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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The Holy Ghost…the Gift We Receive

We will never be prompted by the Holy Ghost to do something we cannot do Richard G. Scott

The story I share today reminds me a little of my near-death experience. The details do not match but the feelings of beauty and awe do.

My near-death experience helped me to understand how great the gifts are that God gives to us. It also taught me how much we tend to underestimate and neglect the gifts that we are given.

One tremendous gift that is available to us, as we live lives with a connection to our Creator, is the gift of the Holy Ghost. We may not have that gift continuously but it can speak to us nonetheless.

Those moments when we sense that heaven’s angels may be speaking to us; those reminders that seem to “pop” into our heads, ideas that suddenly come to us, or feelings that inspire us are usually just that! Angels in the form of deceased family members, friends or those yet to be born often assist us. Though we probably don’t remember it, we most likely did the same for them!

We each have been given at least one if not more wonderful assignments to accomplish while we are having this mortal experience! I hope that you are listening to your heart and that you are endeavoring to fulfill the personal tasks you, uniquely, have been commissioned with! As we each work to manifest the life that we were created to fulfill, we contribute to the overall success of God’s work on this earth!

True happiness comes as a result of our connection to and relationships with God. I know that most of us don’t remember how well we know Him or how familiar we are with Him. However, I also know that our hearts consistently speak to us of Him as we keep them open and receptive. If the windows of heaven could be opened for just a few minutes, those brief glimpses of heaven would change our world and our understanding of it’s purpose! This world is not an accident and neither are we!

It is my prayer that you will know of the love that God has for each of His children – ESPECIALLY you! I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Dream

 I always used to ask God to show me how to live faith ….. It’s already a few years since I had a very significant dream, which is vividly imprinted in my mind and in my heart forevermore. No doubt it was an answer to my prayers and it made me feel so deeply cared for and loved! The dream:

“I climb up a rather high mountain together with many other people. We walk in silence on a narrow path, in a row. I understand that we are pilgrims, when I see a church far away high up on the mountain, beautifully “set” on the horizon. I am full of expectance. I love the mountains and I enjoy the view and the peaceful climbing. When we reach the church and when everybody is inside, I immediately notice a Priest who shuts all the doors in what seems to me a definitive manner. He blocks the doors nailing pieces of wood on them. Instantly I feel claustrophobic and ask the Priest to please open the doors again. I don’t like to be closed in, I feel uneasy, I want to go outside again, but there is no reply from the Priest. I look around and there I see a staircase. I run up the stairs and indeed I find a little door which opens to a balcony and I step out: What I see in that moment is so immensely moving! I see a beautiful green valley stretched before my eyes (it does not seem the same valley we have come from). At the end of this valley there is a golden city. Everything is so extremely brilliant and beautiful that my heart fills with a longing so strong that I can hardly bear it. I’m overwhelmed and stand there in utter awe for quite a while. Then I do not resist anymore. I cry out, I want to go there, I feel within my heart that the Place is like Paradise. It’s as if from the shining town a voice called me, “come, come, here is beauty, here is love, here is peace “. ….. Then I hurry downstairs shouting “How can I reach the place I’ve seen from the balcony? There is a golden city! Please open the doors …” Nobody answers and I feel deeply frustrated for being closed in. Then I find myself standing right in front of the Altar with a little golden Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is beautifully decorated. While gazing at the Tabernacle I suddenly become silent and I feel at peace. In that moment I hear a beautiful voice saying “You know the way, I am the way, there is no other way to reach the place you’ve seen ….. come through the Tabernacle, this is the only way”. The Voice vibrated softly in my heart. My reaction to the “invitation” was strange. I thought “the Tabernacle is too small to get through, I’ll never manage ……..”.

The dream ended and I woke up just in that moment when I was doubting to make it “through” the Tabernacle.

I remembered vividly everything and finally, my heart strongly pounding, I understood.

JESUS had told me that HE WAS THE WAY! HE IS THE WAY to perfect joy “perfecta laetitia”! And I remembered the words He said to His disciples during the Last Supper “Do this in memory of Me…..”. The Holy Eucharisty! …. The Tabernacle!

Since I had this wonderful dream I approach the Holy Eucharisty in much deeper awareness that JESUS TRULY IS THE WAY.

