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Mon, Sep 26th - 4:17AM

The Most Essential Factor for a Healthy Relationship
by Pastor Greg Baker

What would be the most important ingredient to any healthy, successful relationship? Would it be love? Trust? Attraction? Or something else? This article explains the one factor, the one ingredient that is required for any relationship to be healthy and successful.

Sitting in front of my desk is a couple seeking marriage. As I am a pastor, this is not an uncommon sight. In an effort to get to know their relationship better and whether or not it will work, I always ask, "What is the most important factor in your relationship?" The usual, typical response is, "We love each other."

Of that, I am glad, but I will more often than not shake my head and say, "When you argue with people, is it with those you don't love or those whom you do? When you get into a fight, is it typically with those you love or those you don't? When you get angry with someone, is it normally with those you don't love or those you do?" The couple will usually glance guiltily at each other and then look uncomfortably back at me. They know the answer and so do I. Our success in a relationship is not dependent solely upon love. Love is not the most essential factor for a successful relationship.

So then, what is? The answer is simple: Communication.

Without the ability to properly express yourself, you cannot convey your love, trust, and attraction. You may love someone dearly, but if you lack the ability to convince them of your love, you will find your relationship filled with doubt and distress.

The Bible speaks of this when it says:

Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

It does not matter who you are or what you do in life, your relationships is the most important asset you have. Your ability to communicate and convey your ideas, emotions, and thoughts is your greatest asset in a relationship.

Communication is a skill, not a talent. Some may be more skilled than others, but everyone can learn to communicate. Here are a few things to remember:


You cannot succeed in a relationship without the ability to communicate. Have you ever been misunderstood, taken the wrong way, or perceived to be something you are not? Most of us, if not all of us, have. That is a direct result of our failure to properly communicate something important to someone.


The core of our personality and being is the soul. It is unique and special. People only get to know the real you through the words you choose to convey yourself with. Who I am and who you are is most readily understood through what we say. What we do is important too, but ultimately people judge our words by our actions, not our actions by our words. People see our actions as supporting our word. Ultimately, the words we use are more important to others as it is our words that define who we are and what we do.


The basis of your relationships is often determined and defined by how well you communicate. A marriage, for example, may inadvertently lay a foundation of mistrust due to a husband's inability to convey his love for his wife as opposed to his excitement over a basketball game that often has practically naked women dancing in a provocative manner during breaks and timeouts. His enthusiasm may be misunderstood and his inability to communicate that to his wife will define his marriage in unintended ways.


You must learn to communicate well. Communication is the foundation and bedrock of any relationship.

Author Resource:-> Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.

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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.

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Tue, Sep 20th - 4:21PM

The Cutting Edge of Friendship
by Martin Murphy

True friends are scarce. The old cynic who went about in broad daylight with a lighted lantern in search of a friend would have difficulty in finding a true friend. It has often been said: "I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there. I went out to be a friend and friends were everywhere." How does the Bible relate the concept of friendship? The Bible is as up to date as the newspaper.

True friendship often assumes a rough garb. The Bible says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6). The wounds may come in the form of rebuke or correction. The Lord Jesus Christ had this to say: "If your brother sins go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matthew 18:15-16).

A friend is like a whetstone that gives keenness to the edge of energy and life. The Bible says "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). There are many examples of this aphorism in the Bible. We find David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, or perhaps Paul and Timothy just to mention a few. A friend can encourage when things are difficult, wearisome, or painful. A friend can comfort and advise during the trials of life. Friends make up for each others defects and they delight in their friendship.

Friends not only learn from each other, they help each other develop character. That process will always be demonstrated by faithfulness. One could not but be moved by the story of a soldier who asked his officer if he might go out into the "no man's land" between the trenches in World War I to bring in one of his comrades who lay grievously wounded. "You can go" said the officer, "but it will not worth it. Your friend is probably dead and you will throw your own life away." But the man went. Somehow he managed to get to his friend, hoist him on to his shoulder, and bring him back to the trenches. The two of them tumbled in together and lay in the trench bottom. The officer looked very tenderly on the would be rescuer and then he said, "I told you it wouldn't be worth it. Your friend is dead and you are mortally wounded." The soldier replied "it was worth it." "How was it worth it" asked the officer. The soldier replied "it was worth it because when I got to him he was still alive, and he said to me, 'Jim I knew you'd come.'"

The cutting edge of friendship may be found in the form of wounds, encouragement, and faithfulness. Be a friend, it is worth the effort.

The fourth chapter of John is an account of Jesus as he encounters a woman at the well of Samaria. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews, but Jesus being a Jew, seemed not to despise them. As a matter of fact when Jesus went to Samaria, he went about to explain the gospel to a Samaritan woman. This woman was a prostitute and, no doubt, a disgrace to the community. Little did it matter to Jesus that this woman was a Samaritan and a prostitute. Did social peer pressure keep Jesus from going to Samaria. No! Just the opposite. He went to Samaria to give them the Good News of the kingdom of God and to be a friend to the Samaritans.

