Counseling Archives

What Is Faith?

If someone asked you this morning, “What is faith?” How would you answer that question?

The root word of ‘faith’ is PISTIS. That word is a noun.

FAITH – PISTIS means faith, belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, faithfulness.

The root word of ‘believe’ is PISTUEO. That word is a verb.

BELIEVE – PISTUEO – to trust in and rely upon, commit to the charge of, confide in, have a mental persuasion.

What a great thought that my faith is the act whereby I lay hold of God’s resources, and I become obedient to what He has prescribed for me. I put aside all my self interest and self-reliance, and trust Him completely. It is an absolute surrender of the whole of my being and a complete dependence upon Him. It is wholly trusting and relying upon Him for all things. It is not just a mental assent to the facts and realities of His Word, but it is a deep inner commitment to the convictions which have come to me through His Word. By faith,  I have a firm conviction that I can fully commit my life to God’s charge and be assured that He knows what is best for me.

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Failure Isn’t Final

Sometimes it is hard to build our days on pleasant thoughts when we feel like we are a failure. Satan is always trying to make us focus on our weaknesses and failures.  We must constantly remind ourselves that we are God’s creatures and thank Him for the way He has made us. We are valuable to Him, and He wants us to live abundant lives. At those times in our lives when we begin to have thoughts of being  failures, we must not allow our minds to dwell on our imperfections and begin to look at our failures as life’s way of teaching us.

No one is perfect! Once we begin to accept our failures and surrender them to the Lord, He will release us from our bondage of trying to be perfect in all things and will use those failures to draw us closer to Him.

I was sitting here tonight listening to the song on You Tube Failure Isn’t Final sung by LuLu Roman. I really didn’t know much about her life, but I just came across a bio written about her.

LuLu has enjoyed many successes in her life, but also more than her share of disappointments and hardships. Famous for her side-splitting humor and jovial disposition, a lesser-known story lies behind those clear, radiant eyes, which have often been filled with tears of both pain and joy.

People know LuLu as the most requested female cast member of the long running hit television series, “Hee Haw”. Many know her as the accomplished and celebrated songwriter; and as the singer who has been successfully making records for over 25 years.

Few know that Lulu was born with a thyroid dysfunction in a home for unwed mothers and was soon placed in an orphanage. It was there that her weight problem furthered her pain, preventing her adoption and making her the center of teasing by the other children. It was also during this time that LuLu learned to use her sense of humor as a defense.

That sense of humor later evolved into a highly successful career as an actress and comedienne with a lead role on “Hee Haw.” Success and wealth, however proved poisonous to the actress who began her career in her early twenties. Drug addiction led LuLu on a downward spiral that nearly destroyed her life and her career in 1971.

LuLu’s search for happiness and acceptance, which had almost led her to her personal destruction, instead led her to God. It was her new found faith in God that led her to begin using a talent that had been laying dormant for many years: her voice.

Listen to her sing the song that she wrote Failure Isn’t Final on You Tube.

Important Communication Guidelines


  1. Be a good listener. Do not answer a person before he has stopped talking. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
  2. Think before you speak. Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
  3. Do not use silence on a person to show your anger or frustration with him. Explain the reason that you are angry or frustrated. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
  4. Do not become involved in quarrels. Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
  5. Do not respond in uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
  6. When you are wrong, admit your offence and ask forgiveness. Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
  7. When you do forgive someone, never bring the offence up to him again. Genuine forgiveness means: I won’t bring it up to the person again-I won’t bring it up to anyone else-I won’t let my mind brood on it. Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do
  8. If someone verbally attacks, criticizes, or blames you, do not respond same way. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  9. Try to understand the other person’s opinion. 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
  10. Do not blame or criticize the other person. Try to encourage and edify. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Teaching a Child to Handle His Conflicts

One of the best ways to help your child learn to handle his conflicts is to demonstrate how you handle your conflicts.  After you have gone through a difficult situation, which could have been a conflict, talk to your child about it. Explain to him, “If I had really said or did what I wanted, I would have created a severe conflict with that person. How I thought before I spoke, and I chose my words, I prevented a conflict.” If you didn’t react in a right way, be brave enough to share with your child what you did wrong, and ask his forgiveness.

