Worldly Success vs Godly Success

In my estimation, the Master’s great success formula is - First, believe you can do it, Second, look to the Lord for your blessings Third, make the sacrifice, Fourth, expect a miracle. And Fifth, receive the miracle with great humility. I bear witness that this formula is effective in the Lord’s work, and I am persuaded it works everywhere else too. Hartman Rector, Jr.

There is a story of Dr. Tony Campolo, a popular Christian speaker and professor of sociology at Eastern University speaking before a national women’s meeting.  Before he was introduced, the president of that organization read a letter from a missionary who was leading a project for the poor and needed $3,000 more to fulfill the project.  After reading the letter, the president introduced Dr. Campolo, and then asked him to please offer a prayer on behalf of missionary that she would be able to raise the money needed to complete this worthwhile project.

Dr. Campolo looked at the president of the organization and emphatically told her “No!”   The president looked astonished, but Dr. Campolo repeated, “No, I won’t pray that the missionary will be able to raise $3,000.  But here’s what I will doOn this table at the front of the room I’m going to empty all the cash that I have out of my wallet – there, $25.  Now, one by one, I want every woman in this room to come up and empty the cash out of their pocketbooks onto this table.  Don’t anybody write out any checks.  Just empty the cash you have on you out of your pocketbooks.  When we’re done, if there is still any money needed to bring us up to the needed $3,000, I will personally write a check for the remaining amount.

The president of the organization smiled and said, “Oh I get it.  I understand the lesson you’re trying to teach us.”  But Campolo replied, “No you don’t get it, Mrs. President. I put my $25 on the table and you still haven’t put your cash down yet.  Cough it up!”  So the president emptied the cash out of her purse, $250.  And then, one by one, hundreds of women filed up to the table and emptied out all of the cash from their purses.  They set a couple of women to begin counting it as it was being brought forth.  It took a little over an hour to complete the process, so there was really no time for him to deliver the talk that he had prepared. By the end, they counted over $5,000 ($2,000 more than needed).  Dr. Campolo went to the podium, looking out at his audience and simply said, “How dare we ask God to give resources that He has already given us for just such a purpose!

God gives us, so that we can then go and do His work in this world! God blesses us with countless gifts, and if we are filled with His Spirit and allow His love to dwell in the depths of our heart, we then come to realize that all we have is His, and the Lord expects us to use His gifts to reach out to others! To glorify His name through the blessings we have already received.

Unfortunately, our society instills in us a completely opposite lesson. Whatever we have, we’re supposed to save up and use for ourselves. A desire for more, a focus and priority in buying, obtaining more possessions, getting nicer things, bigger homes, fancier cars, the latest fashions in clothes, and I could go on. In many ways, this temptation towards obtaining more and more is the epitome of the American way of life, of a so-called “successful” life. The more we have, the nicer things we possess, the more our neighbors and others will look upon us as “having made it.”

Honestly we could say that if society has to choose one standard by which to determine “success,” it would be wealth! If someone is rich and living comfortably, they are successful. We even overlook or ignore the way one became wealthy. We often see a total disregard for the means of achieving wealth, but instead see a blind adulation on the rich and famous.

Yet, today’s Gospel lesson offers a stark contrast between such worldly success and success in God’s eyes. The Gospel describes a rich man who was so wealthy, that he retires early. He built a huge home. He had enough to live quite comfortably for the remainder of his life.  He simply said to himself, “Soul, you have done quite well.  Take it easy – relax, eat, drink and be merry.”

To be honest, how many of us hear about such a life and envy it?  Most of us would call this person a resounding success! Yet, God looks down and says to the man, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have saved?” Can it be that sometimes what the world sees as success is foolishness to God? Why does St. Paul say that friendship with the standards of the world is contrary to friendship with God?

God is uninterested in money and possessions and status symbols in and of themselves. He takes a keen interest, though, in what we do with the gifts He gives us, in what type of stewards we are with our possessions. Will we be self-centered, gathering only for ourselves and our family, and caring only for our own comfort, or will we understand life as an opportunity to help others – to love our neighbor as ourselves. God understands success from the perspective of divine love, which implies a life of giving, not gathering; of helping, not focusing on oneself. Contrary to society’s worldview, life is not about an individualistic, self-centered pursuit of wealth, fame, and power, where our ego becomes the center of the world!

Here lies the sin of the rich man in today’s Gospel. God calls him a fool because of his egocentric blindness. Regardless of his wealth and prosperity, his comfort and ease in life, the rich man forgot about the essence of life. We all need to understand and say often to ourselves, “Life is not about me!”

Why don’t you say that with me right now, “Life is not about me!”

