Israel 2020 – Lesson 7: Fighting Over a Rock

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 13 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 309

Israel 2020 – Lesson 7: Fighting Over a Rock

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly.

When viewing Jerusalem for the first time and identifying the perimeter of Old Jerusalem, one specific building caught our eye: the Dome of the Rock. It is, in fact, very hard to miss because of its large golden dome. The Dome of the Rock is the third-most sacred area for the Islamic faithful. It was first dedicated in 691 A.D. and then refurbished around 1541. The Dome is built on a hill, specifically over a rock (a crop of limestone) and is more commonly known by the Jewish people and Christians as Mount Moriah.

“The air over Jerusalem is saturated with prayers and dreams,” wrote Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. I saw firsthand that this is true. Currently, these prayers and dreams seem to circle around today like a storm. To the Jews and Christians, this is the place — the rock — where Abraham proved his faith by preparing to offer his son, Isaac. Later, we read that King David built an altar on or near this rock and subsequently his son, King Solomon, erected a Temple to the Lord on this same spot of ground.

Letting Go of Control

Written by Sister Tayla Barbe on Thursday, 12 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 312

Letting Go of Control

I always thought I had some sort of control over most aspects of my life. I tried to think out every possibility and figure out a solution just to be sure I was completely prepared. I thought this was working for me, and I was happy living in my little bubble of control. I started to pray about doing more in my branch and church. I thought maybe I would teach a few Ladies' Circle and MBA classes. I didn’t want to do anything too wild because I needed to maintain control. Of course, that didn't go as planned.

It’s funny; when you start asking God to give you things to do, He automatically pushes you out of your comfort zone! About a month into me praying about doing more, I was asked to be the assistant camp director for Southwest Area MBA (SWAMBA) Campout for 2018. And that meant I would be the camp director for 2019. It was a huge responsibility, and I know how much this campout means to everyone. I’m not a very good public speaker and it was something that I thought wasn’t meant for me to do. I was beyond nervous, but I felt God’s Spirit, and I knew He wanted me to do this.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers (Mormon 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 March 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 300

Blessed Are the Peacemakers (Mormon 4)

In Mormon 4, Mormon describes the continuing battle between the godless Nephites and the godless Lamanites, commenting that "there never had been so great wickedness among all the children of Lehi, nor even among all the house of Israel…as was among this people" (verse 12).

Mormon observes that, although the judgments of God are being carried out against this people, it is actually "by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed" (verse 5).

It's an interesting observation that wicked people can get others stirred up to do wicked things. Think of riots or brawls where it starts with just a few people and then many others jump in. Slogans like "We don't have to take this anymore!" can easily get people going — even those who have no idea what it is they don't have to take anymore.

The New Testament gospels tell us of people being stirred up to shout, "Release Barabbas!" Maybe the people thought they were joining in on a just cause, showing mercy to a prisoner. Instead, they were being duped into helping to bring about the crucifixion of the Son of God.

We all deal with people who are, well, something other than peacemakers. For example:

He Is Still Good

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Tuesday, 10 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 332

He Is Still Good

“…and if not, He is still good.”

This little phrase stopped me in my tracks — my selfish, wanting-it-my-way tracks.

This phrase is all about attitude.

It’s been proven that having a positive attitude can positively impact our lives. This is no different in our spiritual lives.

When we ask God for things, there is often a waiting period before we get our answer. Days. Months. Years. Decades. You can learn a lot about yourself in situations where you have to be patient. Where does your mind go?

Angels and an ATV

Written by Wesley Griffith on Monday, 09 March 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 327

Angels and an ATV

Today's Miracle Monday is the first that answers our March theme question, "How did God protect you in or from an accident?" This story comes to us from Wesley Griffith from the Forest Hills Branch, Florida.

I have always loved riding my 4-wheeler (ATV). I would come home from school and want to drive through the trails in my wooded backyard. I know the trails well, and at the back of our property line, there is a barbed wire fence.

Two years ago, I was in the woods riding by myself. At the back of the property, there is a right turn, because if you went straight, you would run right into the barbed wire fence. Well, that's literally what happened. I knew I was supposed to turn right, but the thin barbed wire fence blended in with the woods behind it, so I couldn’t see it and kept going straight, thinking I would turn right a little further down.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 6: Renewed Hope

Written by Sister Vanessa Watson on Saturday, 07 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 343

Israel 2020 – Lesson 6: Renewed Hope

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Sister Vanessa Watson.

