It Is Up to Each of Us…Personal Stewardship

It is up to each of us to develop the faith necessary to survive spiritually and to project a light for others to see. Thomas S. Monson

There is a rare commodity in this world called being spiritually prepared. Being spiritually prepared is a gift that we must give ourselves by allowing God and His work to be a part of our lives.

We all have trials and tribulations. We all need the gift of spiritual strength. Yet, few recognize the value of spiritual strength let alone take the necessary steps to obtain it.

I am a huge fan of many individuals who have both developed and then demonstrated spiritual strength. I am grateful for their examples. Several years ago, I read the story that I am sharing today. That single story both taught me and instilled within my heart the importance of example. I am thankful to Mahatma Gandhi for teaching me through his own example!

We are each meant to be a light in this world! We each have important tasks and gifts to share with this world!

I hope as you read today’s story that you will be able to internalize the importance of your own light and example! May great blessings be yours and may you be a great blessing!

Be The Change You Want To See In This World – Mahatma Gandhi

During 1930’s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his idol – Mahatma Gandhi; perhaps her son would listen to him.

She walked miles, for hours under scorching sun to finally reach Gandhi’s ashram. There, she shared with Gandhi her predicament. –
“Bapu, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”

Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, thought for a while and replied,
“Please come back after two weeks. I will talk to your son.”

The woman looked perplexed and wondered why had he not asked the boy to stop eating sugar right away. She took the boy by the hand and went home.

Two weeks later they revisited Gandhi. Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said,
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”

The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Bapu, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”

Gandhi smiled,
“Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.avani-mehta.com/2008/08/14/breaking-someones-sugar-habit-gandhis-story/

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The Difference between Effort and Sincere Effort

is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little.

Have you noticed in your life that, at times, a certain life lesson seems to be a reoccurring theme? That often happens to me and my current reoccurring theme seems to be sincere effort.

The Lord seems intent on helping me see the vast difference that occurs between the sign posts called effort and sincere effort!

There are three examples that come immediately to my mind. One has to do with  teaching, one has to do with scripture study and the other has to do with exercise.

Example One

I teach a class of 8 year old children every Sunday. As of the first of January, I received a new class. As I taught the first few Sundays of January, I found myself missing my old class. I had nothing against my new class, I just wanted my old class back. I got down on my knees and prayed about the situation. I asked to love my new class just like I loved my old class.

Then, as I prepared the lesson for my class, I spent extra time thinking about each member of my new class and their family situations and the things they seemed to like. Keeping a prayer in my heart, I picked a video to share with them that logic told me was too geared to adults to be to their liking. Despite the logic, my heart told me it needed to be the one that I used with my lesson. Short story even shorter, my lesson with my new class was amazing. They loved the video and we shared a wonderful lesson together and I walked away from the experience feeling in love with my new class. I went to some extra effort and I was the blessed recipient.

Example Two

I am a fan of my elliptical machine. I have utilized it for several years now. The first couple of years, I rationalized that because I was generally quite active, 20 minutes a day was enough exercise. I thought that the claims that 20 minutes of exercise a day was a good amount of time to exercise. I have frequently read a book while I exercised or watched some sort of video presentation. A few months ago, I started watching movies while I exercised. One movie proved to be so entertaining that I stretched my exercise time from 20 to 30 minutes. In the short span of 3 or 4 days, I could feel a significant benefit from my 10 minute increase in exercise time. Thank goodness for that movie! From that time forward, I have set aside 30 minutes for my morning exercise and I feel so much better because of it!

Example Three

Back when I was suffering from severe depression, I needed all the strength I could muster to help me through those dark and dismal days. I had read my scriptures for years prior to my depression but it had mostly been an effort in which I spent just enough time reading my scriptures to justify my conscience in checking them off of “my should do” list. Life eventually became so difficult for me that I had to find a way to bring more light into my life. Scriptures became a part of that light. Instead of reading just a few verses – I would sometimes read for a few hours. A miracle occurred as I made a real and lasting place for scriptures in my life. Instead of being just a 5 minute effort I participated in to justify my conscience, they became one of my best friends and a secure and enduring source of strength. I was reading the same books and the same words but with a sincere approach. It made all the difference in the world and I truly believe the strength I received, as a result, saved my life.

If you are trying to work through difficult times, look at your life. Are you giving effort or sincere effort to those areas of your life that you are struggling with? Perhaps a few minor adjustments in your efforts can provide you with just the help you need!

Today’s story testifies to me of the importance of being sincere (and honest) in our lives. I hope you enjoy!:

The Zamindar’s Servant

A village zamindar (a landowner and village tax collector) and his wife had a number of goats. A servant, a young boy, looked after them. The zamindar liked the boy very much, but his wife was suspicious of him. Fortunately the lad did not know this. The wife was very clever. Outwardly she was kind, polite and affectionate to him, but inwardly she was hostile and mistrustful.

