Spread the Good Word: Ezekiel 18:23

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 26 July 2019. Posted in The Good Word Hits 396

Spread the Good Word: Ezekiel 18:23

This month, we've chosen scriptures that illustrate the free will that God has given us as humans to either believe or not believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ.

Today's scripture is actually more full-bodied than what we've put in today's graphic. The full verse says, "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

Kleenex Lessons

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 25 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 384

Kleenex Lessons

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

I recently watched a guy get a Kleenex out of the box in the nursing home where I work. You ask; “How could you possibly learn a lesson from a guy wiping his nose?” Well, let me tell you.

This guy, let’s call him Frank, is relatively young and had a stroke some years back. This stroke left Frank without the use of his right arm, impaired use of his right leg, and made it difficult for him to talk.

God Is Not a Rubber Stamp (3 Nephi 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 24 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 772

God Is Not a Rubber Stamp (3 Nephi 3)

The use of a rubber stamp as a business tool dates back to the late 1800s. Such stamps had raised rubber letters that spelled out words and could be pressed onto an inkpad and then pressed on a piece of paper such that the words would then appear on the paper. One typical use would be to have a rubber stamp with the word "Approved," which could then be used to indicate approval of a written request.

The process was simple — stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, next request, stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, etc. Using this method, many requests could be quickly approved and sent on their way. As you can imagine, the ease of the process made it tempting to just approve a bunch of requests without even reading them — stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, next request, etc.

This must have happened fairly frequently since the process gave birth to an idiom that still exists today — a person is referred to as a "rubber stamp" if he is responsible for approving requests and just does so automatically without paying much attention to what is actually being requested.

Beware of Vampires

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Tuesday, 23 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 403

Beware of Vampires

And for today’s class, we’re going to learn about vampires.

Yes, vampires.

Not the suck-your-blood-on-Halloween kind.

We’re talkin’ the suck-your-spiritual-energy kind.

Let’s begin.

Recently I read a book on creativity called "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon (highly recommend). In one chapter, he references a fellow named Picasso. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Kleon says that some people thought Picasso was a vampire, as he was known for sucking the energy out of everyone he met. As his granddaughter, Marina Picasso, put it, “He squeezed them like a tube of oil paint.” He poked and he prodded till their stories came pouring out; then he stole them for inspiration. Friends and acquaintances agreed: after a hang with Picasso, they felt anxious, nervous, and depleted, while Picasso went back to his studio to paint all night with their energy. Just. Like. A vampire.

Leah: Chosen, Not Rejected

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 22 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 847

Leah: Chosen, Not Rejected

For the remainder of the month of July, we are going to pause Miracle Monday and continue with Sister Alena's series on women of the Bible. In August, we will resume our regularly scheduled Miracle Mondays, where we share testimonies and experiences from our readers.

Leah’s story has always been an interesting one to me. Here was a woman who built Israel and yet still felt unloved. I am reminded of a scene in a popular TV show where one character says that he must be the *only* rich and famous person to still be alone and missing something.

You can read Leah’s story in Genesis chapters 29 to 35, but essentially, she does everything she can to be the love of her husband Jacob’s life — and still she is not.

She is overlooked, reduced to a seemingly desperate wife. But she is so much more.

Faith of a Child

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Thursday, 18 July 2019. Posted in Testimonies Hits 859

Faith of a Child

"And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (Mark 10:13-15)

The above verses, though short, give us so much in terms of what Jesus was trying to teach when He was on Earth. The final remark says it all, that we must become as little children in order to enter into His kingdom. Basically, we need to love like them, rely upon our Heavenly Father like they rely on their parents, and have faith like them.

I have been made a very proud father as I have witnessed the faith my son has in the power of prayer. He’ll be 6 in mid-July, and he’s seen the power of God in his young life multiple times, and he is quick to ask me to pray with him or for him.