The rich fool forgot that the greatest treasure of life is God’s love. “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness,” Jesus taught us! Living within this Kingdom of God implies faithfully living a life of sacrificial love, of humble service to others, a life of mercy and grace where we imitate our Lord through our words and actions! Success in God’s eyes may mean raising a family with the fear of God, protecting and nurturing a Christ-centered marriage, caring for aging parents with tenderness and sacrifice! Success in God’s eyes means following His commandments in our everyday lives, walking as Jesus walked, and sharing His love with all those around us. Success in God’s eyes means finding time to commune with Him each and every day – through our prayers, in the worship of our Church, in our participation in the sacraments.

It’s quite interesting to understand that “success” in God’s eyes has nothing to do with an abundance of wealth, fame or power. If we’re wealthy, God will view success in terms of sharing our wealth with those in need.

Remember, Godly success does not depend on how many possessions we have, but on how few possessions we need to be content in life, and thus, in our willingness to joyfully share our abundance with others. Success in the eyes of God does not depend on how comfortable and easy our life is, but on how we ascetically strive without ceasing to sacrifice for others and to bless the lives of others.

It seems quite appropriate that each year we read this Gospel lesson around the time of Thanksgiving, and how it falls today on Stewardship Sunday. The central question we are asked today on Stewardship Sunday is, “How am I using my blessings to glorify God, to support His Church, and to help others?”Success. According to the world, and according to God. Two completely different things. May each of us take care not to become a “fool” in God’s eyes, but to live out our lives as good and faithful stewards of all He has given us

Today’s article is shared from the following website: http://www.schwebster.org/sermons/worldly-success-vs-godly-success

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Understanding God’s Plan of Happiness

If you understand the great plan of happiness and follow it, what goes on in the world will not determine your happiness Boyd K. Packer

The Great Plan of Happiness

Questions like “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?” are answered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prophets have called it the Plan of Salvation and “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). Through inspiration we can understand this road map of eternity and use it to guide our path in this life.

The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth, we lived as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. We were placed here on earth to work toward eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is not part of an eternal plan.

Our understanding of life begins with a council in heaven. There the spirit children of God were taught his eternal plan, the “great plan of happiness,” as Alma called it. We had progressed as far as we could without a physical body. To realize a fulness of joy, we had to prove our willingness to keep the commandments of God in a circumstance where we had no memory of what took place before our birth on earth.

In our lives here on earth, we would become subject to death, and we would be soiled by sin. To reclaim us from death and sin, our Heavenly Father’s plan provided us a Savior, whose atonement would redeem all from death and pay the price necessary for us all to be forgiven of our sins if we keep his commandments and repent of our sins.

When we understand the Plan of Salvation, we also understand the purpose and effect of the commandments God has given his children. He teaches us correct principles and invites us to govern ourselves. We do this by the choices we make.

We who know God’s plan and have covenanted, or promised, to participate in it must desire to do what is right, and we must do all that we can all our lives. When we have done all that we can, we can rely on God’s promised mercy.

Today’s article is from a talk by Dallin H. Oaks and is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/friend/1995/04/the-great-plan-of-happiness?lang=eng

 

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How to Find Inner Peace: 5 Timeless Thoughts

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.”
Paramahansa Yogananda

Finding peace within is a wonderful but also a difficult thing. It is easy to go looking for it in the wrong places.

So here are 5 timeless thoughts to help guide you to the places where you can actually find it.

1. Simplify.

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
Peace Pilgrim

Making thing simpler has certainly brought a lot of inner peace to my life. So, a few of my favorite suggestions on how to simplify your life:

  • Use a limited to-do list. Only 2 or 3 of the most important things.
  • Set limits. Set limits for daily checking of inboxes. I do it only once a day. Set time limits for small decisions and make them within seconds after you have thought about them to avoid procrastination and overthinking. Set time limits for tasks such as 15 minutes each day for answering emails or for using Twitter. Set a limit for commitments and say no to be able to feel less stress and produce better results.
  • Remember to “keep things extremely simple”. I have written down that sentence on my white board and it is a daily and constant reminder that helps me when I lose my way.

2. Accept.

“Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, bring you an inner peace and tranquility – instead of anger and resentment.”
Unknown

When you accept what is you stop feeding energy into resisting what is. You don’t make a problem more powerful and sticky in your mind. Instead, somewhat counter intuitively, when you accept what is it loses much of its power. It just is.

And you feel stillness inside. Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position take action if necessary. Because now you can see more clearly, you can focus your energy towards what you want and take the appropriate action to change your situation.

3. Forgive.

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.”
Gerald Jampolsky

By accepting what is it is much easier to let go of things and to forgive what has happened.

Forgiveness is important because as long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.

When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.

One thing to keep in mind is to not just forgive others but also yourself. By forgiving yourself – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make the habit of forgiveness more and more of a natural part of you. And so forgiving others becomes easier too.

