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Archive | Women’s issues

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Moving, and Making New Friends

Making new friends

Banana chocolate chip muffins remind me of making new friends. That’s why after we made our most recent move, I made a double batch of them in an attempt to meet our new neighbors. Unfortunately, it didn’t go like I’d hoped. (You can read more about this in my post “Making New Friends in New Places” at (in) courage. However, the my first encounter with banana chocolate chip muffins and new friends turned our far better.

One of our family’s eight moves took us all the way from the hot desert of West Texas to the cold, beautiful mountains of Alberta, Canada. A couple of days after we moved into our new home, the neighbor directly across the street welcomed us with warm banana chocolate chip muffins. The muffins were delicious and JoAnne’s offer of friendship was a blessing!

JoAnne and Kelly’s daughter was the same age as one of our daughters and their son was the same grade as our son. The two boys especially became inseparable and Joanne and I became good friends. That was 20 years ago, but their family came from Alberta to Louisiana for our son’s wedding two years ago. And it all started with banana chocolate chip muffins!

My post last week at (in) courage prompted at least two requests for the recipe, so I promised to share it here. My only request is that when you make them, you share them with a friend. Maybe you can even use them to make a new friend!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and oil in another container. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin cups or line with paper bake cups, fill 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden. Makes 10 to 12 muffins.  (Download and print the PDF version of the recipe!)

Wish we could sit down together over coffee and a warm muffin! But we can talk here. What are some ways you reach out to make new friends?

Some other posts on friendship you may find helpful:

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3 Ways to Respond to Hurtful Words

Hurtful Words

(This post is a giveaway!) A good story transcends time, culture, and history, grabbing our hearts in a way no other medium can. A good story even has power to give a voice to the voiceless, hope for the hopeless, and the power to overcome hurtful words.

But no story offers entrance into the world of relationships like the greatest story ever told—the Bible. Full of romance, conflict, betrayal, and more, these true stories reveal the power of real love transforming the lives of real people. People just like you and me.

I’ve held my Bible close through the years, but it seemed to come more alive for me during a particularly traumatic time in my life. Somewhere in the midst of grief and healing from a crushing relationship, I found a story in the Old Testament that literally changed my life.

The True Tale of Two Wives

This story centers on a man named Ephraim and his two wives. (See 1 Samuel 1:1-20.) Peninnah had many children. And although Hannah had none, she had the love of her husband. These facts alone make the story ripe for conflict.

This true story is filled with lessons on both healthy and unhealthy behaviors for relationships. If the cameras of reality TV had been rolling in 1083 BC, these two women would have been catapulted into stardom, starring in The Real Housewives of Ephraim or perhaps guest stars on an episode of Sister Wives.

Imagine how the juicy storyline would have filled today’s social media:

“Poor Hannah—Unable to Give Her Husband a Beloved Firstborn Son.”

Or maybe,

“Motherhood is hopeless for Hannah. Bring on the next woman!”

And if the shame of infertility wasn’t enough, Elkanah’s second wife, Penni—who was more than fertile—relentlessly flaunted her fertility. First Samuel 1:6 says, “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.”

The Bible Speaks Wisdom for Today

In order to irritate her. I really tried to give Penni the benefit of the doubt. She didn’t have it easy. But I finally realized I couldn’t sugarcoat Penni’s unhealthy, negative, hurtful presence in Hannah’s life. Penni was Hannah’s rival. Plain and simple, she was not a nice person.

Sadly, the world hasn’t changed. Mean-spirited people still exist. And they still purposeful work to hurt others with their words and behavior.

But Hannah’s story spoke wisdom to my story. Her response to her situation and to Penni, helped me know how God would have me respond to my own relationship trauma.

Hannah purposefully chose to respond in three ways: Hannah chose to pray, cling, and love.

 The more Penni spoke hurtful words, the more Hannah opened her heart to God in prayer. The harder Penni pushed, the harder Hannah clung to God, with the same relentless pursuit. And the hardest thing Hannah did that has the potential to change everything? When Penni chose hate, Hannah chose not to retaliate.

When those in our lives choose to act in hurtful ways towards us, we too have a choice. We can choose to act in kind or we can choose love. Is it easy? Oh no. But it is empowering.

How do you respond the last time someone spoke words that hurt you? (Comment to enter the giveaway!)

Overcoming Hurtful WordsToday’s post is by Janell Rardon, author of the new book Overcoming Hurtful Words: Rewrite Your Own Story. Hurtful words can steal joy, distort truth, and create long-term struggles with understanding your worth and purpose. In this powerful new book, counselor and life coach Janell Rardon, MA, equips you to address and reframe negative words and labels that have hurt you in order to achieve healing and lasting freedom.

