More Than Just Playing Piano

Written by Sister Karen Jo Pandone on Tuesday, 17 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 345

More Than Just Playing Piano

Today's article by Sister KarenJo Pandone is a reflection on a previous article titled, "Thank You for the Music," published on Nov. 21, 2019.

As I read today’s blog, it immediately took me back to when my family lived in London, Ontario, and my father oversaw the Muncey Mission. I had been taking piano lessons for a couple years, and my current teacher was a Christian. Since we didn’t have a pianist at the mission, Dad asked if I could learn one hymn per week out of our "Saints' Hymnal." (Back then, I’m dating myself, we didn’t have "The Country & Western" or "The Songs of Zion" books.)

So began my pianist days in church. Every Sunday, Dad would add to "the list" of hymns that I was learning. “Wonderful Words of Life” was the very first hymn that I learned. I remember practicing diligently all week those hymns so I wouldn’t make a mistake on Sunday.

An Important Dream in My Life

Written by Brother Russell Cadman on Monday, 16 December 2019. Posted in Miracles Hits 292

An Important Dream in My Life

Today's Miracle Monday first appeared in the December 1946 issue of The Gospel News. It's an experience of Brother Russell Cadman.

When I was about fifteen years of age, I had a dream in which I saw my father reciting from the Bible, or telling the meaning of the things that it contained. My mother sat in a chair in front of my father with a Bible in her lap, checking his interpretation and finding that he was right. Also, there were two men, who appeared to me as angels who kept nodding their heads that my father was right.

Spread the Good Word: Job 9:10

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 13 December 2019. Posted in The Good Word Hits 446

Spread the Good Word: Job 9:10

Today, we bring you another Good Word on the theme of "Wonder," (as in "awe-inspiring" and "astonishing.")

Have you ever seen a magician perform what looks like an impossible trick? If you discover how the magician accomplished the illusion, then your sense of wonder diminishes, doesn't it?

Many older children experience a similar disappointment around this time of year when they learn that there's more myth than truth surrounding a certain bearded fellow and his flying reindeer.

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 12 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 361

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

It's Christmastime! It's here!

What is Christmas all about? If you're under the age of 12 or so, then Christmas is all about gifts. Gifts, for sure. Cookies might come in a close second.

I'm 100 percent joking, of course, but I do have a point. We put a lot of time and effort (and dollars) into gift-giving at this time of year, more than any other. So, let's talk gifts.

On both sides of my family, we buy gifts for just the kids. The adults may get a little stocking stuffer, or (oh, joy!) something knitted by me. But, to save money, time, and grief, we buy for kids only. (Unless you are my mom, who is immune to this rule.)

When a child receives the gift of a new toy, especially a special toy that they've been reeeeeeeally wanting, a toy that immediately captivates a little heart, there are several things that can happen next:

Used by God for Great Things (3 Nephi 23)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 December 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 354

Used by God for Great Things (3 Nephi 23)

In 3 Nephi 23, Jesus encourages the Nephites to pay special attention to the writings of Isaiah, such as the verses he related to them in the previous chapter. He goes as far as to say, "Great are the words of Isaiah" (verse 1), stating that these writings apply not only to the House of Israel but to the Gentiles as well.

It may seem unusual for Jesus to specifically recognize an individual prophet, but He's not saying that the man is great; He's saying that the words (which actually come from God) are great.

Isaiah was actually a humble man who referred to himself as "a man of unclean lips." God sent an angel with a live coal with which to touch the lips of Isaiah, cleansing him from his sins and preparing him to be used to speak the words of the Lord (see Isaiah 6:5-8). After that, Isaiah was used by God for great things, including bringing forth many prophecies of the coming of Christ and also prophecies of the coming of Zion.

Anna: Experiencing Jesus Firsthand

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 362

Anna: Experiencing Jesus Firsthand

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

Not a lot is said about Anna except that she is older, she loves God, and she spends all day and night at the temple. She is a prophetess from the tribe of Asher.

But more importantly, she literally experiences the presence of God. 

Mary and Joseph had come with Jesus, and she runs into them, recognizing Him for who He is. Can you imagine the sheer excitement she felt in that moment? That feeling of perfection and rejuvenation?

Desire to See Christ

Written by The Gospel News on Monday, 09 December 2019. Posted in Miracles Hits 308

Desire to See Christ

Today's Miracle Monday originally appeared in the December 1951 issue of The Gospel News. This experience happened during a Detroit Branch 1 Ladies' Circle class. Sister Mary Di Donato had the following vision:

On Monday night, we were having our Ladies' Circle meeting, and we were reading in the Bible about the resurrection of Christ, when Mary went to to the tomb and didn't find Him there.

I looked at the three sisters that were sitting at the head who are President, Vice President, and Teacher, and it seemed they all appeared to me as though their faces were all the same. Then I turned to all the other sisters, and they appeared, too, all as one face.

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 72:18

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 06 December 2019. Posted in The Good Word Hits 370

Spread the Good Word: Psalm 72:18

Today, we're introducing our final Good Word theme for 2019. This December, we're sharing scriptures related to "Wonder."

What is wonder? It's "a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable," as defined by Lexico.

The Christmas season is all about wonder, isn't it? Sparkling lights. Magnificent trees. Gorgeous food. Spellbinding stories. Charming carols. Warm traditions. They're all enchanting.

Standing on the Promises

Written by Sister Vicki Ali on Thursday, 05 December 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 377

Standing on the Promises

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Vicki Ali recollects how her definition of "cool" has changed since she was a teenager.

