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28 Jan

10 Ways to Appreciate Your Spouse

appreciate

When was the last time you said that you appreciate your spouse?

I don’t mean things like saying “I love you.” You may be doing that all day, every day, or you may wait for special occasions to utter the L word. ery, in writing for Bustle.com, says it depends. “I looked around into how often couples say the L word, and instead of being all over the map, there were definitely two major camps— people who say it all the time and people who hardly say it all. Neither is wrong, neither is right. But for the people that say it, they really, really say it.” However, saying “I love you” doesn’t necessarily mean “I appreciate you.”

Jeremy Nicholson, a psychologist who writes for Psychology Today, reveals that “Saying ‘I love you’ on a regular basis is not always indicative of relationship status. A better indicator is how the partners actually treat and care for each other. Without loving behaviors backing it up, saying ‘I love you’ is just an empty expression.” And that’s where appreciation comes in.

A study reported in Scientific American’s December 2009 article, “The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage,” indicates that gratitude acts like a booster for romantic relationships, and the more often appreciation is expressed, the less likely the couple is apt to break up.

Okay, so I missed National Spouse Appreciation Day.

But how about deciding to make some changes that will let your partner know that not only do you love him (or her), but you appreciate her (or him), too? Here are 10 easy ways to make appreciation something you’ll do because you notice the gift you have in your spouse.

1. Thank your spouse.

Yes, maybe it’s their job to help with household chores. But don’t take their work for granted just because you also do household chores. Appreciate your spouse because they care enough to help you.

2. Express your thanks creatively.

When you tell your spouse “thank you,” after awhile it can lose its meaning. Think of more creative ways to say it, like: “I appreciate it when you…”, “I’m grateful for…”, “It means a lot to me when you…”, etc.

3. Even negative circumstances have positive aspects

When he calls and says, “Honey, I have to work late tonight” do you complain? Show your spouse some appreciation for the positive—he called! And then thank him for his hard work, too.

4. Say thank you for the small things, too

Your spouse doesn’t have to make your life easier by helping you around the house. It’s a choice (or should be). Saying thank you for the things he or she does all the time lets your spouse know that you notice even the small things.

5. Public praise is a great way to appreciate your spouse

Perhaps you say thank you at home, but neglect to make your appreciation known in public. (Or maybe you thank in public but ignore the effort at home!) Saying publicly that you are grateful to your spouse can have a huge impact on your relationship, both publicly and privately.

6. The big things need praise, too

When was the last time you thanked your spouse for being a great dad or mom? Or because they work for an awful boss and still come home in a great mood?

7. Appreciate your spouse for contributing to your success

Whether it’s work, education, parenting, spiritual growth, or work in the community, your husband or wife has impacted your success. Be sure to tell them that achieving your goals is partly their success, too.

8. Say thank you with a gift

Extravagance isn’t necessary. It really is the thought that counts, so flowers or a box of chocolates is a time-honored way to thank your spouse. A dinner date or a gift card to her favorite craft store work, too.

9. Jump the gun when they need help

Don’t wait for your spouse to ask you to do something for him or her. Anticipate the need and offer before they mention it. She could use some time away from the kids, and he could use a nap. Offer to let them do the things that they leave unsaid.

10. Date your spouse

Your spouse needs to know that not only do you love them, but you like them, too. Ask him or her out on a date, even if life seems too busy. Make dating your spouse a priority, and have a real conversation when you go out. Enjoy both dinner and discussion.

Do you have any special way to appreciate your spouse? Share them in the comments!

 

24 Jan

Backhanded Compliments — 5 Ways To Respond

backhanded compliments

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What do you do?

When someone insults you, but disguises it as a compliment, how do you respond? Those kinds of comments are what’s known as backhanded compliments, and it’s not usually intentional (but often it is).

Today is National Compliment Day, so it’s the perfect time to discuss what to do with backhanded compliments. (Here’s how to respond to legitimate compliments without feeling gawky.)

Some people are just socially awkward. They don’t mean to sound snarky; they simply don’t know how to deliver a compliment. Chances are, they don’t know how to receive one, either. Yet at other times, the spiteful comment is entirely intentional. That person may act innocent, but their rudeness still hurts.

“You are really smart for such a pretty woman.”

“You got the job?! Congratulations! I’m so surprised!”

“You look beautiful today.”

“I wish I was as cool with clutter as you are.”

You could write your own list of these kinds of commendations, couldn’t you? We’ve all heard them; in fact, we’ve all said them.