Download Chapter One of “Overcoming Hurtful Words.

Free small group study guide for “Overcoming Hurtful Words”

Janell Rardon

Janell Rardon is an event speaker and board certified life coach (AACC) who specializes in marriage and family relationships, She loves nothing more than helping others speak healing words that help them live a rich, meaningful life. She loves traveling to Kenya with Tree of Lives, a non-profit serving the African family, with a particular interest in serving the Mamas of “The Joy Village,” a family-modeled orphanage to care for abandoned, abused and neglected children of Kenya.

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Say Yes to the Cupcake: Why We Need Food & Fun in Women’s Ministry

I am a women’s ministry leader and I have a confession to make: I love cupcakes. And ice breaker games. And door prizes.

Does that make me shallow?

I also crave transformational Bible study and deep spiritual conversations about the things of God. I love to discuss theology. I long to pray in intimate circles of Christian sisters about things of eternal value. I want to impact the world for Christ.

In recent years, there has been a movement in the Christian community to cut the “fluff” from women’s ministry. For instance, this open letter to Women’s Ministry by Sarah Bessey has been shared thousands of times and republished on other websites such as ChurchLeader.com. (See “Why We Don’t Need Women’s Ministry.“)

Even though the article was originally posted several years ago, every once in a while it still pops up on my newsfeed. And a friend from church emailed me the link, wondering what I thought about it. So I decided to think about it. Really think about it. Here’s my response in a nutshell:

Cupcakes and theology are NOT mutually exclusive. There is room – and need – for both in women’s ministry.

Serious Discipleship is Top Priority

Basically, I agree with the heart of Bessey’s article. Women always need deep, spiritual connection to other believers. We need encouragement to fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and to grow into Christlikeness. We need accountability and equipping. Solid biblical teaching and sound, godly leadership.

Yes, all women need these things. This should be the heart and soul of our women’s ministry. It is in fact, the church’s calling.

We Must Engage the Felt Need

But if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that not all women recognize this need in their lives. If we want to reach all the women in the church – and the community – we must also minister to the felt need of cooking, friendship, and yes, maybe even crafting! We must connect with the women who aren’t ready to jump into the deep end of the spiritual pool. We must provide a way for them to get their feet wet.

A church’s women’s ministry can be  both deep and wide. Let’s provide in-depth Bible study. Let’s train teachers and mentor moms. Let’s help mission efforts in our community and around the world.

We Need Connection Points

But let’s also reach new women in the community and women in the church who don’t yet recognize their need for a deeper faith. For instance, my church has a yearly “Table Top.” You know, that dinner where women show off their table decorating skills and act as hostess to a table full of women. It’s fun, it’s festive, and yes, some think it’s frivolous.

But the guests hear a strong Gospel message and are given the opportunity to get involved in specific mission efforts. Women who won’t come to Bible study or a spiritual retreat accept their neighbor’s invitation to Table Top. And the women in our church who hang out on the fringe of things come. They meet and mingle, and move a little deeper into the spiritual water.

Jesus often paved the way to deeper things over a dinner party. And He bonded with the guys in a fishing boat. He fed the crowds and the twelve with both physical and spiritual food.

Food and fun can foster relationships. Few of us will pour our hearts out to strangers or ask some woman we don’t know to be an accountability partner. But give them an opportunity to bond over a cupcake and then they’ll reach out when a crisis hits.

There’s room for cupcakes and spiritual depth.

We can have the cupcake and eat it too.

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Pumpkin Bread, Peanut Brittle, and Lies

Thanksgiving seemed to come early this year. I bought fresh cranberries to make my traditional cranberry pumpkin bread, but I didn’t get to it before Thanksgiving. So, I made it yesterday. The Libby’s recipe is below!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

I guess I call it “my” bread because I’ve been making it for years. But in all honesty, I took it off the back of a can of Libby’s pumpkin more than two decades ago. It’s probably safe to call it “mine.” But, I really try not to claim recipes unless I created them. Particularly since the peanut brittle incident.

I make peanut brittle every Christmas. I got the recipe about twenty years ago from a dear friend, Kelly, when our family lived in Wyoming. Then we moved to Canada and Kelly moved to Houston. Over time and among new friends the recipe became “mine.” Everyone loved it and I often gave it as gifts to friends at Christmas.

