“Our Hope in Trials & Uncommon Friends” August 3

 

Our Hope in Trials

Tests and trials: no one likes them. We don’t pray for them. In fact, we pray to avoid them. But trials come to everyone. So, what is it that sustains us in trials? What gives us hope? You might be surprised.

Also, read about the quality of friendship. You see, common friends are … well … common. They are ordinary and unexceptional. They are the norm. But uncommon friends … are rare blessings from God! What is the quality of your friendship? Does it focus on what the other person can do for you? Or are you focused on loving others and being a godly friend?

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 7 & 8
Psalm 90.7-17
Proverbs 22.10-11
Romans 5

 

Hope in Trials & Uncommon Friends

 

Romans 5:

Saved by Grace and Kept by Grace

 

In the previous chapters Paul explained salvation by grace—how God saves sinners through the free gift of salvation based on our faith in Christ. Here in chapter 5 Paul explains how, as sinners saved by God’s grace, we are kept by the same grace—how it is God and God alone who is able to present us, “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). No amount of good works could save us and no amount of good works can keep us! I hope you’ll take the time to read this chapter for yourself, if you haven’t already.

 

The Gospel: Our Hope in Trials

 

But let’s take a closer look at the first five verses:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Verse 8 goes on:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You may have heard the expression, “Preach the gospel to yourself.” Have you thought about what that means? We typically think of the gospel as a one-time thing, something we accept once and then move on to Christian living. But we need the gospel everyday. A true understanding of all that the gospel encompasses makes living the Christian life a joy. It’s what sustains us in trials and encourages us when we fail.

We need to remind ourselves that God loved us even while we were still sinners. Christ died for us knowing full well every sin we would ever commit and every time we would reject Him. If we understand that He loved us then, we will better trust that He won’t reject us when we fail.

He died for every sin whether committed before and after we come to know Him. Rather than giving us a license to sin, fully comprehending that should help us to love Him back, desire to live to please Him, and to love others with the same kind of love.

We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4.19).

But don’t miss verses 3-5. As we come to fully understand the gospel, we can trust God when we’re going though a trial. We should remind ourselves that the God who loved us enough to die for us, will not allow any test or trial in our lives that He won’t use for our good. We can trust Him to walk through it will us, to sustain and strengthen us, to grow our faith, and to help us mature to become more and more like His Son.

 

Proverbs 22.10-11:

Common or Uncommon?

 

Uncommon Friends - Common friends are ... well ... common. They are ordinary and unexceptional. They are the norm. But uncommon friends ... are rare blessings from God! What is the quality of your friendship? Does it focus on what the other person can do for you? Or are you focused on loving others and being a godly friend?


Two of the words used to define “common” are ordinary and unexceptional. But what does an “uncommon” or true friend look like? How does he speak? What are her motives?

Verse 11 says:

“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.”

This verse reminds me of a book I read many years ago called Uncommon Friends about a man by the name of James Newton who became friends with Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and others because of the quality of his friendship.

What is the quality of your friendship? Does it focus on what the other person can do for you? Or are you focused on loving others and being a godly friend? Do you have “purity of heart” and “grace on your lips”?

Being an uncommon friend doesn’t mean constantly flattering the other person. In fact, Proverbs 27. 6 says the opposite:

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Someone who is “pure in heart” wants the best for his or her friend. Sometimes that means “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4.15). But being “pure in heart” also means being willing to sacrifice for your friend. Sometimes real friendship is inconvenient, but when you love someone, it’s not a burden.

What is the quality of your words to and about your friends? Are they full of God’s grace and mercy? Or are they laced with sarcasm or harshness? Do you speak well of your friends or do you gossip and criticize?

Common friends are … well … common. They are ordinary and unexceptional. They are the norm. But uncommon friends … are rare blessings from God! They are exceptional and anything but ordinary!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Esther 7 & 8:

Fear of God

 

In the first part of the book of Esther she is chosen to be the Queen over hundreds of other young girls. As the story unfolds we begin to see God’s purpose in it all.

In chapter 3 a wicked man named Haman hatched a plot designed to destroy all the Jews living in the kingdom. When Esther’s cousin Mordecai learned of the plot, he sent word to Esther imploring her to intervene.

Doing so was a dangerous assignment, but Mordecai’s exhortation to her included this statement in chapter 4, “… who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (v. 14).

Through her intervention, Haman’s plot is revealed, he is killed, God’s people are saved from annihilation and Mordecai is given a position of authority under the King.

The last sentence of these two chapters sums up God’s purpose in all that He does. It says:

“Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.”

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He desires that all would be saved and come into a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2.4). The MacArthur Daily Bible notes remind us that it wasn’t that the people in Esther’s day turned to God because they feared the Jews, but they saw that the Sovereign God they served had power and authority and their false gods did not.

