, and for the first time in my life I understood what the tearing of the curtain represented. Matthew 27:51 says, At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. This is the curtain that had been in the temple separating the Holy of Holies, the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, from the rest of the temple where men were allowed to be. Only the high priest was permitted beyond the curtain once a year to make atonement for Israel’s sins. But the curtain tore; it ripped from top to bottom and opened the door for us to have a personal relationship with God.

Your salvation is more valuable than the finest gold, or the biggest diamond, or any earthly thing, everything earthly is temporary but your salvation and your relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal. Matthew 16:26-27 says, What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Matthew 7:7-8 tells us, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. My prayer is that today, everyone who doesn’t already have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior will seek, knock and asks and find that amazing intimate relationship that leads to eternal life!