Friday, May 17, 2013

Blessed or Stressed?

I do try to keep up with major events happening in the world around me, but at times watching the television news reports can be overwhelming, to say the least. Horrible suffering in war-torn countries, crime occurring in many areas, and natural disasters are only a partial list of devastating reports that news announcers tell us about. If we allow these reports to take over our thoughts, it can make for some really gloomy moods.
 But as Christians, we cannot pretend there's no evil or suffering in the world, and ignore all the bad things as we go about our lives. Nor should we go to the other extreme and focus on the negative events completely, allowing ourselves to be filled with stress.
So is it possible to feel happy and blessed in a world filled with negative news all around us (which can easily result in our feelings of stress)? I think the answer is YES!
As a Christian, I know my Bible is my guidebook for life--in all areas. All I have to do is search Scriptures and I can find answers, comfort, and hope. In the book of John, Jesus tells His disciples that in the world they will have tribulation, then He adds but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~ WOW!! Those words spoken so many years ago are still true for us TODAY, because the Lord is still IN CONTROL. Even though daily news reports remind us of the strife, evil, and disasters happening around us, we can be blessed by knowing the Lord loves us and is watching over us.
I try to remember that when a particular news report leaves me feeling stressed, I need to pray about the situation and the people affected, then remember how blessed I am because I belong to a loving God, and He will never leave me.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Service With A Smile

How can it be May already? This year is zipping by too quickly, and I've heard many other people making that same comment. ~ As I look at my calendar now turned to the month of May, I am reminded that at the start of 2013 I chose a new "Word for the Year" which I want to make sure I remember
. This year my word is SERVICE. I decided (at the end of this past December) that throughout 2013 I really wanted to focus on serving God. And the way to serve God is by serving others. So I look for ways (yes, they're usually little ways) to do things for others. Sending cards and gifts for no special occasion is one of my favorite ways to help--and bless--others. I know how much a "thinking of you" card has meant to me in the past, so I always pray when I send a card (or gift) that the person receiving it will be blessed. Maybe if that person has had a rough day or week, my card will arrive at exactly the right time to lift their spirits. Even small acts such as assisting an elderly person with a shopping cart at the store, or picking up a toy that a small child has dropped can be a way of serving others. Of course taking a meal to a family in need is a way of serving others--the list could go on and on. But I'm also reminded that as I look for ways to serve, I need to have a servant's heart. Rather than wanting to do things for myself, I need to be joyful as I do things for others, because by serving others I am serving the Lord. So may I always serve others with a smile--not complaining or grumbling--but being truly joyful that I'm pleasing God by serving others.     ~     ~
                Serve the Lord with gladness.  Psalm 100:2