One day a friend came to the zamindar’s home and saw that he was very sad. The friend asked, “Why are you sad?”

The zamindar answered, “My wife and I are not getting along because of this servant. We each have a different opinion of him.”

The friend said, “Don’t worry. I can solve the problem and tell you whether he is good or bad.”

One day while the servant was watching the goats in a field, the master’s friend came up to him and said, “This particular goat is so beautiful. Will you sell it to me for five rupees?”

The boy answered, “No, I am sorry. I cannot sell it.”

The friend asked again, “Will you sell it to me for 10 rupees?”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry.”

“Twenty rupees?” the friend asked.

The servant said, “If you want to buy the goat, go to my master and give him the 20 rupees. If my master says he will sell it, then I will give it to you.

The friend said, “Who wants to go to your master? His house is quite far. Let me give You 30 rupees. I am sure that your master does not give you enough salary. Keep the 30 rupees and tell your master that the goat was stolen. Your master has so many goats. He won’t even know it is gone.”

“Oh no,” the boy said, “I can’t do that. He would know. And even if he didn’t notice, I know how many goats he has, so I would know that one was missing.”

The friend said, ‘Just take 30 rupees and give me the goat. Then go and give your master the money and tell him you have sold it.”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry. I can’t sell it without my master’s permission.”

“If I give you 100 rupees, will you give me the goat?” the friend said. “Then you can keep all the money.”

“I am not a thief,” the servant said. “I could never keep the money.”

The friend said, “You could give him 70 rupees and keep 30 for yourself. Or you could just tell him the goat was stolen and keep all the money for yourself.”

“I could never do that,” the young man said.

But the man persisted, and the servant finally conceded, “If you really want to give me 100 rupees for one goat, then I will accept the money and give it to my master.”

The zamindar’s friend was very curious to see what the servant would do with the money. He thought, “Either he will give his master a little less or tell him the goat was stolen. No matter what he does, I will be able to tell his master the true story.”

The servant went to his master and gave him the hundred rupees. He said, “Master, forgive me. Without your permission I sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I knew that the goat was only worth five rupees, but this man insisted

on giving me a hundred for it. I thought that you would be very happy to get 100 rupees for a goat that is worth only five. Now you can buy many more goats.”

The wife said to the servant, “I wish to speak to my husband privately for a minute. Would you please go away from here now?”

Then the wife said to her husband, “I don’t trust him. I tell you, he sold it at an even higher price and is giving us only part of it.” She did not know that it was the zamindar’s friend who had bought the goat.

Just then the zamindar’s friend arrived at his house and asked, “What is happening?”

The zamindar said, “Our servant tells us he sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I don’t suspect him of wrongdoing, but my wife, as usual, does. She feels that he has sold the goat for a still higher price and kept some money for himself. “

The friend said, “You will never find anybody in your lifetime as honest and sincere as this servant. It was I who bought the goat for a hundred rupees. I tried to persuade him to keep the money for himself. I was testing him. But each and every time he proved his honesty. I have examined him thoroughly. He is sincerity incarnate.”

The zamindar said to his wife, “I told you so!”

The wife said, “It is always good to test people in this way. From now on, I will trust this boy as my own son.”

from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy

Shared from the following website: http://www.writespirit.net/stories-tales/stories-by-sri-chinmoy/tales-of-sincerity/the-zamindars-servant/

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As We Observe Evil and Opposition

Female climber struggles up the edge of a challenging cliff.

Opposition and trials are a part of life. They are also a part of growth. There is no question that, at times,  great suffering comes as a result of the choices of others. However, we should be quick to note that great blessings also come because of the choices of others.

We would all do well to remember that each of us is a contributor to the world we live in. None of us has an anonymous effect on the world. It is our choice whether our contribution will be positive or negative at any given moment. Choices are a blessing and we are given great power in the blessing of choice.

I am often inspired by stories that share the power of positive choice – especially under adverse conditions. I believe that positive choices combined with faith and prayer constitute the ingredients for receiving some of God’s greatest blessings!

It is in that spirit that I want to share a story from the blog of Seth Adam Smith at:  https://sethadamsmith.com which was shared on March 27, 2014:

I’ve been feeling really discouraged lately—like, really discouraged. While struggling to move forward, I was quietly reminded of this true story. It is—quite frankly—one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever heard.

It was the summer of 1941, and the Nazis were rapidly tearing through Russia, destroying everything in their path. Adolph Hitler had pompously declared that by August 9, 1942, Nazis would celebrate the taking of Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg).

On September 8, 1941, the Nazis surrounded the city of Leningrad, forming a blockade.

