Why We Need Real-Life Friends

Encouragement for today Proverbs 31.jpg

August 13, 2019
KAREN EHMAN

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“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you — better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.” Proverbs 27:10 (NIV)

I recognized the familiar buzzing sound as my cell phone did a vibrating dance across my kitchen island, signifying another notification coming through on social media.

I stopped what I was doing — folding laundry while visiting with my neighbor, a fellow believer, who’d just stopped by for a chat. Then I grabbed my phone to see what the latest pings and dings were all about. One was a private message on Facebook. A second notified me of a new email. Yet another sound denoted activity on an Instagram image I’d put up earlier that morning.

When I’d finished clicking and tapping my way around all the latest notifications, I looked up. My neighbor, whom I had briefly ignored to tend to my device, announced, “Hey, I think I’ll come back later when you aren’t so busy. Have a great day.” She then headed out my front door and back to her house.

Ugh.

My heart sank. I’d allowed the appeal of my phone’s notifications to eclipse the presence of the flesh-and-blood person standing right in front of me — a soul I interact with in real life, not just through a profile picture on a device.

The abbreviation IRL stands for “in real life,” and it’s used to designate a person you have a relationship with in the real world, not just the world of the internet such as a “friend” on Facebook or a follower on another social media platform.

Compare that to a URL. The acronym URL means “Uniform Resource Locator” and is used to specify addresses on the internet. What often happens in our device-driven culture today is that we let the places a URL may take us — to a blog, social media site or comment thread — supersede the time spent with people we know in our neighborhoods, churches and communities. As a result, our IRL (in real life) relationships stagnate, suffer or even stop developing altogether.

Today’s key verse speaks of the advantage of having friends close at hand: “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you — better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away ” (Proverbs 27:10). In today’s social media culture, we certainly can cultivate online friendships that are helpful and even deep. But there’s something so reassuring about a person who knows you up close and personal, a nearby soul who interacts with you on a regular basis. I not only want to have that kind of friend; I want to be that kind of friend.

What a benefit and a blessing it is to have believing friends that are near enough to look us in the eye when we’re processing a problem or bring us a meal when needed. Such close-proximity connections grow, deepen and encourage friendships in a way that births what the Bible refers to as fellowship — a heart-to-heart bond with other believers over the shared common love of the gospel of Christ. Our faith grows when we’re face-to-face with friends.

So, perhaps it’s time we put down our phones for a bit. Could we reconnect with a real-life relationship we’ve neglected because we were too fixated on our screens? With our nearby, face-to-face, believing friends, we can share life — offering support, advice and maybe even a pot of coffee.

Father, forgive me for the times I let the pull of technology trump the call to connect with the people You have placed in my actual life. Help me connect heart-to-heart with them as we seek to encourage each other in our walks with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 John 12, “Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete.” (CSB)

RELATED RESOURCES: Do you long to grow deep friendships that encourage others and refresh your own soul? Check out Karen Ehman’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World. You’ll gain practical tips and ideas for connecting with — and finding — real-life friends.

If I step out in faith, will God follow through? It’s a question that may taunt us when facing an uncertain situation. Yet, God has given us examples where people did step out in faith, and God did follow through! Join us as we study the book of Daniel in the First 5 app, and discover how to stand firm in the face of fear. Click here to get your Experience Guide.

CONNECT: Would you like to spend time with a real-life friend sipping coffee while learning how to strengthen the relationships in your life? Head to Karen’s Instagram account, where she’s giving away a book and coffee bundle that includes everything for two people to complete her video-based study, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.

REFLECT AND RESPOND: Evaluation time! On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being never and 10 being always, where would you place yourself on how often you succumb to the tug of technology? What self-imposed guidelines can you follow to stop letting apps and sites take time away from the people in your life with whom you could be connecting instead?

Let us hear from you! Join us in the comments.

© 2019 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

EXPERIENCING LIFFE TODAY MOMEN
One Year Devotions for Women

 

 
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“For I, the Son of Man, must die since it is part of God’s plan. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer!” – Luke 22:22

Jesus provided an unforgettable example of serving others when he washed his disciples’ dusty feet. Luke 22 and John 13 are parallel passages describing the same event—the last supper Jesus had with his disciples. The passage in John shows us that Jesus lovingly washed the feet of all his disciples, including Judas Iscariot, for he had not yet left to do his evil deed (John 13:30). Not only did Jesus show his disciples how to serve one another, but he also showed them, as they might later understand, that such service would always be appropriate no matter how their audience responded.

What a great gesture! I can see Jesus lovingly handling the traitor’s feet, well aware that those same feet would shortly lead Jesus’ enemies to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest him! I can see him looking into Judas’s eyes, while Judas tried to avert his own.

So often we want to be appreciated for our gracious acts of service. We look for something in return, but a servant spirit is a giving-with‑no-strings-attached spirit. In this case washing the traitor’s feet did not turn the man’s heart back to God. But Jesus, knowing it wouldn’t change Judas’s mind, washed his feet anyway. That’s grace. Grace gives without expecting a return.

By loving and serving our enemies, we may reconcile them to the Lord and to us—or we may not. But whether or not there is repentance and reconciliation is not the point. He who washed feet calls us to do the same, whatever the results may be!

For Further Study: Luke 22:1-30  

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

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Devotional for men

 
 
Listen to my pleading, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” – Psalm 27:7-8

When Billy Graham was a young evangelist, he was invited to meet with Winston Churchill during the Harringay Crusade in London, the great British wartime leader. He was no doubt surprised and gratified to receive such an invitation. Although he has maintained strict confidentiality concerning the details of his meeting with the prime minister, Dr. Graham has spoken about his feelings as he was ushered into the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. In the presence of eminence, the young Graham felt uncertain, perhaps even inadequate.

King David, too, received an invitation one day that delighted him, but which no doubt caused him to feel some uncertainty, too. David records, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’“ (Ps. 27:8). An invitation to “come and talk with” the Lord! David was totally aware of the eminence and majesty of the Lord, and he needed no one to remind him of his humble origins as a shepherd boy outside Bethlehem. He doubtless had overwhelming feelings of inadequacy as he made his way into the sanctuary to have his talk with the Lord.

But David remembered, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger—so why should I tremble?” (27:1). David was invited to converse with the one who had repeatedly shown that he was firmly on David’s side. So he could approach the meeting, not casually or flippantly, but not fearfully or in trepidation either. Quietly and confidently, he could come before the Lord and say what was on his mind.

And what was on his mind? David wanted more than anything else to learn the secret of living in the conscious enjoyment of the Lord’s presence. “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple” (27:4). This is an unusual request for a king, a warrior, an active man, a man of the people. But it is a genuine and heartfelt expression of deep spiritual longing for a closer walk with the Lord! David wanted to talk to the Lord about the uncertainties of his life and to seek assurance of the Lord’s continued direction, oversight, and protection in his life. “Do not hide yourself from me,” he asked. “Teach me how to live, O Lord” (27:9, 11).

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Every man has an open invitation to have a conversation with God. It is an invitation to open his heart to the Lord and to say what is on his mind! It is a strange man who passes on such an invitation.

For Further Study: Psalm 27 

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.

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