When Friends Love: 3 Outcomes of Godly Friendships

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend and Bible teacher Sheila Hupp, who is sharing about the power of godly friendship on the blog today. It’s such a neat story how we connected! Pastor Joe Ferreira, my former pastor, now shepherds her church in Connersville, Indiana where I had the privilege to speak last year. Through mutual friends, we’ve had the opportunity to meet online, and I’ve been blessed by the way she presents God’s Word with clarity and simplicity.

As we walk through this year filled with uncertainty, we need godly friends more than ever to come alongside us, and we need to be that kind of friend to others. Be encouraged today by this challenge from Sheila.

Guest post by Sheila Hupp

At the beginning of the year, I started reading the Bible from the beginning in hopes that I would finish all 66 books by the end of December. I have always been intimidated by the Old Testament but once I dug in, I have become a huge fan. What surprised me most of all was how much I love Moses. I have been completely blown away by his humble leadership and the amazing example of his life.

Personally, I admire how Moses felt completely inadequate to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, yet God chose him and used him anyway. Moses was God’s choice for the leader of His people; however, Moses did not lead them alone. As any good leader knows, a strong support system is necessary for success. Moses had a wonderful friend and advisor in his brother Aaron and many other friends who helped him along the way.

Friends Work Together

During the time of reading Exodus, I was inspired by Moses’ reliance on his friends and the success they all achieved from working together.  One instance that melted my heart and made me look at friendship in a new light was when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites (Exodus 17:8-13).

The story begins with Joshua being ordered to round up his soldiers and fight while Moses prepared to go up on a hill the next morning. On that hill during the battle, Moses raised his hands toward heaven, and the Israelites were able to fight and take a stronghold over the Amalekites. As Moses’ arms grew tired and his hands began to drop, the Amalekites grew in power and started to overtake the Israelites.

The beauty of this event is that Moses was not alone on top of that hill. Aaron and Hur joined him and were seeing the same events take place. They saw that when Moses had his hands up in praise to God that the Israelites were strong and dominant. They also saw that as Moses grew tired and his strength began to wane, the enemy had the advantage.

Friends Go to Battle Together

This is when the story gets good. Aaron and Hur did not just sit back and watch their people lose, nor did they stand still while Moses struggled. These two men jumped into action and held up Moses’ hands when he could not any longer. Moses was depleted and his people were suffering. Moses was tired and the battle was being lost. Alone, Moses could not lift his arms in worship to God, but his friends who journeyed up the hill with him were willing and ready to lend their strength during his time of exhaustion.

Each time I read this story, I weep. What an incredible illustration of the need for good, Christ-focused friends. This story makes me seek out friends who will go to battle with and for me, friends who will rush to hold my hands up when I no longer have the strength.

God created us, just like Adam and Eve, to live in fellowship with one another while simultaneously living in worship to Him. When this occurs in the church, our friendships play crucial roles in the growth and depth of our faith. The people we surround ourselves with can either distract us from our faith, or they can run ahead of us toward a deeper faith and a stronger longing for Christ.

Friends Share Strength

In January, my 40-year-old husband was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer. We were shocked and heartbroken over this discovery and clung to our faith. Our family and friends rallied around me, my husband Matt, and our three young daughters. They lent us their strength when we were running on empty. They reminded us of the view from the mountaintop while we were living in the valley. We were in a war, and they jumped in to hold up our hands.

To Aaron and Hur, it may not have seemed like holding up Moses’ hands was a big deal. They may have even dismissed their contribution to the victory. But to the warriors at the bottom of the hill engulfed in battle, this small act saved them. This illustration of shared strength resulted in life, not death.

As the people we love encounter hard times, we have a great opportunity to love them through it. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times” (NKJV). This includes the wonderful mountaintops and the grotesque valleys. We may not be able to solve the issue or make the pain go away, but we can find ways to walk up the hill with them and hold their hands up when they need it.

My prayer for you and for me is that we will be friends who love at all times and raise future generations of believers who fiercely love their people.

Be encouraged by this guest post by Bible teacher Sheila Hupp who challenges us to be the kind of friend who loves at all times. @khogrefeparnell

About Sheila Hupp

Sheila Hupp is a Christian speaker based in Indiana with a passion for encouraging women to view life through a lens of faith.  Sheila guides women of all ages to embrace their past and live their future for God’s glory by allowing Him to make miracles out of messes.