Years later, when we moved from Canada to Houston, Kelly and I picked up our friendship. Well, when two Canadian friends came to visit me in my new home Kelly joined us for an evening out. Over dinner we began to talk about food. One of my Canadian friends, Glennie, asked Kelly if she had ever had “Kathy’s famous peanut brittle.” Before I could even speak Kelly quietly said, “I believe that would be my peanut brittle.”

I never claimed that the recipe was mine. I just never gave the credit to Kelly. I liked the praises I received when I made the candy. So even though I didn’t blatantly and intentionally lie, I never corrected the assumption. Then came that fateful day when my omission caught up with me.

I know this particular situation is silly and pretty harmless. But it did remind me that we always reap what we sow. All sin has consequences. Sometimes it just may take a little while to catch up with us.

Here’s Libby’s recipe for the Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread. Enjoy it!

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin; mix well. Combine flour, pie spice, soda, and salt in another large bowl; make well in the center of the dry mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture into well; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into two greased and floured 8 x 3 ¾ x 2 ½ inch aluminum loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

What’s your favorite fall or Christmas recipe?

 

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God’s Design for Spiritual Heritage

Want your children to love God and follow Him? God does too. His plan for our children’s faith begins with us. God’s plan includes a design for spiritual heritage, where each generation passes our faith to the next.

God’s Spiritual Heritage Design in Scripture

We see God’s design scattered all throughout Scripture. The most familiar passage is probably Deuteronomy 6:4-9. (For more on this passage see this post.) God tells His people to teach His Words diligently to our children. To talk about them when we sit at home, when we go out, when we rise, and when we lie down. His Word should be woven into the fabric of our family.

Timothy’s spiritual heritage is my favorite New Testament example. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he highlighted the younger man’s “sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s mother and grandmother faithfully taught him God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:14-15) and modeled godly lives.

Even in the Psalms we find God’s design for His people to pass faith to the next generation. Not long ago, I “discovered” a prescription for spiritual heritage in Psalm 78:1-8:

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lordhis power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

“Do this… So that…”

I noticed a “do this… so that…” format in the psalm. If we as parents follow God’s design for passing down our faith, then our children will be impacted in these ways. Here’s what I found in the passage:

“Do this…”

  • Teach our children God’s law
  • Tell our children about the hope we have in the Lord
  • Tell our children about God’s mighty works
  • Encourage our children to obey God

“So that…”

  • Our children will know God’s commands
  • Our children will obey God’s commands
  • Our children will be steadfast and faithful to God
  • Our children will have hope in God

We don’t have to merely hope that our children will claim God as their own. We can take purposeful action to encourage them to find their eternal hope in Him.

What are some ways you’ve seen in Scripture that we can instill a spiritual heritage in our children?

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4 Actions to Beat Anxiety

anxiety

“Just don’t worry about it.”

How many times has someone said that to you when your circumstances truly warranted a little bit of anxiety? If you’re anything like me, you probably thought, “Yeah, right. Easier said than done.”

By the way, it was probably a man who said it. My engineer husband seems to be able to simply tell himself not to feel a certain way and then follow his own advice. Good for him, but unfortunately he expects me to possess the same testosterone-based super power.

4 Actions to Reduce Anxiety

If you’re more like me and not able to turn off the worry quite so easily, hang in there. God’s Word gives us practical hope. Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi is heavy with talk of joy. It’s not because the Philippians were trouble-free; they were persecuted by enemies of the Gospel (Philippians 1:28-30). But Paul knew even in the midst of trouble, they could experience peace in Christ. One section of his letter in particular shows how they – and we – can overcome the worry in our lives.

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

This passage highlights 4 specific actions we can take to reduce the worry and anxiety in our lives. Here they are:

  1. Choose Joy – We often face physical circumstances that would steal our joy. Thankfully, Christians can always find joy in our unchanging and eternal spiritual circumstances we have in Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
  2. Practice Gratitude – The Bible repeatedly connects joy with a thankful attitude (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God has always known what numerous contemporary studies have shown – gratitude increases feelings of wellbeing and happiness. So count your blessings!
  3. Talk to  God – Our heavenly Father invites us to bring all our troubles and concerns to Him. He cares about each one, no matter how small. He has the desire and the power to meet our needs. Tell Him and trust Him to provide (Matthew 6:25-34).
  4. Discipline Your Mind – What we think about will impact how we feel and how we act (Romans 12:2). We can choose what to think about. And what not to think about.

This may take some practice. You may have to apply and then re-apply. But God has promised results. When we…

choose joy, practice gratitude, talk to God, and discipline our thoughts…

His peace will overpower our anxiety. His peace will guard our hearts and minds. We may not understand how it works, but we can benefit from His miraculous provision!

