We're Done Living in Captivity (Ether 10)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 24 June 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 399

We're Done Living in Captivity (Ether 10)

In Ether 10, the leadership of the Jaredite kingdom changes hands many times, sometimes peacefully and sometimes by force. Toward the end of the chapter, one of the kings is deposed and forced to live in captivity for the rest of his life. It doesn't sound like he was actually living in a dungeon, though; most likely, he was under some type of stay-at-home order or some type of arrangement that limited what he could do or where he could go.

The same captivity for this family lasts for the next four generations. Finally, a man named Com decides he is done living in captivity, and he goes out and reclaims the kingdom, living out the remainder of his days as king of the land.

Many of us have experienced living in some type of captivity during our lifetime.

Most recently, we have all experienced the stay-at-home orders associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. What has kept people in captivity during this time? Some combination of being willing to follow the rules and guidelines issued by lawmakers and health experts, as well as some level of fear associated with the virus. As we see the rules and guidelines being relaxed somewhat, the only thing left that will keep us in captivity is fear. As followers of Christ, let's allow our faith to overcome our fear. Let's reclaim the kingdom — returning to church and whatever else the Lord has for us to do, trusting that He will be with us.

Melodies with Meaning: Through It All

Written by Sister Vicki Ali on Tuesday, 23 June 2020. Posted in Music & Singalongs Hits 194

Melodies with Meaning: Through It All

Here's the next installment of "Melodies with Meaning," where our columnists tell you about some of their favorite spiritual songs. Today, we're hearing from Sister Vicki.

By the time this publishes, I will have celebrated my 40th spiritual birthday. It seems unreal just typing that sentence.

A spiritual birthday is so different from our natural birthdays. I can’t possibly view it as any sort of accomplishment on my part, or an accolade of my character, but only a celebration of a Savior who literally bought me with His blood and brought me through every step to this day. The day you decide to follow Jesus for the rest of your life, He begins a good work in you that only He can perfectly design and finish. (Philippians 1:6).

Trying to align this personal event with Melodies with Meaning sent my overthinking brain into overdrive. I have way too many favorite hymns and inspiring songs to pick just one!

One song, though, began running through my mind. Oddly enough, it wasn’t at all on my initial mental playlist to share for this assignment. On our very next Wednesday night Zoom church meeting, a brother shared his testimony with the same song! So who am I to ignore that nudge?

I Can't Work Like This

Written by Brother Joel Calabrese on Monday, 29 June 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 166

I Can't Work Like This

Today's Miracle Monday is a testimony of divine protection and assistance sent to us (much earlier in the year when it was still winter) by Brother Joel Calabrese.

Years ago in the mid 1980s, I was a meter reader for the gas company. This particular morning, my assigned route was in a rural area of Lorain County. It was winter with snow so bad that the edges of the roads weren't visible. If you went too far to the right to park, you would end up in the ditch.

By the time I arrived at my first stop to read some roadside meters, it was blizzard conditions! Well, afraid to go too far off the side of the road, I checked to be sure no traffic was behind me and parked on the road.

I jumped out of the pickup truck and immediately was hit in the face by the whipping snow. My eyelids were instantly frozen shut! I could not open them! I blindly reached for the door of the pickup and jumped into the seat. With the heat on, my eyes were able to open. I took a moment to gather myself.

Spread the Good Word: Psalms 96:3

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 19 June 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 278

Spread the Good Word: Psalms 96:3

Good Word Friday theme: Sharing your faith

Today's scripture comes from a psalm of praise. This psalm lifts the God of Israel above the false gods of other nations. This psalm describes how the God of Israel reigns over all the earth regardless of whether the nations acknowledge Him or not. This psalm describes how the natural world worships God (the trees celebrate, the sky rejoices, the sea shouts). How much more should we exclaim, "The Lord reigns" (verse 10)?

Melodies with Meaning: I Am Yours

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Thursday, 18 June 2020. Posted in Music & Singalongs Hits 266

Melodies with Meaning: I Am Yours

Here's the next installment of "Melodies with Meaning," where our columnists tell you about some of their favorite spiritual songs. Today, we're hearing from Sister Mallory.

