Devotional

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 169

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 217

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.

Well-Watered

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 04 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 230

Well-Watered

I spend a lot of time having internal debates. I think about things a lot. Probably too much. In fact, I know I think too much because many nights it takes me far too long to fall asleep.

One of my biggest ongoing conundrums is whether I should speak up or stay silent, take action or stay still. Thoughts like, “Will it really make a difference if I share my opinion about such-and-such topic?” or “Will so-and-so’s behavior change because I spoke to them about it?” One moment I’m lying in bed feeling incredibly bold (“Yes! I will say something tomorrow!”) and the next the complete opposite (:: begins to hum “Let It Go” from Disney’s "Frozen").

When I think about what the Lord instructed us to do in these kinds of situations, I immediately turn to the Golden Rule. He said in everything to “do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).

Is The Church a Real Community?

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 02 July 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 193

Is The Church a Real Community?

Have you ever wondered why God set up the church? Why can't we just serve Him as individuals?

God set up the church for many reasons, and one of those was to connect each believer to a vibrant, functioning whole (the body of Christ as described in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12).

The church is supposed to be more than an efficiently running machine; it's designed to support and nurture each of its members, heart, mind, and soul.

But, what's the difference between the community of the church and those that we find at work or school, or even, say, Crossfit, or Facebook?

Do I Really Need That Stuff?

Written by Brother Richard Lowman on Thursday, 27 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 278

Do I Really Need That Stuff?

As I write this, I am on a flight with my wife, Sister Gina, and our 6-year-old twins, Joshua and Rebekah. We are headed to the Pacific-Southwest Joint Conference in Arizona. This trip holds many firsts for us:

  • This is my first spiritual conference.
  • This is Gina's and my first spiritual conference together as a family.
  • This is the first time the twins have ever flown in a plane, and this is the first vacation we have ever taken as a family by plane. (Don’t judge too harshly — the kids are only 6.)

A while back, I wrote an article titled “The Landfill of Life.” At this stage in Gina's and my life, we are realizing many other firsts. We just sold our home, which was 5,100 square feet with six bedrooms, and we now lease a three-bedroom 1,700-square-foot house. We've had to reduce the amount of “stuff” we have, as we had two options: 1. Get rid of what we don’t need right now, or 2. Store stuff we might need one day when we move again.

A Pap-Pap Moment With the Lord

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 25 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 426

A Pap-Pap Moment With the Lord

One Sunday morning in the Mesa Branch, Arizona, Brother Pete Giannetti ended his sermon by encouraging us to have a Pap-Pap moment with the Lord. To back this statement up, he described how he spent the prior evening with his precious, newest grandson, Baby Leo. Baby Leo was getting fussy when his mom tried to put him in his car seat to return home. Brother Pete asked his daughter to give him a moment with Baby Leo.

Brother Pete took Baby Leo into his arms and sang a lullaby to him. This began to calm the baby, and his eyes started to drift to sleep. He asked Mom if he could hold the baby just a little longer. Then, Mom fastened Baby Leo in his car seat, and wouldn't you know it, he was calm and slept the whole way home.

Brother Pete's suggestion to have a Pap-Pap moment with the Lord resonated with me.

You Exhausted?

Written by Sister Stefanie Callens on Thursday, 20 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 313

You Exhausted?

It has been a day for me already, and it’s only morning still.

I feel like everyone’s been demanding of me — my daughter, the dog, clients, friends... It’s very possible that I am feeling this way because my 11-month-old didn’t sleep well last night and I am exhausted. I’ve already had a couple cups of coffee, but it hasn’t helped to shake my fuzzy head.

While thinking about how drained I am, my thoughts went to Jesus. And, honestly, I don’t know why, but I’ve never considered this before. How did Jesus feel during his three-year ministry?

He had to be exhausted!

Stand on the Truth

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 18 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 251

Stand on the Truth

When I was baptized at 14 years old, my dad gave me my own Faith and Doctrine book. My dad was never much of a writer; in fact, he always wrote in all capital letters when he did. (Haha.) It was a little joke we shared.

When it was my and my sister’s birthdays, my mom would write in our cards, and my dad would sign his name. So, when he gave me the Faith and Doctrine book and wrote something in it to me, it really meant a lot. It means a lot now, especially since he passed away 12 years ago this month.

I have run my fingers over the words that he wrote over and over throughout the years. His inscription was so simple but very powerful.

The Lonely Generation

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 13 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 407

The Lonely Generation

Do you often feel lonely or isolated?

Even when you're surrounded by others?

