The Syrophoenician Woman: Tenacious Faith

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Thursday, 14 May 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 405

The Syrophoenician Woman: Tenacious Faith

Today's article is another installment in Sister Alena's series on "Women of the Bible."

Like all of the women I’ve written about so far, this story has a ton to unpack — a pattern, I think, no? This Gentile woman’s daughter is demon possessed, and this mother is exhausted. She’s tired of everything that comes along with such an affliction, and she decides to approach Jesus as He passes through her area.

You can read the verses in Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30, but her daughter is healed because of her quick answers and great faith.

A lot of people would call her desperate. She was so tired and so in need of a change in her and her daughter’s life.

But after reading through this a few times, I saw this as a tenacious faith. Tenacity is the quality of being able to grip something firmly, meaning that this woman grabbed hold of what Jesus could do for her and held fast.

In this moment, her faith was steady; it was sure; it was strong.

Taste the Grass on the Summit (Ether 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 13 May 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 291

Taste the Grass on the Summit (Ether 4)

In the previous chapter, the Lord recognized the great faith of the brother of Jared by allowing him to view the body that He would inhabit as Christ on the earth. The Lord also showed him things that would happen through the end of the world. Ether 3 ends with the Lord commanding the brother of Jared to write down what he saw, such that this record could be shared with future generations.

In Ether 4, the Lord instructs Moroni in how to handle the record of the brother of Jared. He is told to "seal up" the writings such that "they shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord" (verse 6).

On the one hand, the call to repentance is typically directed at those who have not yet given their lives to the Lord, even as it is at the end of this chapter — "repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name" (verse 18).

On the other hand, even servants of God can be prone to sinful actions or attitudes that require repentance. Lest we're quick to say, "Not me — I'm not doing anything wrong," remember that pride, envy, lack of forgiveness, and lack of love toward others all qualify as behaviors that should not exist in a servant of God.

It's About Time

Written by Sister KarenJo Pandone on Tuesday, 12 May 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 329

It's About Time

It’s March 5, 2020, and I just read Sister Dianne Maddox’s blog titled “Redeem the Time.” As I read her blog, I began to take inventory of my own life and if I'm making the most of it.

We all have bucket lists, whether we want to admit it or not — traveling, achieving a goal, learning a specific skill, etc.

Recently, I lost a very dear friend of mine, which has impacted my goals. She was just a year older than me, always healthy, busy in the background working for our branch, and a major support to her family. One evening, she ended up in the ER, and three weeks later to the day, entered Paradise.

That was a wakeup call for me. Suddenly those things on my bucket list are not so important. Oh, I still want to take that Alaskan cruise, but I’m now realizing my mortality.

Right Job, Right Time

Written by Sister Tina Rich on Monday, 11 May 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 272

Right Job, Right Time

Today's Miracle Monday is from Sister Tina Rich from the Atlanta Branch. She responds to our request for testimonies about how God provided jobs in times of need.

In July 2018, I resigned from my job to re-establish our home after a house fire took everything. It had taken a year to rebuild, and toward the end, it proved too difficult to work five days a week and to try to meet with contractors, sub-contractors, and furniture delivery people on a regular basis to get the house finished.

I took time off to not only get my house back to normal but to strengthen my relationship with God. For a while, I had been bothered by the fact that I hadn’t been studying scripture as I should, that I wasn’t giving all that I could to God, and I wanted that to change.

Now that I didn’t have the distraction of work, it was an excellent opportunity, and I took advantage. I walked every day and listened to Brother Jerry Valenti’s Wednesday-night lessons on The Book of Mormon on YouTube. I spent a lot of time praying and thanking God for every blessing.

Spread the Good Word: Ephesians 5:8

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 08 May 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 317

Spread the Good Word: Ephesians 5:8

Good Word Friday Theme: Abiding in His Spirit

When I was a kid, I went to a science museum, and there was an exhibit on blindness where children crawled through a padded tunnel and experienced what it would be like to move about in total darkness. I eagerly entered the tunnel, took a few steps, got terrified, and had to turn back to the light.

Today's verse from Ephesians reminds us that we were once spiritually blind, feeling our way through life, never sure of exactly where to go or what to do. When we accepted Christ, the lights turned on. Now, we can see clearly. The good path is visible. The sinking sense of uncertainty isn't ever-present.