Selective Memory (3 Nephi 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 17 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 356

Selective Memory (3 Nephi 2)

It happens in our homes when someone is able to recall — perhaps in great detail — things that happened a year ago but can't remember that you asked him yesterday to take out the trash.

It happens in politics when people enthusiastically cheer their favorite politician's position on a certain issue, somehow forgetting that the same politician espoused the exact opposite view on that same issue just a few years ago.

It can even happen in our own recall of certain events in our lives, as we remember our own role in a much more favorable light than what actually occurred.

It's called "selective memory," which is defined as the ability to remember some facts while apparently forgetting others, especially those that are somehow inconvenient at the current time.

The Queen of Sheba: She Wanted to See for Herself

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Tuesday, 16 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 335

The Queen of Sheba: She Wanted to See for Herself

I've read the Queen of Sheba story many times, and I have read it through the eyes of Solomon — that this woman comes, and it's his duty to uphold the gift of wisdom that God had blessed him with.

But how different is this story if I read it through the eyes of a woman who was so intrigued and astounded by the gift of wisdom, by God’s hand, that she had to come and see it for herself?

Imagine this foreign, “pagan” queen hearing tales of this king who rose quickly and successfully, who had an incredibly prosperous kingdom. Imagine someone coming to her court to tell her of how Solomon had solved the dispute between the two mothers, and imagine this older, more experienced queen being completely floored by the wisdom that this young king had shown.

What Is a Woman of God?

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 15 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 1174

What Is a Woman of God?

Today, we're welcoming back a familiar voice to the Gospel Blog. Sister Alena Ricci is returning to share with us what she has learned by studying the women of the Bible. This is the first in a series of future posts that will each feature one female from Scripture. Today's article gives some personal background on why Sister Alena embarked on this scope of study, and tomorrow's article will be the first of her character profiles.

When I first started this project, I went in with the mindset of learning what a woman of God looks like. And, yes, I could just head over to Proverbs 31, but I have never done well by learning from a sort of hypothetical set of ideals (but more on this wise woman later). Instead, I wanted to see what every woman was like, their mistakes and their triumphs, their sins and the grace that they received from God.

It’s important to note that there are a lot of other women in Scripture that I could highlight, but the articles I’m sharing with you are about the women that I deeply connected with, the ones that I felt I gained something substantial by studying their stories, thoughts, feelings, faith, etc.

Spread the Good Word: Mosiah 26:18

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 19 July 2019. Posted in The Good Word Hits 251

Spread the Good Word: Mosiah 26:18

We're continuing our July theme of free will with this scripture from Mosiah. It says that the people who are willing to bear the name of Jesus are blessed.

The word "willing" stands out here, demonstrating that choice is part of the equation. You can't be willingly forced to serve God.

2 Nephi 31:13 and Mosiah 21:35 both describe how baptism is the external witness of the internal willingness of the heart. After baptism, we bear the name of the Lord (we are called by His name).

If you've already been baptized, then you've demonstrated that you're willing to serve God and bear the name of Christ. As you've pressed on in life, has God asked you to be willing to do other things — specific things — for Him?

It's Just the Beginning of Lively Hope

Written by GospelBlog on Friday, 12 July 2019. Posted in Church News Hits 388

It's Just the Beginning of Lively Hope

On the final day of camp, we started the day at the water’s edge! Four baptisms were performed. The four new converts are Jonas Bodo, Elizabeth Tenorio, Alexa D’Orazio, and Cristina Scolaro.

A Day in the Life at GMBA Camp 2019

Written by GospelBlog on Thursday, 11 July 2019. Posted in Church News Hits 419

A Day in the Life at GMBA Camp 2019

Wednesday at camp began with a chapel service addressed by Brother Doug Obradovich on the subject of “Who Was It?” The final day of seminars followed. The 56-64 age group had some special visitors from the 9-10-year-olds. The children held up cards that spelled out “Lively Hope” and shared something from each card that Jesus does to give us hope, beginning with the letter on the card. At the end of their presentation, the children each found one person in the regular class to give the card to.

