Devotional

The White Bull

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 13 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 520

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.

Hot Dogs, Get Your Hot Dogs

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Tuesday, 11 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 391

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.

Emilio the Breakup Kitten

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 06 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 471

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.

Taking Frosty Forward: A Winter Musing

Written by Brother Ken Lombardo on Tuesday, 04 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 354

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. 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 31 December 2019. Posted in Holidays, Devotional Hits 612

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 902

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 1429

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 863

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 512

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 560

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 1219

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 1368

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 814

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 792

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 1053

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.

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