Tips to help teach your child how to handle conflicts:

  • Help your child learn to think about his words before he speaks them to others. Make up a childhood situation which could ultimately lead to a conflict. Then ask your child to explain to you how those words would make him feel. By allowing your child to imagine harsh words spoken to him, and how those words might make him feel, could help him learn to think before he speaks.
  • Help your child learn to make a better choice of his words. We all struggle at times when we don’t know what to say during disagreements. Explain to your child that it is much better to keep quiet than to say the wrong things. Share with him that people never forget bad things that are spoken to them.
  • Rehearse with your child these two things.  Will my words build up or tear down? Will my words be helpful or hurt-filled?
  • Help your child learn that his actions will speak louder than his words. Explain to him what he chooses to do will have a greater impact on someone than the words he says to him. If he says a kind word or does a kind act for his friend, it will show his friend that he cares more about him than what his words say to him.
  • Help your child learn from the mistakes of others. When you see other children having conflicts, use those situations as teaching moments. Ask your child, “How to you think that little girl felt when her friend said that to her?” Instead of complaining about your child’s conduct, watch how other children communicate, and use those examples, good or bad,  as teaching toola to handle his personal conflicts.

When God’s Gifts Aren’t Wrapped How You Hoped

Written by Paul Chappell  December 23, 2016

Life has a way of handing us unexpected and unwanted packages.

A pink slip from your employer.

A bad report from the doctor.

An eviction notice from the bank.

A harsh email from a strained relationship.

Too often, the package delivered with your name on it isn’t a present you want.

The first Christmas was wrapped in an unusual set of circumstances: Joseph and Mary having to make a difficult journey in the last trimester of her pregnancy…and then to have to give birth in a stable.

But the way Jesus chose to come reveals that the “surprises” in our lives that look so foreboding to us truly are unusual packages of God’s grace.

So what do we learn from the first Christmas about what to do when life hands us unwanted packages?

Trust God’s Providence

Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was no accident. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning where Jesus would be born.

Seven hundred years before Mary and Joseph began the difficultly-timed journey to Bethlehem, God had instructed the prophet Micah to record, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Life is full of unavoidable circumstances. We can expend our energy in futile efforts to change them. We can spend our time stewing in bitter resentment over them. Or we can trust God’s providence in the midst of them.

Although we may not see God’s hand of providence for years to come, we can trust that anything out of our control is filtered by the hand of our loving Father. He will not allow into our lives anything through which He cannot fulfill his promise in Romans 8:28.

Showcase God’s Grace

The presentation of Christ to this world was not the way we would have planned it. And I think we can safely say it is not the way Mary would have planned it either. (What mother wants to lay her newborn in a used feeding trough?)

But, with the enabling grace of God, Mary’s response to the unusual package of the manger magnified God’s grace, rather than opening it up for question.

Mary could have complained. She could have become angry toward God. “God, first You make me travel ninety miles when I’m great with child, and now this?! Couldn’t I at least have a comfortable room and clean surroundings in which to give birth? Why would You do this to me?”

Because Mary and Joseph received the incredible gift of Jesus—with no expectations of how He should be delivered or presented to the world—they deflected the attention from themselves to the manger.

And the manger became a showcase of grace where shepherds knelt in worship of God.

Wholly Surrender to God’s Will

Why did God choose Mary? The complete answer to that question is known only by God. But it is significant that Mary was willing—truly submitted—to receive this unusual, and in some ways heavy, gift.

Sure, there was great cost involved for Mary. But she yielded to the Lord, bore the cost, and cherished the gift.

God isn’t looking for the strong or searching for the famous. He gives His most precious gifts to those who will simply yield their wills to Him.

