Devotional

Goodbye, Chocolate

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 19

Goodbye, Chocolate

Dear Chocolate,

As much as I love you, our relationship is not healthy for me. I am so weak when I am around you. Any boundaries that I've set quickly melt away. I make excuses as to why you're good for me. I tell myself that if I combine you with healthy nuts, then you're actually a healthy snack. I ignore the fact that you're filled with sugar and caffeine.

I often boast that I stopped drinking coffee, which I was also addicted to, when I realized the caffeine it contains isn't good for my body. I pretend not to notice that you also have caffeine. When others aren't looking, I sneak into the pantry and steal a handful of chocolate chips, M&M's or whatever else I can find that you are in.

Soon, my clothes become too snug. Then I am so sorry I had anything to do with you, and I promise myself that I won't allow myself near you anymore. But sure enough, I stumble across you, and my willpower quickly crumbles and your deliciousness clouds my mind. I satisfy my longing for the time being, but once again I'm awash with regret.

The Thankful (Dying) Man

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 19 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 266

The Thankful (Dying) Man

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

Occasionally at church you hear about the merits of being thankful. I had the opportunity to see gratitude in action at my work. I work at a nursing home, and my job is to help patients walk again. Recently, I got to see gratitude (and the lack thereof) in action.

I was trying to get a little 94-year-old lady to walk with me, and she was soooooo mad at me because she did not want to get out of bed. Once I finally did get her out of bed, she would only say mean things to me or would otherwise give me the silent treatment.

Dear Patience

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Tuesday, 17 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 143

Dear Patience

Dear Patience,

When you first showed up, I thought I could just ignore you. I don’t need Patience. This will soon pass. But, alas, the trial of my faith did not soon pass, and there you were, knocking on the door, offering your friendship. But I locked the deadbolt and closed the blinds.

No matter, I thought. I can logic this away. So I puzzled and twisted and turned over my options like a Rubik’s cube. But after what felt like an eternity of dead-ends, and with no stickers to peel off and rearrange, I threw it all down in frustration. All the while, there you were, extending your hand, never forcing it. But I would not have it.

Reflections on a Greasy Oven

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 12 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 336

Reflections on a Greasy Oven

I'm going to confess something to you today. I don't clean my oven nearly as often as I should.

There, I said it.

I keep a clean house — like the bathrooms and floors and normal stuff — but my oven gets neglected. A few weeks ago, after an unfortunate incident involving roasted sweet potatoes, I couldn't ignore my oven a day longer.

I didn't have any specialty cleaner on hand (no surprise) so I mixed up a baking soda paste and smeared it all over the inside of my oven and let it sit overnight. The oven racks got the paste treatment, plus a 12-hour soak in my bathtub.

I will tell you that when I got up close and personal to slather on that paste, I was ashamed of all the grimey, gunky buildup that I'd allowed to accumulate. It was way worse than I'd realized. How in the world did it get so bad?

And I will tell you another thing. The next day, when I wiped off that rancid baking soda paste, I was shocked by how easily the caked-on crud slid away to reveal my oven's smooth walls, good as new. Same with the racks. The crusty who-knows-what utterly surrendered to the soak, revealing the shiny metal sheen that was there all along underneath.

God Wins

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 10 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 172

God Wins

Between the pandemic and the election, 2020 has been a different kind of year. We have seen a lot of fear, uncertainty, and anxiousness all around us. You see it on social media and the news, you hear people talking about it — it seems like it's everywhere.

There’s one thing I know for sure.

God wins.

No matter what happens, we can rest assured in the promise that God has a plan. It's bigger than any of us can imagine, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. Things must come to pass, and we have nothing to fear. We know that He will give us peace when we are afraid, uncertain, or anxious.

No End in Sight

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Monday, 09 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 377

No End in Sight

I can only imagine how the Jaredites felt after 343 days on the open sea. Yes, they were just one day away from arriving at a promised land, which was choice above all others, but after 343 days of seeing only water in every direction, I’m sure they started to have doubts:

Are we any closer than when we started? Have we been going in circles?

What the Jaredites may not have realized was that even when they could see no change in their circumstances, God was always moving them forward:

And it came to pass that the Lord caused that there should be a furious wind… [and] the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters. (Ether 6:5-8)

During my recent job hunt, I felt a bit like the Jaredites. Despite spending as many as 20 hours each week submitting hundreds of resumes, reaching out to my network, and gleaning professional certifications, after six months, I could see no progress.

God Takes Care of the Birds

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 05 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 337

God Takes Care of the Birds

Some days I’m not all here. I mean, I’m here. But I’m not here-here.

Some days my mind plays this super-fun game where we travel ten, twenty years into the future and worry. That’s it. We just worry. About anything. And everything. Frantically.

“What if I never get promoted?”

“What if they don’t like me?”

“What if I have a panic attack three years from now at 6:04 p.m.?”

“What if I’m alone forever and become a crazy cat lady with, like, 17 cats who each have a middle name and their own room?” I don’t even like cats.

You can’t see me right now, but I’m rolling my eyes at myself. Because I know how it sounds — ridiculous, irrational, faithless. I know that. But when it’s inside my head, where the enemy can cross my spiritual wires and trip up my thoughts, oh, how convincing it is.

Writer’s Block

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 29 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 340

Writer’s Block

You may not believe this after having read my blogs over the years, but the truth is, sometimes I get writer’s block. Yep, even experienced writers who seem to find the words no matter what can’t always put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I often sit and stare at a blank screen wondering what I have to offer or where my next blog will come from.

Oh wait … I know where it will come from. Or better said, Who it will come from.

