Giving Service is Like Giving Yourself a Gift!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose Jim Elliot

Heaven seems to be minimized all too frequently in today’s world. Having made a premature visit there, I know just how wonderful and important heaven is.  🙂

It doesn’t take dollars or possessions to make your way back to heaven…it takes love and goodness!

In heaven, narcissism is out and benevolence is in. No more what’s in it for me. Instead, we love and honor each other and make our decisions based on how can I best serve the whole? God? Mankind? Sound horrible? It’s not – it’s glorious!!!

Heaven is not a place of scarcity – it is a place of abundance. In heaven, we can all have all of our hearts desire, as long as that desire is good and not hurtful to others.

Heaven is a place of honor and it is a place of stewardship. We honor each others gifts whether we have few or many. Each talent or gift that we have is not just a source of pride but an opportunity to serve in a special way.  Therefore, gifts and talents are cherished in heaven and great effort is made to develop them and share them.

I believe that the greater part of mankind wants to love and serve our fellow man. I think that often what gets in our way is that we think that we have to have great wealth or an abundance of extra time to help others out.

The reality is that we each have the ability to contribute in a positive way to the world around us – even if that contribution today can only be a kind word and a smile!

I love today’s story! I hope it will inspire your day and your life!

Christmas Angel

When Delwyn Collins was a kid growing up in the projects of Fort Worth, Texas, he was labeled handicapped with a learning disability and sent to a special education school. His teachers never suspected that Collins was a genius at caring: Today the 52-year-old cafeteria worker at Tampa General Hospital is nothing less than an angel to hundreds of foster children in Hills-borough County, Florida. These children—many with special needs and often moved from home to home—tug hard at Collins’s heart. Christmas 2010 will mark the 21st year he has set up a Foster Angel’s Giving Tree decorated with paper angels bearing the first names, ages, and gender of foster children and the gifts each child would like to receive.

Collins is a man of modest means, but each week he sets aside a portion of his paycheck to buy gifts to put under the tree. “I just want to show these children there is somebody out there in the community who loves them.” His unpretentious example has inspired the doctors, nurses, and administrators he works with to make the Giving Tree a priority. Hospital employees and visitors take an angel off the tree and buy the present the child has requested.

As Christmas nears, bicycles, dolls, clothes, and video games begin to overflow the cafeteria. In recent years, the program has begun to receive presents from donors throughout the county. More than 1,000 kids in foster care in and around Tampa received gifts in 2009. “My job is to help and give to others,” says Collins. “God doesn’t care if we’re rich or poor.”

Story Shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/

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How to Have a Long and Happy Marriage

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon McLaughlin

Eighty-seven years ago, Karam and Katari Chand met in their native land of Punjab, India through an arranged marriage. They’re still together and are waiting for the Guinness Book of World records to proclaim them as officially having the world’s longest lasting marriage. Karam says “My trick is to make Katari laugh. I like to tell jokes and make her smile. Being funny is my way of being romantic.”

The couple have eight children and twenty eight grandchildren together. There is an age difference – Karam is 107, and his wife is a relatively youthful 100, but that hasn’t stopped their long and successful partnership.

One of the secrets to their long and happy marriage is that the key to success is looking after each other in every way possible.

“I have been told laughing makes you live longer… my wife is still alive so it must have worked! I love her so much and I want to spend another 80 years by her side,” Karam says.

The couple now lives in Bradford and are both looked after by one of their children.
Katari says that eating right is very important. “When I was young I used to make him a nice fresh meal every night. We are vegetarian so I brought lots of fresh vegetables and made sure he was eating healthy food.

“Health is very important and I wanted to look after him so we could grow old together. Some would say it has worked!

Karam does a word search every day to keep his mind alive. He believes that spending plenty of time together has helped their marriage last.

“We have not spent any long span apart in over 50 years. We go everywhere together – up until a few years ago we went to India every year with the family and for all family weddings we make sure we get to stay together,” he says.

The couple’s marriage has lasted nearly five years longer than that of the current Guinness World Record holders and the couple is in the process of getting confirmation from the company that they will be named as the new record holders.