What Does Prayer Mean to Me?

Written by Sister Tayla Barbe on Thursday, 07 May 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 425

What Does Prayer Mean to Me?

There is always a textbook definition for everything, but prayer is something so special and personal that it can take on different meanings for different people. Today is the National Day of Prayer, and I got to thinking, what does prayer mean to me?

Prayer is something we do every day, and it’s so easy to slip into a pattern. I realized that a big reason why I'm praying is because it's what I'm supposed to do, not because I'm wanting to commune with God. I think we have all been at that point in our spiritual lives where there is just so much going on that we forget how meaningful and special prayer is.

Right now, there is so much fear and uncertainty going on. COVID-19 is something no one has really experienced before in our lifetime or could’ve prepared for. No one knows exactly what to do, and things are changing every day. I felt scared to lose my job, scared for the health and well-being of my family and friends. I knew I had to keep praying and reading my scriptures, but I was letting the things of the world and my fear overtake that.

I would talk to my friends and family about my fears, but I didn’t pray (talk) to God about it. Then, I felt so overwhelmed and scared that I knew I had to cry out to God because nothing else was helping me. I prayed about everything that was bothering me and for other people’s needs. I put my whole faith and heart into that prayer, and I felt better. My fears were still there and everything didn’t magically go back to normal, but I knew God would take care of everything. I thank God for that experience.

The Light of the World (Ether 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 06 May 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 320

The Light of the World (Ether 3)

In Ether 3, the brother of Jared continues to prepare the barges that the Jaredite people will use to cross the ocean. The barges are completely solid on all sides such that no light will be able to enter. The brother of Jared is concerned about the people being in darkness for the entire voyage. He comes up with a plan — he prepares sixteen stones (two for each barge) and asks the Lord to touch them:

"Touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea." (Ether 3:4)

To his amazement, the brother of Jared sees an actual finger appear, which touches each of the stones, and they light up! The Lord then explains to the brother of Jared that he was able to see the finger due to his great faith, stating that "never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast" (verse 9). In fact, the Lord then proceeds to show His entire body (as it would appear over 2,000 years later when He would come as Jesus Christ) to the brother of Jared at this time.

Lovest Thou Me More Than These?

Written by Brother Larry Watson on Tuesday, 05 May 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 301

Lovest Thou Me More Than These?

As many of you know, my wife and I were blessed to be able to join the group that traveled to Israel in February of this year. I have submitted an article on the trip to the Gospel News for publication in an upcoming issue; however, I wanted to share a brief highlight in this blog on more of a personal note.

During one of our bus stops, we gathered together in a beautiful garden overlooking the Sea of Galilee. There, on top of the Mount of Beatitudes, we listened intently as our tour guide read excerpts of the Sermon on the Mount. When they turned to me next, I felt humbled to be given the honor of leading the devotional from that sacred site. The Lord had already laid on my heart a message uniquely linked to the panorama that lay before us. It had, coincidentally, emerged from the convergence of two experiences, one of which related to the Holy Land and the other, Navajoland. Let me explain:

Storm's a-Comin'

Written by Sister Kenah Lobzun on Monday, 04 May 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 323

Storm's a-Comin'

Today's Miracle Monday happened just a few weeks ago on Easter Sunday. We hope you find encouragement from this testimony from Sister Kenah Lobzun.

Through the week, we were being warned about a bad storm coming on Resurrection Day. We had seen some wind and rain, but before we went to bed, nothing that seemed too bad. We then went to bed for the night. It was then that I had a dream about 3:30 a.m. on Resurrection Day.

I dreamed that Richard and I were lying in bed exactly as we fell asleep. I felt a heavy vacuum-type force. I felt that we had an incredible force pushing us down into the mattress in the exact position we fell asleep. I couldn't move. I also heard a type of vacuum force on the entire room and walls. The walls were doing a tight, controlled rattle. And then I woke up. It felt so absolutely real.

Spread the Good Word: Galatians 5:25

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 01 May 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 413

Spread the Good Word: Galatians 5:25

Good Word Friday Theme: Abiding in His Spirit

Today, we're bringing you a brand-new theme for Good Word Friday. For the month of May, we're focusing on scriptures that encourage us to abide in Christ and His Spirit.