This century has produced an abundance of literature about the subject of friendship. Much of it has been and still is under the heading of Relational theology. This is an approach to Christianity that stresses the relationship of persons to persons rather than doctrinal belief and direct relationship to God. Religious leaders have been very successful in propagating this concept, but it proves to be counter productive.

The problem is that the biblical sense of friendship is lost to a utilitarian arrangement. People want to be friends and have friends because of the advantages afforded by the friendship itself. That is not biblical, nor is it a principle of ethics that is normative in any sense. Friendship results from the desire to serve, not to be served.

Where does this friendship business end? There is no end to friendship. It only has a beginning point. Older friends may depart and go to be with God, but the friendship remains. New friends must be made because there is always a desire for friendship to fulfill an emptiness that is often called loneliness.

Enrich your life by looking for friendships the way Jesus looked for them. He went to "out of the way" places like Samaria. He sought to be a friend to people regardless of their demeanor or circumstances in life. An English publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend, and among the thousands of answers the winner defined a friend. "A friend, - the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." Go to Samaria and be a friend.

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Sun, Sep 11th - 3:35AM

Building a Family Faith
by Alyssa Avant Co-Author: M J Collins

Are we losing our legacy of faith? Are the future generations continuing the legacy of faith that you carried down from your mother and father? I know that my generation, known as Generation X has definitely gotten a bad rap for leaving our faith behind. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard already of people my age being far from the doors of the church and the path of a Christian life. How about your children do you think that they will continue in the faith that you're planting in them? I know you hope so and so do I.

We have to leave our children with strong roots that will ground them in the faith that we put our hope and trust in. The important thing is to give them those roots. We are all to follow the words of Deuteronomy 6:6-9

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

These words still apply to us today. In order for us to expect our children to continue to walk in the faith that you have taught them about you must continually teach them allowing it to become a part of who they are, you must also encourage them to continually learn more about the Lord themselves, nurturing their own personal relationship with him. A relationship with a parent or even both parents is important, but it cannot replace their relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is truly the only way that they can be grounded enough to continue in their faith for the long run.

Faithfulness is important not only to our generation but to the generations to follow, pour yourself into the next generation by making practice of the words of Deuteronomy 6 and many, many more Scriptures you can draw wisdom from in God's Word.

Alyssa Avant is a Christian Author and Speaker who helps moms connect with their daughters. A work at home mom, Alyssa is the founder of Beauty By Design Ministries, grab her Her FREE Guide, Seven Easy Tips Encouraging Your Daughter to Say "No" here

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Sat, Sep 3rd - 3:21AM

Holding Hands
by Richard Steven Adams

It saddens me to see couples walking without holding hands or brushing against each other. I know, what a silly old man. I was discouraged to see an older, well-dressed gentleman sitting alone on a bench. Was he in prayer? Was he sleeping? Is he waiting for someone to return for him when they're finished shopping? Is he here because he doesn't want to be alone at home?

I imagine there are times when each scenario is true. We are a numbers world so how many lonely people does it take to make an issue, a problem, a wound in the human spirit? What is it like to be alive in a body and not know your Creator, not know you are loved?

We all yearn for friendship. We want to know and we want to be known. We want and need to be connected. Why else would Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace be so popular? I am amazed at what some folks are willing to divulge to a world of people they won't smile at in a store.

Have you noticed that small children do not look away? Their eyes boldly search yours. Lily has a knack for finding baby eyes. When she does the two of them can have a conversation across a crowded, noisy room. At what age do we stop staring curiously and excitedly into other people's faces? Does it have something to do with a pure heart?

If I had a penny for every time I have been asked why I am mad ... Once a pastor told me I did not have the love of God in me because I rarely smile. Lily knows I smile a lot on the inside, but sometimes you have to really know someone, you have to get up close and personal to know that everything is not as it seems. You need to be friends. If my eyes greeted people like Lily's eyes do, well, folks would think I'm a stalker or worse.

I thought at sixty I would be considered harmless now, but yesterday I read about a man sixty nine who went to jail for trying to murder his sixty year old girl friend. What's that about?

Even at sixty when I say hello in a grocery store I'm usually greeted with a quick, startled look and silence. Once as Lily and I were grocery shopping I counted nine people before a little old man gave me a big smile and said hello back.

Therefore, I usually watch people from a distance, knowing they'd probably be willing to chat amiably with me on Facebook.

I wonder if sex is like the social media craze, you know, another attempt to be connected, to know someone, to not be alone, to be loved?

Apparently, whether we are connected through the airwaves or otherwise there is something missing that we all hunger and thirst for. We need friends. We need to be known and we need to know. For me there is something about seeing folks holding hands in a mall that makes me feel good.

Richard does Spiritual Direction and occasional video projects for George Fox Evangelical seminary where he received his M-Div.


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Fri, Sep 2nd - 3:38AM

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"And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world"

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