WRITTEN BY MARGHERITA RUEGER

Story shared from the following website: http://godslittleacre.net/inspirationalstories/the_dream.html

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Letting Go of the World…and Serving Our Fellow Man

We may need to let go of the world so we can hang onto Eternity   Gary B. Sabin

Near-death experiences are extraordinary for putting perspective into place! I would like to think that I never was very materialistic, but I have to admit that my near-death experience gave me a much more complete view of what really matters: A new pair of shoes – nice but not always necessary. A strong relationship with my husband – not just a want but an eternal priority.

It has often been said but it bears saying again: the best things in life are free. They are also the only things that we get to take with us when we cross over. Our ability to love. Our relationships. Our talents and gifts. Those are the things we will take with us!

People often wonder why money doesn’t make them happy. It is because true joy comes from within. True joy and the ability to be content is a priceless treasure! Money neither robs joy nor contributes to it. Choices aligned with truth are the puzzle pieces that create a picture of a meaningful life.

I have found that knowing what I know does not make me perfect. Learning to live in harmony with all that I understand is a continual process. Learning and improvement is a gift that is offered to each of us.

I witnessed in heaven that we were particularly adept at honoring ourselves and each other. That is a goal that I try to honor every day. I know that my personal growth is accelerated as I exercise faith in God and faith in myself.

I hope that you honor yourself and your gifts. Those skills are a part of what is important in the eternal scheme of things. May great blessings be yours and may you enjoy today’s inspiring story!

Hero Jumps in Front of a Train to Save a Stranger
At around one o’clock on January 2nd, 2007, 50-year old construction worker Wesley Autrey was waiting for a subway train with his two daughters, aged 4 and 6. All of a sudden, he noticed a man – 20-year old Cameron Hollopeter, collapse into a seizure and fall to the ground.  Wesley immediately ran over to help him, alongside two women. With their help, Cameron could stand up again, but he couldn’t fully regain his balance and was stumbling around. Still dizzy and disoriented, he fell down onto the tracks between two rails. At that moment, Wesley saw the subway train lights – the train had finally arrived, and it was headed straight towards Cameron.

Without hesitation, he leaped down onto the tracks and onto Cameron, covering him with his body and pushing him down into the gap between the rails. The train couldn’t stop in time, and rolled over them so close some grease got on Wesley’s hat.

People on the platform were screaming, along with Wesley’s 2 daughters. The train finally managed to stop after 5 of its cars had rolled over the men. After the train stopped, there was a momentary silence, interrupted only by the crying of Wesley’s daughters. Wesley yelled out that both men were okay, and told people to make sure his daughters know that their father is fine and will be back with them soon.

After 20 minutes of waiting, subway workers came and helped the men back up onto the platform. Cameron was taken to the hospital. He had only suffered bumps and bruises, nothing serious. Wesley, however, didn’t want any medical help, assuring people that he was okay. He went to see Cameron at the hospital and then headed to work as usual. Wesley was very humble about the incident and didn’t see himself as a hero at all. To him, his actions seemed perfectly natural and not anything to make a big fuss about.
Story shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/01/everyday-heroes-3-inspiring-true.html

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When You Reach Up…Receiving the Lord’s Blessings in Your Life

When you reach up for the Lord’s Power in your Life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, Power from Jesus Christ will be yours Russell M. NelsonI am a very blessed person. I get to wake up almost every day next to my best friend. I could never prove it scientifically, but my best friend (my husband) and I were brought together by God.

Statisticians probably find God and His micromanagement of this world a statistical nightmare. Just think…how many times has something happened in your life that you knew just seemed orchestrated by God because probability said it shouldn’t have happened.

I has been my experience that there are various levels of God’s assistance. The worst level being provided to those who rebel against and don’t believe in God and the best level being afforded to those who earnestly seek His guidance, strength and assistance.

What level are you? If you want to have the best of God’s Power in your life, it is always available to you. It is always available to each of us if we are willing to pay the price of knowing Him and serving Him!

I love today’s story! It brought such a smile to my face! I hope you enjoy it!

An Explanation of God

Written by Danny Dutton, age 8, from Chula Vista, California

“Explain God”.

“One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

“God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. “God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

“Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

“Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

“His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

“You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

“You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God. Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

“If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

“But you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.

And that’s why I believe in God.

Letter shared from the following website: http://www.rogerknapp.com/inspire/god8old.htm

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The Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Children…

I have learned that there are things that can be given to children that are invaluable; none of which cost a dime.

The most valuable gift is the gift of God in their lives. When parents give this gift to children, they enable their children to have a mentor and an ally with them for the rest of their lives – through thick and thin and through highs and lows.