Both now share their five steps to a long and successful marriage:

1. “Always be faithful: always be faithful to one another. When you get married you commit to devoting your life to that person and even when the times are tough, don’t believe that the grass is greener…because it isn’t.”

2. “Look after each other as best you can: if you want to grow old with your partner you have to make sure you always look after each other in every shape and form. Whether it is making a meal, holding your partners hand when crossing the road or being a shoulder to cry on when something goes wrong.”

3. “Be tolerant of each other: everyone has bad habits or annoying traits. Whether it is leaving a towel on the floor or listening to the radio too loudly, you have to tolerate each other and realize that no one is perfect.”

4. “Listen to each other: the most important thing in a relationship is to listen. People don’t listen anymore because they are too busy with work and TV. Listen to your loved ones’ problems and concerns every day, because then you can help them overcome them and be happier. Also, it brings you closer together because you are the first port of call for each other when there is an issue in your life.”

5. “Follow social and religious values. Respect, care, cherish, love and value your partner – always treat them how you would want to be treated yourself.”

Today’s article was written by Greg Goodsell and is shared from the following website: http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/family/story.php?id=48336

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Do Small Things with Great Love…Giving Love and Service

Do Small things with Great love - Mother Teresa

Giving Love and Service – it is rarely easy and virtually never convenient. Yet, it can make all the difference to those we love and to the strangers around us.

I believe we all have a story to tell of someone who has done something small for us – an act of service that did not require great sacrifice. Yet, those acts born of thoughtfulness and concern are some of our most meaningful and cherished moments.

I remember a time in my life shortly after I had graduated from high school. I was working in a pizza store. I wasn’t happy with where my life was and was feeling like nobody cared. One night a couple that I knew casually from my church came in. I was working the counter that night and did not wait on the couple but I said hi as I saw them walk in. After their meal, the man deliberately walked up to the counter and gave me a silver dollar. I don’t remember his exact words but he conveyed to me that he believed in me and that I was important. This man did not know me well but he had taken the time to notice me, think about me and then give me words of encouragement. He gave me a priceless gift that night. He gave me hope in myself and he helped me to believe in my worth. The silver dollar was a sweet gesture on his part but it was his words of encouragement that made all the difference. His kind act still impacts my life today.

Remembering moments like these in my life helps me to understand the profound difference small acts of service and kindness can make in the lives of those we come in contact with. I think today’s story shares perfectly the concept that we all need help from time to time. It is through the kindness of strangers that God most often answers our prayers. Are you meant to answer a prayer for God today?

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her – generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”
Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivateus.com/stories/five.htm

 

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Stop Waiting for The Perfect Time. There isn’t One!

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”― Napoleon Hill

There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that project, to spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done every day.

Kill the excuses!

I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don’t feel motivated. I’d rather do nothing. I don’t have the money..yet!

It’s easy to come up with excuses and justify not getting started. The longer you fill your head with rationalizations and empty excuses, the less time you have to take action.

It’s easy to say, “I will start when I have more experience, money, time and resources”. By this time next year, you will have a lot more excuses. It’s a cycle. And once you get caught in the loop, it can be difficult to break free and do something meaningful you care about.

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to make a change.

Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold on to this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

It pays to be an outlier!

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” — Malcom Gladwell

Outliers are those who seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live.

Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t. Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction outnumber those of action by nearly two to one.

Some of the most common include not being more assertive and failing to seize the moment. When people reflect later in life, it is the things they did not do that generate the greatest despair. You can seize the moment today!

Getting past the biggest hurdle!

The biggest hurdle for many of us is simply getting started. Making that important decision to take a step. You can be as big and successful as you can possibly imagine if you build that mindset you need to step outside the safe zone. You just don’t trust yourself enough yet.

You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can get past the excuses. You don’t even have to start a new project. What you need is something you can emotionally and deeply connect with.

Don’t think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are and witness the magic of creative work. If you’re thinking about it too much, chances are you’re killing it.

Get started now!