We've all gone through times when we've felt disconnected from God, like He's in a galaxy far, far away, busy ruling the universe. And we are slogging through the details of our own lives, doing the best we can — on our own.

God doesn't want us feeling this way, like He's a big, giant mountain way off in the distance, and we are a tiny little flower at the bottom of a valley, barely peeking over the grass. The truth is, we should feel like we are part of the same entity — like a vine and its branches. God wants us to be close, to be connected to His Holy Spirit, drawing life and strength from it, moment to moment. Abiding in Him.

Canine Joy

Written by Sister Christina DiCenzo on Thursday, 30 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 506

Canine Joy

Today, we're bringing you a special devotional from guest writer Sister Christina DiCenzo.

I love to worship the Lord! I do it by singing songs to Him and sharing my days in communication with Him, at times, in my closet expressing my gratitude, love, and adoration for Him. This is when I feel His presence most.

One day, in worship, it came to me very clearly, "You bring Me joy." Wow. I can bring the Lord joy? As days passed, I pondered and prayed, "Lord, how exactly do I bring you joy? Show me, what exactly do you mean by that?"

One day I was feeding my very particular dog, Buddy. I have to hand feed him when he tries a new food. The Lord showed me how sweet he was at patiently waiting, as I would tear off a bite-size piece of soft dog food and feed him. It seemed to be in slow motion. I took it in. Buddy kept looking at me and then the food, but he waited patiently till I felt ready to give it to him.

The longer he patiently waited, his sweet eyes looking at me, then at the food, expecting me to feed him ...the more he brought me joy.

Seeking, Receiving, and Following God's Direction (Ether 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 29 April 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 331

Seeking, Receiving, and Following God's Direction (Ether 2)

In the previous chapter, the Lord had told the brother of Jared that He would lead his group of Jaredite people away from the Tower of Babel to "a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth…And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me" (Ether 1:42-43). So, because the brother of Jared was diligent in calling upon the Lord for direction, God said He would provide that direction for the Jaredites.

In Ether 2, the journey begins. The brother of Jared prays for direction and the Lord speaks to him from a cloud, "command[ing] them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had men been" (verse 5). They cross some bodies of water on barges, "being directed continually by the hand of the Lord" (verse 6). Finally, they arrive at the ocean.

At this point, things get off track somewhat. The people set up tents on the ocean shore — and they remain there for the next four years! What happened to the journey? Perhaps the people are enjoying the beachfront property so much that they can't bring themselves to move on. Perhaps they're uncomfortable moving out of their comfort zone into an unknown area.

The Lady Who Felt Sorry for Me on Thanksgiving

Written by Brother P. on Tuesday, 28 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 350

The Lady Who Felt Sorry for Me on Thanksgiving

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

A big part of my job is helping people in a nursing home to walk, but sometimes I learn lessons that could have been preached from the pulpit at church.

I went to work this last Thanksgiving morning, and a little lady that I walk with told me that she was very sorry that I had to come into work on Thanksgiving, and unless I am remembering it wrong, I believe I saw her eyes water a little.

Let me first tell you about my great sacrifice. I went into work to walk with a few people for a few hours on the morning of Thanksgiving. Afterward, I had Thanksgiving dinner with my family — and my family puts on a Thanksgiving that would out-Thanksgiving most others. Lots of food, lots of family, sometimes even games and some time to talk about our blessings.

In God We Trust

Written by Sister Cheryl Cervone on Monday, 27 April 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 281

In God We Trust

Today's Miracle Monday comes to us courtesy of Sister Cheryl Cervone from the Simi Valley Branch, California.

In a recent online church service from the Irvine Branch, Brother Jim Cotellesse and Brother Steve Kerby spoke of how our Lord works with us and through us in such a profoundly personal way. He is ever listening, always tuned in, and often responds in surprising ways, which I think of as “Godwinks” (can’t take credit for that one!).

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 23:3

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 24 April 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 344

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 23:3

Good Word Friday Theme: Refreshment and new life

There's a reason why Christians keep on memorizing the six verses of Psalm 23 generation after generation. What a refreshing and peace-giving passage!

The third verse says that God restores the soul. If you feel like your spiritual life is off track and in need of some rejuvenation, then think about this for a moment. God can restore it to full strength.

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