The next most important gift is the gift of two solid, dependable parents who love each other and who blatantly and boldly are committed to each other and their relationship.

The third most valuable gift is the gift of knowing how to work. Most children balk at this gift at some time in their lives. Yet, a child who knows how to work will be an adult who is not afraid of work or responsibility.

The fourth most valuable gift is the gift of independence and/or self-responsibility. A parent is responsible for their initial guidance but it is the child who will ultimately become responsible for his/her actions and for their life.

One of the most amazing examples I have ever witnessed was a man who was new to a congregation I attended. He was a professional man and clearly very capable. At the time, I was only a young teenager. This man was asked to be a door greeter on Sundays. Everyone else that had been asked to be a door greeter had considered it to be such a trivial and insignificant task that they ignored the task and left it undone – considering it to be beneath them. Not this man. He made sure that everyone was greeted with a warm smile and a hand shake. Within just a few weeks, he had learned the names of everyone who regularly attended and he addressed each of us by name with sincere questions about how we were doing. Little did he know the keen eye that I kept on him as he welcomed members each week. Little did he know what a remarkable example he set for me. From him, I learned that there is no insignificant task and that one person addressing a seemingly trivial task with love and devotion can change the world (at least my world!).

I love the following quote by Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make some contribution to the society of which we are a part, to grow and develop, and to do things that we may now think impossible.

I believe that I am a child of God, endowed with a divine birthright. I believe that there is something of divinity within me and within each of you. I believe that we have a godly inheritance and that it is our responsibility, our obligation, and our opportunity to cultivate and nurture the very best of these qualities within us.

Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others. I can be one who does his work with pride in that which comes from hand and mind. I can be one who works with respect for my associates, for their opinions, for their beliefs, with appreciation for their problems and with a desire to help them should they stumble. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small. But it will count for the greater good. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.

This quote sums up well for me all that I know and believe to be true about work, addressing insignificant tasks and the importance of strong, positive examples for children. I think today’s story does a great job of teaching the same precept! I hope you enjoy!

An Insignificant Task

The day when the jobs were handed out was one of the most exciting for all the children in the class. It took place during the first week of the term. On that day, every boy and girl was given a job for which they would be responsible for the rest of that school year.

As with everything, some jobs were more interesting than others, and the children were eager to be given one of the best ones. When giving them out, the teacher took into account which pupils had been most responsible during the previous year, and those children were the ones who most looked forward to this day. Among them Rita stood out. She was a kind and quiet girl; and during the previous year she had carried out the teacher’s instructions perfectly. All the children knew Rita was the favorite to be given the best job of all: to look after the class dog.

But that year there was a big surprise. Each child received one of the normal jobs, like preparing the books or the radio for the lessons, telling the time, cleaning the blackboard, or looking after one of the pets. But Rita’s job was very different. She was given a little box containing some sand and one ant. And even though the teacher insisted that this ant was a very special ant, Rita could not help feeling disappointed. Most of her classmates felt sorry for her. They sympathized with her, and remarked at how unfair it was that she had been given that job. Even her father became very angry with the teacher, and, as an act of protest, he encouraged Rita to pay no attention to this insignificant pet. However, Rita, who liked her teacher very much, preferred to show the teacher her error by doing something special with that job of such little interest.

“I will turn this little task into something great,” Rita said to herself.

So it was that Rita started investigating all about her little ant. She learned about the different species, and studied everything about their habitats and behavior. She modified the little box to make it perfect for the ant. Rita gave the ant the very best food, and it ended up growing quite a bit bigger than anyone had expected…

One day in spring, when they were in the classroom, the door opened, revealing a man who looked rather important. The teacher interrupted the class with great joy, and said,

“This is Doctor Martinez. He has come to tell us a wonderful piece of news, isn’t that right?”  “Exactly”. said the Doctor. “Today they have published the results of the competition, and this class has been chosen to accompany me, this summer, on a journey to the tropical rain forest, where we will be investigating all kinds of insects. Among all the schools of this region, without doubt it is this one which has best cared for the delicate little ant given to you. Congratulations! You will be wonderful assistants!”

That day the school was filled with joy and celebration. Everyone congratulated the teacher for thinking of entering them in the competition, and they thanked Rita for having been so patient and responsible. And so it was that many children learned that to be given the most important tasks you have to know how to be responsible even in what are apparently the smallest tasks. And without doubt, it was Rita who was most pleased at this, having said to herself so many times “I will turn this little job into something really great”.

Pedro Pablo Sacristán
Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/insignificant-task

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