Our problem is that we see what looks to us like distasteful wrapping, and in our selfishness, we plead with God to take back His gifts.

Not so with Mary. She simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

What To Do with Your Gift

What about you? Are you staggering under the load of an unusual package—one that you never would have chosen, but have no way to release?

Are you struggling to understand the unavoidable circumstances that have come into your life?

Are you disappointed in the harsh realities of failed expectations?

Tiptoe to the Bethlehem stable. Gaze on a weary young mother, required to travel far in her last month of pregnancy—only to find a barn in which to give birth. See a crude manger. But don’t look solely at these wrappings. Peer beyond, into the manger, and see the face of God!

Yes, Christmas is a gift. And sometimes God sends His greatest gifts in the most unusual packages.

Trust His providence.

Showcase His grace.

And wholly surrender to His will.

In time, you will learn that God gives the best surprises.

(This post is adapted from chapter 3 of Christmas Is a Giftavailable also on kindle.)

Satan Wants to Defeat You and Your Church Today

Have you ever thought about this? “Satan is very organized with his team of demon. He has assigned certain demons to you, your church, and your people to try to defeat your church and everything you do.”

As we begin this New Year, we must be aware of Satan’s tactics as He tries to defeat us.  He will try to deceive us by targeting our minds and the people we serve. He will use his weapons of lies.  His whole purpose is to make us doubt God and be ignorant of His will for our lives. His goal is for us to believe his lies instead of God’s truth.

You might be thinking, “You just don’t understand…there are times in my life when I feel so helpless and weak that I don’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.”

Paul must have known that his fellow Christians had those same feelings when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to defeat Satan…YOU MUST STAY IN GOD’s WORD! The only defense you have against Satan is God’s Word.  How do you do it?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

  1. Present your body. The first thing to do when you wake up and set your feet on the ground is to tell the Lord, “I surrender my body to You, and I am preparing for today’s battle.
  2. Present your mind. The next thing to do is do reach for your Bible. Present your mind to God for spiritual renewal. It is only through God’s Word that we can renew our minds and transform them.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t read long chapters. As you are reading…, stop…when you get to a passage that speaks to you. Meditate on that passage. Memorize a verse that will help you in your battle for the day. I came across a wonderful app for memorizing Scripture. (Scripture Typer)

  1. Present your will. You do this by prayer. The Word of God and prayer always go together. Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Whatever you pray, always pray according to God’s will…not your own will.

Now it’s time to put on God’s armor. My husband and I got matching T-shirts for our Christmas pajamas that said, “Put on the armor of God…in smaller print below that it said…put on the whole armor”

Sometimes we go out of the house with partial armor on, and Satan attacks us in an area where we are not protected.

  • Girdle of truth: Since Satan is a liar, we must oppose him with God’s truth.
  • Breastplate of righteousness: Since Satan is our accuser and reminds of us our past sins, we must remind ourselves that we are justified through Christ’s righteousness. The breastplate covers our heart. Often Satan uses people—including Christians—to slander and accuse us, and we are tempted to fight back. But we must not allow these fiery darts to penetrate our armor.
  • Shoes of peace: Our shoes help us keep our footing…helps us from falling down. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
  • Shield of faith: We have the promises of God to quench those fiery darts. That is why it’s so important to memorize Scriptures. When Satan hurls those darts…hold that shield up reciting a promise!
  • Helmet of Salvation: 1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. Depression and discouragement comes to all of us but…Praise the Lord…we are saved and we have the hope that soon Jesus will return and take us home.
  • Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God is our defensive weapon. A material sword must be handled with physical power, but the Spirit of God enables us to use the Word of God effectively to defeat Satan. Our Lord always said, “It is written!”