And they sting.

So, how do you respond to backhanded compliments?

There are five tried-and-true methods for handling snarky comments. Choose your weapon!

1. Just ignore it.

Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they meant no harm. Or maybe they did. Not responding doesn’t mean you’re giving up your power. It’s actually more powerful, because your silence is saying, “Your insult means so little to me that I won’t even acknowledge it.”

Answering the insult may come across as defending yourself, as though you actually think there is some validity to their comment.

Usually when people offer up insults—whether disguised or not—they are looking for attention. Don’t let them push your buttons.

2. Be gracious.

Saying “thank you” takes the wind right out of their sails. Getting into a debate is probably not going to advance your cause anyway. Again, assuming the best is best. And a positive attitude is contagious.

3. Acknowledge the positive.

Responding to an insult with another insult is not productive. Show your own class by responding to the positive part of the backhanded compliment with kindness. Consider it your good deed for the day.

4. Meet it head-on.

Especially when you don’t think any harm was meant, say, “Thank you for the compliment, but saying that today I look beautiful implies you don’t think I usually am. Is that what you meant to say?” Keep your tone non-combative, and gently let her know that you recognize passive-aggressive behavior and that it won’t work with you.

5. Keep your sense of humor.

A backhanded compliment says more about the person speaking than it does about you. Jealousy, insecurity, or anger can come out in a hurtful manner, but that doesn’t mean you have to be hurt. Simply decide not to be offended. How you respond to hurtful words is a choice. Don’t lower yourself by reacting in a knee-jerk fashion. Laugh it off.

Something I drilled into my kids applies here. When someone had done or said something hurtful to them, I always reminded them to remember how it felt and be sure not to repeat their offense.

How do you respond to backhanded compliments? Tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

20 Jan

Is That Work-at-Home Scheme a Scam? How to Tell

work-at-home

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Sound too good to be true?

It probably is.

While there are some legitimate work-at-home opportunities out there, the vast majority of those advertised, according to the Better Business Bureau, are scams.

Typically, these work-at-home “opportunities” try to convince you that businesses all over the world are waiting to hire you, because the internet has revolutionized how people conduct business. The ads say that thousands of people are doing this same thing, and you can do it, too.

They claim that you can make a sustainable income by stuffing envelopes, taking online surveys, or assembling craft items. If you can use a computer, they say, you can make money typing or filling out forms or consulting. Their allegations that you can make thousands easily have conned a goodly number of people into parting with fees or upfront costs that are required to start up your home-based business.

The “companies” that offer these exciting promises draw people in via websites that look legitimate or by emailing individuals. And they always require a fee.

A dead giveaway

Legitimate employers don’t ask for a fee as a condition of employment. You shouldn’t have to invest up front, either, or provide credit card information. If you are asked for money in order to be hired, you’re probably being scammed.

One good scam deserves another

There are a slew of advertisers who offer to hook you up with companies looking to hire. Just send them $29 and your resume is guaranteed to be on the desk of an opportunity suited for you. The website shows you what jobs are available, leaving out the contact information so you have to go through them to apply. Thing is, the jobs you’re perusing aren’t real, either. It’s a double-scam.

The same is true when they offer to send you a list of companies looking to hire someone with your skills, experience, or degree.

Or their professional-looking website won’t tell you what the job actually is, until you pay them. But it sounds exciting!

Misleading claims of authenticity

Just because they say they’ve been featured on TV or The New York Times or CNN doesn’t make it true. If they can’t prove their claims, then chances are highly likely they are false. If they advertise that they are 100% legitimate, they probably aren’t, either. Don’t trust “seals of approval” unless you check them out. Not even the BBB guarantees that every site that shows its seal is actually a Better Business Bureau member.

The train has left the station.

Don’t fall into the trap of paying for training so that you can get the job. With the exception of professional areas where degrees are required, employers will willingly train you without cost if training is an issue. If you are being offered training (for a fee, of course), make sure that there are jobs available or that the certification you get when your training is complete is accepted by others. If not, then it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Location, location, location

Real businesses will give you a way to contact them. In this age of online retailers, some may not have a brick and mortar location, but if there is an address on the website, check it out on Google Maps to see if it exists.

Some of the more common scams

Online survey scheme.

Some companies who claim to have surveys that you get paid to fill out are just plain bogus. They are probably mining your contact information and selling it. So, more spam for you. Some of these schemes are real, but you have to fit a very narrow profile to be able to fill the surveys out, so even if you can find them, they are probably few and far between. The time you spend filling out part of a form, only to be told you “don’t fit the profile,” is wasted time. You might make a few bucks, but nowhere close to what your time is worth.