Also, what you think is a question of forgiving others you may sometimes – after some time and inner struggle – discover is just as much, if not more, about forgiving yourself rather than the other person.

4. Do what you enjoy.

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
Roger Caras

When you do what you enjoy there is a natural peace that arises within. You are in alignment with your outer world. This also leads to a lot more success than if you have a lot of inner turmoil and really don’t care that much for your work.

One of my favorite tips for finding things you enjoy or love doing is simply to explore life. To be curious and try things out and see what you think of them. This can bring many insights both about yourself and about how things really are when you do them rather than when they are just theories floating around in your head.

If you have read my ebook The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness then you know that there is a whole chapter in it about finding and doing what you love with exercises and tips for further reading. So if you haven’t checked out the book yet, go to this page for instructions on how to get you own free copy.

5. Be careful with your inner peace.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
St. Francis de Sales

By using the tips above and by living in the present moment you can find a lot more inner peace. Not only during days when things go as planned. But also on days when your world is upset and things aren’t so easy. On such days your inner peace will be very useful to help you make good decisions and to get things done. So be smart, stay calm and be careful with your inner peace.

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The Power of Diligence

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools Confucius

DILIGENCE. Do you always do your best? Do you remain focused on your goals? How often have you given up when things seemed difficult?

In 2007, I finished my doctorate in World Religions and became Dr. Kennedy, or “Dr. Terri K.” as my friends are calling me. As a busy entrepreneur, I had to be focused to get the work done in-between leading corporate workshops, speaking at events, coaching private clients, teaching yoga classes, and writing this column and other articles. It wasn’t easy and often required me to sacrifice “play-time” such as catching the latest movie, for “cerebral time” which usually included taking an exam or researching for another paper. Since it was a goal I wanted to achieve, I worked steadily on it over the last few years. It took diligence.

Diligence (from the Latin, industria) is defined as “devoted and painstaking effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent personal attention; a decisive work ethic; a zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work.” It is the opposite of negligence. The Psychomachia (“Battle for the Soul”) – an epic poem written by the ancient Latin poet Prudentius (c. 410) – outlines diligence as one of the Seven Contrary Virtues. The others are humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience and generosity. Practicing these virtues is alleged to protect one against temptation from the Seven Deadly Sins, with each one having its counterpart – hence the term “contrary.” In this context, diligence is said to fight against “sloth.”

Sloth is not a word we often hear in modern vernacular. However, in ancient times it had a rather strong meaning. Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas defined sloth as “sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good… [it] is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.” Basically, sloth can be equated with procrastination and physical and/or intellectual laziness. A sloth also happens to be a medium-sized mammal from South and Central America. Let me give you a word-picture… A sloth looks somewhat like a bug-eyed monkey. It sleeps from 15 to 18 hours a day and moves only when necessary – and then very slowly, about 0.5 to 1 foot per minute. It has a very large, slow-acting stomach, and usually eats, sleeps and even gives birth hanging from tree branches. It comes to the ground, to urinate and defecate, only about once a week. I hope this does not remind you of anyone you know!

Just as we perform “due diligence” in business when evaluating a prospective investment, you should perform due diligence on your own life. Are you at times exhibiting sloth-like behavior? Have you gotten lazy in any area of your life – in what you eat or how you communicate with your partner? Are you putting things off “for a later date” or quitting when things get tough? As my Mom says, “Time will go by – you might as well make the most of it.” This is your life… make it count! If you have debt, clean it up. If your energy is low, take control of your health. If you’re in a bad relationship, end it now. If you have a dream in your heart, start pursuing it today! Avoid negligence in your own life. Monitor your activities. Develop a zealous commitment to prosperity. Sometimes we want things to simply be given to us – like having the hope of winning the lottery. Well, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

ACTION STEPS:

  • Evaluate your habits. Develop a check-list for your life covering the five dimensions of Power Living: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and environmental. Determine whether your habits are supporting your growth in those areas.
  • Set reasonable goals. If you want to change something, then make a commitment. See the big picture and then take small steps. Congratulate yourself along the way as you hit milestones.
  • Stay focused. Success is based on perseverance. Keep your personal vision at the forefront of your activities. Work on your agenda instead of allowing other random people’s agendas to work on you.
  • Learn from mistakes. Failure provides a greater challenge to personal diligence than success. If things don’t go quite the way you planned, learn from the detour – you can still get to the destination!AFFIRMATION:Today, I act with diligence.I understand that I have the power to create prosperity in all areas of my life. The choice is mine. Every day I work on sharpening my tools so I can perform at my personal best. I set reasonable goals and take consistent action. I push past obstacles and learn from unplanned detours. I am devoted to self-less service and unconditional success.Today, I act with diligence.