I am so grateful to God for our recent trip to Israel; it was so inspiring. Israel is truly the Holy Land and Jerusalem the Holy City, set apart by God to be the staging ground for the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! What a blessing to go on this trip with Native friends and other believers around the U.S. who share our desire for the “Peace of Israel.”

One particularly moving event occurred at the Jewish Agency. All of us (28, plus our tour guide) were in the very room where Israeli officials voted in May 1948 to become the Nation of Israel. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Native American leaders were there as well as the President of our Church, Brother Joel Gehly. So, when Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez stated that he felt like he was coming home when he entered Jerusalem and that he felt a connection somehow with the nation of Israel and wanted to partner with them, I whispered to my husband, Brother Larry, that I felt history was again being made in that place, that I was seeing a glimpse of prophecy being fulfilled.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 5: Shabbat Shalom

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 06 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 576

Israel 2020 – Lesson 5: Shabbat Shalom

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Joel Gehly.

A very special experience was offered to us when we were in Israel. After a very wet and chilly (but exhilarating) day of visiting sites in the city of Jerusalem, we boarded the tour bus around 6 p.m. for a short drive to a Jewish home. It was Friday evening, and as we drove the streets of Jerusalem, we observed that the normal activity level of the city was greatly diminished. Friday evening at sundown was the start of the Jewish Sabbath. As we entered the beautiful home, happy exuberant cries of “Shabbat Shalom” echoed over and over.

“Shabbat Shalom” is the special greeting between people, even strangers, said on Shabbat. The greeting means that one should have a Shabbat of peace.

To describe our evening, I suggest you first take a look at the short video at the bottom of this article. This will give you a sense of the home, the people, the table, the host, and the joy we experienced as we fellowshipped together with our Jewish hosts.

Redeem the Time

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Thursday, 05 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 273

Redeem the Time

The date is December 21, 2019, and as I sit at my kitchen table early this morning, I read a message requesting prayer for Brother Paul Palmieri. I love Brother Paul’s testimony of being called into the Gospel. It’s short, simple, and succinct. He was at college, sitting in a chapel service, and he heard the voice of God say, “Redeem the time.” He knew it was his time to be baptized. I won’t go on, since it’s not my experience to tell, but he has shared it on enough occasions that those three words stuck with me. “Redeem the time.” We “sing of our Redeemer,” Jesus the great redeemer. Have you been redeemed? In churchese or church-speak, we hear the word "redeemed" often. But out of church, we may not hear it every day, (unless you’re a big Amazon shopper and you have points to redeem).

“Redeem the time” has had a different meaning for me this week. Remember, I said today is December 21, 2019? On December 27, 2019, I am scheduled to have life-altering surgery. I hope that by the time you’re reading this article, I will know if the surgery was successful. But let’s get back to the subject.

Schlemiel or Schlimazel? (Mormon 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 March 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 280

Schlemiel or Schlimazel? (Mormon 3)

If you're in my age bracket, you may remember a popular television show whose theme song began with the words "Schlemiel, Schlimazel." In case you were ever wondering what these words mean, "Schlemiel" is a Yiddish word that is typically used to describe a clumsy person who often spills soup on someone else. And "Schlimazel"? Well, he's the poor guy who the soup gets spilled on.

The question for today is: Who do you want to be — the schlemiel or the schlimazel? Now, if we were really talking about spilling soup, perhaps many of us would be kind enough to prefer the soup in our own laps rather than spilling it on someone else.

However, suppose we're talking about something else in our "bowl." Let's picture a bowl filled with our beliefs, our values, what we have been taught by the Lord, what we stand for, etc. Now, if the choice is to "spill" these beliefs and values onto others — influence them to be more like us — or have others influence us with their beliefs and values, which would we choose? It may seem like a no-brainer that we would choose the first option (the schlemiel path) but how often do we actually allow others to influence us rather than the other way around?

Be a Froot Loop

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 03 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 281

Be a Froot Loop

The clever poster pictured here caught my eye one day as I walked with my students in the hallway of the school where I teach. As you can see, it is handmade. The student who designed the poster was working on a character formation project. There is a lot of wisdom in these few short words, and here is my take.

