Tag Archives: Friendship

How to Write a Christian Thank You Card in 5 Simple Steps

In a world where texts, tweets and emojis dominate our interactions, a handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Maybe a neighbor went out of their way to run an errand for you, maybe you received a thoughtful gift in the mail or maybe you want to express your gratitude to a close friend. Whatever the case may be, rediscover the art of a thank you card in five simple steps.

Lead With Gratitude
Begin by thanking the recipient for their thoughtfulness. Don’t feel pressured to come up with an elaborate greeting. Something as simple as “thank you so much for the gift” or “I appreciate your time” is all it takes.

Spell Out Specifics
Include details about what you are grateful for. If you received a gift, let them know how you’ve used it. If you got a gift card, tell them what you’re planning to buy. If someone blessed you with a comforting shoulder during a difficult time, put into words how it made you feel.

Include a Bible Verse
There are several scriptures about thanks and gratitude. Let the recipient know what a blessing they are by including a meaningful Bible verse in your note. Ephesians 1:16 NIV is a great place to start: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Make It Meaningful
Mention something going on in their life, either exciting or challenging, and let them know you are thinking about and praying for them. This extra step lets them know you value the relationship and are tuned into their needs and feelings.

Reaffirm Your Thanks
While it may seem repetitive, end by reiterating your thankfulness. Make sure to change up how you phrase it though. Appreciation, gratitude and gratefulness are just a few other ways to say thank you.

While your words are what truly count, it doesn’t hurt to write them in a beautifully crafted card. Browse Christian cards for every occasion or stop by a store near you and experience our full selection of greeting cards that show your friends and family just how much you care.

What personal touches do you add to your thank you cards?

Be The Gift God Created YOU To Be

Mmichele Dudley NOVEMBER 27, 2015

Be The Gift God Created YOU To Be
MICHELE DUDLEY

“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)

When I cleaned out my messy closet recently, I found a beautiful gift a friend had given me many months ago.

I remember when she gave me the gift — I was thrilled! It made me feel so special and loved that she purchased it with me in mind.

Yet somehow in the busyness of life, the gift became buried underneath “stuff,” hidden and unused. I can’t imagine how disappointed my friend would be if she knew I hadn’t continued to treasure it.

It made me pause and think about the gifts that the Ultimate Gift Giver has given each of us … and whether or not we’re using them.

1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (NLT).

I envision God, with His infinite creativity, pouring over each of us as He formed us, selecting unique abilities and spiritual gifts to prepare us for the work that He has called us to do (Ephesians 2:10). And not for our own good, but for His good and the good of His people.

It’s our job to steward these gifts. We must prayerfully consider what they are and how we can use them to serve a world in desperate need — this is our purpose, our calling.

At Fashion & Compassion, I work with women who are overcoming exploitation, addiction, war/conflict, domestic abuse and incarceration in the U.S. and around the world. Because of their life circumstances, many of these women have never considered God’s purpose for their life.

For example, Carrie came to us three years ago, emotionally beaten down after 30 years in an abusive marriage. She was essentially locked in her home — with her seven children — and constantly told she was “stupid” and “useless” by her husband.

When Carrie came to Fashion & Compassion, she was frightened and scarred, afraid she couldn’t do anything right. Through love, encouragement and prayer, Carrie now sees that God gifted her with a HUGE heart of compassion for suffering women and an incredible artistic gift.

As our jewelry project manager, Carrie loves and ministers to women with a genuine empathy, compassion and peace that can only come from the healing and restoration she has received from Christ. She patiently teaches and encourages other vulnerable women to make jewelry, and she uses her God-given creative abilities to develop many of our beautiful designs.

Once Carrie understood who she was in Christ and allowed Him to heal her past, she became free to use her gifts to minister to women in a way that only she can.

So as you shop for special gifts today, remember our key verse and use those gifts to serve one another.

Just imagine what the world would be like if we began to steward the gifts God has given us to serve each other and bring healing to the broken.