The product assembly scheme.

You spend a lot of money to engage this one, buying supplies and instructions on how to assemble something that the company says it will buy from you. But then, after you’ve spent time and money doing what they ask, they tell you that the work “isn’t up to standards.” Don’t beat yourself up, though, because neither is anyone else’s work “up to standard.” They don’t actually buy your products; in fact, they may not even send you the supplies and instructions they promised. They’ve already made their money in the fees you paid, so they don’t need you anymore.

The home typist scheme

This scheme requires you to pay an “application fee” to get started. They’ve said you could make money typing at home, but what they don’t tell you is that the businesses on the list they send you (in exchange for your “fee”) don’t actually exist. Or if they do, they don’t hire type-at-home workers. Or you get a non-existent URL or email address. Despite the fact that you’ve paid them money, you still have to do the legwork. Legitimate businesses don’t charge you a fee to apply for a job. And few companies outsource their clerical work.

The 900 phone number scheme

Sign up—for a fee—and get a 900 phone number guaranteed to bring in the big bucks. Beware of this one! The “business” you’re letting yourself in for is probably a “psychic hotline” where you are expected to give “psychic readings.” The startup fees can be hefty—up to $500 or more—to set up a 900 number. Once you do that, you will probably be required to purchase special training books or other materials to help you do your new job. You are expected to keep callers on the line as long as possible, and that’s what you get paid for. You may be required to gather contact or other information, which the company will use to send advertising and junk mail. Psychic hotlines can generate money, but only after aggressively advertising the number to the tune of lots of money.

The envelope-stuffing scheme

This one can get you in trouble with the US Post Office. More often than not, you’ll pay an upfront cost of $20-$45 or more, and then the company is supposed to send you the materials to stuff in envelopes. Many just skip that part and send you information on how to set up your own scam. People who follow through on the scheme are usually too embarrassed to back out, which is exactly what the scammer is hoping will happen.

The medical billing scheme

The promise behind this scam is that you can make big money working as many hours as you want by providing online services, like billing, insurance claim processing, accounts receivable, or office management to doctors and dentists. According to the Federal Trade Commission, most companies offer software, training and technical support for an investment of $2,000 and upwards. Their packet of information is impressive, but few people who buy into these programs are able to find clients. The income you may be able to make will certainly not recoup your investment, not to mention earning enough to replace the real job you have. The company will probably not provide experienced sales staff or even contacts in the medical industry. Most medical practices who use online services almost exclusively use one of a number of large and well-established firms.

Watch out for great references

If the scammer offers references, it’s highly likely they are from “singers” or “shills,” people hired to give a favorable report. Don’t fall for it!

Real work-at-home opportunities

There are real opportunities to work from home and make a living at it. If you’re serious about making money from home, follow these suggestions to be sure you aren’t being scammed.

• Find out how long the company has been in business, and check for complaints. Contact the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, and the Secretary of State where the company is located.

• Ask to see all earnings claims—in writing.

• Insist on a list of names of previous consumers so you can make the determination on whom you want to call. Listen with a healthy dose of skepticism. Ask the references for references.

• Check for refund and cancellation policies. If you have followed the company’s instructions and aren’t satisfied, a reputable organization will refund your money.

• Ask about the tasks you’ll have to perform, and if there is any training you’ll need to take.

• Be sure you’re clear on when you’ll get paid, and by whom.

• Determine the total cost to get started, including any materials or supplies you’ll need, as well as the cost of training.

Some legitimate work-at-home websites

Although this list is not exhaustive, take a look at these companies as a way to find real, paying, work-at-home opportunities. They offer local jobs, too.

Jobster.com

SimplyHired.com

MomCorps.com

Tjobs.com

Dice.com

ComputerJobs.com

Cybercoders.com

JournalismJobs.com

Jobs.Problogger.net

Upwork.com (I write regularly from jobs found through this one.)

Do you have any links to work-at-home opportunities? Share them in the comments.

 

18 Jan

How to Find Free Photos and Why You Need Them

free photos

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Your blog needs images.

And free photos seem like the way to go. Right?

Maybe.

And maybe not.

Because the photos you choose to use on your blog or website can land you in a lot of trouble.