God has always spoken to me through song. I’ve loved music since I can remember, but my main focus has never been the music itself. I tend to focus on the lyrics.

The song “I Am Yours” by Lauren Daigle is a favorite of mine for two reasons.

First, it’s comforting in times of uncertainty.

You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

The Lyin' King (Ether 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 17 June 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 250

The Lyin' King (Ether 9)

In the classic movie, "The Lion King," the evil lion named Scar wants so badly to be king that he is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that. He kills the current king — his own brother. He enlists willing followers by making wild promises like, "Stick with me and you'll never go hungry again!" But, as time passes, the food supply is gone and the country is in ruins. It becomes clear that it was all lies from a power-hungry tyrant who will just wind up dragging everyone down with him. Happily, the true king then appears and everyone is saved.

In Ether 9, we read an account that has many similarities to the movie referenced above. This chapter describes multiple cases of men so determined to be king that they kill their own family members to gain the throne. All of the wickedness "corrupted the hearts of all the people" (verse 6) who obviously believe the lies of the power-hungry tyrants since they have no objection to even murder being committed in order for their king to be in power. After some time passes, the true king is restored to the throne, and there is peace in the land.

Melodies With Meaning: Scars

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Music & Singalongs Hits 260

Melodies With Meaning: Scars

Here's the next installment of "Melodies with Meaning," where our columnists tell you about some of their favorite spiritual songs. Today, we're hearing from Sister Dianne.

“Hi Dom!” I say as I excitedly walk through the door of the hair salon.

“Hey Di! How are you doing?” Dom says looking up from the cash register. “Look at you; you are overdue!”

“I know, it’s beginning to grow like it used to!”

As I sit in the all too large shampoo chair, I remind Dom that he can’t massage my head like he used to. I miss the relaxing massage, but things are different now. The truth is, I’d rather have the 5-inch scar on my head than enjoy those few relaxing moments.

“You have good hair,” I recall the neurosurgeon telling me six months earlier.

“Good hair? And that’s supposed to make this an easy decision? I am NOT having surgery!” I say vehemently as I had several times over the years. I admit that part of my fear was spawned out of vanity, as I viewed images of shaved heads and scars on Google. My other fears were that I wouldn’t survive the surgery, that it wouldn’t work, or that it would maim me.

Letting Them Find Their Way

Written by Sister Lori Kimmel on Monday, 22 June 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 792

Letting Them Find Their Way

Today's Miracle Monday relates a dream given to Sister Lori Kimmel regarding her children.

You see, I sadly found myself raising my children alone when they were ages 4, 7, 9, and 11. I believed because we ended up alone that God had a plan for my children. Surely they would grow up to serve Him, become great people in the church... I just knew that THIS was the reason we went through the dark times.

As they grew, I did not find this to be the case. Some of them continued to join me at church, and others grew further away. I became frustrated with them and with God. When they chose not to go to church as older teenagers, I would get upset, and (most probably) ruin both mine and all the kids’ day. One night, God blessed me with a dream. I hope it blesses your life as it did mine!

This Is Not How to Study

Written by Lucky to Graduate on Monday, 15 June 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 216

This Is Not How to Study

We received today's Miracle Monday in response to our June prompt, where we requested that you send in school-related testimonies.

I was baptized when I was a senior in high school so I was still a relatively new member of The Church when I began college. This had obvious benefits as I was able to approach the whole experience in a prayerful manner. However, it also created some challenges as I resolved to read the entire Book of Mormon that year so I carried it with me to school, reading it in between classes. I also was so enjoying attending church that I not only attended my own branch meetings and MBA meetings but I also regularly visited the MBA meetings of another nearby branch. Studying? I’d be fitting that in when the tests came around.

Spread the Good Word: Ezekiel 37:17

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 12 June 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 238

Spread the Good Word: Ezekiel 37:17

Good Word Friday theme: Sharing your faith

For believers in the restoration, this scripture in Ezekiel is a familiar one. This prophecy uses a word picture to describe how the Bible (the record of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (the record of Joseph) are both God's word to His children. Together, they provide a full picture of God's plan and will for mankind.