And unlike the gift my friend gave me long ago, let’s not keep our unique gifts from God hidden under a mountain of stuff in the closet of our lives. Let’s use our gifts for His glory NOW!

Dear God, Thank You for the sacrificial gift of Your Son — the BEST gift I can ever receive. Keep me mindful of Jesus during these busy days and don’t let the busyness of life keep me from using the gifts You have given me to serve a world in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (ESV)

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Remind someone they are loved by God and by you by giving them a “Loved” charm dangle bangle bracelet made by a Fashion & Compassion artisan. You can purchase the bracelet and other jewelry made by women overcoming poverty & injustice here.

Enter to WIN a one-of-a-kind Fashion & Compassion bracelet designed by Carrie by signing up to receive our email updates. We’ll randomly select 10 winners from those who join our list and send you an email notification by Friday, December 4, if you win.

Unsure what your spiritual gifts are? Find out by taking this spiritual gift assessment.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you seen God use your gifts and abilities to transform the life of another person? Please share your stories in the comment section.

How could you serve your church or a ministry in your community using the gifts that God has given you? Ask for God’s leading as you prayerfully consider next steps.

© 2015 by Michele Dudley. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

3 Ways to Find Life-Giving Relationships

Lysa TerKeurst FEBRUARY 12, 2015

3 Ways to Find Life-Giving Relationships
LYSA TERKEURST

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 (ESV)

I pressed my forehead against my front door window while tears quietly slipped down my cheeks. I watched my husband pull out of the driveway and head off to another day at work. I then turned to look at what my day would hold — a crying baby, a messy house and an overwhelming feeling of dread. How could this be?

I finally had everything I ever thought would make me happy, fulfilled, significant and satisfied, yet I was more miserable and lonely than I’d ever been. Finally realizing a great husband, healthy baby and a comfortable house with a flowerbed planted out front, weren’t the answers to ultimate happiness in life, rattled my soul to the core.

There are deep places within our soul that God hand-designed and reserved only for Him to fill.

But my whole life had been focused on getting these other things that I thought would fill me up. So when they fell short, I slid to the ground and cried, “God, I can’t do this. Where do I go from here? How do I find You? Help me!”

A few weeks later, my husband called and said there was a woman in his restaurant who wanted to meet me. I glanced down at my spit-covered sweatpants, ran my hands through my greasy hair, and willed my mind to override the desire to pass on meeting her that day.

I couldn’t handle the relationships I had in my life, I certainly couldn’t make time for more. Plus, if I got too close to women who appeared to have their lives together, they’d judge me for the pitiful way mine was falling apart. I just didn’t have the whitespace for anything but my family.

But that was exactly the problem. I was giving everything I had to my family with nothing to fill me back up, no one to encourage me past the hard spots, and no one to share practical advice because she’d been there, done that.

So, I crammed my diaper bag full and headed out the door.

Over the years, I’ve thought about that pivotal decision to pursue and embrace the necessity of friendships. Not only have they helped me personally, my friendships have been crucial to my success (and sometimes survival) in my roles as wife and mom as well. They’ve made our key verse, Hebrews 10:24, come to life for me.

What I once thought would take away from my family, has proven to add a richness I couldn’t have gotten any other way.

If you can relate to the season I was in, here are 3 practical ways to find life-giving friendships:

1) Find a friend who does something well that you wish you were better at.

It may be managing paper piles, cooking, organizing kids’ rooms, creatively loving her husband, effectively disciplining her kids or a hundred other things. Whatever it is, ask her if you could spend time observing how she does what she does so well. Women love to talk about things they do well.

2) Choose a friend with whom you feel comfortable to pray.

There is no better gift we can give our families than to be wives and moms who pray. Praying with a friend about our families will not only knit our hearts closer to the ones we love, but to that friend as well.

3) Pursue a friendship with someone who is one stage behind where you are in life.

Offer them practical help in their area of stress and weave in the wisdom you gained as you went through that same stage.