 I came across a prayer in Warren Wiersbe’s book The Strategy of Satan that is a great prayer for us to pray every day:

Father, thank You for the provision You have made for victory over Satan. Now, by faith, I put on the girdle of truth. May my life today be motivated by truth. Help me maintain integrity. By faith, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. May my heart love that which is righteous and refuse what is sinful. Thank You for the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith, I put on the shoes of peace. Help me to stand in Christ’s victory today. Help me to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. By faith, I take the shield of faith. May I trust You and Your Word today and not add fuel to any of Satan’s darts. Thank You that I can go into this day without fear. By faith, I put on the helmet of salvation. May I remember today that Jesus is coming again. Help me live in future tense. Protect my mind from discouragement and despair. By faith, I take the sword of the Spirit. Help me remember Your Word and use it today. Father, by faith I have put on the armor. May this be a day of victory.

How Can I Maintain the Right Attitude Everyday?

Steps to Maintaining a Right Attitude and Experiencing God’s Fullness

  1. Recognize negative thoughts and emotions as they come into your mind.
  2. Confess them as sin and repent of them.
  3. Give all your past hurts and injustices over to God.
  4. Get into God’s Word and reprogram His truth back into the place where Satan has placed lies.
  5. Now walk by the faith of God’s Word. Realize that He has cleansed you and restored you.

 Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

  1. Present your body to the Lord.Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  2. Deny yourself.

Matthew 16:24  Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

  1. Be willing to do what God asks you to do.

 Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

  1. Moment by moment, take every negative thought captive.

II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

When To Be Blunt and When To Be Tactful

This article  was written by Pastor Greg Baker and taken from Christian Baptist Articles–For more of his articles go to: articles.christianbaptists.com

Sometimes your bluntness just gets you into more trouble. Sometimes, your tactfulness doesn’t seem to convey the magnitude of the situation or of your feelings. So when should you do either? This article contains guiding, helpful principles for both.

PRINCIPLES FOR TACTFULNESS

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

There are several principles that ought to be followed in regards to knowing when a tactful or diplomatic response is better than a blunt one.

  1. In all personal relationships. Treat your relationships like you would a fragile and expensive piece of china. Remember that your words can act like a sword (Proverbs 26:22). Unless you have a relationship that is flat out wrong or destructive, treat each one as very special, very important. The strength of these relationships is often determined on the strength of your communication. I believe that God meant for you to find joy and happiness within your relationships-including, naturally, your relationship with Him. Possessions and material wealth is a far, far second. Being blunt and forceful in your relationships will bring more conflict than joy.
  2. When you must correct someone. The manner in which you correct someone often determines how they receive it. I understand that there will always be some that take correction badly, no matter how it comes, but even so, your words ought to demonstrate how much you care. It is important to be tactful when you correct someone.
  3. When you must talk about other people’s relationships. Nothing will make you an enemy faster than appearing to intrude into someone else’s business. Telling others how to run their relationships is sure to send the wrong message and to be counterproductive. Learning to be tactful in these situations will help prevent you from making unnecessary enemies.
  4. When you are trying to help. Most of us like to help, but how we come across will determine if someone will accept our help or not. People will reject your assistance if they misunderstand your intentions. Even when you aren’t trying to correct someone-just want to help-your words may come across as condemning and people don’t take to that very well.
  5. When you need help or cooperation. Some time ago, a woman called me up asking for help. Normally, I try to help anyone if it is within my means. But this woman, before I even said hello, began to chew me out for the way other people had refused to help her. She went on and on about how no one cared, no one would even try to help, and she made me feel that it was all my fault. Sorry to say, I took offense and told her that with an attitude like that, I’d be surprised if anyone ever helped her. I regret my remarks, but if she would have been more tactful, I probably would have tried to help. She made it so that I didn’t want to help.
  6. When someone is hurting. Don’t be cruel to the grieving. Even if what you say is the truth, a little bit of tactfulness will go a long way in helping someone. When people are hurting, particularly if they went ahead and did something stupid against the advice of others, an ‘I told you so’ is grievous to that person. It doesn’t help. Learn to be tactful around those that are hurt-even if they deserve what they got. They still don’t deserve you adding to their pain.
  7. When you want someone to do something. This is a big one. Trying to get people to do something that you think they ought to do difficult even if you are tactful. But being blunt will only cause a wall to be raised between the two of you. If you come across as a know it all, bossy, more holier than thou, or even condescending, you’ll find people having no wish to do what you want them to do. I’ve never tasted coffee. The reason for it is just before I went off to college, a man asked me, “Are you taking a large coffee pot with you?” I frowned and replied, “No, I don’t drink coffee.” He smirked and, in a very annoying voice, countered, “Oh you will. You will.” I got so irritated at his ‘I know more than you’ tone of voice that I vowed I’d never drink coffee. I had nothing against it, per say, but now I had a reason not to. And I haven’t. Sound silly? Of course it is, but this happens all too often. Learn to be more tactful.

