Finding Joy in the Ordinary

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Thursday, 23 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 355

Finding Joy in the Ordinary

I think everyone would agree with me when I say we are living in extraordinary times. As I am writing this, we have been confined to our homes, unable to see family and friends, some of us not working. We have been pushed out of our routines.

Do you miss the ordinary? Work, dinner with friends, going to see a movie? Things like that sound so luxurious now.

Did they sound luxurious before this pandemic hit our world? Probably not. They are things we were used to, things we expected. They are the ordinary things we took for granted.

Keep Speaking the Same Language (Ether 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 22 April 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 313

Keep Speaking the Same Language (Ether 1)

In an earlier chapter (Mosiah 8), Mormon records that the people of Limhi had discovered 24 gold plates upon which was engraved a history of a group of people who traveled to America many years prior to the Nephites. After describing the translation of this history (in Mosiah 28), Mormon adds that "this account shall be written hereafter; for behold, it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account" (Mosiah 28:19).

The Book of Ether is the account referred to above. It is named for the man, Ether, who compiled the history on the 24 gold plates. Moroni is following the stated desire of his father in the verse above by adding this history to the otherwise completed Nephite record.

As you read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, don't be confused into thinking that this portion chronologically follows the Nephite history. This story begins more than 2,000 years before Christ and is about a totally different group of people — people who are referred to as the Jaredites.

Virtue or Virtual?

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 21 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 684

Virtue or Virtual?

During the past few weeks, the word "virtual" has taken on new meaning for me. I have been forced to provide virtual teaching for students, attend virtual meetings with colleagues, supervisors and parents, do professional development virtually, and the list goes on. I am sure that many of you have joined me in this virtual world, trying to do our jobs and accomplish daily routines in a different way. Things that take me a few seconds in person have taken me hours to develop online.

The face-to-face contact that virtual technology provides, when it is live, allows us to see each other’s facial expressions, body language, etc. Also, I am grateful that on a Sunday morning, through live streaming, my family and I have had the opportunity to gather around our television via computer and still hear the word.

These are the benefits of our virtual world, but here are some cons. I have to record lessons on video. For a few minutes, I speak to my students with excitement. Immediately, I can turn my excitement off with one button, “Stop.” In reality, or in person, there is no Stop or Pause, because I know from their expressions, body language, or immediate questions when they don’t grasp what I am teaching, and I reframe it and pull out all my tools until they understand.

My job is to teach students to read and comprehend. Interestingly enough, Merriam-Webster defines virtual as “being on or simulated on a computer or computer network.” Merriam-Webster also defines it as being “a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from direct evidence.”

Jesus Sees, Jesus Saves

Written by Sister Susan Genaro on Monday, 20 April 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 398

Jesus Sees, Jesus Saves

Today's Miracle Monday is a testimony of God's divine protection submitted to us by Sister Susan Genaro.

I was driving home from work one day and had glanced down for one brief moment only to then look up to find the car in front of me suddenly making a left turn into a driveway. 

In that brief moment, I cried out aloud, "Oh Lord, please help me!" because if I swerved to the left, I would encounter oncoming traffic, and I didn't think I could avoid hitting the car. The Lord physically steered and moved my car to the right side of the road and placed me out of danger. 

Spread the Good Word: Ephesians 4:24

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 17 April 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 428

Spread the Good Word: Ephesians 4:24

Good Word Friday Theme: Refreshment and new life

Today's passage in Ephesians instructs new Christians to leave their old, corrupt ways behind and pattern their lives (inner and outer) after God in righteousness and holiness. What does that mean for us?

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Thursday, 16 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 416

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

He's got the whole world in His hands.
He's got the itty bitty baby in His hands.
He's got a-you and me brother in His hands.
He's got a-you and me sister in His hands.

He's got the whole world in His hands!

I can’t think of a time when this happy little song has made more sense, because I can’t think of a time, at least in my lifetime, when the entire world has been so impacted by one thing. As this song states, He, being Jesus Christ, has the whole world in His hands. Not just you, not just me, not just The Church of Jesus Christ, but the whole world.