Since my participation in the Gospel Blog committee began in 2012, I’ve been blessed to receive text messages, emails, hugs and kind words for my writing. Each compliment and, “I needed that,” comment goes straight to my heart. I’m blessed that you are blessed—and I’m honored to use a talent that God gave me for my career for The Church.

What You Focus On

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 22 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 379

What You Focus On

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

I work in a nursing home, and much of my job consists of getting people out of bed and walking them around. One particular guy that I had to work with had post-polio syndrome, which affected his left arm and leg. He called himself "gimpy" because of the residual deficits he endured most of his life. And just before you start to feel bad for him, let me tell you, it gets much worse.

He reports that because of his gimpy-ness, he decided to cope with life by turning to drugs. (And let me just interject with an emphatic “Say NO to drugs! Don’t even start!”) The result of the drugs was a stroke that left his “good” right arm and right leg almost completely useless.

The chances of this guy ever walking again were quite slim, but he put Olympic-sized effort into walking again. After several months of working, buckets of sweat, many failures, and an unceasing, unwavering drive, he was able to traverse about 250 feet on a single walk.

A Time of Harvest

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Tuesday, 20 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 368

A Time of Harvest

When I was in high school, I became addicted to an online game called Farmville. Like many online games, Farmville is free to play, but for just a few dollars you can purchase special perks.

I always considered myself too wise to spend real money on a game that would arguably add no real value to my life. Instead, I spent hours each day carefully planting and harvesting virtual strawberries and eggplant, secretly applauding myself for outsmarting the game’s incessant marketing schemes.

See, in high school I had a tight income, so I kept a tight budget. I accounted for every dollar, setting aside funds for the things I valued, with not much left over. I realized that any purchase I made beyond what I had budgeted for would require sacrificing something else, and Farmville just didn’t make the cut.

But even with all of my careful budgeting, it never occurred to me that I was pouring something far more precious than money into my imaginary farm. Because even though my monetary income may have felt tight, I was, and still am, living on an even tighter “time income.”

Growing in Faith or Growing in Fear?

Written by Sister Christina DiCenzo on Thursday, 15 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 490

Growing in Faith or Growing in Fear?

Natural pain in our bodies is an indication or alarm to let us know that something is wrong. Something in our bodies is weak or wounded and needs attention.

Could fear be an indication that we may be spiritually weak or that something is wrong in our beliefs that needs attention? In other words, do we need God’s word of truth, just like we need medicine? To feed our minds and kill whatever brings us fear?

Fear is a powerful tool that Satan can use on any and all of us — and he does. Fear paralyzes, debilitates, and kills faith in an instant. It is a reaction.

“Do not be afraid,” appears in the Bible 70 times, and this does not include variants such as “fear not,” and “do not fear.”

A stronghold is defined as a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack. Are our minds fortified with God’s truth or Satan’s lies? If we often experience fear, could there be a lie that the enemy has planted in our minds that is causing it?

Seasons

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Tuesday, 06 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 279

Seasons

We’ve made it to fall. A new season. The leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting cooler, and pumpkin everything is in every store everywhere. I enjoy the end of summer solely because I love fall so much. I happily trade T-shirts and flip flops for hoodies and scarves.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every season was our favorite season? If I lived in a place where it was perpetually fall, I wouldn’t have to deal with the heat of summer or the bone-chilling cold of winter. I could be comfortable all the time. But I often wonder if I would enjoy fall as much as I do if it weren’t for the heat and cold of the other seasons. Would I take the perfect weather and comfortable clothes for granted because I don’t know any different?

Sanitizing

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Thursday, 01 October 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 249

Sanitizing

For the last six months, I have carefully wiped my groceries with sanitizing wipes before I bring them into the house. I am constantly wiping the steering wheel of my car, and don’t you dare enter my house with your shoes on! Thanks to my new addiction to hand sanitizer, my hands are dry and often smell like a bottle of bleach.

But, am I as careful with what goes into my head? Do I look at everything I consume in such great detail to see if there are germs — a.k.a. sin — attached to it? Am I allowing “germs” to invade my spiritual life? Are things sneaking in so quietly that I no longer notice them? I can’t see the germs on my groceries, but I can guarantee you that I do everything I can to keep them from going into my refrigerator or pantry.

Am I as conscientious about my spiritual life? Especially now, when so many of us yearn for the closeness of face-to-face church meetings, hugging our spiritual family, singing with one another praises to our Lord, am I doing what I can to keep my spirit clean and germ-free?

What Emojis Would Jesus Use?

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 29 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 564

What Emojis Would Jesus Use?

Think about how many times a day you may use an emoji as you virtually interact with others. My go-to emojis are smiley faces 😊, hearts 💗, thumbs up for OK 👍, and praying hands for sending prayers 🙏.

Scriptures record numerous examples where Jesus felt many of the same emotions we do, yet He did not sin. This proves that it is expected to feel emotions. It is the response to emotions that is precarious.

Let’s look at some examples in the scripture where Jesus felt emotions while in the flesh. Can you imagine which emojis Jesus would use to express his emotions in the following examples?

Don't Reach for the Rattlesnake

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 24 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 451

Don't Reach for the Rattlesnake

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

My daily occupation is to help nursing home patients walk. Once, we had this guy who was very confused. Whenever I was walking with him, he would point at any little speck of paper or anything on the floor, and he'd then ask me, “Do you see that rattlesnake?” Then he would say, “That is a rattlesnake.” Then he would reach for it, and I would have to hold on to his belt, or he would fall over while reaching for the snake.

Of course, you'd have to be a bit confused to see a speck of paper and think it is a rattlesnake, but I believe that you'd have to be a bit more confused to reach out for that snake!

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