Devotional

Getting Real Answers

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Thursday, 19 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 688

Getting Real Answers

“Mom, I can’t figure out this math problem!” lamented my daughter. It was a very advanced math problem, and due to my limited right-brain function, though I tried, I was not of much help. Then, I remembered the man at the phone store said, “You can ask SIRI anything!” as he handed me my new iPhone.

“Let’s ask SIRI,” I responded. My daughter excitedly said, “Hey, SIRI! Can you help me with my homework?” SIRI replied in a firm, somewhat sarcastic tone, “No, I cannot, and I do not sign permission slips either!”

Go Ahead and Indulge — Or Not

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 17 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 770

Go Ahead and Indulge — Or Not

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is self-indulgence.

Ice cream. A manicure. A morning on the fairway. Sleeping in. We each imagine something different when we hear the word "indulgence." In our society, "indulge" has a positive connotation. There are millions of voices beckoning us to it, enumerating the reasons why we deserve it, inflating its importance to such a degree that we consider it an unalienable right.

Self-indulgence is antithetical to self-denial, so does that make it unequivocally bad? Is it OK to indulge a little?

In the Garden

Written by Sister Enza Pusillo on Thursday, 12 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 656

In the Garden

Spring is here, and it opened with the celebration of Easter a few weeks ago. It's a time that I look forward to, filled with renewal and re-birth. As my mind focuses on the Lord and His sacrifice, my thoughts bring me to the time He spent in the Garden of Gethsemane. I remember a message from some years ago given by a visiting Elder at our branch one Wednesday evening just before Easter.

The brother spoke of Christ’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane and rehearsed all that the Lord suffered as He wrestled with what He was called to do. At one point, the brother said, “We are no different. We will all spend time in the Garden.”

I remember hearing those words, struck with the weight of what was said and what the words meant. It overwhelmed me.

A Positive “But”

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 10 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 640

A Positive “But”

BUT (conjunction)

  • Except for the fact
  • THAT – used after a negative
  • If not; unless
  • On the contrary

If you’re like me, you often infuse your daily speak with that sneaky three-letter word.

“I’d love to read the Scriptures tonight, but I need to finish my mountain of laundry first.”

“I should probably give Sister So-and-So a call after her surgery, but she probably will get calls from others and mine won’t matter.”

“I’ll get anointed for the pain in my back, but I’m sure ibuprofen will do the trick just as well.”

I Can Do All Things

Written by Sister Erin Light on Thursday, 05 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 673

I Can Do All Things

Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And I have to say, I believe it, but do I truly use the fullness of the meaning in my life?

I work at an assisted living center where all the residents have memory impairments. They are not going home, and they have lost a lot of their independence. They are no longer driving, preparing food, or taking care of their children. Many can't even remember my name day after day. And yet, every day I learn something new about life from these people whom I have grown to love.

Going Toward the Light

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Tuesday, 03 May 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 688

Going Toward the Light

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to meet with some leaders in Washington D.C. One individual we met was an older man from Ghana, someone with a lot of global power and ability in his job.

He told us that when he was a child he would walk to the airport for two hours every night.

“Why do you think I did that?” he asked.

We all looked around at each other, none of us wanting to say the wrong thing.

The Poverty of Pride

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Wednesday, 27 April 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 833

The Poverty of Pride

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is pride.

We all know that pride, in general, is bad. But after digging a little deeper in my quest, I'm convinced that pride is the sworn enemy of self-denial. When I'm puffy-proud, I'm not in any frame of mind to put myself second.

I realized that pride is a Pandora's box, so to speak. After studying up on this, I was shocked to learn how many other evils pride leads to. Here's just a sampling of what I found:

Being Submissive in a Willful World

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 07 April 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 802

Being Submissive in a Willful World

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is submission … again.

In case you haven't noticed, American culture isn't big on the whole concept of submission. We're more attracted to the rugged individualist — a Hemmingway-esque character who whistles Frank Sinatra's "My Way." We picture him seated atop a stallion, silhouetted against the setting sun. Alone. Self-sufficient. No strings attached.

