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Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs 17:17’

The Company of Friends

June 7th, 2017

Navigating difficulties requires the support of friends.

“The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“The Company of Friends.”

Trouble is a common experience. You won’t always cause it. You won’t always enjoy it. But you can and must learn from it. Trouble is never enjoyable, but it can yield a maturity of life and faith that is learned in no other way. Trouble can be faced with faith, not fear. The Bible says, “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow.” Read James 1:2-5 NLT.

According to James, there are three elements which develop character and spiritual growth. Trouble – on occasion, everyone experiences troubled times or troubling people. Time – you must exercise patience and endurance to rightly learn from trouble. Truth – Godly perspective brings wisdom. Trouble is something you will have; time is something you must give; truth is something you must learn and in which you must be confident.

Among the things I have learned about trouble, this is most important. Navigating difficulties successfully requires the company and support of friends. Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one . . if one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble . .” Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT. Value those friends who will accompany you in your struggles and sorrows. Everyone needs someone alongside on their journey.

When you face troubled times or troubling people, which the Bible calls, “tribulation and persecution,” there are two questions your soul ponders about friendship. Are you there for me? And, do you care for me? Prize the gift of those friends who offer their company and compassion when you struggle most. “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need . . As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 17:17/27:18 NLT.

Jesus taught a simple yet profound truth, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the Law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT. Be that kind of friend to others. My Dad taught me a valuable lesson about the responsibility and mutuality of friendship. By his words and example, he taught me that, “You will have the kind of friends that you choose to be for others.”

I have learned the irreplaceable value of friendships. Friendship is a treasure not available for purchase or barter, and a treasure nothing else can replace. I am grateful for friends who have invited me to share their lives and inspired me to live the best version of God’s plan for my life.

Fortunately, even when no one else can be there for you – when they cannot, or will not – God is there! “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10 NIV. Though the dearest of friends may not be able to be near, God can and will be there for you always. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will not fear . .” Psalm 46:1-2 NIV. Though any circumstance and emotion may suggest differently, God is ever present. Always cares. Always there. “For God Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be confident in God and His care for you.

Christian Communications 2017-6810

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In Good Hands

March 30th, 2016

“The works of His hands are faithful and just.” Psalm 111:7 NIV.

All that is in God’s hands is in good hands.

My thoughts and comments today are about being, “in good hands.”

I am grateful for good friends, friends in whom I can trust and upon whom I can rely. I find solace in their friendship as well as their company. “A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 NLT. I hope to be that kind of friend to others as well. In that sort of friend, you know your secrets and safety are secure in their hands, and you will have their help when you need. Of necessity, your circle of such friends will be small. For one and all, there will be times when your well-being is in the hands of another.

However, some things are more than the best of friends can share. Life presents occasions when you must seek refuge in God. “Because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV. Such times and circumstances require that they be placed in God’s hands. “In the beginning, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Psalm 102:25 NIV. The One described as, “upholding all things by the word of His power,” can be trusted with your cares and concerns. Read Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV.

Paul gave simple, practical instructions how to do that. “Be anxious for nothing, but . . let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

Prayer. “In everything by prayer . . let your requests be made known to God.” When you pray, you invite God to work His will in your situation. Worrying and whining about your difficulties brings neither peace of mind nor assurance of heart. Include God.

Supplication. “In everything . . by supplication, let your requests be made known to God.” Supplication suggests a heightened sense of urgency and strong conviction that God alone holds your answer. Pray earnestly. See Ephesians 6:18 NKJV.

Thanksgiving. “In everything . . with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Prayer and supplication remains unfinished until sincere thankfulness concludes your petition for God’s grace and intervention. Give thanks. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV.

Peace of God. “In everything . . the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard and keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” All that is in God’s hands is in good hands. Solomon advised, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT. Be at peace. God’s peace can and should rule in your emotions and thoughts.

Today, I pray for you to place, “all your care on Him for He cares for you.”

EDL Bible and praying hands

 

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Friendships and Fingerprints

March 16th, 2016

A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV.

From others’ fingerprints on my soul, I am a better man.

My reflections and comments are about, “friendships and fingerprints.”

Family and friendships are what make you and I who we have become, and are still becoming. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV. The exchange of ideas and experiences develop what we believe and influence how we behave. Few things in life, if anything, are as valuable as family and friends. New friendships are invigorating – so much to discover, so many new adventures together, so many new memories to create. But for me, enduring friendships are invaluable and irreplaceable. Each friendship has its unique patina from weathering the interactions of life together.

The quality of your friendships begins with you. The Bible explains, A man who has friends must himself be friendly but there is a friend who remains closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV. You will have innumerable acquaintances that are for a season in your life but place high value on acquaintances who become friends. Don’t mistake acquaintances for friends. Invest in both; be grateful for both, but learn to distinguish the difference. Friendships require time and attention to mature.

My life is richer, our family stronger, and our ministry graced by the spectrum of friendships God ordained and provided. Those friendships are comprised of some friends older in wisdom and years, some younger and welcoming fellowship and mentoring, and some of similar age and life experience. From each I have something to receive and learn, and to each I have something to give and teach. Friendships leave fingerprints.

