Devotional

No "-Ite" Zone

Written by Brother Doug Obradovich on Tuesday, 19 January 2021. Posted in Devotional Hits 46

No

Today's article appeared in the October 2020 issue of The Gospel News in the Word Up column.

"All mine are thine, and thine are mine." (John 17:10)

Spiritual unity is achievable. But when we venture into other facets of our lives, such agreement is challenging; maybe even impossible. In John 17, Jesus identifies us as His own ("mine") and further identifies us as God's also ("thine"). If we humbly accept being His and His Father's, why is it so difficult to be one another's?

Joseph's brothers fought him over sibling rivalry. Paul opposed Peter over favoritism (Jew vs. Gentile). Saul tormented David over petty jealousy. Today's unprecedented exposure makes harmony more problematic than ever before. Weekly headlines bring divisiveness framed by skin color, politics, ethnicity, gender, culture, age, economics, religion, and even healthcare. The Word continually warns not to succumb to such underminings:

Thankful

Written by Sister Carolynn O'Connor on Monday, 18 January 2021. Posted in Devotional Hits 103

Thankful

Today's article appeared in the November 2020 issue of The Gospel News as the cover story.

Now more than ever…" We have heard these words so often during 2020. It is typically followed by a statement about how we should feel or a suggested action that we should take during our current circumstances. One that we do not hear too often, yet could actually be the key to our thriving and not just surviving "in this challenging time" (another common statement), is "Now more than ever—we should be Thankful."

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Sometimes, it is a challenge! We have all been affected by this pandemic in different ways. For some, depending on the area you live in or even your age or circumstance, maybe your day-to-day life did not change much. For many, there have been concerns about jobs, trying to adjust to working from home, time on furlough, and the threat of losing their jobs altogether. Others had loved ones who were ill or died from the virus, elderly parents that were in assisted living facilities whom they could no longer visit, small children who needed to adjust to learning from home, older kids that were in college which caused concern, reduced income or ability to obtain the basic needs, other health concerns that went unaddressed—the list goes on and on.

Days of Tribulation

Written by Brother Mark Kovacic on Monday, 11 January 2021. Posted in Devotional Hits 267

Days of Tribulation

Today's article appeared in the September 2020 issue of The Gospel News in the Editorial Viewpoint column.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "These things I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

What a wonderful promise! What comfort! But let's go a little deeper into these words. The word tribulation comes from the Latin tribulo, to thrash, to beat; severe affliction; distresses of life; vexations.

Webster's 1828 version of the American English dictionary included a comment that references the Scripture. (That reference is not found in today's modern version of the dictionary.) Based on the number of occurrences of spiritual tribulations in the Scriptures, tribulations can come from two places: troubling conditions or persecutions.

In the last 150 years we have not had much persecution (when compared to the Saints in other ages), but we have been sorely troubled, especially with sicknesses and afflictions.

God Has a Place for You in His Plan

Written by Sister LuAnn Carson on Thursday, 07 January 2021. Posted in Devotional Hits 288

God Has a Place for You in His Plan

Today's article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of The Gospel News in the General Ladies Uplift Circle column.

I love puzzles of every kind. This picture shows a giant sudoku, a little more challenging than just a single-block Sudoku. You might think that the number you write in the square all the way up in the left top corner couldn't affect the furthest square down to the right. But it does. Each square matters. Each number has an impact on the entire grid.

So, what does all this matter to us? We are each an individual number, but we are able to affect not only those we touch daily but also the squares way up in the corner and the ones on the other side.

Of course, it may be easier to have an impact on the squares next to us, on those we encounter daily or weekly. That would include our coworkers, our brothers and sisters in Church, our family and friends. But can we impact those who live across the country, strangers, or those
missionaries in the field? Yes, we absolutely can!

With No Exception

Written by Sister Carolynn O'Connor on Monday, 04 January 2021. Posted in Devotional Hits 325

With No Exception

Today's article appeared in the April 2020 issue of The Gospel News. This January, we are going to feature many of the excellent articles published in The Gospel News over the course of the past year, and we hope you enjoy revisiting them or reading them for the first time.

Jesus died for all of us. Not one of us or some of us, He died for all of us. For the vilest sinner and the most righteous saint. He died for the strong and prominent, and the weakest among us. No one is more worthy of His love than you. No one is less worthy, either.

If we have worked every waking moment of our lives trying to prove our worthiness, it is no more or no less than those who are learning of His Mercy just moments before their passing.

Christ's Love is the great human equalizer.

My Child

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 29 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 140

My Child

Isn’t it wonderful to know that, no matter what, God shows up. It doesn’t matter when, how, or where it happens. It falls into place at the right time. His perfect timing, and not a minute too late. He shows up when He knows it's time.

We have people in our lives who we know we can depend on, as well as those who we know will either cancel on us or be late to things. That happens because we are only human. But, God ... He will never cancel or be late, and we can always depend on Him. He always shows up!

Just like friend who show up when we need them the most, God does the same thing. He’s there when we need Him. He's a man of His word!

I know we can all remember a time when God showed up for us. He has for me many, many times in my life. A few years ago, there was something important that I was really praying about. I was at a point when I just wanted God to tell me exactly what to do. Haven’t we all felt like that?