I didn’t dig deep into my earliest church memories, but I dialed back to my preteen years and came across a good one to share. At this age, church services could be highly entertaining to an immature brain. The sport of Church People Watching provided many moments of uncontrollable muffled laughter as friends and I witnessed things like a sister returning to the front pew during the service with a trail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. There were also poorly timed burps and other funny noises from old and young humans, and once a Sunday school Christmas program momentarily dissolved into melee when two kids got into a physical brawl front and center on stage. All of these — certainly America’s Funniest Home Video worthy moments.

However, the most amusing church memory I’ll share occurred when my family and I attended the Roscoe, Pennsylvania, location of The Church of Jesus Christ for several years. I dreaded the hour ride to get there, crammed in a car with my siblings and parents, which also included stopping to pick up my grandma and another elderly sister. Did I mention the last two passengers always wore very strong (often conflicting) floral perfumes? After escaping that misery, I was glad to settle into a pew with my new friend, Robyn. Robyn was four years older than me and super cool. She was kind enough to tolerate awkward me sitting there, as I admired her weekly lip gloss and nail polish choices, and we doodled in notebooks. So what significant event stands out from this pew memory?

Heritage of Servants of the Lord (3 Nephi 22)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 December 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 273

Heritage of Servants of the Lord (3 Nephi 22)

"Heritage" generally refers to practices or characteristics that are passed down through the years from one generation to the next.

For example, our family's recipe for making sauce for pasta (or gravy for macaroni, depending on who in the family you talk to) is part of our Italian heritage. For me personally, the lovely dark tan I get in the summer comes from that same heritage.

Speech mannerisms in different parts of the country — the way yinz or y'all pronounce certain words — are part of the heritage of those geographic areas. Historical landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, are part of the American heritage — these items are not owned by any individual but are collectively owned by the American people and are passed down from one generation to the next.

How My Decisions Discipled Me

Written by Brother P. on Tuesday, 03 December 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 273

How My Decisions Discipled Me

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Brother P. recollects how growing up in church influenced his adult decisions.

If you grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ like I did, then you probably have memories of playing under the pew as a kid — and having to sit next to mom if you got too loud. There are also memories of Sunday school lessons, sermons, baptisms, sacrament, feetwashing, campouts, picnics, MBA activities, and more.

One thing that I am particularly thankful for is not really one event, and I cannot actually remember a person telling me this, but I think it was more of a cultural thing that I absorbed.

This Is the Place for Me

Written by Sister Ozie B. Mathis on Monday, 02 December 2019. Posted in Testimonies Hits 305

This Is the Place for Me

Today, we're sharing a dream had by Sister Ozie B. Mathis, as recorded in the February 1954 issue of The Gospel News.

I am so happy, my heart is overflowed with joy to have such a great desire to serve my Saviour. Through a testimony of Sister Carlini, a dear friend of mine, and she gave that testimony to me. After she did, I tried to forget the wonderful news, but Jesus never leaves His children alone.

Spread the Good Word: Hebrews 4:16

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 29 November 2019. Posted in The Good Word Hits 426

Spread the Good Word: Hebrews 4:16

We're concluding this month's theme, "Boldness," with today's verse from Hebrews. It tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Two things are striking about this seemingly simple exhortation:

First, we're to approach God boldly, or with confidence. Do you remember the Old Testament temple? The Holiest of Holies was where God was supposed to meet with man. It was the innermost of several chambers, and the high priests were the only humans who could tread there, and even then, only by obeying God's instructions.

Thankful for the Greatest Generation

Written by Sister Erin Light on Thursday, 28 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 484

Thankful for the Greatest Generation

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories, and Sister Erin Light shines the spotlight on something that we can be very thankful for in our church — the fact that we benefit from having a wide span of ages interacting with and supporting one another.

One of the first questions out of my mouth as a child after Sunday service was not, surprisingly, “What’s for lunch?” It was, “Where are we going today?” That's because, more frequently than not, Sunday afternoon was the time when Mom and Dad would decide to go visit someone from the branch who was elderly or sick.

In the San Diego Branch, when I was little, we had a large group of seasoned saints who all lived within a half-hour of the church building. I remember sitting on their couches, always being offered a cookie or some juice, but the best memories were the stories. Soft-spoken sisters and brothers, with years of serving God and a huge pile of blessings, were just waiting to share. I remember trying to hold in my excitement at hearing their stories of prayers answered and miracles that got them through poverty, family trials, sickness, or layoffs. At the end of our visits, Mom and I would sit together and hold hands as Dad said a prayer for them.

City Building (3 Nephi 21)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 27 November 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 299

City Building (3 Nephi 21)

For about the past 30 years, there has been a genre of computer games known as "city building" games. These games allow the participants to build virtual (pretend) cities on their computer, designing the individual buildings, laying out the streets, etc. The grandfather of all city-building games was called "SimCity," which is considered rather basic today but paved the way (ha ha) for many other games to be created over the years.

The top-of-the-line city-building game available today is one known as "Cities: Skylines." If you invest enough time in this game, you can build a sprawling metropolis for which you will determine how to run power lines and water pipes, which businesses should be established, how taxes will be collected, what type of transit system to create, etc. By the time you're done, you will have put in enough effort to have built a real city.

In 3 Nephi 21, Jesus describes to the Nephites a city-building opportunity that will be presented to their descendants as well as others of the House of Israel:

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