What do people in the world understand about God by observing you? Do others want to have a relationship with Him because of your life?

 

Psalm 90.7-17:

A Heart of Wisdom

 

Even though the Psalmist recognized the sorrows of life apart from God in verses 7-11, he soon turned to the blessings of a life spent dependent on and trusting in Him. Because of the contrast he said:

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v. 12).

He recognized the importance of seeking God’s wisdom so that we can be good stewards of our time and our troubles, learn God’s ways, and become more like Christ in the process.

 

To my “Uncommon Friends”:

I hope you are still enjoying these posts and that you share them on your favorite social media sites. There are so many out there who are missing the blessings of regular time spent in God’s Word, who are hurting and don’t know that the Bible has answers. I’ll never meet many of them, but they are your friends and family members. Your FB pages, Pinterest boards, and Twitter accounts can reach them. Social media can be used to do evil or it can be used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if you haven’t already, please consider signing up to receive these posts by email. It would be a great encouragement to me.

And if you only visit occasionally or this is your first time, thank you!

Blessings,
Donna

 

Two great books on friendships from a biblical perspective are Sarah Zacharias Davis’ book The Friends We Keep: A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship and Dr. Amy Baker’s book Getting to the Heart of Friendships. And while, Uncommon Friends is not a Christian book, it’s well written and gives great insight into the lives of some well-known and successful men and friendship, in general. For more information click on the links.


I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs.

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

16 thoughts on ““Our Hope in Trials & Uncommon Friends” August 3

  1. Thank you for sharing these words to encourage us in our relationships. I look for deep wells. I read about deep wells in Lisa Bevere’s book, Without Rival. Deep wells, there is so much more to them than what is on the surface! I seek to be a friend that is a deep well!

    • Me, too, Robin. Praying we’ll both be the friends God want us to be and learn to enjoy those He gives to us!

  2. Hi Donna, I wanted to reach out and express my gratitude to you for providing a platform such as this. It has helped me greatly in my spiritual journey of getting to know GOD, JESUS, and his word better and to say I’m thankful, is an understatement!

    • Thank you so much, Maya, for letting me know. God’s Word is amazing and I never get tired of learning more about what God has to say to us and how He loves us.

  3. Ya know, Donna, lately I’ve felt so busy in my life that I’ve wondered if I’ve taken enough time to be an “uncommon friend.” I’m trying to step back and re-center, re-organize my time this summer — so that I’ll be available for all of my life again instead of parts of it. Thanks for faithfully sharing your encouragement each week. ((xoxo))

    • Brenda, I’ve been doing that some, too. God has blessed me with 3 amazing friends and I have a desire to develop those friendships even more. Writing can become very consuming if we don’t keep it in balance. I’m glad you were here today, Brenda. Have a great rest of the week.

  4. I’ve been following you and your devotionals for almost 8 or 9 months now. Even my wife has taken an interest in your devotionals. Together (my wife and I) have made Soul Survival our Main daily devotion. It has completely changed our life. My story is way too long to share here at this time, but I wanted to express my Gratefulness to You and your staff for the Wisdom and Encouragement my wife and I have gained from walking with you through the daily devotionals as well as going through the Bible with you.
    The Bible has come Alive for the two of us. It’s Amazing. I would sometime love to share with you Everything God has done for us.
    From taking a man with No Hope and almost taking my own life to a Hope and Joy I Never Believed Possible from my Lord and Savior (Jesus Christ)and Heavenly Father. Thank you
    Philip Watson

    • Philip, thank you so much for sharing what God’s Word has done in your life. God is amazing and I’m humbled and grateful to be able to walk along side you and your wife. I believe He has even greater things to come for you both! Many blessings!

  5. “Sometimes real friendship is inconvenient, but when you love someone, it’s not a burden.” Reminds me of what John said in his first epistle about God’s commands not being burdensome. They way you’ve phrased this helps me understand what John was saying. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for letting me know that it helped you gain a deeper understanding of that passage. I love what you’re doing on your website by encouraging women to read their Bibles in a practical and systematic way. Thanks, too, for the invite to your Pinterest board.

  6. Donna, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from you. It has been awhile. I love reading the truths from God’s word as you delve into them. Thank you for the reminder that our trials and tests serve God’s purpose. This is encouragement cor my heart. Have an amazing weekend and God bless you and yours in all your endeavors.

  7. Oh, Donna. My husband and I have lived through 18 months of adversity and allowed God to use this time to strengthen our faith in Him. It is stronger than ever and in the end, He gave us the victory. Heaven’s Will Came to Earth. I wrote a post about that and all the things He taught us. Nothing is wasted by Him, everything is useful to grow us strong in the Lord and in the Word. Thanks for sharing the Word with us. We sorely need it!

    Visiting from Grace and Truth.

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