Devotional by Beth Moore

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:11 (NLT)

Everyone wants to be loved, to be liked, to be celebrated, to have someone who accepts us no matter what. We want to have people to turn to when a crisis hits. We want to have someone in whom we can safely confide our secrets. And there’s a reason for that.

We were made for connection.

We were made for intimacy.

When we experience intimacy, we can take on whatever life throws at us. Without it, even our greatest accomplishments ring hollow. After all, where’s the joy in success if we don’t have someone we love with whom to share it? That’s why I believe the pursuit of intimacy is the greatest, most worthwhile pursuit there is.

Granted, for most of us, pursuing intimacy is not as simple as adding more fiber to our diets. We have to work at it. But it’s worth it because deep down, we know being close to another human being matters like nothing else in the world. And being close to God? That takes things to a whole new level.

Maybe having an “intimate relationship with God” feels like one more obligation in an already-overwhelmed life. After all, intimacy is tricky enough to pull off with a real, live, flesh-and-blood person. How can we hope to have an intimate relationship with someone we can’t even see?

It’s not as hard as you might think — especially when you stop to consider what intimacy really is.

Intimacy isn’t built on grand, elaborate gestures. Rather, it’s made up of a thousand tiny, everyday moments of interaction. Every time we share an experience with someone, we build intimacy.

It’s asking your kids how their day went when they get home. It’s asking — and caring about — what your spouse wore to an event. It’s noticing a downcast face and offering a word of encouragement. It’s a private wink to a stressed-out colleague in a fractious meeting that says, “We’ve got this.”

A single note of music is an insignificant thing. But if you put enough of them together in the right way, you get Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Likewise, a single encounter may not amount to much, but if we share enough experiences with someone … that’s how we build intimacy.

And it’s what God’s Word urges us to do, as seen in today’s key verse: “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other” (1 John 4:11).

Because God is always present, intimacy with Him is possible every moment of our lives. He’s already here. We just have to show up and spend time with Him.

When you need help, tell Him. When you are joyful, recognize His goodness behind the joy, and take time to praise Him. When you see beauty, recognize the hand of the Artist and thank Him.

Give it a try. You may just find that an ordinary day — such as today — can become the most intimate day with God you have ever spent.

But wait — there’s more.

If intimacy is a shared experience, then perhaps the ultimate example of an invitation to intimacy is the Incarnation — that mystical, miraculous moment when God chose to become more like us.

He could have loved us from a distance. But God wanted to do more than just love us. He wanted to be intimate with us. Through Jesus, God shared our loneliness, fatigue, anxiety and sorrow. He shared in our joy and our pain. He provided comfort in our despair at feeling forsaken.

The Incarnation tells us that the story of our world is the story of God’s hunger for intimacy. His pain over the loss of intimacy in the Fall, His determination to recapture it and His fierce joy at its redemption.

If that’s the case, then maybe we’re already closer to God than we think we are.

Maybe intimacy with God isn’t just something we can do, but something we can also receive.

And maybe, just maybe, we can rest in that for a while.

Lord, thank You that we were made for connection and intimacy with others and with You. We pray You help us grow closer to those who matter most in our lives. Thank You for loving us so deeply. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
In an age of constant daily distractions, it can seem hard to get close to other people and to God. I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close by John Ortberg offers help in overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to making deep connections: the fact that we’re so different.

CONNECT:
Enter to WIN a copy of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg. In celebration of this book, Tyndale Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, October 16, 2017.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
As you think about your daily routine, what keeps you from getting connected? How could you take one step toward connecting with someone this week?

© 2017 by John Ortberg. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

Wisdom from the Psalms 12/1

 

December 1

Psalms 140:11
Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall bunt the violent man to overthrow him.

The committee was worried. They had elected a new chairman who was becoming vocal about some very unpopular ideas. People were getting the idea that the committee endorsed these ideas, just because the new chair so freely shared them. Some of his ideas were quite biased and offensive. Quick action was being taken to replace him, but the damage done was almost too great to measure.

The words of our mouth are powerful weapons. We can do great good by a few well-placed words, or we can wreak total destruction. The words of an evil person spread like a cancer. However, the words spoken by righteous men and women can be our greatest source of healing. Be careful how you speak, for you hold great power and responsibility within your words.
Prayer: Guide the words I speak, Lord. Spice them with Your love and concern. Make my speech a joy to others, not a burden. Steer me away from evil, I pray. Amen.

The Walk: Stay on Track – Living Free – November 29

The Walk: Stay on Track

Friday, November 29, 2019

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Today’s Scripture
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!”
Proverbs 3:5–8 MSG

Thoughts for Today
The quickest way we can get into trouble is by thinking we can figure out everything on our own. How presumptuous to think we know it all! Today’s scripture makes that so clear.

Think about it. God wants to help us with everything. He wants us to seek his guidance and trust his answers in everything we do, everywhere we go. And when we do that, he promises to keep us on track.

We need God’s wisdom. God’s guidance. God’s strength. God’s provision. And the best part is that he wants to provide all that for us! We will walk the walk victoriously only if we lean on him and trust him.

Consider this … 
We all have choices to make every day. Small and big. Momentary and life changing. So often we don’t even think to seek God’s answer unless the choice is huge and so difficult, we have given up finding the answer ourselves. But God loves us so much, he cares about everything that concerns us—big and small.

Ask him daily to guide you. To strengthen you. And stay in tune to his leading throughout the day. He guides us through his Word. Sometimes through godly counsel. And often through that still small voice.  His answers may surprise you at times but remember that his way and his plan and his timing are always perfect.

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Psalm 25:4–5 NLT

Prayer
Father, so often I allow emotions, rather than your guidance, to guide my choices. Sometimes I just want my way more than yours. Other times, I just think I have things all figured out and don’t need your help. Please forgive me. Show me the right path throughout each day, Lord, and help me to follow it. In Jesus’ name …

These thoughts were drawn from … Stepping into Freedom: A Christ-Centered Twelve-Step Program by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This twelve-step program is suggested for use in support groups, recovery groups and home groups. It offers help for anyone struggling with a life-controlling problem like drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual addiction, gambling or workaholism. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.

Every Day Light 12/1


December 1
No Fixed Rate
2 Peter 3
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (v. 18)

We are going to consider the things we need to know and do in order to gain a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. One of the questions put to me most frequently during the years in which I have been a minister and a counselor is this: “Why does one person seem to have a closer relationship with God than another, even though both have been on the Christian way for the same length of time?” Even the most casual observer of the Christian life cannot help but notice that people do not travel along the road leading to deeper knowledge of God at the same rate. We grow old at the same rate. But progress in spiritual things is not made at a fixed rate. From time to time I meet people who have fewer years of Christian experience than I do, yet they seem to know God more profoundly.

They leave me feeling seriously challenged and humbled. You have come across this yourself, haven’t you? Surely you have met people who, though younger than you in terms of discipleship, are able to forgive injuries more readily than you, seem to be free of the nasty censoriousness you sometimes struggle with, and are swift to praise others whom they see doing more effectively the things they want to do themselves. Why? This is the issue which over the coming weeks we must make plain. Lovers of Scripture will have no doubt that God wants to move closer to us. The question we have to decide is: Do we want to move closer to Him?
Father, make this time in my life a time of vision and venture in the things of God. May it become a time of spiritual advancement to a degree I have never before known. I ask all this in Christ’s Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. How does Paul describe the Corinthians?
2. What was Paul’s desire for the Ephesians?