PRINCIPLES FOR BLUNTNESS

There are times when being blunt is necessary. Although, in my opinion, it is more important to know when you need to be tactful and gracious. These will get you much further in life than being blunt. Still, bluntness does have its place.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Here we see Paul being blunt about a mistake that Peter had made. In other scriptures, we see Jesus and John the Baptist verbally flogging the Pharisees. Their bluntness is a matter of record, but there is a lesson to be learned from it as well.

Here are a few principles that allow, and even call for, bluntness:

  1. When it is vital to get someone’s attention. If your child is playing in the middle of the street and a car is approaching, you’re not going to be diplomatic about trying to get him to move. You’ll start yelling, bluntly, at both your child and the driver hoping to get either or both of their attention to protect your child. Sometimes, it is essential that we get someone’s attention. This is usually to keep them from hurting themselves or hurting others.
  2. When speaking in crowds or in general terms. It is when you are singling someone out that you ought to be tactful. But telling the truth about, say, political corruption may offend some, but is appreciated by the majority. As a pastor, I often speak bluntly about the social woes that plague our society. Some may not like it. But the majority will appreciate someone who is not going to beat around the bush. Even in casual conversation with only one person, you can be blunt when speaking in general terms. In fact, the bluntness is appreciated and is often preferable to political correctness. You can’t appease the masses. So don’t try. Be honest in such situations. We live in a society where feelings have trumped relationships. We are more concerned with someone’s feelings than we are with establishing good solid relationships. Well, I’m offended at such a preposterous notion. See, you can’t please everyone, so in crowds or speaking in general terms, you can be blunt. Not that you must, just that you can.
  3. When you must protect someone. People are worth protecting. A good relationship is worth salvaging. If someone comes to you to tear down the reputation of another, send him on a way with a blunt, “I don’t listen to trash.” If someone tries to seduce my children to try drugs and I catch him, I’ll have plenty of blunt words to say. I’m not seeking to change the dealer, but rather to protect my own children. If both are friends, I would revert back to tactfulness. Paul had to protect all the Gentiles from the corruptive thinking that Peter had fallen prey to. This wasn’t about Peter as much as it was about thousands and thousands of other people.
  4. When you must protect a value. Morals and values are the ties that bind relationships. When two people share the same values and morals they invariably have a closer relationship than those that do not. These values need protecting. If it’s just you under attack, you can ignore it. But when it involves others, you may need to go to bat for them. Sometimes bluntness is the best action.
  5. After all tactfulness has failed and it’s still necessary to say it. There will be times when you try to be tactful and the person you’re talking to either just doesn’t get it or refuses to hear it. Be sure that it is indeed one of those times before deciding to be blunt. The desire to say something can be stronger than the need to say something. If you still feel that you must be blunt, then this is the time to do it. Be warned, you’ll probably cause hurt feelings. So if it comes to this point, be prepared to help heal any injured feelings that you might cause.

Author Resource: Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships. Visit our website at: fitlyspoken.org

For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, ‘Fitly Spoken’, a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.

Devotion: Developing Friendships

Devotion given at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Mineral Wells, TX Ladies Brunch, 5-7-16

A survey was taken of 300 people. Included in this survey, the people were married, single, men, and women between the ages 18-82. Each person was asked to write a brief definition of a friend.

