Goodbye, Chocolate

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 20

Goodbye, Chocolate

Dear Chocolate,

As much as I love you, our relationship is not healthy for me. I am so weak when I am around you. Any boundaries that I've set quickly melt away. I make excuses as to why you're good for me. I tell myself that if I combine you with healthy nuts, then you're actually a healthy snack. I ignore the fact that you're filled with sugar and caffeine.

I often boast that I stopped drinking coffee, which I was also addicted to, when I realized the caffeine it contains isn't good for my body. I pretend not to notice that you also have caffeine. When others aren't looking, I sneak into the pantry and steal a handful of chocolate chips, M&M's or whatever else I can find that you are in.

Soon, my clothes become too snug. Then I am so sorry I had anything to do with you, and I promise myself that I won't allow myself near you anymore. But sure enough, I stumble across you, and my willpower quickly crumbles and your deliciousness clouds my mind. I satisfy my longing for the time being, but once again I'm awash with regret.

A Job That Defied the Odds

Written by Brother Michael Watson on Monday, 23 November 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 136

A Job That Defied the Odds

Today's Miracle Monday is the testimony of Brother Michael Watson, as told by his loving (and wordy) wife, Sister Michelle Watson.

My brother-in-law works for a company called Haven. Every year, Haven purchases a table at a fundraiser for the local hospital here in our small town. Haven usually doesn't invite my brother-in-law to this fancy event. But, three years ago, two invitees couldn't make it, and my brother-in-law and his wife (my sister) got to take their place.

My brother-in-law doesn't like to dress up in a suit and tie, but he does like buffets, so he decided to accept. Plus, my sister does like to dress up.

When they arrived, they approached the registration table. "Name?" asked the worker. "We're here in place of so-n-so," he explained. "Company name, then?" asked the worker. "Haven," said my brother-in-law. The worker handed them nametags and directed them to the Haven table. (Or so they thought.)

Spread the Good Word: 1 Nephi 22:17

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 20 November 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 231

Spread the Good Word: 1 Nephi 22:17

Good Word Friday Theme: Fear Not

We've been hearing this verse a lot lately in these troubled times. This chapter in 1 Nephi refers to the last days when God will bare His arm in the sight of nations and fulfill His covenant to Israel. Anyone who fights against it will be destroyed. The righteous will be spared and preserved.

So, does this mean that the righteous won't experience any of the unpleasantness that occurs in the end times?

Some Christians say yes, that God will rapture His followers prior to any tribulation (pre-trib rapture). We believe differently, that scripture doesn't support this (as nice as it would be). We will be here for the tribulation.

The Thankful (Dying) Man

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 19 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 269

The Thankful (Dying) Man

This article is another installment in Brother P's series, "Lessons From the Nursing Home."

Occasionally at church you hear about the merits of being thankful. I had the opportunity to see gratitude in action at my work. I work at a nursing home, and my job is to help patients walk again. Recently, I got to see gratitude (and the lack thereof) in action.

I was trying to get a little 94-year-old lady to walk with me, and she was soooooo mad at me because she did not want to get out of bed. Once I finally did get her out of bed, she would only say mean things to me or would otherwise give me the silent treatment.

Building on the Rock

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 November 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 243

Building on the Rock

This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti's series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ.

The Apostle Peter is the most well-known of all of the original Apostles of Jesus. His name is mentioned many times in the four gospels, and he seems to be in the middle of the action most of the time, usually due to his outspokenness and impulsive behavior.

This Apostle's actual name is Simon, but Jesus gives him a nickname (surname) of Peter (Mark 3:16, Luke 6:14) which means "rock" in Greek. John's gospel mentions the Aramaic version of the nickname, Cephas, along with a note as to the meaning: "Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone" (John 1:42).

The use of this nickname in a famous conversation between Jesus and His disciples has caused confusion for some Bible readers through the years.

Dear Patience

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Tuesday, 17 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 143

Dear Patience

Dear Patience,

When you first showed up, I thought I could just ignore you. I don’t need Patience. This will soon pass. But, alas, the trial of my faith did not soon pass, and there you were, knocking on the door, offering your friendship. But I locked the deadbolt and closed the blinds.