I’m sure by now you know I am referring to the coronavirus. The virus that has turned our lives upside down and inside out. A virus that has changed history and caused confusion, concern, anxiety, unrest, and so many other unpleasant emotions. Ironically, this ugly disease that has caused so much grief and pain in our world has also united our world.

I can be chatting with a customer service rep from any country in the world and say, “Stay safe and healthy,” and he or she will know exactly why I said it. Our often divided world is united in defeating this virus. We are all on the same side. “I don’t want the Coronavirus to be eliminated!” said no one ever, in any place or in any language.

God Is Still the Same (Mormon 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 April 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 358

God Is Still the Same (Mormon 9)

With the Nephite story essentially complete, Moroni addresses a few additional topics in Mormon 9 for the benefit of those who will eventually read the book. Among the topics covered is the concept of an unchanging God. His central statement is one that is similar to other parts of the scripture:

"God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing" (Mormon 9:9)

One area where people tend to think that God has changed is regarding miracles. While it's one thing to believe the stories in the scriptures, it's apparently too much of a leap to believe that God still performs miracles today. Has God gone out of the miracle business? Is He retired? Moroni stresses that if you think that God is not still a God of miracles, then "ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary" (verse 10).

I have been blessed in my lifetime to witness and even be used as a participant in several of God's miracles. Whenever it happens, it reinforces my feeling and thankfulness that God is still the same. Here's one example:

The Shadow We Cast

Written by Brother Richard Lowman on Tuesday, 14 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 366

The Shadow We Cast

I was recently reading in Acts 5:15-16: “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed every one.”

Wow — what faith! They wanted to be in Peter’s shadow. Prior to this in Acts 4, the Apostles were given the gift of The Holy Spirit. Then by the next chapter, everyone who was in need was healed!

It is said that in the Asian customs to this day the shadow has much power. For example, if a person of ill repute walks by in the street, people will make certain that the shadow doesn’t fall on them or their children. On the other hand, if a person of great influence or importance passes by, people want to be in the shadow.

Isolated but Closer Than Ever

Written by GospelBlog on Monday, 13 April 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 399

Isolated but Closer Than Ever

We hope that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday, brothers and sisters! Last week, we asked you to share any encouraging experiences that you've had regarding our current state of self-isolation and quarantine due to coronavirus. Here are the responses we received.

Submitted by Sister Josephine Jasmin

On Sat. April 4, 2020, in the middle of the night I was unable to sleep and was feeling very irritated because I wanted to be able to see my church service at 11 a.m. I began to pray for sleep and for the situation we were having with this coronavirus outbreak. I was praying that all this would be over very soon and that we could meet together soon. Then the Spirit gave me these words: “Follow the light, Follow the light, Follow the light.” I began to ask what this meant and it was given to me that Jesus is the Light. I then began to rest and was able to get a little more rest and sleep. God is good, all the time God is good!

Spread the Good Word: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 10 April 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 446

Spread the Good Word: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Good Word Friday Theme: Refreshment and new life

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked the person staring back at you? You know that person's every thought, every weakness, every careless word, every pre-planned sin. You stare into those tired eyes. They close, and you don't have the strength to open them again. You don't want to look at that person anymore.

Today's Good Word contains a promise for all of us. When we can't stand ourselves, when we're fed up with ourselves, when we're our own source of frustration and stumbling, we have this promise: Christ can make us new.

A Visitor’s Guide to Doubt

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 09 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 791

A Visitor’s Guide to Doubt

Recently I took a trip to a place called Doubt, famous for its confusion, insecurity, and total lack of confidence — a trip sponsored by The Man Downstairs. Reviews of Doubt range from “The literal worst” to “I’m never going back there again,” which explains its zero-star rating (not surprised). My hope is that you’ll never find yourself passing through. But just in case you do, here’s a little guide I put together to help you find your way out.