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around. Someone who has tactful truth and not afraid to tell you you’re slip is showing.”

“One who knows you well, but still loves you.”

A person who understand you, appreciates your view and is loyal to you. Someone who has common interests.”

Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts your for who you are, and it faithful to you when the chips are down.”

We will never find a perfect friend because we all have faults. I love this definition of a true Christian friend.

A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.”

Four Types of Friendships

There are some friends that we would give our last dollar to, yet others we only speak briefly when we meet them at church or at the grocery store. These are our acquaintances or casual friends.

We might have 500 acquaintances each year, but have fewer than 7 friends. We can develop many acquaintances through shopping, working, and church, yet we would not call them good friends . We see these people on a regular basis…we know them by their first name… and may at different times initiate social contact with them.

  1. Acquaintances: These are friends we meet at work, friends from church, friends in our neighborhoods, and even some of our relatives.
  2. Personal friends: These are friends we have made through the years and we want to remain close to them.
  3. Mentors: These are friends who have contributed to our lives in teaching or guiding ways. These could be friends who counseled us through difficult times in our lives.
  4. Intimate friends: These are the friends to whom we can pour out our hearts. We share our deepest feelings and hopes. They meet us at our point of deepest need…we just enjoy being with them. These are the friendships that have lasted for years.

Even our Lord had intimate friends. Mark 5:37  And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

What are some of the things we need to build good friendships?

Foremost…friends must know Christ: As Christian women, we have a different basis than non-Christians for building friendships because we have the Lord and His resources to draw on.

Of course, we want to develop friendships with those who don’t know the Lord, but our goals for developing those friendships are to lead those new friends to Christ.

Developing friendships take TIME and EFFORT: Two great pillars for building a good friendship are time and effort. Sometimes it takes months and years to develop a good friendship.

  1. LOVE: First element of building a good friendship is love.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. Some people build friendships with others for selfish reasons. If a person has money or position, everyone wants to be that person’s friend. Make sure you build your friendship on love not on what another person might be able to do for you.

  1. ACCEPTANCE: Second element of building a friendship is acceptance. Acceptance does not always mean that you agree with everything your friend does…but praise the Lord, Jesus accepts us, even when He doesn’t agree with everything we do.

If we get judgmental with our friends, it slams the door on building good friendships. There is a difference between sharing the truth in love and judging another person’s motive.

Our world uses false foundations for developing friendships.

Possessions…What do they have?

Performance…How well do they do? Our society is very much performance oriented. The world tells us that we will be accepted if we perform well at school or in the business world.
Position…How important are they? This is based on their performance.
Appearance…How do they look? We live in a world that worships beauty and youth. The girl who is not beautiful has a far better chance of being a happy wife!  Beautiful people get used to being praised and expect it all their lives. When wrinkles come or strength declines and lose the praise of others…what do these women have left? Nothing.

Friendships built on these false foundations are based on the limitations of human love and not God’s love. They are superficial and will not last.

Think of the consequences of using these foundations.

If we begin comparing ourselves with others, we feel forced to compete and begin to feel alienated from people because we will either feel inferior or superior. When we feel inferior, we feel jealous, threatened and insecure and don’t want to be around those people. When we feel superior, we become conceited and obnoxious and no one wants to be around us.

II Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: …comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

It is interesting that the original meaning of Competitive meant  Strive Together toward a Goal.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Our friends can provoke us or stir us on to greater ambitions. In fact, it was a dear friend who inspired me to write my book.

  1. TRUE UNDERSTANDING: Third element of building a good friendship is to develop true understanding. This only can come from God Pro 2:6..the Lord giveth wisdom and understanding.

How do you develop true understanding? By listening. Learn to give advice sparingly. Pro 18:13…don’t answer a matter before you truly listen.

Listen closely to what the other person is saying. Let him know that you really hear what he is saying. Ask questions to clarify what he is saying…then summarize what you have just him say.