The city’s almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited to a mere 1-2 month supply, public transport was not operational and by the winter of 1941-42 there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. In January 1942 in the depths of an unusually cold winter, the city’s food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams (about 1/4 of a pound) of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. Despite these tragic losses and the inhuman conditions the city’s war industries still continued to work and the city did not surrender. [Source: Saint-Petersburg.com]

By the end of the siege, the number of deaths in Leningrad outnumbered those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined.

Under these conditions, in the midst of what would become an 872-day siege, the Symphony of Leningrad planned a “counter-offense.” They resolved to perform the newly-completed Seventh Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich, a native of Leningrad, and broadcast it on loudspeakers throughout the city, towards enemy lines.

The score—both long and complex—called for a 90 piece orchestra, and only half of the members of the symphony at Leningrad had survived the horrors of the siege.

Despite extra rations, many members of the symphony would faint from exhaustion during rehearsals. They all had strength enough to play through the whole piece only once—three days before their big performance.

Their performance was set for August 9, 1942. It was no coincidence that August 9th was also the date set by Hitler to celebrate the capture of Leningrad.

The Philharmonic Hall was packed – people came in their finest clothes; city leaders and generals took their places. The musicians, despite the warm August temperature, wore coats and mittens – when the body is starving, it is continually cold. Outside, throughout the city, people gathered to listen at loudspeakers. Hours earlier, Leonid Govorov, Leningrad’s military commander since April 1942, ordered a barrage of artillery onto the German lines to ensure their silence for long enough time for the work to be performed without interruption. Loudspeakers, on full volume, pointed in the direction of the Germans – the city wanted the enemy to hear.

‘This performance,’ announced Eliasberg in a pre-recorded introduction, ‘is witness to our spirit, our courage and readiness to fight. Listen, Comrades!’ And the city listened, as did the Germans nearby. They listened as the city of Leningrad reasserted its moral self.

At the end – silence. Then came the applause, a thunderous applause that lasted over an hour. People cheered and cried. They knew they had witnessed a momentous occasion. It was, as Eliasberg described later, the moment ‘we triumphed over the soulless Nazi war machine.’…

…Years after the war, Eliasberg met some Germans who had been sitting encamped in their trenches outside the city. On hearing the music, they told the conductor, they had burst into tears, ‘Who are we bombing?’ they asked themselves, ‘We will never be able to take Leningrad because the people here are selfless.’ [Source: History in a Minute]

When I get really discouraged, I often think about this symphony of Leningrad. They were starving, dying, and surrounded by forces that wanted to destroy them. And yet, in the face of such evil, they found within themselves the strength to play music. And their music was a force that turned the tide of the war.

So, if you’re feeling discouraged and defeated—don’t quit. Play on, hope on, and move forward. Just like the symphony at Leningrad, the music you play—even in the midst of incredible darkness—can and will turn the tide of your own battles.

May great blessing be yours! Have a wonderful weekend!

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The One Principle that Surrounds Everything…Stewardship

I I Research concept with businessman in boat in the middle of the sea and lightly cloudy skies.

I love today’s quote. Life is such a gift! Our ability to be stewards of our lives is such a blessing! God is the giver of all that is good! May we receive all that is good and wisely manage the stewardship that is ours!

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Stand up for America…. My spirit

Blue American Background Illustration. Statue of Liberty, Flag and City Skyline Illustration with Copy Space. American Events and Celebration Backdrop.

When I grow up, I wanna be just like my father. I wanna be just like the Father who is the creator of my soul. My mortal body has finished growing – it may get a little heavier but it has hit its maximum height. However, my spirit is another matter. My spirit has lots of “growing up” to do. It has lots of way in which it needs to grow and lots of ways that I need to “become”. One of them is how I represent my country – my sense of patriotism. Because I am a citizen of the United States, I need to stand up for America.

I have had a few life experiences which have taught me about the blessing of being an American. The first was my trip to Russia during the Kosovo conflict with my husband to adopt our two youngest children, Armed guards waiting as our airplane landed in two of the three airports we landed in and being locked in a room at one of the airports taught me a healthy respect for personal freedom. It only took those few times of having my freedom removed to instill a very strong desire to return to the soil and freedom of my native soil. The second was my near death experience.

That experience is a little more difficult to describe because I have not been allowed by God to remember all that I was shown. However, the feelings of that experience have very much remained and though I cannot tell you why, I returned to my body a new being with patriotism seared into my heart.

I have always believed that I was blessed as a result of living in the United States of America. However, since my near death experience, that belief has grown exponentially. I believe that very few Americans fully realize God’s impact in our lives and in the freedoms that we as a country enjoy. It may seem strange that a near death experience would engender patriotism but, having had that experience, I can tell you that God’s influence was seen by our Founding Fathers and that the desire to be free is a natural component within our hearts that is a God given gift.

When God’s influence is allowed, a people will be free and they will be a self-governing people.

It is my prayer and I hope that you will pray with me that this country would be blessed to continue to be a free nation and that, as a people, we would ever be both self-governing and aware of our many blessings!

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