Unity…The Art of Building Bridges

Individually, we are one drop Together, we are an ocean Ryunosuke Satoro

The Bridge

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side. They had been sharing machinery, trading a labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference which exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I am looking for a few days of work”, he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes!” said the elder brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother and we don’t get along. Last week he dug a wider passage for water into his farm. But he ended up creating a very wide creek in between our farms and I am sure he did it just to annoy me. I want you to build me something so that we don’t have to stand and see each other’s face from across.”

The carpenter said “I think I understand the situation. I will be able to do a job that will please you.” The elder brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.

At sunset when the elder brother returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The elder brother’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. It was not what he had even thought of or imagined. It was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, beautiful handrails. And to his surprise, his younger brother across the creek was coming to meet him with a big smile and arms wide open to hug him.

“You are really kind and humble my brother! After all I had done and said to you, you still shown that blood relations can never be broken! I am truly sorry for my behaviour”, the younger brother said as he hugged his elder brother. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on”, the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build!”

Moral: There is no shame in accepting your mistake or forgiving each other. We should be kind and humble. We should try to stay together as a family and not break away from it over the petty arguments.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.moralstories.org/the-bridge/

 

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The Love of God

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

How Do We Become True Disciples of Jesus Christ?

The Savior Himself provided the answer with this profound declaration: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”1 This is the essence of what it means to be a true disciple: those who receive Christ Jesus walk with Him.2

But this may present a problem for some because there are so many “shoulds” and “should nots” that merely keeping track of them can be a challenge. Sometimes, well-meaning amplifications of divine principles—many coming from uninspired sources—complicate matters further, diluting the purity of divine truth with man-made addenda. One person’s good idea—something that may work for him or her—takes root and becomes an expectation. And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of “good ideas.”

This was one of the Savior’s criticisms of the religious “experts” of His day, whom He chastised for attending to the hundreds of minor details of the law while neglecting the weightier matters.3

So how do we stay aligned with these weightier matters? Is there a constant compass that can help us prioritize our lives, thoughts, and actions?

Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” He said. “This is the first and great commandment.”4 Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves5—we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.

Why Should We Love God?

God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.

No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.

We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage. What and how we love not only defines us as individuals; it also defines us as a church. Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ.

Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things.

And the greatest of all good things is God.

Our Father in Heaven has given us, His children, much more than any mortal mind can comprehend. Under His direction the Great Jehovah created this wondrous world we live in. God the Father watches over us, fills our hearts with breathtaking joy, brightens our darkest hours with blessed peace, distills upon our minds precious truths, shepherds us through times of distress, rejoices when we rejoice, and answers our righteous petitions.

He offers to His children the promise of a glorious and infinite existence and has provided a way for us to progress in knowledge and glory until we receive a fulness of joy. He has promised us all that He has.

If all that is not enough reason to love our Heavenly Father, perhaps we can learn from the words of the Apostle John, who said, “We love him, because he first loved us.”6

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.7

God does not look on the outward appearance.8 I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.9

How Can We Increase Our Love of God?

Since “God is love,”10 the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love.11 But because a veil separates this mortality from our heavenly home, we must seek in the Spirit that which is imperceptible to mortal eyes.

Heaven may seem distant at times, but the scriptures offer hope: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”12

However, seeking God with all our hearts implies much more than simply offering a prayer or pronouncing a few words inviting God into our lives. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”13 We can make a great production of saying that we know God. We can proclaim publicly that we love Him. Nevertheless, if we don’t obey Him, all is in vain, for “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”14

We increase our love for our Heavenly Father and demonstrate that love by aligning our thoughts and actions with God’s word. His pure love directs and encourages us to become more pure and holy. It inspires us to walk in righteousness—not out of fear or obligation but out of an earnest desire to become even more like Him because we love Him. By doing so, we can become “born again … [and] cleansed by blood, even the blood of [the] Only Begotten; that [we] might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.”15

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.

How Can We Hear the Father’s Voice?

As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.

As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.

During this general conference and later as you study the words spoken here, listen for His voice.

As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.

Listen for the voice of the Father in the bounties and beauties of nature, in the gentle whisperings of the Spirit.

In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice.

If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.

As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. And as we become more holy, we will overcome disbelief and our souls will be filled with His blessed light. As we align our lives with this supernal light, it leads us out of darkness and toward greater light. This greater light leads to the unspeakable ministerings of the Holy Spirit, and the veil between heaven and earth can become thin.

Why Is Love the Great Commandment?

Heavenly Father’s love for His children is the core message of the plan of happiness, which plan is made active through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—the greatest expression of love the world has ever known.16

How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love.17 If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place.

The divine love of God turns ordinary acts into extraordinary service. Divine love is the motive that transports simple words into sacred scripture. Divine love is the factor that transforms reluctant compliance with God’s commandments into blessed dedication and consecration.

Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple’s path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning, and wonder.

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

Love is the way of the disciple.

I testify that God is in His heaven. He lives. He knows and loves you. He is mindful of you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. He is filled with infinite love for you.

This address is from a General Conference of the LDS church. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was the provider of these remarks. Minor edits to these remarks have been made to eliminate references to members of the LDS faith. Although this address was specifically made to members of the LDS faith, I believe that the remarks by President Uchtdorf are profound and that anyone can benefit.

As an experiencer of a near-death experience, I am aware of the complete and incredible love that both God the Father and His son Jesus Christ have for us. It is because of that knowledge, that I had a special desire to share this address by President Uchtdorf. I know that the words that are shared by President Uchtdorf are true and can and will help anyone know God better who seeks to do so. Maybe, more importantly, utilizing these words and making them a part of our lives will help each of us to know of the total and perfect love that God has for us. I testify that words alone cannot express the love that God has for each of us. Knowing Him in mortality takes work and effort…but every ounce of effort is more than worth it and brings unspeakable blessings!

