Devotional

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 31 December 2019. Posted in Holidays, Devotional Hits 440

Happy New Year’s Eve!

September 28 is my New Year’s Eve. My life was changed on September 29, 1974 when I chose to follow Jesus and be baptized. If you’re under the age of 30, that seems like a lifetime ago; it’s the “olden days” to you. When my kids were young, they asked me if everything was black and white when I was growing up. Like color hadn’t been invented yet! I laughed and said, “Of course not.” But were more things black and white in 1974? Possibly, but that’s a completely different subject… let’s get back on track.

So, happy New Year’s Day to me every September 29! When is your New Year’s Day? Is it just another day that rolls by, or do you stop and think about the commitment you made the day you gave your life to Christ? I was speaking with one sister, and she couldn’t remember the date she was baptized. I was kind, so I didn’t say anything, but I wanted to say, “Do you forget your natural birthday?” (For those of you who know me, that took great restraint because I tend to be sarcastic.)

More Happy Than Sad

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Thursday, 26 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 566

More Happy Than Sad

“I am okay. I have more happy than I do sad.”
– Anonymous 6-year-old

Sometimes I think kids have a better understanding of life than we do as adults. As we get older, we let life experiences and other’s opinions get in the way, but the truth is, we should always have more happy than sad. We’re blessed with the understanding that our God has offered us eternal life. What could make us happier?

We Are Builders

Written by Sister Ruth Gehly on Thursday, 19 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 1130

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.

More Than Just Playing Piano

Written by Sister Karen Jo Pandone on Tuesday, 17 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 521

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.

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 12 December 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 426

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:

Gratitude Is All in Your Perspective

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 445

Gratitude Is All in Your Perspective

Recently, two of my students, who happen to be biological sisters, taught me an important lesson about perspective and gratitude. I am going to refer to them as “A,” a second grader, and “E,” a fourth grader. They are both new students to our school and previously attended an inner-city school that lacks many things, but most importantly, quality instruction and safety.

As I began working with them, I sensed “E” was extremely paranoid of lockdowns. She asked me about them every day. I finally asked if she had lockdown drills at her previous school, or if they happened to be real, meaning an intruder was in the building. To my dismay, she said they were not drills, but they happened because there was an intruder.

Fill Your Mind

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Thursday, 31 October 2019. Posted in Holidays, Devotional Hits 838

Fill Your Mind

It's Halloween, and I’m filled with childhood memories of how much fun it was getting candy as a child. I couldn’t wait to get home and see what I wanted to eat first — ha ha! Now that I have three children of my own, it's even more fun seeing things through their eyes.

Halloween is about dressing up in fun, silly costumes and filling candy bags full of things that will cause a cavity or two. We walk with our children from house to house and let them fill their bags with goodies.

Halloween can also invite evil into our midst. Our children need to know not only right from wrong, but right from "almost right." We know they are filling their bags with candy, but what are they (and we) filling our minds with?

Zero Degrees of Separation

Written by Sister Erin Light on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 829

Zero Degrees of Separation

Today's article by Sister Erin Light discusses Romans 8:35-39, which famously asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

In this passage, the Apostle Paul is instructing the Roman believers about the glories of Christ, the prophecy about pending persecution and hardship, and exhorting them not to lose their faith. Most importantly, these wonderful five verses are a reaffirmation of why God's love is so profound; nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Let's think about this for a bit. Who could attempt to separate us from the love of Christ? This scripture is broken down into mainly three components:

Get Out of Bed

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 24 October 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 644

Get Out of Bed

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

You may have heard that my job consists of walking with people in a nursing home. However, before you can walk, you've got to get out of bed, and sometimes the old-timers do not want to get up.

Unfortunately, as we age, we decline at an ever-increasing rate, and too much bed can destroy our bodies. Often, the person has just had a surgery or some long hospital stay, and getting out of bed can hurt.

A Case for Civility

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 22 October 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 620

A Case for Civility

When I (finally) became a mother, I was surprised to learn that certain parenting topics were super-duper controversial. Here are just a few examples:

  • Breastmilk vs. formula
  • Cry it out or rock to sleep?
  • Stay at home vs. working parent
  • To spank or not to spank?
  • Vaccinations: Harmful or helpful?

When it comes to raising kids, there are thousands of little camps of opinion, and when we join one, we fiercely defend it. We view those in opposing camps with suspicion.

A Matter of Minimalism

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 15 October 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 672

A Matter of Minimalism

One of the latest trends in society today is minimalism. The idea is that you live with only the necessities and abandon all the rest. Whether it’s clearing the clutter because it doesn’t “spark joy” or moving to a tiny house, it seems there’s always room to pare down and take the “less is more” approach.

After nine months of prayers and interviews, God provided a new job for me at a small local advertising agency. Accepting this position will be a shift for our family budget (hello minimalism!), but it will also provide more time together as a family (a big win!). Adjusting to this focus-on-frugal lifestyle will be a true lesson in trusting His plan and timing, as well as reminding ourselves that He takes care of the birds and will certainly take care of us, too.

Do's and Don'ts of Visiting the Sick

Written by Sister Zarella Scolaro on Thursday, 03 October 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 750

Do's and Don'ts of Visiting the Sick

The original version of today's article was first published on January 26, 2017.

It's October, and we're on the cusp of the "season of giving." If you're a go-getter, you may already be thinking about some of the ways you'll give back during the holidays. 

One very important way to reach out (anytime of year) is to visit the sick and afflicted. Those who are homebound or bedridden may love to see a friendly face. Some ailments can't be seen, though, and you may find God prompting you to visit someone who is spiritually struggling, grieving, or lonely.

If the idea of visiting someone makes you a little uneasy or unsure, then here is some advice for you to consider.

Parenting Like God

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 26 September 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 629

Parenting Like God

Raising two small boys under age 5 has me going back to Hebrews 12:5-11 again and again. This passage is a spoonful of encouragement on those days that are especially brimful of "teaching moments" if you catch my drift.

Here's the gist of Hebrews 12:5-11. Don't "despise the chastening of the Lord." God disciplines those He loves. If we receive chastening at God's hand, then that's proof we are His children. We honor and respect our earthly parents, so we should likewise, and even more so, reverence our Heavenly Father.

The logic is lovely. God is the Perfect Parent. I want to be a good parent, so I try to copy Him. He disciplines and corrects His children. I must do the same. He disciplines out of love for His children. I should do it out of love, too.

Moving God's Hand

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Tuesday, 24 September 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 939

Moving God's Hand

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could move God’s hand? Control it in some small way? Imagine it was something we could ride and steer around, drive from where we are to where we want to be, clearing every little obstacle in our path. How awesome would that be? We could see and know for CERTAIN that He was working in our lives. Hmm, if only we had a hand in making His move.

Well here’s a little secret: we do.

And I think I know how we can make that happen. (No, not by building a giant mechanical hand or a human ladder to Heaven, though that would be suuuuuper epic.)

Wait, That's Not Lotion

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 27 August 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 1223

Wait, That's Not Lotion

For those of you that shop at big box stores, such as Sam’s Club or Costco, you may be able to identify with this true story.

On a recent shopping trip to Costco, I walked past a sample cart that had products such as hand lotion, age-fighting creams, etc. I usually don’t have a problem passing up the chicken tenders or the latest pasta samples, but this one stopped me in my tracks. After all, the last thing I want is dry, wrinkly skin.

Since there was no one manning the station, I pumped a small amount of what I thought was hand lotion into my hand. The bottle was labeled "trial," so I knew this would be OK. As I tried to rub the lotion into my hands, they became sticky, not smooth and silky like I had imagined.

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