Have you found these actions to be effective in your own life?

 

 

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3 Consequences of Inside-Out Faith

FaithIs your faith inside-out? If it is, you may not even be aware of it.

“Inside-out faith” happens when the doing of our faith eclipses the being connected to Jesus. It’s religion over relationship. It’s faith the way the world would do it. Packed full with stuff – works, activities, committees, and to-do lists.

The New Testament sisters Martha and Mary are perfect examples of inside-out and right-side-out faith (Luke 10:38-42). When Jesus came to the sisters’ home for a visit, Mary sat at His feet soaking up His teaching. But Martha, who frantically ran around hostessing, complained to Jesus that her sister wasn’t helping.

I can just imagine the kindness in Jesus’ response. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

Martha was “distracted” (Luke 10:40). She was “too busy, over-occupied, drawn away.” Martha wasn’t doing anything “bad.” She had simply allowed too many good things to crowd out the best. She missed sitting in the presence of God Himself.

Sadly, many of us fall victim to inside-out faith. We fill our lives too many good things, leaving no room, for the better thing, the best thing. We put the religious motions of our faith over the relationship with the Object of our faith. And the consequences can be profound.

3 Consequences of Inside-Out Faith

  1. Legalism – When the activities and work of faith overshadow the point of our faith we lose our joy! And when “serving” drives our behavior and attitude we also become critical of others. That’s exactly what happened to Martha.
  2. Busyness – Our culture perpetuates the false idea that a full calendar somehow defines our value, who we are. But when our calendars rule our lives, our families, our health, and all our relationships pay the price. The worst result is that often we are too busy for God’s purposes and plans for us.
  3. Burn out – A serious commitment to church can hinder your faith! When religious activities become the driving force of our faith, our relationship with Jesus gets pushed to the back burner. We close our ears and our hearts to the strength, guidance, and encouragement of Jesus. We end up taking on too much under our own power.

None of us purposefully choose this kind of faith. Sometimes it’s all we’ve known. Sometimes, we slowly slip into it. However it happened, it doesn’t have to be this way! Come back Thursday for some suggestions for turning your faith right-side out!

 

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Are You Too Busy? A Brief Checklist

Our culture has lied to us. It tells us that “busy” is good and margin is bad. In fact, surely an overflowing calendar means we are wanted. Needed. Talented. A person of worth.

Is that what Jesus meant about giving us a “full” life? Or is “busy” one of those “thieves and robbers” He warned us about?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Full or Busy?

In John 10:10, “life” refers to “life in the absolute sense as God has it” and that He extends to us through Jesus. It is eternal life, found in part now and consummated in eternity. “Full” means abundant, overflowing, to abound.

God desires our lives to be “full,” not busy. “Busy” is packed with activity – some purposed by God, but a lot purposed strictly by us. “Full,” on the other hand, describes a life filled up with the plans, purposes, and peace of God. A “full” life will be characterized by relationships, service, good works, and time. Time to focus on things that matter for eternity. (See this post for a little more on the danger of “busy.”)

Busy Checklist

Now, let’s get personal. Are you too busy? Though not a scientific test, the following checklist will give you a good idea. You may be to busy if:

  1. You apply any makeup in the car – other than lipstick –more than once a month
  2. You grab fast food for dinner more than 1-2 times a week
  3. You regularly turn down invites to get together w/ friends
  4. You’ve felt led by God to participate in an area of service or ministry but said “no” because of your schedule
  5. You feel like you and your husband are just “two ships passing in the night”
  6. You have dinner with the family around your table less than 4-5 times a week
  7. You and hubby have a detailed flow chart to get the kids back and forth to their activities
  8. You flop into bed every night exhausted
  9. You skip church to just “stay home and rest” more than twice a year
  10. You have good intentions for a regular time with God but it rarely happens
  11. You rarely enjoy long conversations with current friends
  12. Weeks go by without seeing your local friends face-to-face

Our lives may even be packed with “good” stuff, but without any margin, we have no room to respond to God’s best for us.

If God has shown you that your life is too busy, that you’re missing out on the full life He offers, consider doing a serious evaluation of your calendar. Here’s a guide to help. Give up busy. Embrace full!

Is your life full or just busy? What are you going to do today to change it?

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5 Things to Do When You Feel Discouraged

When was the last time you felt discouraged? Maybe it’s today. Perhaps you face difficult circumstances or everything just seems to be going wrong. You don’t have to give in to discouragement.