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Monday, 28 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 448

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I ate a lot of chicken soup in 2020. In fact, due to some whacky health complications, it’s the only meal I ate all year.

As you might imagine, a lot my recent prayers have gone something like this:

God, I’m so hungry for other foods. Surely, if You would just heal my body my hunger would be satisfied!

But the answer keeps coming back the same over and over again:

“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger.” 1

Admittedly, this is never the response I’m going for. The way I see it, my hunger could be instantly and permanently abated if only my circumstances would align.

The Weary World Rejoices

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 24 December 2020. Posted in Holidays, Devotional Hits 467

The Weary World Rejoices

“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

You know the song.

This year, the phrase "weary world" is vivid with meaning.

I think we're all feeling a little more weary than usual — weary from illness, from worry, from change, from decisions, from isolation. Take a look at everything that's happened this year, and you've got a living, breathing illustration of what a weary world is.

Let Your Faith Fill in the Gaps

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Tuesday, 22 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 530

Let Your Faith Fill in the Gaps

“We’re on the brink of an adventure, children, don’t spoil it with too many questions.”

Oh, it’s like Mary Poppins was speaking to my soul during her latest big-screen appearance.

“Don’t spoil it with too many questions.”

Too many questions.

That is my brain in three words.

I’ve always been a curious one. I had that typical childhood phase of asking “why?” after everything my parents said. But to this day, I still find myself “why-ing” and “how-ing” and “when-ing” till I’m blue in the face.

I just. Want. To know. Everything.

Some would argue that being too much of anything isn’t good for you. But can being too curious really be that bad?

For me, it depends. It’s good to be too curious about my industry, to get better at what I do. Or about different cultures so I can appreciate people who are different than me. Cool. Great. Harmless.

But being too curious about God’s plan, His will, or His doings, now that’s where I get into trouble.

Beating the Holiday Blues

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Thursday, 17 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 359

Beating the Holiday Blues

It’s the holiday season, 2020 edition. In previous years, maybe the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and company visiting felt overwhelming. While some of these tasks might still be part of this year’s equation, some others might feel overwhelmed by the idea of not having any of it.

No shopping because of increasing shutdown orders, and maybe not as much cooking and cleaning since there isn’t much company planning to visit. Maybe it just doesn’t feel like Christmas, or the season is starting to feel just like the rest of this crazy year has, and it's nothing special (like it used to be), and you just want to sit and cry it out.

We’ve all been at a breaking point (or close to it) at least once in our lives. Even before the pandemic, maybe our Christmas celebrations were more like the Griswolds' than the Waltons'.

What helps me to stay out of this trap is keeping close to the real meaning of the season. We all know that it’s not about presents, food, or trying to impress company with how clean or decorated our house is. It’s about one simple thing…LOVE.

Generation to Generation

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 15 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 572

Generation to Generation

When I look around our home, I’m blessed to see items that have been given to me from various family members. Plates, dressers, artwork, and holiday ornaments from my grandparents make me smile. I will never get rid of my mom’s pearl earrings, and we’ll figure out a way to take the fig tree growing in the backyard (from my dad) wherever we go. The list goes on and on.

Family heirlooms carry a lot of meaning — they remind us of the person who gave them to us, and the items are treasured for years to come. They encourage us to think back on the person fondly, and perhaps we’ll want to pass those items (or others) to our own children one day.

Faithful Patience

Written by Sister Erin Light on Thursday, 10 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 260

Faithful Patience

Let’s go on a journey to Bethlehem and take a lingering and awe-inspiring look at the Christmas story found in the Bible. This historical account of the birth of Jesus didn’t just start in Bethlehem or even in Nazareth ... but it began with an older couple who knew the fulfillment of a life well-lived for God.

The Bible describes Elizabeth and Zacharias in the loveliest of ways: “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6)

They lived in a small hill country town north of Jerusalem, close enough to the temple that Zacharias could officiate at certain times.

Elizabeth and Zacharias had been married many years and yet still had no babies. The heartache must have been wrenching for this priest and his wife, but the Bible records they continued to walk blamelessly in every aspect of their relationship with the Lord.

Window to the Soul Remains Unmasked

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 08 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 483

Window to the Soul Remains Unmasked

"Say puppies!" said the photographer. This is what I heard as I took my second grade class to get their pictures taken on picture day. However, he proceeded to say, "Smile, even though you are wearing a mask. Your eyes will show that you are smiling."

I understood why his cue was "Say puppies." At this simple phrase, the children's lips automatically move sideways, conveying a smile. I do agree that our eyes can indicate expressions of happiness or other emotions as well.

"The eyes are the window to the soul" is a common saying that dates back to the 1500s.

Where Is the Love?

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Tuesday, 01 December 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 359

Where Is the Love?

If you, like me, are a millennial (or have millennial children), you might remember the song "Where is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas. This song was written in 2003 in response to the terrorist attacks in 2001. I recently heard this song again and couldn’t help but relate it to the world we’re living in today. There are two lines specifically that really stuck out to me:

"Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity"

In Matthew 22, Christ narrowed down the Ten Commandments given to Moses to two great commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Goodbye, Chocolate

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 274

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.

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