Warmth in Giving

Read 1 John 4:16-18.

Intimacy is the connection of spirit to spirit, soul to soul, heart to heart. It’s the connection people have when they love Jesus and each other. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing. Of course, true intimacy is rare these days. That’s because intimacy requires trust, the kind of trust that allows a person to be his or her true self.

There is a friend who knows all about your motives—the pure motives and the mixed motives—and yet He loves you still. He wants you to be intimate with Him, to draw near to Him. In fact, He will never reject you. He will always forgive you when you confess. He will always welcome you with open arms when you return to Him. He always has your best interests at heart. Of course, I’m talking about Jesus. Though He offers us this kind of intimacy, many people have trouble giving their entire heart to Him.

In Scripture, the heart is the center of a person’s personality. When the Biblical writers use the term heart, they are talking about the core of our being. For this reason, when we invite someone to receive Jesus into their heart, we’re really saying, “Let Him dwell at the very center of your life. Let Him dwell at the very center of your being. Let Him be the focus of your life.”

When my son Jonathan was about nine years old, my study was in the basement. Not many people would come down unless they needed something because they didn’t want to disturb my work. But Jonathan would come in and just sit in my study. I would be reading, writing, studying, and praying, and he would just quietly sit there.

“What do you need?” I would ask. “Nothing,” he would say. “Anything I can do for you?” I would ask again later, checking in. “Nope,” he would answer.

Finally, it dawned in my thick head that this child was simply content to sit quietly in his father’s presence. And that, my friend, taught me a huge lesson about intimacy with my heavenly Father. It taught me to be content to sit quietly in His presence.

If you take time and focus on the depth and the width and the breadth and the height of Jesus’ love for you, He will consume you, and you will be strengthened. You will experience more peace and joy than you ever thought possible—because you will love Him with all your heart.

Prayer: Lord, I want to draw near to You, to trust You with all aspects of my life. Grant me the discipline I need by the power of Your Spirit to sit quietly in Your presence, that I might know You more. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Growing in Your Love for Jesus: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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