Basically … I just want to do my own thing without anyone (including God) expecting anything from me or giving me grief for my choices.

What If I Wanted Different Things?

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 31 March 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 791

What If I Wanted Different Things?

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is submission. Here's what she found on the topic.

Recently, a sister told me that her goal for 2016 is to "want different things." At first, I was like, "Good for you." Then, I realized … wow. That's, like, the essence of submission — which is the essence of self-denial.

I mean, think about it. This person is basically saying, "I'm willing to do different things — and I have been doing them — but I want MORE than that. I want to WANT to do different things." In a nutshell, she's saying, "Lord, please change my heart."

When that thought actually hit me, it hit powerfully.

My Master's Voice

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 22 March 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 764

My Master's Voice

About four years ago, our family adopted a Yorkshire terrier mix named Stetson (pictured here) from a rescue center. In many ways he has completed our family with loyalty, unconditional love, and obedience. However, he tends to obey my voice. I have taken on the role of his master since I feed him, walk him, take him to the vet, etc.

One evening, I came down with the flu, the kind that knocks you off your feet. At night, I routinely let Stetson outside before he goes to sleep. Since I was ill, my daughter and husband took over. I heard my daughter trying to lure him inside, and then I heard my husband calling his name. To no avail.

All Things Are Somethings to Him

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 17 March 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 752

All Things Are Somethings to Him

It was a typical Sunday morning.

I put on my makeup and moved on to drying my hair. Round brush in hand, warm breeze on my face.
Then I looked in the mirror.

The top half of my head had turned a strange orange color and there was a funny smell in the room.

I was puzzled. Did the heat have a reaction with the thickening spray? Hmmm, weird.

Gain Through Loss

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 15 March 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 830

Gain Through Loss

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is the concept of "gain through loss."

I can't study a topic like self-denial without taking a good, long look at the rich young ruler (RYR). His story appears in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18.

The only three things we're told about this gentleman is that he's young, rich, and a ruler of some kind, which means he must have power. Being young, he probably still has his looks. Hot dog! This guy's got it all: wealth, status, and just maybe beauty.

Just Breathe

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 01 March 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 1644

Just Breathe

It’s March – the Easter month – the third of the year. January and February have come and gone, and perhaps so have your resolutions. Did you know that just 8 percent of those who make resolutions keep them? Have you found yourself in that small group?

When I decided to make a resolution this year (to take more photos!), I also decided to choose a word for 2016. This word would be the focus of my 366 days and something that I would try to put into practice in big ways and small. It would stay at the forefront of my mind and be my theme and mantra for the year.

Would You Rather Be Kind or Right?

Written by Sister Enza Pusillo on Tuesday, 16 February 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 1120

Would You Rather Be Kind or Right?

There is a saying that has become quite popular and it goes like this, “ Sometimes, it’s better to be kind than be right.” It seems reasonable and appropriate — what can be wrong with choosing kindness over being “right”?

But, something about it bothered me and I didn’t know why. I struggled a little every time I heard it, and then I finally understood.

What if being “kind” means sacrificing truth? What if "peace" comes because we no longer let light shine on darkness? What if "kindness" is really allowing a lie to stand instead of God’s truth?

Are we really being kind then?

Defining Denial

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 11 February 2016. Posted in Devotional Hits 1456

Defining Denial

This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30).

In wild excitement for a study abroad program in Florence, Italy, the summer of my freshman year of college, I read "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by Irving Stone. It's a biographical fiction about Michelangelo, and I remember the passages that describe his approach to sculpting. He'd look at a block of marble and think, "OK, the finished sculpture is in there somewhere. I just need to chisel away anything that is NOT my masterpiece."

It's kind of the same with definitions. When a word has a complex meaning, sometimes the first step in defining it is to describe what it's NOT. Self-denial certainly qualifies as complex, so I'm taking the "chisel away" approach.

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