How? Because unless you have copyright license to the photo you’re using, you may be infringing on someone else’s rights. The photographer who took that fantastic photo that was published on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Flickr owns the exclusive rights to use that photo, and unless you have her permission to use it, you could rack up some large copyright infringement penalties. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford it.

The Nitty-Gritty of Image Copyright Law Made Simple

The Copyright Law Act guarantees you the right to the following, if you are the original creator of a work of art, writing, or music.

  • the right to reproduce the copyrighted work.
  • the right to prepare derivative works based upon the work.
  • the right to distribute copies of the work to the public.
  • the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly.

If you are not the originator of the work, those rights DON’T  belong to you.

Period.

And you need express permission to use those works unless you have legitimately purchased usage rights.

What to do if you’re not a photographer

Fortunately for us all, there are a number of photographers who are okay with you using their photographs without paying for them. These wonderful people have taken amazing images and put them out there for you to grab for free.

Are you grateful yet?

The following list is not exhaustive, but has 25 sources for free photos. One caveat, though. Don’t assume that because they are on this list, they may not have changed their copyright. Double check before using a photo from one of these sources, and follow their rules. If they say “don’t alter,” then don’t.

Picjumbo

Unsplash

Foodie’s Feed

Jay Mantri

Gratisography

Pixabay

Life of Pix

Public Domain Archive

Death to the Stock Photo

Picography

Skitterphoto

Magdeleine

Stokpic 

New Old Stock

Getrefe

Splitshire

Pexels

Snapwire Snaps

Designers Pics

The Stockpile

Photo Collections

Good Stock Photos

Shutteroo

Photo Collections

Re:splashed

What are your favorite sources for free photos?

 

13 Jan

National Hobby Month: Tips on Turning Your Hobby Into A Business

hobby

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National Hobby Month.

Every year, at the beginning of the year, our nation celebrates National Hobby Month. 2017 can be a much more interesting year if you spend some of your time honing skills and pursuing special interests. Hobbies get a boost from blogs and how-to websites at this time of year.

What? You didn’t know it was National Hobby Month?

Well, you aren’t alone.

Yet  according to the U.S. Census Bureau, people in the United States spend around five to six hours per day on leisure and sports activities, their personal interests / activities, and hobbies. It takes into account that weekend days are more filled with hobby pursuits than weekdays. Still, that’s a lot of time doing something for no other reason than it interests you.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics , watching TV was the most popular use of leisure time in 2014.

national hobby month

 

I think we can do better than that. It is, after all, National Hobby Month!

Not So Boring Life has a list of hobbies that numbers more than 300. TV watching is number 283 (they’re listed alphabetically), but I’d drop it from the list altogether. Because, hobbies.

The list is not, obviously, all-inclusive, but it does give you some hope if you haven’t found a hobby that suits you.

Discover A Hobby.com also has a list that is more than 300 items.

With the prevalence of hobbies, crafts, and DIY posts on Pinterest, there is sure to be something you want to do with your spare time.

If you have spare time.

It’s a known fact that we all make time for the things that are really important to us, and for many, hobbies are important. Even a few minutes a day can help you start and keep a hobby.

Some of us spend so much time on our hobbies that we decide to turn it into our business. Whether it’s blogging, reading, making. or doing, there is probably a niche you can fill with the thing you love.

Here are a few tips on how to make your hobby into a dream job.

Be innovative.

The market changes, and what was once popular may wane in demand. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love. Instead, you need to be ready and willing to make changes to your business to keep it relevant.

Stay steady.

Turning your hobby into a business takes word. Hard work. Probably more work than if you had a “normal” 9-5 job. A schedule is the best way to be sure you’re moving toward your goal. Commit to at least 15 minutes every day of doing something related to your business.

Don’t go it alone.

You have family, friends, peers and professionals who can help you succeed in making your hobby your profession. Listen to what they say, even when it’s criticism. It’s possible that you are so close to a problem that you can’t see it, and the perspective of other people can help you solve problems you might not even realize you have. Join a Facebook group or find a networking group that focuses on what you love doing.

In addition to joining groups that target your hobby, think about those that spotlight small businesses, too. There’s valuable information resident in other people.

Keep it simple.

It’s easy to go overboard with your ideas and try to focus on too many things at once. You can go really big and still keep it simple. Stick to one aspect of your hobby until you are successful with that area, and then expand. Nothing creates success like success.

Stay true to authenticity.

Your brand is unique. It is the thing that sells your product, even more than what you do. Nothing is more important than finding your voice in the public arena and staying true to it. Your vision shouldn’t waver based on what somebody else is doing. Be authentic.

