Use Your Gifts and Talents!

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge. Matthew ArnoldDo you recognize that you have gifts? Do you feel in your heart that there are special things you should be doing with those gifts? If so, I hope you will not ignore those feelings in your heart.

If you honestly don’t feel that you have any gifts and/or talents, I hope that you will go to the Lord and ask Him to reveal them to you.

One of the most memorable parts of my near-death experience was seeing how all of us who would be born to this earth had been blessed with a multitude of gifts and talents.

Although we were not given the same talents and gifts and some were given more than others, the most important aspect of those gifts, that I witnessed, was that we honor and use them.

For me, it makes the parable of the talents that is shared in the New Testament even more meaningful. What I saw in heaven supports what is taught in that parable. It doesn’t matter what talents we receive. It matters that we use them and when we do, not only will those talents increase, we will also be provided with additional talents.

It is my witness that the Lord loves us and wants us to use what He has given us. We have all been given talents and gifts that are meant to be developed and used here in mortality.

With the Lord, our gifts do not have to be complicated. They can be as simple as having the gift of listening or as far-reaching as the gift of of inspiring millions. The important thing about gifts is that they are meant to be shared.

If you haven’t already, I hope you will commit to share your gifts with the world!

In that light, I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Two Intelligent Boys

Once upon a time there were two incredibly intelligent and capable boys. Their wonderful talents were obvious from an early age, and they easily outdid everyone around. They had always known they were special, and they harbored inside them a desire that, in the future, everyone would come to admit how exceptional they were.

Each of them developed in a different way. The first used all his talent and intelligence to have a successful career and show everyone his superiority. He took part in all kinds of competitions, visited all the most important people and places, and was great at making friends in high places. Even when still very young, no one doubted that some day he would be the wisest and most important person in the land.
The second boy, equally aware of his own capabilities, never stopped feeling a heavy responsibility. He would do almost any task better than those around him, and he would feel obliged to help them. This didn’t leave him enough time to follow his own dreams of greatness. He was always busy looking for ways to more effectively help others. As a result, he was a much-loved and well-known person, but only in his own small circle.

Destiny was such that a great disaster struck that land, spreading problems and misery far and wide. The first of those brilliant young men had never come across anything like this, but his brilliant ideas worked successfully throughout the land, and they managed to slightly improve the situation. But the second young man was so used to solving all kinds of problems, and had such useful know-how in certain subjects, that the disaster hardly affected the people in his region at all. His admirable methods were then adopted across the land, and the fame of this good and wise man spread even more than had that of the first young man. Indeed, he was soon elected governor of the whole nation.

The first young man then understood that the greatest fame and wisdom is that which is born from the very things we do in life, from the impact they have on others, and from the need to improve ourselves every day. He never again took part in competitions or vain shows, and from then on, whenever he traveled, he took his books along with him, so he would be ready always to offer a helping hand to all.

Story Written by Pedro Pablo Sacristan

Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/two-intelligent-boys

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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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God’s Gifts…Take Advantage of His Abundance!

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame Elizabeth Barrett BrowningI happen to believe that God is a God of abundance. Okay….I know that He is a God of abundance. I witnessed His abundance during my near-death experience.

Yet, I still have days in which it just seems like my ability to overcome the difficulties in my life has been put on hold.

Because of my near-death experience, I know how important life is, that each of us has been given gifts, and that we are to use those gifts in handling and creating our lives.

I know this – I witnessed our preparations for this life. I also know that waaaay too many of us don’t believe that they have anything to offer this world in which we live or some think that they know themselves and their abilities better than God.

The truth is that we could live for thousands of years and still not have the handle on ourselves that God has. Perhaps Methuselah was beginning to get a glimpse of his potential by the time he exited this life but the only way we have a chance to do that ourselves is to utilize faith and God’s superior wisdom.

I love today’s story. I think it provides each of us with some good things to think about. We all have gifts – are we putting them on the shelf or are we demonstrating to our Giver that we love them and are using them?!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Unopened Gifts

What would you think if you brought a valuable gift to a friend’s house only to have them put it on a shelf, unopened?

A story like that is told of a faithful but tired Christian man who died and went to heaven. An angel greeted him and offered a tour of heaven’s grandeur. Along the way, the man noticed an unusual building with no windows and only one door. Asking to see it, the man was advised that he really would not want to see what was inside. But the man pleaded to see inside the building. Once inside, he saw rows and rows of shelves from floor to ceiling, all filled with beautifully decorated boxes. Examining them further, he found one that had his name written on the tag. Again, against the warning of the angel, the man opened the box. Instantly, he recognized its contents. They were blessings God intended for him to enjoy on earth, but some, he never asked for, and others he had not accepted.

It is the same with us. God wants the very best for us, but we have to ask. And once offered them, we have to accept them. Otherwise, there is no blessing received. God tells us that if we, being mortal parents would give good things to our own children, how much more would our heavenly father give to us, His children?

We might not always FEEL it, but there is no end to God’s goodness. We just need to ask for it. I’m not talking about some name it and claim it prosperity gospel too often preached today. I’m talking about the goodness of God: his grace when we deserve none, his strength when we are oh so very weak, his truth when we face lies, his hope when we are in despair, his faithfulness when we feel betrayed.

Have you ever felt nudged by God to step out in faith but you declined, because it seemed awkward or weird? Unopened blessings are like that too. When we know what God desires for us, but don’t respond, we also miss out on blessings that remain instead unopened.

Do you really want God’s best for you? Ask Him and respond when he answers, no matter how awkward it feels. Tell Him that you want to experience His joy, even if you can’t hear him respond right away. Enjoying God’s goodness and enjoying the life he gives you are one and the same.