GMBA Camp 2019 Continues

Written by GospelBlog on Wednesday, 10 July 2019. Posted in Church News Hits 378

GMBA Camp 2019 Continues

Tuesday at camp began with a peppy rendition of “Like a Child” performed by a group of young people pictured below. During the ensuing chapel service, Brother Joe DiBattista shared two easy-to-remember scripture references and stated that we can’t live abundantly (John 10:10) without the hope that comes from the resurrection of Christ (John 20:20). This was followed by the second day of “Lively Hope” seminars.

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The afternoon featured the annual Kids' Day, with face painting, a petting zoo and snow cones. The kids loved it!

Having Lively Hope

Written by GospelBlog on Tuesday, 09 July 2019. Posted in Church News Hits 348

Having Lively Hope

The first regular day of the GMBA Campout began with Brother Brandon Dulisse, this year’s seminar director, addressing the congregation regarding the camp theme.

After that, Brother Brandon introduced each of the seminar leaders. Every year, the seminar director is challenged with having to come up with a creative way to introduce the teachers. For this year, the teachers were introduced as sports All-Stars, with their heads superimposed on an actual sports figure. Some were quite humorous, especially the brothers who are “hair-challenged” who had hair added to their photos.

Today was the first day of regular seminars on the theme of “Lively Hope.” Everyone went to the class for their respective age groups to explore the theme. Some classes (as depicted below) put the chairs in a circle and used creative activities to reinforce the theme.

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The annual Market Day had several tables set up with items for sale to benefit Church branches and missions throughout the world. Many shoppers stopped by the tables, and one in particular sold out of its items within the first hour.

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Although the sky was foreboding, the rain held off so kids 'recreation could happen. We are appreciative of the adults who give of their time to help the kids have fun at camp.

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For the evening meeting, the GMBA officers and seminar leaders for the younger age groups (ages 13 to 23) met with that age group to minister to them directly. At the same time, the adults (ages 24 and up) enjoyed the preaching of Brother Paul Ciotti and Brother Tony Ricci, after which the Apostles brought the young adults up front for singing, testimony, and prayer requests.

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Following the evening meeting, the adults congregated for fellowship while the young children were treated to a pajama party with a movie. Good night, all — we’ll be ready for another day tomorrow.

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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

GMBA Camp 2019

Written by GospelBlog on Monday, 08 July 2019. Posted in Church News Hits 1234

GMBA Camp 2019

The 2019 GMBA Campout is underway! This year’s camp is back at the familiar location of California University in California, PA. It was a blessing walking on campus and being greeted by Cal U staff members who said they missed us last year and are so glad to be hosting us again!

The theme of the camp this year is “Lively Hope.” This is based on 1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

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In lieu of the regular Sunday morning meeting, the GMBA officers felt directed to hold a special chapel and seminar on the subject of “Unity.” Brother Tom D’Orazio, GMBA Vice-President, addressed the congregation during chapel and used The Church logo to show how we can be more unified. He pointed out that we need to put “us” above “i” as depicted below. This was a great visual of the message.

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Everyone then gathered by age group in their respective classrooms for the “Unity” seminar. The goal was to have everyone feeling unified as we go into the week’s topic of “Lively Hope.” Each set of instructors took a different approach to achieve unity among the members of their class. One example was a class in which everyone was asked to sit on the stage of the meeting room and then form an impromptu choir to sing hymns on subjects that unify us (Birth of Christ, Resurrection, Restoration, Zion, etc.). Having everyone sit close together and focus on these hymns helped promote unity among that group.

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Sunday evening was dedicated to the distribution of the Lord’s Supper. Brother Peter Scolaro addressed the congregation and then nine brothers distributed the bread and the wine to a large congregation. A wonderful spirit was felt by all.

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We look forward to the remainder of the week as we focus on the theme of “Lively Hope.”

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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