Why not spend some time today praying for the friends you have and the friends you’ve yet to meet? God loves to answer those friendship prayers! And trust me on this — go ahead and wash your hair, just in case you get a call like I did all those years ago.

Dear Lord, You know the friendships I need in this season of my life. So I’m praying today for the friends I have right now and ones I have yet to meet. Help me be a God-honoring friend who always points them back to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Relationships help nourish us in ways nothing else can! Learn how to be intentional in your most treasured relationships with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. Purchase your copy here.

Gather your closest friends and hold The Best Yes Bible study in your home! Click here to get started.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Consider the three friendship points Lysa talked about today. Choose one and pursue it this week!

© 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Forgetful Friends

Boyd Bailey

“The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Genesis 40:23).

Sometimes friends forget. They forget birthdays, anniversaries, commitments, and what is important to their friends. The forgetfulness of friends facilitates frustration and disappointment. After all, some of these friends have been past recipients of your help and encouragement. You have been there for them during their days of discouragement. Now when the tables have turned and you are in need, they do not seem to be near.

Maybe they are too busy with life, maybe they are buried in their own troubles, or maybe they have simply forgotten you. Unfortunately, some friendships are tentative and unpredictable. When adversity strikes, you are able to filter out false friends from forever friends. Fair-weather friends will fly in and out of your life. Some friendships are expedient for the moment while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass.

However, be careful not to place expectations on your friends. Expectations increase the chances for disappointment. Friends will let you down if you hold lofty expectations over them. If your friends feel the pressure to perform a certain way, they will push back in fear or resentment. Friendships are meant for release—not control.

Companions are a gift from Christ. Steward them well so you can be trusted with more. It is tempting to take our friends for granted, especially long-term friendships, because they are low maintenance and tend to get the least attention. But, in reality, even old friends need nurturing. They need a phone call, a visit, or written correspondence. They need time. Friendships grow or atrophy, but care and attention fertilize a friendship.

Moreover, make it a goal for your spouse to become your best friend. You and your spouse sleep and eat together. You raise children together. You manage the home together. You budget money together. You hurt together. You laugh together. You vacation together. You are growing old together. Since you spend so much time “doing life” together, it is imperative you fortify your friendship. You are not just tolerating each other for the children’s sake. Your goal is to become best friends, so when the children move out, you are not bored and relationally bankrupt. Fun friendships are intentional.

The marriage relationship is a friendship not to forget. If you ignore this friend, you will wake up one day with regrets. Remember your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary, and all those little things that make him or her feel special. When you remember a friend, you honor a friend. When you remember a friend, you feed a friendship. Friendships fatigue for lack of attention. Remember a friend today. Remind this friend how special he or she is to you and to God. Love this friend, and expect nothing in return. Be a friend and you will have friends.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 nkjv).

Prayer: Am I a friend worthy of friendship? What friend do I need to love and encourage?

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:42; Job 16:20–21; Proverbs 27:10; John 15:13–15

Post/Tweet: Some friendships are expedient for the moment, while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass. #forgetfulfriends

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

The Friendship Challenge

Lysa TerKeurst

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV)

What makes a woman tender also reveals her vulnerabilities.

What makes a woman transparent also exposes her wounds.

What makes a woman authentic also uncovers her insecurities.

And there aren’t many women who enjoy being revealed, exposed, and uncovered. But establishing real intimacy with another person requires pushing past the resistance—past the fear.

Friendship is risky.

To be known is to risk being hurt. But friendship can be beautiful, and worth the risk.

We can look to the Bible for examples of monumental friendships. In 1 Samuel 18 we learn about the special friendship between David and Jonathan, an example of a true bond. When Jonathan’s father, King Saul, threatened David with death, Jonathan risked his position in his father’s household and warned his friend.

Jonathan and David’s friendship lasted their lifetime, and because of Jonathan’s loyalty to David, the Lord blessed them both. David eventually became king, but by then Jonathan had died. David inquired, “‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1b NIV).