No matter, I thought. I can logic this away. So I puzzled and twisted and turned over my options like a Rubik’s cube. But after what felt like an eternity of dead-ends, and with no stickers to peel off and rearrange, I threw it all down in frustration. All the while, there you were, extending your hand, never forcing it. But I would not have it.

Does God Really Care?

Written by Sister Cindy Henderson on Monday, 16 November 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 443

Does God Really Care?

Today's Miracle Monday comes to us from Sister Cindy Henderson. This one reminds us that God truly does care about every detail.

Does God really care about our concerns or the concerns of strangers? For sure, He does!

At an outdoor vendor event, I noticed a man circling around my booth with his eyes fixed on the ground. He appeared quite frantic, and I asked if I could help him. He shared that he had been searching for a while for a set of keys he’d lost and that their size and color would make it very difficult to locate. I mentioned that sometimes lost items are turned into the front tent near the entrance and that I would continue searching the grassy area around my tables for the keys he had described.

He kept retracing his steps, and as he was walking by again, I approached him and told him that whenever I lose anything of value, I stop what I’m doing, get on my knees, and ask God to direct my feet to where I’ve lost the item. The man listened and smiled and continued walking towards the exit with his eyes fixed on the long grass.

Spread the Good Word: Isaiah 54:4

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 13 November 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 324

Spread the Good Word: Isaiah 54:4

Good Word Friday Theme: Fear Not

Don't you just love getting shamed? When people mock you — so awesome. Humiliation is way underrated. Gimme some good ol' embarrassment, that's what I need.

Said no one. We are seriously afraid of any and all shame, mockery, and humiliation that's pointed our way. We'll go to great lengths to avoid experiencing any of these. Yet, there are plenty of scriptures that tell us we're going to be shamed for our belief in Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself predicted that His followers would be mocked and mortified. He told us to love our persecutors and to rejoice in the kinship of our Savior's suffering.

So, where does a verse like Isaiah 54:5 fit in? Fear not. You won't be ashamed.

Reflections on a Greasy Oven

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 12 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 336

Reflections on a Greasy Oven

I'm going to confess something to you today. I don't clean my oven nearly as often as I should.

There, I said it.

I keep a clean house — like the bathrooms and floors and normal stuff — but my oven gets neglected. A few weeks ago, after an unfortunate incident involving roasted sweet potatoes, I couldn't ignore my oven a day longer.

I didn't have any specialty cleaner on hand (no surprise) so I mixed up a baking soda paste and smeared it all over the inside of my oven and let it sit overnight. The oven racks got the paste treatment, plus a 12-hour soak in my bathtub.

I will tell you that when I got up close and personal to slather on that paste, I was ashamed of all the grimey, gunky buildup that I'd allowed to accumulate. It was way worse than I'd realized. How in the world did it get so bad?

And I will tell you another thing. The next day, when I wiped off that rancid baking soda paste, I was shocked by how easily the caked-on crud slid away to reveal my oven's smooth walls, good as new. Same with the racks. The crusty who-knows-what utterly surrendered to the soak, revealing the shiny metal sheen that was there all along underneath.

Seeking Increased Understanding

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 November 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 336

Seeking Increased Understanding

This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti's series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ.

The Apostle who is the subject of this blog is Judas, the brother of James (Luke 6:16). He should not be confused with Judas Iscariot, even though he has the same name. In fact, it appears that the other gospel writers made sure there would be no confusion by referring to the same man as "Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus" (Matthew 10:3) or simply Thaddaeus (Mark 3:18).

Some people believe that this Judas was one of the brothers of Jesus since two of the Lord's half-brothers were named Judas and James (see Matthew 13:55). However, most believe that this was a different Judas since it would be somewhat odd for Luke to refer to the brother of Jesus as the brother of James.

