Benefits of Doing Your Christmas Shopping Online

Online catalog shopping is going to be your lifesaver when it comes to Christmas shopping this year.  Online shopping has never been easier (and more importantly, safer) – and it will definitely keep you from turning into the Grinch with all the stress maddening shopping lines and throngs of people give you when go to the mall.

Still doubtful? Here are some benefits you can get from doing your Christmas shopping online:

  1. It provides an organized approach to Christmas shopping.

Christmas catalogs are usually designed in a way that allows you to shop for everyone in your list without breaking the bank. Categorized by price, by recipient and even by bundle, it certainly saves you on precious time when deciding which present to shop for.

Gift ideas are a very useful feature of online catalogs.

  1. It gives you convenience like no other.

Do your shopping online – anytime, anywhere. Do it in the comforts of your home, while in the car waiting for the children at school, ANYWHERE! And then have it delivered right at your doorstep. It cannot get any better than that.

  1. It lets you save money.

You might find this hard to believe but notice when you shop at retail stores you end up getting more than what you originally planned? This is where marketing tactics of stores come into play, usually through well-designated areas wherein customers usually just pick up things because it looks pretty or on sale.

Plus, you get to save on gas, parking lot fees, eating out (in the mall) when you normally shop in retail stores.

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If you are convinced to give online catalog shopping a try but are still fearful because it’s your first time, here are some tips to ensure your safety and privacy:

  1. Look for security signs in the form of safety logos and policies that should be displayed on the browser and every page of the web site. Since shopping entails you enter credit card information, look for a seal that says your information is encrypted and safe (most especially, hacker-proof). An example of security seal is the Verisign logo.
  2. Read the fine print. Look for their policies on returns, refunds and replacements so you save the hassle of dealing with it in the future. Look up their shipping arrangements. Most importantly, look for customer service hotlines you can easily reach anytime – whether by phone, email, chat or social media channels.
  3. Read reviews. One advantage of online shopping is you can read reviews and feedback of real customers. Reviews save you buyer’s remorse so be sure to check reviews of the item first before purchasing.
  4. Look for hidden charges. Before you checkout your purchase, make sure to check individual charges in your cart. Also, look for coupons online – this can easily be done by doing a search on Google. This can save you a couple of dollars while others usually offer free shipping.

Online shopping has never been more convenient for consumers as it is today. Try it now!

4 Reasons Being A Christian Is More Difficult Than Ever

Whether you have been a devout Christian your entire life or are just turning to Christ now, one thing you’ll find is that it is more difficult than ever to be a Christian. You may find it more difficult to avoid temptation, love one another, avoid sinning, or find time for prayer. The truth is though, no one said being Christian is easy or should be easy. Being a Christian is difficult, now more than ever.

Busier Than Ever

For one, people have a tendency to be busier now more than ever. This is obviously not a great excuse to avoid worship or skip prayers. It is not an excuse to commit sins or avoid Christian values. Regardless, it does make it more difficult to find time for God. Families today are making room for two full-time working adults, multiple children with commitments such as school, extra-curricular activities, sports, and more. Even a meal with the entire family at one table can seem like an unobtainable goal.

In the not so distant past, your parents’ and grandparents’ time, there was usually only one full-time working member of the family. That left time for the other, non-working adult to take care of any matters at home. This allowed the family to be a family and attend worship on Sundays, helping them to follow Christian ways.

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Today, we have our children’s’ sports and activities virtually every day of the week, including Sundays. So the choice becomes to skip service or have our children miss a game. Often times the decision is to miss the service.

Having such busy lives makes it extremely difficult to find time for God and work towards being a good Christian.

The Bible Can Be Hard to Interpret in Today’s World

Putting politics aside, you’re undoubtedly aware of all of the controversy going on in the world regarding gender and sexual orientation. There are those who swear by a strict interpretation of the Bible and those who don’t. Being a good Christian doesn’t mean you have to pick a side. There truly are no sides as long as you follow the core beliefs that you should love one another and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is not this article’s job to try and persuade you one way or another, but to remind you that being Christian isn’t all about the Bible’s interpretation. Being a good Christian requires you to avoid sin as much as possible, seek forgiveness for your sins, and to be a good person. When Christianity has such split views, it can make it extremely difficult to be a Christian.

It Requires Growth

Another reason why being Christian is difficult is because it requires growth. You don’t walk into a church one day and walk out a Christian. To follow Christian beliefs is to grow as an individual. Growth is not always easy, especially when it means abiding by a certain ethical code that you may not have been following before.

However, this growth can be rewarding especially when it is positive growth. Whether that includes consistent attendance to service or a better understanding of the teachings of God, growth can be great. Forcing yourself to go beyond your comfort level is challenging but is more often than not, rewarding. You can probably think back to a time as a child when you avoid a particular food or activity because you were scared or it seemed challenging. When you finally had the courage, and took that leap of faith, it was rewarding regardless of whether you continue to eat that food or partake in that activity today. Our minds are conditioned to fear the unknown. Once you’ve been to able to make that unknown a known, it is no longer something to fear.

It’s Not Meant to Be Easy

Finally, being a Christian is harder than ever because it is not meant to be easy. Today’s world is all about ease. Your smartphones make it easier than ever to stay connected with one another, find information, locate a business, and much more. TV commercials can now be skipped and we don’t have to leave our couches to see a movie. Food can be delivered directly to your door. Even your groceries can be delivered to your door. You can shop online and receive that product the next day. Everything is so easy!

But that is also our downfall. With everything in life coming so easily, we have a tendency to assume that Christianity should come easily as well. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a Christian is meant to be difficult. Resisting sin, forgiving others, loving others unconditionally, and having faith in God are not things that can be streamed or obtained within a day. They are things that need to be worked at throughout our lives, each and every day.

Luckily you are not in it alone. You have that support of your congregation, pastor, priest, Christian counselors, Christian family, and God.