Don’t miss this beauty: it was customary for the present king to put to death any of the former king’s family. However, because of his and Jonathan’s strong friendship, King David tenderly provided for Jonathan’s son. “I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7b NIV). “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11b NIV).

Awesome. Inspiring. Friendship.

Yes, friendship is beautiful. The Lord gave it to us. He knew we would need each other to get through this life.

Think about a friend you can make an investment in.

Not the friend with whom you feel most comfortable. But rather one who might benefit from seeing a little more of your tenderness, transparency, and authenticity. Someone who might be worth a risk.

Someone in your sphere of influence is desperate to know someone else understands.

Might we take three steps and give ourselves a friendship challenge? Here are three things you can do to invest in a friend:

1) Have a conversation with her in which you honestly admit one of your vulnerabilities. Chances are she’ll reveal something to you as well. Then really commit to pray for her. Maybe wear a watch or bracelet and every time you’re distracted by it, use this as a prompt to carry her burden in your prayers.

2) Buy or make this friend a gift. Just because. It doesn’t have to cost much. But make an investment of time to think of something that would personally delight her.

3) Write your friend a note to attach to the gift. In the letter, tell her at least three things you admire about her and some way she’s made a difference in your life.

Then deliver this little “just because” gift and note to your friend. This friend who sometimes feels a little vulnerable. Wounded. Exposed in some way.

Your honesty and thoughtfulness will be such a sweet investment.

For her.

For you.

For your friendship.

Are you up for taking the friendship challenge?

Dear Lord, thank You for all of the friendships and beautiful blessings You have placed in my life. Help me to see this challenge as a sweet reminder to show Your love to those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

For more on how to maintain strong, healthy friendships through clear and honest communication, check out Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices In the Midst of Raw Emotions.

Reflect and Respond:
Write down the name of the friend or friends you chose for the friendship challenge. Don’t wait until later. Your friend will thank you!

Power Verses:
Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times …” (NIV)

© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


Leadership and Friendship

Boyd Bailey

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

 

Lead first and be a friend second, for an effective and efficient enterprise understands that leadership trumps friendship. As the old saying goes, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Wise and intentional leadership is necessary for the health of the organization;leadership is watered down when friendships dictate strategic direction. Friendships should forge the team but not unduly dilute excellent outcomes based on courageous leadership decisions. If a leader is preoccupied with what a friend may think or do, then he risks diminishing his decision for the sake of sparing someone’s feelings. Politics are not the plumb line. The values and principles of the organization are the standards by which leadership decisions are made.

 

Friendship can become a fruit of wise leadership but it is not meant to drive wise leadership. Indeed, loyalty to friends is an important and valued attribute of an effective leader. But do not allow loyalty to cloud your rationale of what’s best for the team. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for the team and your friend is to either fire him or reassign him. Be sure your leadership is grounded in principle so your friendships will not get in the way of doing what’s right. Let a friend know up front how much you value him, but not to the detriment of what’s best for the business or ministry.

 

Friends can be the hardest or the easiest to lead. It all depends on your and their expectations. Does your friend perceive you as a partner or a boss? Is your perception of your friend one of high value or just one of expedience that gets results? Lead first in humility, courage, and clarity. Let your friends know up front what you value as a leader and how they fit into the big picture of organizational success. Constantly ask, “What’s best for the team?” instead of “What does my friend want?” You lead first by defining the role of friendship on the team, and you keep leadership a priority by not playing favorites. This promotes teamwork and defuses jealousy.

 

Lastly, wise leaders make hard decisions, even when it adversely affects a friend. This protects the integrity of the organization. Paul felt this tension when he decided that his friend, John Mark was not mature enough for the responsibility of a mission trip: “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work” (Acts 15:37-38). Balancing leadership and friendship isn’t always easy.

 

Post/Tweet: Be sure your leadership is grounded in principle so your friendships will not get in the way of doing what’s right. #leadingfriends

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com