When my daughters were younger, I was “that” mom who really monitored their sugar intake. As long as I did the grocery shopping, our pantry was lined with Cheerios and other low-sugar cereals; you know, the "mom-tested brand.” Yes, that’s right. We consumed plain-old Cheerios, not even the Honey-Nut kind. Froot Loops were definitely a treat, and we always found them at a morning breakfast buffet in a hotel. To my daughters, they were the “hotel” cereal. At a hotel breakfast buffet, given a choice, they would certainly pass up the Cheerios and gravitate towards the Froot Loops.

Waiting Patiently

Written by Sister Rebecca Wilcoxson on Monday, 02 March 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 336

Waiting Patiently

Toady's Miracle Monday is the testimony of Sister Rebecca Wilcoxson, and it answers the question, "How did God lead you to your spouse?"

When I was 9 years old and visiting the Clairton Branch, I was slowed from running by Brother English Webb. Once settled, he tapped his finger into my shoulder and asked my age. After my response, he informed me I was old enough to start praying for my mate. At 9, I do not think I knew the depth and totality of that task, but I set to doing as he told me. Being so young and my relationship with God being an immature one, I prayed more out of obedience to Brother English, whom I respected.

Baptized by 13, I became more earnest and intentional about praying for my mate. It was not easy turning down opportunities to go on dates or to dances in high school; however, the older I got the more convicted I was to wait on the Lord for the one He had chosen for me.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 3: Could It Be? Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Written by Sister Ruth Gehly on Friday, 28 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 459

Israel 2020 – Lesson 3: Could It Be? Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Today, we're bringing you another installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Sister Ruth Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next few weeks!

As our tour bus meandered its way through the Jordan Valley into the arid hills of the Judaean desert, our guide pointed out that short green grass was blooming on the sandy hills. This phenomenon typically occurs for a very short period of time each year. Yet, while we were there, a great blessing was occurring. The desert had been blooming for many weeks, a phenomenon that was not common.

Could it be that God’s hand is moving? Could it be that the time is drawing nigh for deserts to bloom again … for the life and spirit of a nation to be restored? Quite suddenly, an excited wonder — a need for something more — quelled from deep within. Very unexpectedly, tears slid down my cheeks.

Broken Silence

Dusk was closing in, and everyone was quiet. In those quiet moments, a song my childhood Sunday school teacher used to sing reverently broke the silence, calling our attention to what we were about to behold.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 4: Dedication and Determination

Written by Evangelist Wayne Martorana on Saturday, 29 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 258

Israel 2020 – Lesson 4: Dedication and Determination

Today, we're bringing you another installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Evangelist Wayne Martorana. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next few weeks!

Through the years, I have often had the desire to visit the Holy Lands in Israel and walk the paths that
Christ and His disciples did, fulfilling their ministry, establishing The Church, and administering to the people. However, I did not know that I would ever have that opportunity. The invitation came from a very unlikely source, the Gathering of Tribal Nations leadership, and culminated very quickly. 

As an aside, please pray for the leadership of this organization who some Church members have befriended. We have shared with them and many others on this trip that many of the aboriginal people of the Americas are descendants of Joseph of Egypt from Old Testament times. They have been receptive to listen to our scriptural explanation but want the Lord to show them directly in order for them to be proponents of this message. Certainly, this thing is not too hard for the Lord to accomplish!

Walking Blind

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 27 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 300

Walking Blind

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

My job is walking people in a nursing home. I often have students with me, such as a nursing assistant, or physical therapy students. In those cases, my job is to teach the students how to transfer and walk with the residents. Occasionally, the patient is completely blind.

So, I tell the student to put a gait belt on the patient, and I say that the patient is completely blind. Then, without further instruction I say, “Let’s go."

The Body of Christ (Mormon 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 26 February 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 266

The Body of Christ (Mormon 2)

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:27)

As part of the discussion of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul brings out the concept that we as individual members of the Lord's church form "the body of Christ." The metaphor is developed by relating the members of the church to the parts of a physical body — any of us could correspond to the head or the hand or the foot or the eyes or the ears, etc.

The main point to be understood is that we shouldn't focus on exactly which part of the body we are but rather appreciate that it takes all of us to make up the full body of Christ. Some of the logical questions asked in that chapter to make this point are:

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