The Apostle Paul had plenty of reason to be discouraged. Daily, he endured hardship, danger, pain, suffering, and uncertainty. More than once he looked death in the face. Yet he claimed to not only be content and at peace in any and every circumstance, Paul even rejoiced!

No matter the concern or difficult situation, Paul was at peace. Whether fed or hungry, he was content. Whether in need or in plenty, he was satisfied. In every event and every season, Paul chose to rejoice. Seems impossible, doesn’t it? What was Paul’s secret?

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:4-13

Paul purposefully developed an active trust and confident dependence on Christ’s provision and power. Paul took every small need, big need, and in-between need to God in prayer. Peace filled Paul because he chose to trust that God would provide. He did not allow his mind to dwell on the “what ifs.”

Paul experienced contentment in every difficult circumstance or physical need by relying on the strengthening power of Christ working within him. He found total sufficiency in trusting Jesus. And Paul could rejoice because he depended on God’s gracious provision.

We can also experience peace, contentment, and joy when we follow Paul’s example. Here are a few practical tips to get us started:

  1. Take every concern and need to God in prayer.
  2. Choose to trust Him with the answer.
  3. Discipline our thoughts. Focus on God’s provision and not the “what ifs.”
  4. Ask Jesus to strengthen us in times of discontentment. Then rely on His strength.
  5. Choose joy over discouragement.

Bury these marvelous truths in your heart, then share them with others. Jesus is far greater than our need. His power mightily overshadows our discouragement.

What one thing discourages you the most today? What truth from God’s Word today speaks encouragement to you?

 

 

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11 Biblical Principles for Meaningful Friendships

friendshipGod created friendship. And He works through true, meaningful relationships to help us be all He intends. As we learned in Monday’s post, we need to first clear the hindrances to friendship. But what’s next?

The following principles for making and keeping real friends come straight from Scripture. Use them as a guideline as you purposefully work to make good friends and be a good friend.

11 Biblical Principles for Making and Keeping Friendships

  1. Take the initiative (Acts 18:1-4) – One of my closest, life-long friends picked me to be her friend before I was really even aware of her. Janet and her family were new to our city, so when they joined our church she wanted to make friends. She introduced herself to me and immediately began to pursue a friendship. Janet taught me to take the initiative. Yes, it can be risky, but the rewards can be great!
  2. Practice forgiveness (Colossians 3:13) – True friends don’t hold grudges or remember offenses. Instead they are flexible and quick to forgive. Contemplating God’s forgiveness can help us when we struggle to forgive others.
  3. Guard your tongue (Proverbs 16:28, Ephesians 4:29) – Loose lips ruin many friendships. Careless words hurt feelings. Gossip fosters division. Confidences broken destroy trust. Before we speak, let’s pause to consider whether our words will tear down or build up.
  4. Be a “good” friend (Ephesians 4:2-3) – Christ-like character fosters deep, long-lasting friendships. Qualities like humility, gentleness, patience, and endurance create a solid foundation on which to build life-long friendships.
  5. Extend hospitality (1 Peter 4:9, Proverbs 25:17) – Sometimes we are quick to accept hospitality, but a little slower to give it. Let’s make time to not only invite our friends to our homes, but to also make them feel welcome. On the flip side, Proverbs 25:17 warns us against taking advantage of our friend’s hospitality.
  6. Stay close in hard times (Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:10, Romans 12:10) – A true friend remains loyal when trouble comes. Even if other “friends” fall away they stay devoted and help in any way possible.
  7. Nurture them (Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 2:3-4, Romans 12:10) – Friendships will wither without a continual outpouring of time, attention, and resources. Let’s show our friends we care about their needs and their interests with purposeful acts of kindness and generosity. Our friendships will flourish.
  8. Listen to them (James 1:19) – It takes lots of practice to keep our mouths closed and really hear what others are saying. But this habit is well worth developing. When others feel “heard” they feel valued.
  9. Sharpen them (Proverbs 27:6, Proverbs 27:17, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:24) – The best kind of friend is not merely a “yes man.” Godly friends nudge others closer to Jesus.
  10. Pray for them (Job 16:20-21) – Our friends need our purposeful prayer support. Not just casual, occasional prayers, but fervent intercession with God on their behalf.
  11. Love them (John 13:34, John 15:3, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 John 4:7) – This is actually harder than we might think. God calls us to love our friends like Jesus loves us – not in mere words, but with intentional actions of love that may often cost us something.

Have you seen any principles in Scripture to add to this list? Feel free to comment! 

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