Today’s article was written by Teresa  Kay-Aba Kennedy and is shared from the following website: http://www.power-living.com/blog/2009/05/01/the-power-of-diligence/

 

 

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How to Create a Life of Integrity

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one Henry David ThoreauHow to live with integrity; with 4 simple habits

Successful people live with integrity. They say what they do and they do what they say. They are trusted by those whom they interact with and they build healthy relationships with consummate ease. These relationships then help them to achieve bigger and better things.

When you live with integrity, you influence, inspire and motivate others; not just with your words but with your actions too. Others see the positive example that you are and attempt to emulate you. When you choose to live with integrity you will experience a number of benefits, including:

  • You become more valuable both as a person and as an achiever. People see your importance and the value you add.
  • You get better opportunities. You become seen as somebody who gets things done. People are more willing to trust you and want to include you in the bigger projects.
  • As the respect and value you command increases, you are better able to pick and choose the projects you wish to work on.
  • The positive relationships which you build, lead to more people being willing to work with you. This allows you to get more done.
  • You get bigger and better rewards both in terms of personal fulfilment and pay and remuneration

How to live with integrity

The following are 4 of the most critical steps to help you live with integrity. If you turn these 4 steps into daily habits you soon begin to see some of the benefits which I have listed above.

1. Make better choices

You make thousands of decisions every day, some big but many small ones. The bigger decisions often get your full attention, allowing you to make a higher quality of decision. Do the small decisions get your full attention too? Usually not, but when you regularly make the wrong decision, it starts to add up to some big problems.

To ensure that you make better decisions on a daily basis, you need to have a clear vision for your life; a clear sense of purpose, and effective goals which will help you to realise your vision and fulfil your purpose. Life is not a set and forget process; you need to consistently remind yourself of your values, purpose and goals. When you do this, they are at the forefront of your mind, allowing you to make smarter decisions which are consistent with the person that you are and the life which you are trying to create.

 2. Develop positive habits

Many of the bad decisions you make on a daily basis will be down to force of habit. Over the years, you will have done things in a certain way until they have become second nature to you. When the situation arises, you don’t think about it, you just resort to habit. Maybe you are always late for appointments, or you consistently work late. In some cases your bad habits might not appear to be a problem for you, but they are usually a problem for others. If you want to live with integrity, you need to replace the bad habits with positive habits.

To develop positive habits, you first need to identify your bad habits. Take a few moments to list all of the bad habits of which you are aware. I would also suggest asking some trusted friends, or family, to help you identify any bad habits whcih you may have missed. Once you feel you have a completed list, go through each habit and write down the long term effects of sticking with this habit. Then, identify a positive habit which you are going to implement in its place and make a plan for how you are going to implement that new habit.

 3. Keep your agreements

Every day you make agreements, both with yourself and with others. At the time of making agreements, you will generally intend on keeping that agreement but in a busy life that often proves to be easier said than done. It may not seem like a big thing when you fail to keep an agreement but every time you break an agreement, you erode a little of the trust between you and the other person. To live with integrity, requires that you keep your word so that you can build trusting and healthy relationships.

Keeping your agreements requires an effective personal productivity system whereby you capture all of your commitments so that you can then process them and act on them. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when it comes to commitments is relying on your memory to keep track of your agreements. Instead of memory, you need a reliable system to record your commitments and the actions you need to take. That way, you don’t need to remember every single commitment; you just need to remember to check your system on a regular basis.

 4. Raise others up

If you want to build a healthy relationship with another person, the best place to start is by finding some way in which you can help them. It could be something as simple as taking a few minutes to listen to their needs. It seems counterintuitive as you probably focus on what you need to get done. But, when you have helped somebody, they see that you have value to offer and you can be trusted. With one quick action you will have taken giant strides towards creating a healthy, new relationship.

To live with integrity is to live as your best self. Each relationship must be seen as bidirectional. By helping others, you help them to feel good about themselves, and you are also helping yourself by creating a healthy new relationship.

When you live with integrity, you live your best life. You respect yourself by living in a manner which is consistent with your values, purpose and goals. These factors guide each decision that you make, thus allowing you to achieve more. You know that you can never truly succeed on your own so you offer the same level of respect to others. You focus on building healthy, supportive relationships which are based on mutual trust and respect. There will be moments when it seems like living with integrity is the most difficult thing but in reality, when you practice the 4 steps, above, the easiest thing you can do is to live with integrity. You will have a great deal of clarity in your life, allowing you make clear, effective decisions and ensuring the important stuff gets done. When you live with integrity, the benefits and the possibilities are endless.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://www.coachingpositiveperformance.com/live-with-integrity-4-simple-habits/

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