Israel 2020 – Lesson 2: Draw Israel to Christ

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Saturday, 22 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 642

Israel 2020 – Lesson 2: Draw Israel to Christ

Today, we're bringing you the second installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next month!

We were in northern Israel, perhaps less than 5 or 6 miles from the Lebanon border, and stopped at an area identified as Caesarea Philippi. This place is in the northern hill area of Israel and it has a water spring at the base of a cliff that is one of the three identified springs that begin the Jordan river. It was here at Caesarea Philippi that part of The Church mission statement resonated within me and I saw the work clearly.

The Mission Statement of The Church includes the wording, “to draw Israel to Christ” and “through an effort” focused on the Native Americans of North and South America. The meaning of the words is important to consider.  As we visited Caesarea Philippi, we were reminded of the interaction between Jesus and His disciples. The question was asked (Matthew 16), “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”  Peter replies to the question, and Jesus affirms that they (the disciples) had received of the Father both knowledge and faith. The disciples were “drawn” to Christ in faith, and they had witnessed the power of the Son of God.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 1: Thanksgiving

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 21 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 722

Israel 2020 – Lesson 1: Thanksgiving

Today, we're pressing pause on our regularly scheduled Good Word Friday to bring you the first installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next month!

A small group of brothers and sisters from The Church was invited to join a tour of Israel sponsored by the Gathering of Tribal Nations and the Alliance of Christian Women for Israel.  The Gathering of Tribal Nations (GTN) is an organization comprised primarily of Native American people who have a zeal for Jesus Christ and a loosely defined belief that, in some way, the indigenous people of the Americas have a bond with Israel and the Jews. The Alliance of Christian Women for Israel is a small collection of dedicated women who have a great love for the land of Israel and are committed to assisting the people of Israel.

The tour group consisted of eight Navajo and two Cree (Manitoba) indigenous individuals, twelve gentile pastors and friends of Ron and Tyda Harvey (GTN), plus the six of us from The Church. Included in the Navajo group was Mr. Jonathan Nez and his wife. Jonathan is the current president of the Navajo nation. Mr. David Harper, accompanied by his wife (Cree nation), was a Grand Chief of many tribes in Canada. The Gentile friends of Ron and Tyda Harvey were all charismatic Christian people who have a passion for Israel and the work of the Gathering of Tribal Nations.

The actual tour of the country included almost three days in the northern area of Israel around the Sea of Galilee, and the remainder of the time was spent in or around Jerusalem. The activities every day kept us very busy, and we were very blessed to see a large portion of the country. The tour guide who accompanied us was a very knowledgeable Jewish man who had an incredible ability to weave Jewish, Christian, and world history throughout the many areas we visited.

Growing in the Way

Written by Sister Cindy Henderson on Thursday, 20 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 373

Growing in the Way

As parents, we are accustomed to attending parent-teacher conferences and receiving feedback about our children’s performances in school. We converse about each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and possible next steps for growth in these time-measured appointments. Fortunately, we have never had to hear disappointing news. Today, after reading the Dec. 17, 2019 article, "More Than Just Playing Piano," I am reminded of the reason why this is so.

On different occasions when I’ve engaged in less formal conversations with colleagues at our children’s elementary school, I’ve heard the following comments: (Mind you, there have been a few less glowing ones.)

Something to Take Seriously (Mormon 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 19 February 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 389

Something to Take Seriously (Mormon 1)

We've met him already. His name appears on the cover of the book. He inserted a note (after the Book of Omni) to explain why he was choosing specific plates as input for the book. He commented briefly in 3 Nephi and 4 Nephi on what was happening in the part of the story he was relating at that time. He is, of course, Mormon, the Nephite historian who organized, abridged, and edited approximately 1,000 years of Nephite history such that it could be presented in a single book, which is entitled The Book of Mormon.

Part of the history that was published includes the events that occurred during Mormon's lifetime — in essence, Mormon's own personal story. This segment is also called The Book of Mormon. OK, maybe it's a little confusing to have The Book of Mormon in The Book of Mormon, but this happens to be the only book title that is actually mentioned in the text, so it was not really an option to call it anything else:

"And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call it the Book of Mormon." (Mormon 1:1)

Are You Content?

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 18 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 397

Are You Content?

Contentment (noun): A state of happiness and satisfaction.

Am I content in life? At my job? In my marriage? In my spiritual life? Do I find myself feeling happy and satisfied with how things are going?

Or, do I find myself feeling restless, lonely, and unhappy? Is there a void that needs to be filled?