Others believe that this Judas is the author of the Epistle of Jude. This could be true since Jude is a shortened form of Judas and that epistle begins, "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James…" It would also fit in well with other epistles written by Apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

God Wins

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 10 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 172

God Wins

Between the pandemic and the election, 2020 has been a different kind of year. We have seen a lot of fear, uncertainty, and anxiousness all around us. You see it on social media and the news, you hear people talking about it — it seems like it's everywhere.

There’s one thing I know for sure.

God wins.

No matter what happens, we can rest assured in the promise that God has a plan. It's bigger than any of us can imagine, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. Things must come to pass, and we have nothing to fear. We know that He will give us peace when we are afraid, uncertain, or anxious.

No End in Sight

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Monday, 09 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 377

No End in Sight

I can only imagine how the Jaredites felt after 343 days on the open sea. Yes, they were just one day away from arriving at a promised land, which was choice above all others, but after 343 days of seeing only water in every direction, I’m sure they started to have doubts:

Are we any closer than when we started? Have we been going in circles?

What the Jaredites may not have realized was that even when they could see no change in their circumstances, God was always moving them forward:

And it came to pass that the Lord caused that there should be a furious wind… [and] the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters. (Ether 6:5-8)

During my recent job hunt, I felt a bit like the Jaredites. Despite spending as many as 20 hours each week submitting hundreds of resumes, reaching out to my network, and gleaning professional certifications, after six months, I could see no progress.

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 46:1-3

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Friday, 06 November 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 350

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 46:1-3

Good Word Friday Theme: Fear Not

It's Dec. 22, 2017, and I'm driving at night on a lonely stretch of rural highway between Arizona and California with a dark, star-sprinkled sky spread before me. All of a sudden, something bright appears way up high. It's a dot of light like a star but much bigger. It's just about the brightest thing I've ever seen — and it's moving. It's slicing a slow arc across the sky, leaving an impossibly bright tail, which diffuses into a ghostly ribbon of light.

It is an awful sight — full of mysterious beauty but also profound confusion. Is it a missile? A meteor?

I call my husband who is driving a separate car. He's on the same desolate road just ahead of me. "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" I ask him.

His reaction: Wowwwwwwwwwwwwww!

My reaction: What in the world is this?! Is it dangerous?! Should I pull over?!

God Takes Care of the Birds

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 05 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 337

God Takes Care of the Birds

Some days I’m not all here. I mean, I’m here. But I’m not here-here.

Some days my mind plays this super-fun game where we travel ten, twenty years into the future and worry. That’s it. We just worry. About anything. And everything. Frantically.

“What if I never get promoted?”

“What if they don’t like me?”

“What if I have a panic attack three years from now at 6:04 p.m.?”

“What if I’m alone forever and become a crazy cat lady with, like, 17 cats who each have a middle name and their own room?” I don’t even like cats.

You can’t see me right now, but I’m rolling my eyes at myself. Because I know how it sounds — ridiculous, irrational, faithless. I know that. But when it’s inside my head, where the enemy can cross my spiritual wires and trip up my thoughts, oh, how convincing it is.

Recognizing Jesus and Following Him

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 November 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 336

Recognizing Jesus and Following Him

This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti's series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ.

Sometimes, I kind of feel bad for the Brother of Jared. The poor guy doesn't even get his name mentioned in the scriptures — he's known totally by his relationship to someone else. If you've ever experienced being referred to as this one's wife or that one's son, then you know what it feels like. You know that you have your own identity — you just wish that others would realize it too.

The Apostle who is the subject of this blog is a man who had a similar challenge. He is introduced as "Andrew, Simon Peter's brother" (John 1:40). In describing the day when Jesus called the two brothers to be "fishers of men," Matthew and Mark refer to them as "Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother" (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:16) while Luke omits Andrew's name altogether. Clearly, this is someone living in his brother's shadow.

Yet, Andrew distinguishes himself in a specific way. He is among the first — if not the first — of the twelve men who would eventually become Apostles to recognize Jesus and know that He is the one to follow. How does he recognize Him? What makes him decide to follow Jesus?

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