It's possible that half of the people reading this article will respond, "Yes," according to a 2018 Cigna survey, which found that 46 percent of the 20k U.S. respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone.

The survey came to a few other conclusions:

Spared from the Cliff

Written by Sister Lori Kimmel on Monday, 10 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 250

Spared from the Cliff

Today's Miracle Monday comes to us from Sister Lori Kimmel, and it shows how our kids are in God's hands — even when they've grown into adults.

As I reflect on Miracle Monday, I can’t help but recall how God blessed me by sparing my son, Ryan.

In 2006, I told Ryan that I would take him anywhere he wanted to go after his high school graduation. He chose Israel because he wanted to touch base with those family roots. As we have family there, I agreed.

A College Conundrum: Advice for Grads

Written by Sister Zarella Scolaro on Thursday, 06 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 716

A College Conundrum: Advice for Grads

A longer version of today's article by Sister Zarella Scolaro was originally published in the Student Support Newsletter in September 2014.

It's summer! And if you're one of the graduating seniors of the class of 2019, then you're answering the inevitable questions, "So, where are you going to college?" or, "What are your post-graduation plans?" time and time again. It can be very hard when you, yourself, have yet to figure out "Where does God want me to be?"

When I was a high school senior, my struggle began when I got acceptance letters from the University of California, Irvine, which is about 15 minutes from the Irvine Branch of The Church and the University of California, Berkeley, which is roughly two hours from the nearest branch.

Date God

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Tuesday, 04 June 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 362

Date God

Every day for the past month, I’ve tried to write this blog. And every day I couldn’t do it. (Thanks for bearing with me, Sister Michelle.) See, a month ago I decided to write about a very personal topic, one that’s a little taboo for our blog. One that I knew God was telling me to write about but that I just couldn’t seem to approach. ‘Cause it meant I had be vulnerable, and honestly, I feared that you all would make fun of me. But then I remembered who I’m talking to. And suddenly it came pouring out.

Dating. It’s about dating.

Because right now, in this new late-twenties chapter of my life (I say reluctantly), dating is hard. Especially when you’re looking for the real deal. Especially in New York. Especially in 2019.

It Was Good

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 28 May 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 324

It Was Good

I don't know about you, but my human mind tends to overcomplicate things that often have no need for over-complication.

Here's one example: I spent a large amount of time planning our son Graham's first birthday party last year — eek, he will be 2 in June! — with the intent of making it a wonderful day for all those who attended, as well as for the birthday boy himself. I won't go into the details, but just know that the new mom in me wanted it to be as close to perfect as I could get it — and I can share that it was a memorable day for our family.

As quickly as the high arrived during the celebration, a few hours later when I was cleaning up, the low sank in. I am embarrassed to admit these were some of the thoughts that went through my mind: "I wonder if everyone had a nice time. Was it fun enough? Maybe I should have had more food options? Perhaps we needed more seating so nobody had to stand? What if someone didn't like the elephant theme?"

Monday

Written by Sister Ruth Gehly on Thursday, 23 May 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 326

Monday

Sometimes on Monday I can feel a little weary and unfocused. I should be revved up and ready to go, but my heart and mind don’t want to leave the weekend: worship; fellowship; time with family; opportunity for catch-up, rest, and relaxation. Monday comes and it’s back to the races: work, schedules, appointments, deadlines, agendas. Sometimes it’s just plain hard for me to shift gears to re-engage in what my weekdays bring.

For Peter and the disciples, Monday found them hiding behind closed doors, afraid of the political unrest that followed the crucifixion of their beloved Master and friend. For three years, He had walked with them, teaching them, challenging them, encouraging them, and loving them. Then, suddenly and brutally, it was over. The reality of his absence was shocking and numbing; betrayal and denial were hurtful and cause for deep and humbling introspection. How were they supposed to move forward?

He Knows

Written by Sister Mallory Batson on Tuesday, 21 May 2019. Posted in Devotional Hits 290

He Knows

Omniscient. All-knowing. All-seeing. Sometimes I think it would be nice if I could use those words to describe myself. There have been countless times that I’ve thought, “Man, I wish I had all the answers.” Have you ever wished that?

Where should I go to school? Who am I going to marry? Will I ever find a job? Is moving the best decision for my family? What treatment plan will work best for me?

It would be so convenient to ask these questions and immediately know the answer. I could glide right through life without a care in the world. I would always know the right thing to do, the right path to take. There would be no need for second-guessing, no need for pondering, no pros-and-cons lists, no sleepless nights.

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