Things you should know when you arrive: There are no certainties. There is no past or current evidence that God is real, and there are definitely no answered prayers. There are, however, lots of folks repeating phrases like, “I just don’t know,” and, “No, that can’t be true,” and, “Are you sure you don’t want to overthink that until you’re blue in the face questioning everything you ever believed?” Very comforting. (Not.) You can’t make a decision without considering all the negative “what ifs.” And don’t even try to trust that things will work out because the second you do, you’ll think of 10 reasons it won’t.

Other things of note: Every road is broken. And they’re all named “The Right One” so you never actually know which to take. Also everyone else in Doubt is just as unsure as you, so don’t ask for directions. They’ll just steer you wrong.

Not Good to Be Alone (Mormon 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 April 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 497

Not Good to Be Alone (Mormon 8)

In chapter 8, Moroni picks up the narrative and reports that his father, Mormon, has been killed along with all of the other Nephite people. As a result, he makes the sad statement that "I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people" (verse 3).

At the beginning of the Bible, after God had created one person, "God said, It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). So He created a second person. Although we typically use this verse in reference to marriage, it can also be applied generally to observe that people were not created with the intention that they would be totally alone in life.

Moroni gives a little insight as to what it might be like to be totally alone in the world, as He states that His only purpose in life is to complete the writing of the Nephite record (for the benefit of future generations) and "whither I go it mattereth not" (verse 4) and "how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not" (verse 5). How sad to be that alone such that it doesn't matter where you go or how much longer you live.

Type and Shadow of Christ

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Tuesday, 07 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 431

Type and Shadow of Christ

As we approach Easter weekend and the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I think about His sacrifice. Without His crucifixion, the resurrection and our opportunity for eternal life would never have been possible. If we look to Him on that cross, giving His life for our sins, we want to know what we need to do moving forward. We can’t ever repay Him, but what meager thing can we do? All He asks is that we be obedient, repent with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and follow His commandments the rest of our days. If we do this, then we will have accepted that opportunity He made possible so many years ago on Calvary’s hill.

There was a type and shadow of Jesus on the cross many, many years before. In Numbers 21:1-9, we read that while still in the wilderness, God delivered up the Canaanites into the hands of the children of Israel. Not long after this, they began to murmur again. They complained against God and Moses, wondering why they were brought up out of Egypt where there was bread and water. Plus, they were tired of the manna God was giving them daily. So, God sent fiery serpents among them, and many of the people were bitten and died. This humbled the people, and they went to Moses, recognizing they had sinned and asked him to pray to God that the serpents would be taken away. Moses prayed, and God told him to make a replica of one of the serpents and set it on a pole. Anyone who was bitten would only need to look upon it to live. Moses obeyed, and when someone was bitten and looked, they lived.

Finding Christ Amid the Chaos

Written by GospelBlog on Monday, 06 April 2020. Posted in Miracles Hits 700

Finding Christ Amid the Chaos

Dear brothers, sisters, and friends,

Life has sure changed in the past month. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in quarantine and isolation to slow the spread of the disease and protect the most vulnerable. As a result, The Church has had to suspend all in-person meetings. Thankfully, though, we've been able to use technology to communicate with one another and even hold remote church services.

On Sunday, March 29, 2020, Brother Joel Gehly addressed the church via Livestream, and he shared a message of courage and trust in Almighty God. He also related several experiences to encourage us and confirm that God is speaking to His people in this time of widespread fear.

Here are the experiences he shared:

Spread the Good Word: 1 John 1:9

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 03 April 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 761

Spread the Good Word: 1 John 1:9

Good Word Friday Theme: Refreshment and new life

Happy April! This month, we're focusing on the theme of refreshment and newness.

Think back to the last time your arms were full — heavy grocery bags maybe? A child on each hip perhaps? A backpack laden with textbooks? Maybe it was when you were transferring that boiling pot of pasta to the colander in the sink.

Not all burdens are bad. But, sometimes we feel weighed down in spirit, and we're not sure why. Today's verse asks, could it be sin?

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