God wants us to feel joy and happiness. All good things come from Him. We know that this life will also bring us sadness and grief, but joy comes in the morning. He will comfort the brokenhearted and those that mourn.

His promises are real. His love is real. When we start to feel those voids, or those feelings of uncertainty, I believe those are from the evil one. They are a red flag of what the source is, and we need to immediately turn to the source that can heal. God will give us the peace and comfort needed.

Paired for a Purpose

Written by Sister KarenJo Pandone on Monday, 17 February 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 724

Paired for a Purpose

Today's article answers the question, how did God direct you to your spouse? Here is Sister KarenJo Pandone's testimony.

The week before the 1991 GMBA Campout, I received a phone call from the brother who was in charge of seminars asking me if I could teach a seminar for one day at the upcoming camp. First of all, I’m not a teacher, and it's not something that comes very easy to me. Second, I was in charge of registration at the camp, and the last week is extremely busy, preparing the registration packets and getting last minute things done.

My first reaction, and also my first answer was, No! Several phone calls later, this brother persisted with his plea and said, “You won’t be alone. You’ll be teaching it with someone else. Brother Mike Pandone.”

I was raised in The Church by parents who felt motivated to attend as many church activities and conferences as possible; therefore, I knew quite a few people from numerous locations. But this was a name that wasn’t familiar to me at all. I know Pandones, but I’d never heard of this guy. Who is he? The brother went on to explain that he was from Youngstown, Ohio, and was the head deacon at this year’s camp. Eventually I broke down and said I’d help — but don’t expect too much.

Spread the Good Word: Romans 15:1

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 14 February 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 575

Spread the Good Word: Romans 15:1

Good Word Friday Theme: Charity

Today's verse highlights one important way we can extend charity (love) to others. Have you ever heard someone say, "When it's well with you, please remember me"?

We all experience mountains and valleys in life. When you're on top of the world, feeling spiritually strong, and life is smooth sailing, then ask yourself, "Has God granted me this mountaintop so that I can focus on helping others through their valleys?"

The White Bull

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 13 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 481

The White Bull

In my first year as a working writer, I learned about a thing called “The White Bull.”

It’s what Ernest Hemingway called the blank page staring back at you, waiting to be filled up. It comes with a side of pressure, fear, and uncertainty (fun!) and it’s something every writer understands. Because it’s intimidating, staring into the unknown. Whether you’re starting from scratch or continuing a story you’ve been working on, sometimes you’re just not sure what’s ahead.

I was reminded of The White Bull because, well, I faced it yet again as I sat down to write this blog. I won’t lie, inspiration was not striking. Topics were not coming to mind. Even after praying, I didn’t know what God wanted you to hear. And then it hit me. It was right there in front of me (quite literally, staring back). Suddenly He had me identifying all the White Bulls in my life — big, scary, empty unknowns — and reminding me how He’s conquered each one.

Things Can Change Quickly and Dramatically (4 Nephi)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 12 February 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 342

Things Can Change Quickly and Dramatically (4 Nephi)

On the plates of Mormon, there is one short book with the title of "The Book of Nephi who is the son of Nephi — one of the disciples of Jesus Christ." Imagine trying to reference any verses using that book name (or even remember it). In the 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon, the title of this short book is abbreviated to "The Book of Nephi," but it must have been somewhat confusing since there were three other books with the same abbreviation. So, in subsequent editions, a number was added to each Book of Nephi such that the book we're talking about is referred to as Fourth Nephi — it's not the fourth book written by a single man named Nephi but rather the fourth book that would have been abbreviated The Book of Nephi (in case you were wondering).

4 Nephi has the distinction of covering the largest time period of any of the 15 books that comprise The Book of Mormon — a total of 286 years. Even though this is a long period of time, it's still somewhat remarkable to see how dramatically the situation changes among the Nephite people between the beginning and the end of the single chapter that comprises this short book.

For the first half of the chapter, the Nephites — fresh off the visit of the resurrected Christ — live in a Zion-like condition for 166 years:

Hot Dogs, Get Your Hot Dogs

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Tuesday, 11 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 360

Hot Dogs, Get Your Hot Dogs

Several years ago, the Ft. Worth Branch started holding periodic hot dog outreaches on Saturday mornings. They’d hand out a free lunch, consisting of a hot dog, a single-serving bag of chips, and a bottle of water, to whoever wanted it.

The young people held signs up at the main intersection to attract people down the side street to the branch, and there was plenty of help cooking and serving. Some of the most important jobs were interacting with the guests. You don’t want to invite people to the church building and never talk to them.