So should you turn your hobby into a business?

There are some cons to going professional with your favorite pastime. Making 25,000 (fill in the blank here) may not be as satisfying as the few you make in your spare time. Maybe your hobby isn’t worthy of being a business. Just because your friends and family admire your work doesn’t really translate into market research. There may not be a market for your interest where you live. Or perhaps your hobby isn’t deep enough to sustain your interest long enough to make a business out of it.

Maybe you just need to have fun with it. And remember to celebrate National Hobby Month.

Pretty Pintastic Party

 

 

 

09 Jan

Choosing My Guiding Word for 2017—Bless

bless rainbow

I’VE COME ACROSS the idea of a guiding word several times in reading my favorite blogs recently. Seems like everyone is looking to simplify their New Year’s Resolutions and find a word that will guide them through the muddle of life in 2017.

My word came to me when I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just suddenly knew the word. But if you are looking for a guiding word and nothing is standing out, take a look at “How to Choose One Word To Define & Guide Your Year Ahead” on one of my favorite blogs, “A Pair and A Spare.”

Bless is my word. It can overarch my goals for the year quite nicely when used to receive blessings as well as to give blessings.

But what does bless actually entail? First, let’s define it.

Bless
verb (used with object), blessed or blest, blessing.
1. to consecrate or sanctify by a religious rite; make or pronounce holy.

2. to request of God the bestowal of divine favor on:

Bless this house.

3. to bestow good of any kind upon:

a nation blessed with peace.

4. to extol as holy; glorify:

Bless the name of the Lord.

5. to protect or guard from evil (usually used as an interjection):

Bless you! Bless your innocent little heart!

6. to condemn or curse:

I’ll be blessed if I can see your reasoning. Bless me if it isn’t my old friend!

7. to make the sign of the cross over or upon:

The Pope blessed the multitude.
My use of the word is contained in the third definition, meaning to bestow good of any kind upon. This year, I’m desiring to bless the people God has so graciously put in my life, and to extend myself for the good of others, even those I don’t know. So, giving of my time and my treasure to the people who are in need, and to provide good things for those I love.
Jesus, when speaking of what is commonly called the Beatitudes, said the following.

Matthew 5:3-12King James Version (KJV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

My goals for this year mean that I want to become like those Jesus was speaking about: poor in spirit, comforted in mourning, meek, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and even persecuted for His sake.

If I were to choose a guiding word that I think is prophetic for America for the coming year, I would probably say chaotic. I’m not a doomsayer, and I’m not predicting doom. But I do think that our political climate has become toxic, and that it will sift down through every facet of our lives.

How can it not?

So for Christians, I think we have been called to be light and salt in uncertain times, showing the way by our actions and love, and preserving our land through our prayers.

Will you join me in blessing America this year?

05 Jan

Faithbooking: Scrapbooking My Spiritual Journey

Faithbooking 1/2017

Have you ever tried Faithbooking?

It’s taking your spiritual journey and making scrapbooking or journaling pages about it. My only resolution this year is to let go and let God. So embarking on this new way (for me) of documenting how God is moving in my life is intriguing, to say the least.

This first page shows a picture of my grandchildren (and the boyfriend of my oldest granddaughter) sitting in front of a museum at Christmas time. It’s not all of my grandchildren (I have eleven!), but it’s the ones who were there that day. The picture was taken by my daughter-in-law, who is a fantastic photographer. (We have two photographers in our family, and they are both stupendous. I’m sure I’ll have pictures from my son-in-law during the year, too.)

Matthew 15:13 says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” That sounds like a great goal for the new year, and I want to embrace it fully.

Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”

That’s a mandate from God, and faithbooking is a great way to obey the commandment. Keeping my faith journey alive for my grandkids is very important to me, and I am looking forward to really getting down with the whole idea.

Sometimes I’ll do it digitally, as I’ve done with this first page. Then I’ll print it out and put it in a scrapbook. And then sometimes I’ll do it traditionally, with paper, embellishments and ink. Perhaps some of the layouts will be “tradigital,” a combination of the two.

I’d love for you to come along on my journey, and for you to share yours with me!

How do you document your faith?

01 Jan

Dear John…Breaking Up With Writer’s Block

writing

I’ve decided to write a “Dear John” letter to Writer’s Block.

I’m tired of sitting down at my computer and coming up blank. I’m tired of putting my fingers on the keyboard and having them just sit there, like limp noodles, unable to get out a few words, not to mention a sentence or (gasp!) a whole paragraph. So this is it. It’s over between us. I’m walking away from Writer’s Block.

