We Are Builders

Written by Sister Ruth Gehly on Thursday, 19 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 1120

We Are Builders

Preface: In Erie we volunteer to share a scripture reading at the beginning of Sunday school. Continually inspired by my grandchildren, the Lord placed this devotional upon my heart during one of their recent weekend visits. Abigail and Simon joined me by reading some of the corresponding scriptures. It is my joy to share this with you. It is also my prayer that we are all inspired to be good builders of Christ’s kingdom on Earth. Merry Christmas!

At our house, we are builders. We build forts and tunnels and towers, Lego villages and princess castles, train tracks and car tracks and bridges and tunnels. We make things and sew things. We write books about the adventures of Bun-Bun, Dog-Dog, and Smelly Ely the Elephant. Most of all, we build memories.

Building is fun. We learn many things when we build. If the pillows we are using to build a fort are not supported by a chair, then they fall down. If the towers we build get too tall or misshapen, then they topple over. If Lego pieces are not tightly connected, then they are not stable and they fall apart. If we are not careful when we sew, then the needle can poke our finger.

Open the Windows of Heaven (3 Nephi 24)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 December 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 393

Open the Windows of Heaven (3 Nephi 24)

In 3 Nephi 24, Jesus shares some of the words of the prophet Malachi and instructs the Nephites to include them in their records. He begins with the contents of Malachi 3, which includes the following statement from God:

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (3 Nephi 24:10)

Perhaps you've heard part of the above quoted from time to time in prayers in which the Lord is asked to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we cannot contain. As you can see from reading the full text though, this verse offers the opportunity to open the windows of heaven specifically when tithes are brought into the storehouse of the Lord.

At first glance, it may sound like this verse is saying we have to buy our blessings — as if God is saying, "IF you give me money, THEN I'll open the windows of heaven to bless you." But that doesn't really make sense. After all, does God need money? Obviously not. (Who would He buy things from?) And, even if He did need money, He could just create it Himself (see Matthew 17:27).

More Than Just Playing Piano

Written by Sister Karen Jo Pandone on Tuesday, 17 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 513

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 351

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 498

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 419

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 420

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 421

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 377

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 417

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 453

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 331

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 343

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 357

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 579

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.

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