5 Ways To Improve Any Relationship

I often think about being the best wife, friend, teacher, worker… I can be.  Perhaps I can do more, be more, give more… Certainly all of the above but there are some very practical, down to earth ways we can show those around us they matter most.

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I believe the #1 way to improve friendship is to take yourself out of the running for 1st Place.  Narcissism destroys more relationships that any other personal characteristic.  Anytime we think we matter more, in any way, than the person we’re relating with ruins any chance of building up the other person.  Jesus said it best when He said, ‘love others’ in response to what is the greatest commandment.

Steven Covey, in his book First Things First, makes it clear that we must know the wants and needs of the other person to become successful.  In our relationships, we really need to know what another likes or dislikes.  Remember anything we might think is fun may not be enjoyable to someone else.  Get to know your friends, husbands, co-workers.  Talk to them.  Discover their hobbies and interests.  The best relationships take the desires of the other into account first.

When you’re building friendships and relationships don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  If it’s more than one-sided the other person is just as interested in you.  If your friend says let’s go see a dirt bike race and you really can’t stand the dust then tell them.  Remember, if your friend is truly interested in creating an awesome relationship they’ll find someone else to go with and both of you will discover something about the other.

That leads us to trust.  If a friend chooses to do something with another person do not put a guilt trip on them.  Building relationships with other people adds more to the friendships you already have.  Learning to trust others is a huge growth issue.  One does not need to know everything that their friend is doing every moment to build a strong relationship.

kindness-710209_960_720Last, but certainly not least, choose kindness.  In Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, the moral is, a kindness is never wasted.  Perhaps something you’ve done in the past will lead to its reward in the future.  True kindness, like love, is based on wanting what is best for the other person.

 

Sometimes, when I read a list like this, I think I have to do everything.  Not so!  Even choosing one of these suggestions will make you a standout, awesome friend.  Go for it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Two Who Waited

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

 

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

 

     

 

 

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

 

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna  means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important to seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post was written as part of Blogs By Christian Women Holiday Tour.  You will find several really excellent posts and blogs in the list below.

12/6/16 Michele Morin http://michelemorin.wordpress.com
12/6/16 Heather Olson http://grace-filledgifts.blogspot.com/
12/6/16 Sherri Autrey http://sherriautrey.com
12/7/16 Gwen Williams http://www.thejourneyofhealing.com
12/7/16 Marie Bungard http://asatisfiedspirit.com
12/7/16 Lottie Staggs https://www.lottiebrooke.com
12/8/16 Lee Felix https://www.likemindedmusings.com
12/8/16 Amanda Brown http://www.skgfun.com
12/8/16 Susan Bricker http://leanintothelord.com

God’s Plan Works

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“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.  Nothing and No one can upset Your plans.  Job 42:2

Are you as convinced as Job that God can do what He says He can do?  I wonder then, why do so many of us who say we believe not trust Him on this?

God had just taken Job to task for trying to explain His motives and actions.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if God appeared to me in a whirlwind or tornado or giant storm I would be listening closely.  Job and his friends were trying to explain the catastrophe of Job’s current life.  God simply  set them straight by asking if they really thought they knew what they were talking about.

Jeremiah gives the same message to the Exiles in 29:11.  I know you know that verse.   God is telling them that He has a plan and it is not to harm them.  In Job’s case God was not causing the harm, the evil one was.  God’s plan was still in place.  He restored Job’s fortune and gave him more children.  He will do the same for everyone if we ask.  Job had to ask for forgiveness because he was trying to say he knew more than God.  The Israelites had to ask for for forgiveness before they were allowed to return to their homeland. (Check out Jeremiah 29:12-13)

All we need to do is trust God to do what He has already planned for us.

Almightly God, help us see that we are not always right in our thoughts of what You are doing.  Help us know that Your plan is already in motion, that it is perfect in every way, and that You know what You are doing.  Open our minds to Your leading.  Make it so in Jesus Name.

This post can also be found in Pondering and Prayer.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

The Trail – – Book Review

downloadStory telling is one of the most effective ways to share information that will be remembered and Ed Underwood does a powerful job of this in his book “The Trail”.  A young couple is having a difficult time making a life decision.  Wanting this decision to be not only the right one but also the one that fits God’s purpose for their life they seek help.

At the urging of  their friends (who have already gone through this process) Matt and Brenda undertake a hiking trip into the High Sierras with retired Firefighter, Sam Lucas who has agreed to help them come to agreement about their decision.  He shares eight principles with them during the time they travel together, each with a scripture reference and life lessons.  Trust, intimacy, God’s love and much more are covered.

Underwood makes it very clear that all people approach life decisions in different ways, but only trusting God, His Word, other believers and one another will bring us to the answer God intends.  Every person carries old ‘baggage’ and new experiences into a marriage.  Trusting one another with every bit, good and bad, of our lives allows the married couple to make solid decisions for all of life’s issues.

This book is a must-read for all couples!  Whether newly married or entering retirement, and at all stages during marriage, this delightful story grounds the reader in Biblical principals that will last through all the storms and turmoil of life as a couple.

I was a provided a copy of this book for my review.  No other compensation was received.  If you would like read it I have included the link to Amazon where you can purchase it.  I received no remuneration for your purchase.