When it comes to sharing our faith, especially the restoration, it's good to have scriptures like this one at the ready to support our beliefs. Having the ability to quote scripture is a fantastic resource. Quoting scripture isn't the right tool in every share-your-faith scenario, but ... 1.) Memorization is a great spiritual discipline for personal growth, and 2.) Scriptural support lends authority to our testimony because the scripture is God's word, not ours.

Melodies with Meaning: It Is Well With My Soul

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 11 June 2020. Posted in Music & Singalongs Hits 253

Melodies with Meaning: It Is Well With My Soul

Here's the next installment of "Melodies with Meaning," where our columnists tell you about some of their favorite spiritual songs. Today, we're hearing from Brother P.

Sister Michelle asked us to write a blog about a song that has meaning to us, but I cheated and picked just one line of a song:

First, I want to ask you, "How could you ever have a good thought about sin?" Much less a glorious thought about it, unless...

...unless you consider that it has been nailed to the cross, and you don’t have to carry it anymore. Then, all you are left with is praising God!

God Sees Us, Whatever We Do (Ether 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 10 June 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 214

God Sees Us, Whatever We Do (Ether 8)

If you're familiar with Windows computers, you're likely aware of the little button near the top right corner of each window that allows you to minimize the window. When you click on that button, the window is then no longer visible on the computer screen — the computer can still see it, but people cannot see it. It's actually quite an effective method to hide what you're doing from someone who is trying to look at your computer screen.

What might you be thinking if, every time you walked past someone using a computer, that person hit the Minimize button?

  • If it's one of your children, you might wonder, "What are my kids getting into?"
  • If it's your husband, you might wonder, "Who is my husband chatting with?"
  • If it's your employee, you might wonder whether the employee is actually working.

In general, when someone goes to great lengths to hide their actions, it often means they're doing something they shouldn't. Otherwise, they would have nothing to hide. The sad part of this is that people who are good at hiding what they are doing may never come to a realization that what they are doing is wrong because they are able to get away with it.

Melodies with Meaning: He'll Take Care of Me

Written by Sister Stefanie Callens on Tuesday, 09 June 2020. Posted in Music & Singalongs Hits 227

Melodies with Meaning: He'll Take Care of Me

Here's the next installment of "Melodies with Meaning," where our columnists tell you about some of their favorite spiritual songs. Today, we're hearing from Sister Stefanie.

I'll admit, I'm not a big music person. I opt to listen to podcasts or audiobooks when I work out or need sound on in my house or car. I like music, but it’s not my go-to.

However, during certain times in my life, God has touched my heart and comforted me through the words of a song.

In my sophomore year of college, I was really struggling with relationships — people who I thought were my friends, wanting to fit in...

It Just So Happened

Written by Brother Karl Moelke on Monday, 08 June 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 246

It Just So Happened

Today's Miracle Monday article is a story of God's provision submitted by Brother Karl Moelke from Detroit Branch 1 in Michigan.

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform!" – Hymn, William Cowper 1773

I lead a fairly uncomplicated life. I live alone. My personal and work life don’t require me to be on a computer at all, so my skills in that area are rather limited. That’s fine with me. I just have an older laptop in my basement and check my emails maybe once a week, primarily for church announcements. I’ve never needed to take advantage of the livestream of Sunday church services offered by my home branch as I, thankfully, have been in a position to attend our meetings in person.

Then March 2020 came along and with it, Covid-19.

No more Sunday morning services at Church. No more MBA or Sunday school. Everyone was told to stay home and stay safe.

Spread the Good Word: Romans 1:16

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 05 June 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 277

Spread the Good Word: Romans 1:16

Good Word Friday theme: Sharing your faith

It's the first Friday of June — happy summer! — and we've got a new theme for our Good Word Friday scriptures. This month, the scriptures will be all about sharing our faith.

Today's verse from Romans tells us not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Many of us think to ourselves (in our spiritually strong moments), "How could I possibly be ashamed of believing in Jesus?!" But we simultaneously feel fearful, hesitant, or uneasy about sharing this precious part of our lives with others. (What if they reject this belief that we hold so dear? What if they make us feel foolish, like we've been wrong about life all along?)

The fact is that there will always be people out there who will shame us for what we believe. Then, the ball is in our court. Will we respond to that shame by actually feeling ashamed? Or will we bounce back from the blow and continue steadfast in our faith?

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