A friend eloquently wrote, “Without [friendships] I would hollow out like a good log that has laid on its side too long. Friendship has weighted my life with relational ballast. Like the texture of a wood floor it wears well under my feet everyday whether I know it or not.” (Old Friends, Dennis Gallaher) My lifelong friend, Don, recalled my saying to him, “Thank you for not letting me be who I would have become without your friendship.” To all my friends I owe a similar debt of gratitude. From others’ fingerprints on my soul, I am a better man. None of us are self-made. For better or worse, you are fashioned by the quality of people whose counsel you welcome, whose influence you embrace, and whose friendship you treasure.

Solomon was known for His wisdom and offered wise counsel about friendship, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray . . A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity . . The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father.” Proverbs 12:26 NKJV/17:17 NIV/27:9-10 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to value the gift of those God sovereignly places in your life.

(You can read more of Dennis Gallaher’s comments on Old Friends at: ActLikeMenBlog.Com)

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Friends

October 23rd, 2015

“A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 AMP.

The wise person knows where and from whom they will receive help and healing.

My thoughts and comments today are about “friends.”

Maybe you would recognize the theme song of Cheers, a television program popular from 1982-1993. “Making your way in the world today, takes everything you’ve got; Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came; You want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name.” The odd lot of likable characters found a sense of family and friendship in the iconic Boston Pub.

When life feels increasingly bewildering and unfriendly, you will seek the company of others, “Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” When you need refuge while you sort out life, where do you go? Some choose a busy, noisy place to drown out their own thoughts and concerns. Others like a quiet place alone where they can reflect and consider. But all seem to appreciate the reassuring company of people who welcome them whatever the time or trouble. See Proverbs 27:17 NIV.

Luke reports a time soon after Pentecost when Peter and John were brought before the prevailing, religious authorities and threatened to cease their bold declaration of the deity and resurrection of Jesus. Read Acts 4:1-21 NKJV. This was a threat of no small concern. “When they further threatened them, they let them go . . and being let go, they went to their own companions.” Acts 4:23/31 NKJV. Their response was to seek out the company of friends.

What is your immediate response when you find yourself in unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or unsafe situations? Gordon MacDonald authored, “Restoring Your Spiritual Passion,” a book of spiritual influence in my life. He proposed that every person needs three things when confusion or conflict comes and your joy of life wanes: (1) a map marking safe places where you find out who God is, (2) a calendar reserving still times when you can hear what God says, and (3) the names of special friends who encourage you to obey what God asks. “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 AMP.

But let me be clear, it’s not just any friends. The company with which Jesus’ followers gathered were people of like faith – friends filled with the Spirit of God (Acts 4:31), friends of one heart and soul (Acts 4:32), and friends who were selfless, even sacrificial (Acts 4:32). Similarly, en route to imprisonment at Rome, Paul was thankful for friends, “The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” Acts 28:15 NLT.

Friends include you in their lives. Jesus elevated the stature and privilege of friendship when He said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV. Those kinds of friends continue to restore and strengthen my faith every day.

Today, I pray for you to have valued and reliable friends for the best and worst of times.

Christian Communications 10137
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Fellow Travelers

May 1st, 2015

“A [person] that has friends must themselves be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV.

Life is best in the company of family and friends.

My thoughts and comments today are about “fellow travelers.”

Life is a journey; don’t travel alone. In your journey, joy and satisfaction are found in the company of fellow travelers. Life is most satisfying when lived in the strengthening context of healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are meant to be learned among family and friends. Those relationships are meant to complement each other, never compete or conflict. For a richness of life, you will need both family and friends. Life will still be life with good times and bad; that’s exactly why meaningful relationships are important.

Solomon wisely observed, “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17 MSG. Family and friends will share both your joys and difficulties. In the company of others, each enjoyment is multiplied and every difficulty is divided. “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other . . enjoy the company of ordinary people.” Romans 12:15-16 NLT.

In the Garden of Eden at the origin of life, God established a principle. Having filled the heavens with birds, the seas with fish, and the fields with animals of all kinds, God created man. Then God asserted, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18. But that principle extends beyond the marital relationship. Its truth speaks to the aloneness in which people are otherwise tempted to live. You are never your best without the company and contribution of the right people.

Life is best in the company of fellow travelers. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17. That is true when family and friendships function in love, evidenced through mutual care and service, and compatible with Godly values. Family and friends are meant to be complementary, contributing and completing what God anticipates for your life.

Choose friends that strengthen your desire and resolve for what’s right and best. Choose friends faithful for a lifetime, not just the moment. Jesus told about a father and his wayward son. See Luke 15:11-24. The younger son’s heart turned away from his father and home, when he sought the company of the wrong friends. The Bible warns, “Don’t be deceived, evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. You will become like those with whom you admire or associate.

Reviewing my life, I have enjoyed the graces of God and graciousness of others – born with a Christian heritage of Godly parents and grandparents, blessed with a Godly, loving wife and family, and blessed with uplifting companions God placed alongside. In such company, I find sufficient strength and manifold joys. I am a better man, husband, father, friend, and follower of Jesus because of those willing to share their journey.

While reading this, I trust you are considering, “How can I have friends like that?” I suggest you consider, “How can I be a friend like that?” In gratitude, I purpose to contribute into others’ lives as God, family, and friends have generously contributed to mine. Friendship is your response to seeing God present in another’s life and adding your applause to the process. It’s simple really, “A [person] that has friends must themselves be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24.

Today, I pray for you that your journey is joined by those who inspire you to be your best.

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