So there were saints who primarily struck up conversations with those who came, listening to them, giving them a shoulder to cry on at times, and sharing a testimony of how God got them through a similar matter. The elders were there and did these things, as well as offering prayer and counseling to those who wanted it.

Built by God’s Design and Planning

Written by Sister Diana Stigleman-Houlihan on Monday, 10 February 2020. Posted in Testimonies Hits 405

Built by God’s Design and Planning

Today, we're bringing you two Miracle Monday testimonies that respond to this month's question, "How did God direct you to your spouse?"

From Sister Stefanie Arcuri

Dan and I met for the first time at GMBA Camp in 2005. I was 16, and he was 19. We long-distance dated between Pittsburgh and Phoenix, but it didn't work out for us that time.

We kept in touch over the years and reconnected at another GMBA Camp in 2013. At that camp, we decided to start reading a chapter a day of The Book of Mormon and then discuss what we read. Not only did that force us to talk on the phone every day, but it also brought us closer to God together.

After a few months of talking as friends, we decided to give dating another try. Unfortunately, the spark just wasn't there for us that time either!

I began to pray that God would make things work out for us because Dan and I both knew we loved each other. I prayed this prayer every day for a year — without anyone knowing — and had the chance to go to Arizona to visit Dan in January 2015.

Thankfully, God heard my prayers, and ever since then, we knew that He had a plan for us to be together.

Spread the Good Word: 1 Peter 4:8

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 07 February 2020. Posted in The Good Word Hits 433

Spread the Good Word: 1 Peter 4:8

It's the first Friday in February, and we're back to our regularly scheduled Good Words. This month's theme is charity.

What is charity?

Scripture tells us that the definition of charity is the pure love of Christ (Moroni 7:47). So, acts of love are acts of charity. Whether we're giving money to someone in need or fasting and praying on another's behalf, charity encompasses the broad, sweeping act of extending the love of God to one another.

Emilio the Breakup Kitten

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 06 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 436

Emilio the Breakup Kitten

I’d like to preface this blog post by saying that I believe God created animals — all animals — for a purpose. Whether it’s to provide sustenance, emotional support, or act as our mode of transportation or protectors, animals have assisted individuals both throughout Scripture and in our Church over the years.

With that said, I’d like to now tell the story of Emilio, my breakup kitten.

In the spring of 2012, I was dating a man who I believed was “the one.” We discussed marriage and he even attended church services with me as our relationship progressed.

And then one day, out of the blue, he broke up with me — which, consequently, broke my heart.

I became incredibly depressed, not understanding why this event took place. But God knew. And, I believe, He saw that I needed something cuddly and cute to help with the mending — something like a tiny kitten.

This Chapter Is Just Two Verses Long (3 Nephi 30)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 05 February 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 437

This Chapter Is Just Two Verses Long (3 Nephi 30)

If you routinely read this blog series each week, you know that I go chapter by chapter in the Book of Mormon, reading through the chapter and selecting a theme or topic to write about for that week. This week, as I open to the final chapter of 3 Nephi, I see somewhat of a challenge. This chapter is just two verses long!

In the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi had only 14 chapters. In a subsequent edition of the book, the text of chapters 1-13 was broken up differently such that it comprised 29 chapters. The final chapter however (all 12 lines of it) was brought over intact to be chapter 30 — and so we have a chapter that is just two verses long.

Now, I happen to appreciate when someone makes an effort to say something meaningful or important in as few words as possible (verbosity is not a gift in my humble opinion). There are, in fact, several occasions in the scriptures where concepts that carry very significant meaning are stated in just a few words — perhaps just a verse or two. Just for fun, going along with the title of this article, let's form a few two-verse "chapters" from the scriptures that say something meaningful.

Taking Frosty Forward: A Winter Musing

Written by Brother Ken Lombardo on Tuesday, 04 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 323

Taking Frosty Forward: A Winter Musing

It’s that time of year (here's where we'd insert the musical notes emoji) when all the winter songs that come out in November are suddenly dropped because Christmas is over. It always disturbed me when the secular radio stations that are so quick to give us “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come” in early November are so intent to revert back to their worldly mindset on Dec 26, while we all still have the holidays in our home decor and in our hearts. 

Some of the casualties of this “rush away from Christmas” (as I like to call it), are those sweet, winter songs whose lyrics have nothing to do with Christmas: take "Let it Snow," for instance. 

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful” is just as relevant — in fact probably more so — in February as it is in December. Especially for those of us who live where it snows. 

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