Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)He reminds us that He is our Rock even when our family isn’t:
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10)Jesus encourages us with His continual presence:
“–and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)Knowing about God tells us how to get started, but experiencing Jesus intimately takes us beyond the Bible. The Bible is our guide, our stepping stone of faith, and the map for our soul. Our relationship with Jesus extends beyond this text and into the mysteries and challenges of the moment where Jesus Himself promises to be. Outside the Bible, Jesus wants to spend time with us in worship, prayer, times of adversity and loss, and through victory— just like a best friend would. But unlike some people, Jesus never tires of us. He’s never not in the mood to be around us or to hear our voice. He can’t get enough of us. He did, after all, create us. In the very stillness of His love and grace, Jesus prefers us over creation. God didn’t provide the Bible for us to learn from during Bible studies so we could reserve intimacy with Him only during those times. The message of the Bible was not meant to be reduced to time only spent behind closed doors, or with only a small group of people. The Bible regards all of history—the entire timeline of human race, the events of which extend even into the future. Therefore, everyone needs to hear about it, whether they end up accepting its truth or not. Ultimately, the Bible was not written for us to dismiss intimacy, on the contrary; of its many purposes, God wrote the Bible so we could learn to build intimacy with Him in our lives. In 2017, we exist at a time when our relationship with Jesus will either define us or tear us apart from everyone and everything we know. Our world is coming to a time when what we believe in will separate us from each other, or join us together. Intimacy with God will be the number one way to distinguish between those who believe in Jesus as Lord, and those who view Him as a character in a book. When we surrender what we have in this life for His sake, He gives us what we need one-hundred fold (Mark 10:29). To trust in God is to remember that He gave us everything we have because He is good, and because He cares. What He doesn’t give to us is what He knows we don’t need (or not yet). With a God so trustworthy and so intimate, there is no reason to keep God locked in the Bible. There is every reason to share Him and embrace His presence. Let Him speak into you, and then look up into your world, recognizing the beauty of His love all around you, and thank Him for every breath in your lungs, every time you receive an unexpected gift from a friend; every time a person acts out of selflessness. Remember God speaks in so many ways. To say, “I haven’t heard God in a while” only bespeaks our level of intimacy with Him. I would invite us to practice being thankful for the little things, not just the obvious things. Small as some things may appear to be, they add up, and as they do, they speak of God’s desire for us to experience His blessings all the time. We are not only known by Christ, we are loved deeply, intimately, and eternally. What can you do to help build deeper intimacy with God today? I’m so excited for you to know our Father God through Jesus! I’m so excited to think of so many people desiring Him beyond only text. He needs to be inside of us. Deep, deep inside our spirit where only a best friend and Savior could be.
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