Dear Writer’s Block,

We’ve been bosom buddies for awhile now. In fact, I followed you like a puppy for the whole last year. When I sat down to write, you were there. When I tried to focus on something worthwhile to say, you were beside me. We went everywhere together, and 2016 turned out to be one of my worst years ever for writing.

It’s as though you thought you were more important that my natural urge to write. And I guess I let you be.

But it’s 2017 now, and I’ve decided that I don’t need you in my life anymore. I’d say “it’s not you, it’s me,” but that would be wholly untrue. It’s you. All you. You’ve stolen my time, my peace, and my inspiration, and left me unsatisfied and miserable. You ate up my time and disturbed my inner sanctum and left me feeling worthless.

So you see, this can’t go on.

I’ve found someone new, someone who believes in me as a writer and I’m devoted to that new person in my life. His name is Muse, and I believe we were made for each other. Muse helps me think creatively and thinks I can write very well. So I guess I’ll hang out with Muse from now on. In fact, I think Muse and I can have a permanent relationship, one that will benefit me everyday and over the rest of my lifetime. And that’s something I really want.

So this is goodbye, Writer’s Block. I’d say it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been. I’d wish you well, but I don’t. So without further ado, goodbye.

Feeling free,

Me

 

 

 

05 Aug

What is the Gospel?

1275-12433873098dvk

YOU’VE PROBABLY MET PEOPLE who have told you about Jesus Christ, haven’t you? They may have said that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. They may have told you that you can have that relationship by saying a simple prayer. But that’s not the Gospel.

People have received many benefits of Christian life in this country, including peace and the ability to gather freely at places of worship, whether that is in a church building, a storefront, or a home. But that’s not the Gospel, either.

Christian fellowship may include teaching, praying, and eating together. Sharing the Lord’s Supper together is a wonderful way to fellowship. But it’s not the Gospel.

Here’s the Gospel. God is holy and righteous. I am not (neither are you). One day you will die and face the Lord God Himself. You will be judged, either on your own righteousness or that of someone else. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, says the Bible. So God caused His Son to walk through this world and live a sinless, righteous life. Then, to pay for all the sins I’ve committed (and you, too), He allowed His Son to be crucified and become the sacrificial lamb to pay for those sins. Then He raised Him from the dead. His death has purchased my freedom and given me His righteousness in place of my own (yours, too).

Now when I stand before God, I will be able to claim Jesus’ righteousness as my own (you can, too) and because of what He’s already done, I will be welcomed into God’s kingdom.

If you understand and believe that, then a simple prayer will, indeed, make you a Christian and guarantee your entrance into heaven. That’s called faith. The Bible says we must come to Him in faith, and His grace will do the rest.

Are you ready to believe? Jesus will save you. And that’s the Gospel truth.

14 Jul

A Gentleman’s Legacy

elbert001

 

It’s been almost two months since my father passed away.

Yesterday would have been his 86th birthday. And as I sit and reflect on his life and influence on me, I realize that the thing that most touches me is that he was a gentleman.

He held doors for women. He walked between me and traffic. He pulled out my mother’s chair. He taught my brothers what it meant to treat women right and he taught me how to expect a man to treat me.

We didn’t always see eye to eye.

In fact, during my teenage years (my rebellion), I didn’t even like him very much. But I always admired and loved him, nonetheless. I was proud that he was my dad, proud of the way he acted and looked the part of a gentleman. And while I was running around with people of dubious character behind his back, I never forgot what he represented.

He grew up in a family of faith, with a preacher for a father.

Somewhere along the way, he quit going to church and living his faith out loud. But he never let us forget the difference between right and wrong, and how to treat people with respect. In the end, a year or so before his death, he admitted to me that he was a believer, that he looked forward to being in heaven with Christ when he died. That meant the world to me.

He was generous and kind, but full of jokes and pranks, too.

Nothing delighted him more than finding himself the butt end of a joke, and the laugh lines on his face were deep. He could really put out the teasing, but he could take it, too.

I’ll never forget the year a friend gave him a live pig for his birthday. He reciprocated by giving her a monkey! And then there was the time he took a cow in another friend’s kitchen. (Somehow, though, he didn’t see the humor in it when I brought a pony in the house on our slate floors!)

All in all, I feel very blessed to have been raised by this man. He wasn’t perfect (who of us are?).

But he was a gentleman.