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” ― Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

No matter who you are or what you dream of becoming, remember this: No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small.

Stop questioning yourself. Stop listening to everyone else. The world is waiting for you to start something. Waiting to hear what you have to say. Waiting to use your creative product or service. Waiting to share your ideas and original work.

Remember the dream you were too scared to chase? It’s still not too late to give it a try. We tend to think that we’re not good enough and give up before we even start. The fear of taking risks never goes away but it does become familiar.

The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them. Your first ebook, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work will not be satisfying and perfect, and it’s okay.

When we express ourselves in a way that brings out the best in us, we’ve already succeeded. Step by step we improve despite the temporary failures. That’s what matters. It matters that you persist.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.
There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” —
Mark Victor Hansen

Take advantage of the enormous opportunities the information age presents. You have everything you need to go make something meaningful. Something you deeply care about. You don’t have to be right when you start. But it matters that you begin now.

There isn’t a right time for anything. There’s no such thing as perfect timing. If it feels right, just go for it today. Don’t wait until everything is just perfect or right. Get started now.

Today’s article was written by Thomas Oppong and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/stop-waiting-for-the-perfect-time-there-isnt-one-249e2f9e34fb

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This is how gossip destroys relationships! (and 7 ways to put a FULL STOP to it)

Gossip: A weed watered by words Soul Dancer

“We are not gossiping, we are just networking!” – If you are discussing the negative information about others in their absence, you are already gossiping.

Gossip brings serious irreversible damages to relationships! We all might have been involved in ‘gossip’, in one way or the other, and we all have once been a victim of it. In this post, I would like to share with you what I learned about how gossip adversely affects personal relationships and how to put a full stop when someone starts gossip!

I have observed families being broken, relationships getting affected, and communities being destroyed, all because of  ‘few words’, which were conveyed by someone, which were not completely true.

Before proceeding, let me give you the proper definition of gossip so that you can check for yourself whether you are involved in any type of gossip or had been a victim of it.

Gossip is the casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true. [Oxford Dictionary]

Here is a simple definition, (restructured into simple words)

If you have ever involved in a conversation, where the topic is about some information about another person, in his/her absence, which are not confirmed as truth, then you have already taken part in gossiping.

I will give you a scenario:

There were three people, lets say, Person A, Person B and Person C. A and B are good frienABCds. B and C were good friends, but now they were not in good terms. A doesn’t know C personally.

A and B started a conversation in the absence of C. A and B started talking, and after some time they started to speak about C. Even though, they started discussing the positive things of Person C, B unintentionally shared some of the ‘negative things’ of C, to his friend A. Person A believed this report. Person A was curious to know more and the conversation became intense and both of them started to discuss more about C. Most of the things B shared about C were not fully true, as B had a grudge towards C.

Suddenly Person C comes and joins A and B. A and B started to act as if they were discussing something else.  

Now just imagine, how would the conversation proceed? A had already got a negative impression about C, from his friend B. Even if C tries to build a good relationship with A, as long as A has the ‘wrong information about C’ in his mind, it would be very difficult for the relationship to be genuine and strong. Isn’t it?

This is how relationships are adversely affected.

So, what is gossip? With regard to personal relationships, it is a conversation about any information, about a third person, which is mostly not confirmed to be true.

Gossip is like a ‘forest fire’

Once affected, it is impossible to revert the damage caused by it.

There is a story that is often told about the dangers of gossip. One version tells that a woman spreads untruths about a neighbor in her village. When she wants to make amends, she approaches an elder in the community, tells him how sorry she is, and asks what she can do to apologize. He brings her to the top of a hill on a windy day with a pillowcase full of feathers. He instructs her to open the pillowcase, and the feathers fly everywhere. He then asks her to collect the far-flung feathers. She protests, saying that it is impossible to track down each feather. He responds that so too is it impossible to undo the damage that gossip causes, for each piece of gossip told catches the wind and travels far, just like the feathers.