The following link contains the full address: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/the-love-of-god?lang=eng

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The Power of a True Friend

 A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day Winnie the Pooh

Friendship is a priceless gift – a gift that we should never take for granted. I love today’s story! Often, the most cherished moments of our lives come because of the thoughtfulness of friends. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are our best bud and sometimes they are a complete stranger. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you get to spend it with some friends!

Wet Pants

— Author Unknown

Come with me to a third grade classroom. There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened.  It’s never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they’ll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, ‘Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I’m dead meat.’

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.

As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy’s lap.

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, ‘Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!’

Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful… But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else – Susie.

She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. ‘You’ve done enough, you klutz!’

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, ‘You did that on purpose, didn’t you?’ Susie whispers back, ‘I wet my pants once too.’

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/friendshipstories/WetPants

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For Unto You is Born This Day…

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord Luke 2:11

A Dozen Christmas Roses

Author Unknown

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn’t wear boots; he didn’t own any and he didn’t like them anyway. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother’s Christmas gift.

He shook his head as he thought, “This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don’t have any money to spend.”

Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn’t because his mother didn’t care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older sisters and one younger sister, who ran the house hold in their mother’s absence. All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother.

Somehow it just wasn’t fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing. Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn’t easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to.

Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun’s rays reflecting off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.

As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when the salesperson told him that he couldn’t buy anything with only a dime.

He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother’s Christmas gift.

The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby’s shoulder and said to him, “You just wait here and I’ll see what I can do for you.”

As Bobby waited he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers.

The sound of the door closing as the last customer left jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby’s eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby’s heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box.

“That will be ten cents young man,” the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime.

Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime!

Sensing the boy’s reluctance, the shop owner added, “I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?”

This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, “Merry Christmas, son,”

As he returned inside, the shop keeper’s wife walked out. “Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?”

Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, “A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn’t sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime.

“When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too, was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars.

“When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses.” The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn’t feel cold at all.

Today’s inspirational Christmas Story is shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/holidaystories/dozenchristmasroses

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 3

There’s no happier person than a truly Thankful, content person Joyce Meyer

This week, in an effort to help others overcome depression, I am focusing on gratitude. There are several steps for overcoming depression and gratitude is an essential step.

Just think how happy you would be if your sole intent was to find the negative in everything you encounter. (Not Very right?) Yet, that is what some do – not intentionally but from thought patterns that they have developed over time.

Is there a co-worker who drives you crazy? Are you constantly fussing about your children’s cleanliness habits or lack of? What about those inconsiderate ways of your spouse or family member? Are you concerned that you are always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop? Has some incredible trauma been a part of your life?

During my near-death experience, I saw the reverence, love, and honor that everyone had for each other in heaven. Other than God, no one was perfect but everyone radiated an air of love and goodwill. Everyone celebrated the good in each other and genuinely supported each other. I believe there is a lesson there. I walked away from my near-death experience with a greater understanding of what make heaven heaven.

We are on earth now, having a mortal experience. There is an important purpose for mortality. We have come to learn, grow, and improve. We have come to develop faith. We are no longer surrounded and enveloped by God’s love, as we were in heaven, but we can choose to love, honor, and reverence each other on earth as well. It is not easy work but it is work that our lives will be blessed for.

If you would like to overcome depression or just improve your life, you must develop an attitude of gratitude! Our thoughts and emotions are powerful things. So powerful, they can help heal us or help make us ill. There is a book, published in 1995, that speaks powerfully to the power of thoughts and emotions, etc. making us ill. It is called the 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson. It is a wonderful book! Whether you are suffering from depression or any other illness, it is worth your time and effort to read! Greg Anderson was diagnosed with terminal cancer (a second time) and then studied the patterns and changes made by individuals who had survived terminal illnesses. As you might have guessed, he adopted those changes himself and has lived to teach others about how to heal and overcome illness (even terminal ones).

I hope you will take the time to read Greg Anderson’s book! I also hope that you will work to increase your gratitude! Today’s article shares more information on how to have an attitude of gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year when giving thanks is top of mind. The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, causes us to think about all of the special things in our lives and express gratitude for them. This is a favorite time of year for many, in large part because we are surrounded by loved ones and visibly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.

If you’re like me, you wish this feeling could last all year long. Just imagine feeling proud, thankful, and joyful on an ongoing basis, not only during the holiday season.

A major step in that direction is developing an “Attitude of Gratitude,” according to New York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes. Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly-inspirational new book, The School of Greatness. As Howes simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.”

But what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Here is a menu of tactics (just pick a few!) he endorses to help develop this mindset:

  • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
  • Start a gratitude journal – Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
  • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you – oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!

If the gratitude process is hard to get started, begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow. This is a mindset habit that is recommended by Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within.

Every day won’t be perfect, but focusing on what we are grateful for tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

And in addition to improving mood, recent studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude leads to better physical health as well. Paul Mills, a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, conducted studies that looked at the role of gratitude on heart health.

Among other things, he found that participants who kept a journal most days of the week, writing about 2-3 things they were grateful for (everything from appreciating their children to travel and good food), had reduced levels of inflammation and improved heart rhythm compared to people who did not write in a journal. And the journal-keepers also showed a decreased risk of heart disease after only 2 months of this new routine!

So try adopting some of the above tactics, even just one or two, in order to develop an overall grateful mindset. It takes a bit of work, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life.

Today’s article was written by Andrew Merle and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/how-to-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude_b_8644102.html

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