Think before you speak…respond very carefully. Take a moment to think about what you are about to say before you just blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Remember you will not be able to take back your words once they come out.

  1. SACRIFICE: Fourth element of building a good friendship is self-sacrificing. What does it mean to sacrifice…it means you are willing to give up something that is more important to you for something that is less important. Make mental notes of your friend’s struggles…send her a text or a card. Remember her birthday, anniversary, or other important dates. Be willing to reach out even if it costs you. How much time have you spent praying for a friend when she is going through a very difficult time. Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

David desperately wanted a drink from well.  2 Samuel 23:15-16 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

What a sacrifice David’s friends were willing to make for him. If his David’s friends were willing to sacrifice their lives for David’s request, why would he pour out the water that he wanted so much?

First, it showed his honorable disposition and his repentance for his own weakness.
Second, to let his men know that he had said something unadvisedly.
Third, it showed a denial of his own appetite. He longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem…but, when he got it, he would not drink it, because he would not gratify his own foolish desire.

David’s example of pouring out the water  on the ground not only showed that he had rule over his own spirit, but it also showed his devotion towards God and his tenderness toward his servants. David couldn’t believe that his three brave friends would risk their lives to bring a drink of water back for him.

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT: Fifth element of building a great friendship is encouragement. Some friends drag you down. Encouraging others increases their self-esteem and causes them to have more positive outlooks on their situations. Friends either drive us to God or away from Him.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  1. LOYALTY: Sixth element of a building a great friendship is loyalty. Everyone wants a friend with whom he can trust. Loyalty means that you will defend your friend when someone gossips or criticizes her. A friend keeps a friend’s secrets to himself.

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

That verse tells us that when we cover and forgive an offense, we seek love, but if we repeat or harp about a matter, it separates even close friends. If we are a true friend, we will not gossip about our friends’ faults…we will be quick to forgive them.

Loyalty is the key element to true friendship. If we repeat something that a friend has entrusted to us, that will probably be the end of our friendship because he will never come to us in confidence again.

  1. FUN: The last element for building a great friendship is fun. We must be able to laugh and have fun…but still be serious. Find something to do that you both enjoy doing. (Host a potluck, go for dessert and coffee, take a cooking class together, roast marshmallows, watch a Christian movie) Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Cheerfulness in our spirits influences our bodies. When we are depressed, it dries up the marrow in our bones.  Marrow is a special, spongy, fatty tissue that is found in our stem cells. These stem cells transform themselves into white and red blood cells and platelets. These blood cells and platelets are essential for our immunity and circulation.

The Secret of a Friend

Some people always seem to know,
How to make each day worthwhile;
They know how to catch the sunshine,
And how to wear it in their smile.

And they always seem to have,
A little time that they can spare;
Especially, when you need to know,
There’s someone who really cares.

They always take a sincere interest,
In all the things you say and do;
And when others turn and walk away,
They stay, and help you see it through.

They are willing to give of themselves,
In ways that never seem to end;
In our heart they have a special place,
That’s why we call them our friend.

Modest Dress Illustration

A girl bought an iPad, when her father saw it, He asked her “What was the first thing you did when you bought it?

“I put an anti-scratch sticker on the screen and bought a cover for the iPad” she replied.

“Did someone force you to do so?”

“No” “Don’t you think it’s an insult to the manufacturer?”

“No dad! In fact, they even recommend using a cover for the iPad”

“Did you cover it because it was cheap & ugly?”

“Actually, I covered it because I didn’t want it to get damaged or   decreased in its value.”

“When you put the cover on, didn’t it reduce the iPad’s beauty?”

“Actually, I think it looks better, and it is worth it for the protection it gives my iPad.”

The father looked lovingly at his daughter and said, “Yet if I had asked you to cover your body which is much more precious than the iPad, would you have readily agreed???”

She was mute…..

The father made a great point to his daughter, “Indecent dressing and exposure of  her body will reduce her value and respect.”

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