Believe God, seek him, desire His goodness, and it will be yours. Enjoy God and open the gifts he offers you each day.

Today’s story was shared from the following website: http://www.golightourworld.org/tag/unopened-gifts/

 

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God’s Gifts…The Gift of Choice

Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man. David O. McKay

There are many things that I remember from my near-death experience and other things that I know I saw. However, in order to facilitate additional mortal growth, I have not been allowed to remember the specific details of many of those events.

Though I remember seeing many individuals and I know I knew their gifts and their strengths – I no longer remember who they were (friends, family or other ?) but this I know – they all were given gifts.

The most divine gift that they each were given was the gift of choice. Even in heaven, we/they were all allowed to choose how they would use their gifts and the learning experiences that they would have in mortality.

We all come to earth with a significant case of amnesia. This is not a cruel joke on the Lord’s part – it too is a gift.

We cannot remember the specifics of heaven for if we could, we would be incredibly homesick and the ability to learn and grow in mortality would be significantly impaired.

Even with so many details removed, I remain in awe of what I saw in heaven. I remain in awe of the amazing gifts we were given there and I am filled with gratitude for the Lord’s gift to us of free choice.

That gift of choice remains with us and will ever be ours.

What will you to today to manifest that gift? What choices will you make? What attitude will you choose to utilize? How will you choose to use each of the gifts the Lord has given you? Will you choose to be grateful for your gifts?

We each have those choices that are ours to make every day!

I hope that you will make the choices that serve you, the world, and heaven best!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

The Seeker of Truth

After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. ‘Ask the well what is truth’, he was advised, ‘and the well will reveal it to you’. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, ‘Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking’.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, ‘You will understand in the future.’ When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of – or so he thought at the time – the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.html#Story22

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Imagination…

Live out of Your Imagination not Your History. Stephen Covey

We all have imagination. It is one of our God-given gifts.

Think of all the improvements and inventions that have come to mankind through that amazing gift called imagination!

I am in awe of those many individuals who have lived true to their imaginations in spite of adversity and great difficulty. I am grateful for each of them who have improved and inspired our world, as a result.

Dmitri Shostakovich is one such individual. I hope you will be inspired by his story!:

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

If you’re not a classical, opera, or symphonic music fan, you may not have heard of Shostakovich by name, but there’s a good chance that you know some of his most famous works.

From his “Waltz No. 2”—used in the film Eyes Wide Shut—to his “Romance” and many astounding symphonies, Shostakovich stands in the annals of music as one of the true modern greatest, and possibly the greatest composer of the last century.

And all while facing the very-real possibility of death on a daily basis.

Dmitri Shostakovich was an extremely bright musical student and hit the ground running in his career, reeling off enough initial “hits” in terms of compositions to establish himself as one of Russia’s premiere composers.

And then along came Stalin, one of the few men to rival Hitler himself as one of history’s worst villains.  The 1930s were a time of conflict and terror throughout the world, a time when just about everyone, in one way or another, had to overcome adversity in one form or another, and Shostakovich was no exception.

Stalin had fully taken power by then, and “the Great Terror/Great Purge” in Russia had led to the deaths of many of the composer’s acquaintances and friends in government-sponsored executions and purges.overcoming adversity 6 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity You Might not Know ir t interconnectedlives 20 l as2 o 1 a 0060144769

And then, terrifyingly, Stalin’s opinion of Shostakovich soured as well.  In 1936 Shostakovich began to receive severe criticism for his work, with some of the criticism potentially coming as part of Stalin’s influence.

Stalin himself attended performances of Shostakovich’s work, and was displeased—which, in an era where dissidents were being purged, was no small thing.  What’s more, Shostakovich drew upon everything from post-Romantic to Jewish musical both—all detested by Stalin, and dangerous to be associated with.

Shostakovich was publicly denounced in the USSR—not once, but twice.  The pressure mounted.  He had his Fourth Symphony withdrawn, and lived in constant fear that he and his family would be targeted by Stalin as part of the ongoing purges.

After experiencing a slight renewal after WWII, Shostakovich was once again the target of Stalinist wrath.  He was denounced for the second time, as were other composing greats such as Sergei Prokofiev and the Armenian-born Aram Khachaturian, was denounced for allegedly “anti-Russian” themes in his music.

Here we can see a picture of the three greats together, but in the late 1940s, they all faced bans on their work and censorship, even though Shostakovich cared greatly for Russia—just not under Stalin’s iron grip.  Things seemed to be coming to a head, with his living situation a nightmare, his works suppressed, and Shostakovich’s growing fear that at any moment he would be taken to a camp, killed, or both.

Imagine not just being publicly shamed in front of your entire country, and having your living situation and social status plummet, but being unable to leave and spend every day wondering not just if it will be your last as an esteemed artist—but if it will be your last period, and that if you dare to object, it won’t just be you that suffer, but your family and friends as well.  Shostakovich and hundreds of millions of his fellow countrymen living under Stalin faced that adversity terror on a daily basis.

But he never stopped writing, and never ceased to return to his favorite themes in his suppressed, “desk drawer” works—and that of facing and trying to overcome adversity resounds throughout these pieces.

He outlived Stalin—who died in 1953—and while his troubles weren’t over, the worst of them were, and after more than a decade of terror and public humiliation, be began his resurgence into critical favor around the world, exemplifying what it means to overcome adversity, and how genius can flourish even in the darkest times.

After years of personal denouncement and private terror, Shostakovich stands today as one of the past century’s greatest artists—and without question, one of its bravest.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.interconnectedlives.com/overcoming-adversity/3/

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