During her presentations, women are empowered to step into the role God created for them and given the biblical resources to support and encourage each woman in her faith.

Sheila is the proud wife to Matt and mama to three girls: Gracie, Mattie, and Emmylou. She and her husband homeschool their children and enjoy spending time together outside with their dog Annie.

Connect with her online at sheilahupp.com


Choose Life’s Travel Companions Wisely

My friend and colleague Maria and I traveled to Italy in September.

The last few months have redefined epic adventure in my dictionary. From travel hacking Italy with a colleague to a surprise engagement trip in the mountains of North Carolina, I’ve been overwhelmed with God’s blessings and the people He’s placed in my life.

However, there’s a difference between amazing people and iron-sharpening people. I’m grateful mine qualify as both, but as we’re choosing friends to do life with, we should consider some important questions.

Do they point you to Christ?

I went on a North Carolina hiking trip in October with my fiance James and friends Devon and Conrad.

There are plenty of people in this world who model ingenuity, bravery, kindness, and adventure. From the world’s standpoint, they personify the ideal. These charismatic people attract a crowd, and although they can be generous and inspirational, they’re missing the main thing.

Without a personal relationship with God, a person with everything the world has to offer has nothing of lasting worth.

Do the people in your tribe encourage you to have a closer walk with God? Do they keep you accountable and ask you to do the same for them?  Beyond that, do they pray for you and with you (James 5:16)?

We need to surround ourselves with Spirit-filled friends who strengthen our faith and won’t let us settle for status quo.

To read the complete post, visit DailyPS.com.

Who’s in your tribe? Do they build you up and make you better? Most importantly, do they point you to Jesus Christ?

~ Kristen

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Choose Life’s Travel Companions Wisely – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

A Cord of Three Strands

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen the rescue kitten that now runs my house (only partially joking there).

Good news is that low-to-no budget toys are often what makes kitty happiest. The other day, Mom gifted my little Ness with a red crochet strand with a jingle bell at the end. Turns out, it once belonged to some Christmas socks my great-aunt made me … a long time ago.

Despite the years, those three strands remain tightly knit together, at least until my kitten gets the best of them.

In the Bible, Solomon uses the visual of a three-strand cord to visualize why we need strong friends in our lives. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says,

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (NIV).

This verse reminds me of Proverbs 27:17 which talks about an “iron-sharpening” friend. A true friend challenges us to be better, lifts us up when we’re low, and stays with us during tough times.

How can we be this type of friend in return?

  • Stay in touch, and spend “face time” (not the app) with them. This point may seem obvious, but as we graduate from school and get older, keeping in touch gets harder. The distractions of life and social media don’t help. To be a good friend, let your friends know you’re there for them.
  • Ask how you can be praying for them, and then faithfully present their needs to the Lord.
  • Talk about God’s Word with your friends. Share what you’re learning or reading. If you can, join a Bible study or Sunday school class together.
  • Look for opportunities and ways to bless them. You could do something as simple as picking up a bouquet of flowers, treating them to coffee, or offering to babysit (or kitty-sit, in my case). Speaking from personal experience, I’m incredibly grateful for my amazing friend who watches my fur baby when I’m out of town!

Say hello to little Ness!

One of the Women of Faith Bible studies I use defines a good friend this way:

A good friend is one who trusts, understands, gives space, and is willing to speak honestly into your life. – Building Your Strengths

Are we that kind of friend?

A fictional example

In my prequel to The Revisionary called A Cord of Three Strands, Portia makes a pact with her brother Darius and best friend Luther to stick together like the three-corded rope they use for a fishing anchor. They understand that they’ll be stronger if they watch out for each other. Little do they know what forces are at work to tear them apart.

I’d like to share this novella in e-book format with you! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, subscribe using the pop-up to receive your free copy. If you’ve already subscribed and would like to receive the novella, please email me at kristen@kristenhogrefe.com, and I’ll send your electronic copy.

Parting thought: How can we be the type of friend God wants us to be?

~ Kristen

Tweetables

A Cord of Three Strands: Free Novella! – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

How strong are your friendships? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)