Let us see what the Bible tells about the power of the tongue

the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3: 5-8 [NIV]

  • The tongue is a small part of the body but it can greatly boast
  • The tongue is a fire, and it can cause great damage like a forest fire
  • It is very difficult to tame the tongue
  • It is full of deadly poison

Therefore, we need to be careful about using our ‘tongue’. If you can control your tongue, you can control your whole life.

Now is YOUR turn – You can either quench the fire!! or pour fuel into it and spread the fire!!

Your choice!

7 simple ways to put a FULL STOP to gossip.

Nobody ever starts the gossip intentionally. It mostly happens in the daily conversations even without we being aware of it. Here, are some simple things to consider, to escape from the deadly poison of gossip. (Mostly to be applied in personal relationships)

1. Never ‘believe’ the facts about a third person without proper evidence

Even, if the facts that were given to you, is by a trustworthy person, make it a habit not to quickly believe it, without considering the evidence/facts. If you clearly set this principle in your mind, then you can be sure that you will not be easily pulled into gossiping.

2. Never believe ‘half-truths’

Some facts may seem to be true but are half-truths. Half-truths are whole lies!

Example: Jack and Bobby are brothers. Jack tells his mother, “Bobby hit me”. Mother immediately punishes Bobby. Bobby starts to cry. The truth was that Jack hit Bobby first, and they both fought among each other. But, in order to escape the punishment of his mother, Jack ran towards his mother and complained to her about Bobby, before Bobby could ever tell her. 

Here, what Jack told is ‘truth’, but was a ‘half-truth’. The mother took the wrong action, because she didn’t take time to inquire from Bobby on what happened.

Therefore, never take action on hearing half-truths. Listen to all the parties involved, before jumping to a conclusion.

3. Learn to stop a conversation when it turns into gossip

Listening eagerly to a gossip is also equivalent to gossiping. Therefore, if you observe that, the conversation you are involved with, is shifting to ‘gossip’, gently and politely decline or change the topic. This is how you put a full stop to gossip.

Gossip kills three people: the one who speaks it, the one who listens, and the one about whom it is spoken – unknown

4. If a person gossips about another person to you, remember he/she will gossip about you TOO

This is a simple check to test whether a person is trustworthy. The one who gossips to you cannot be trusted. Therefore refuse to share your secrets or confidential matters with such a person.

5. Never ever spread a negative information about another person

Even if you know that it is the truth, you need not share it with others. It will spoil his/her reputation. Spreading negative information about others will make yourself a less trustworthy person. (Refer the previous point). Speaking evil about others is a negative personality trait.

6. Try to find the positive in others

The next importing thing is to train yourself to find the good in others. Even though someone told wrong about that person, still he has some good in him. Find those and appreciate it. Therefore, whenever someone gossips to you about that person, you can change the conversation by discussing the good about him. Isn’t a good idea?

7. Always remember this warning – You are responsible for your words

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36, 37

Therefore, if you have already fallen into this great sin of gossip, it is high time to feel sorry about it, and request God to forgive. God is merciful and will forgive your mistakes. Also, only God can heal the damages caused by gossip.

Here is a self-checklist

  1. Am I quick to believe the negative reports of someone I do not know?
  2. Did I ever spread a wrong information?
  3. Will I be curious to know the personal private facts of others?
  4. Will I encourage someone who gossips to me?
  5. Am I quick to judge others based on the information I received?
  6. Do I seek information from all parties before believing the report?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourselves. If you have ever been involved in gossip, you will never know how much damage it may cause to the various relationships you are involved with.

Here is a simple prayer

Father, knowingly or unknowingly I have believed the wrong reports about others. I am sorry for it. I chose not to believe it. Help me not to be interested in the negative things of others. Help me to put a stop to gossip next time someone starts it. Give me the boldness to discourage such conversations. Help me to build relationships and not to destroy it. Help me to recognize the traps set by people to pull me into unwanted conversations. Please help me to bring glory to you, by properly taming my ears and tongue. Help me to bring glory to you. Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Today’s article was written by Donny Thomas Kurien and is shared from the following website: http://hisvoiceonline.com/gossip-destroys-relationships/

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