Devotional

Hard to Build, Easy to Destroy

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 22 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 432

Hard to Build, Easy to Destroy

I'm in my backyard with my two sons, who are 3 and 5 years old, and I decide that I'm going to be Creative Mom. I gather pine needles, sticks, rocks, pinecones, and a few tree leaves that have already turned bright yellow. The boys and I kneel on the paving stones in our backyard. We pick a circular paver, and I begin to make a face with the found objects. Rocks for eyes. Pinecone hair. Twig nose. Those yellow leaves? A handsome bowtie. The boys help a little, but they mostly watch as I assemble the face.

When we're done, my oldest (big smile on his face) enthusiastically asks, "Can we mess it up?"

"Sure," I say, a little deflated.

It took maybe two minutes to make our little portrait, but in two seconds my boys' feet have scattered the needles, rocks, and cones to the four corners of the yard.

It's so much easier to destroy than to build.

That Is a Very Bad Man

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 15 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 362

That Is a Very Bad Man

As a young child growing up, my parents always taught my sisters and me to be aware of our surroundings. I remember our mom talking to us about discernment, and knowing when God was alerting us to situations that weren’t good. That always stuck with me. And now, as a mother myself, I have taught our children the same thing.

I want to share a story with you.

About 15 years ago, I was out shopping with my sister, Sister Lisa Meador. My oldest son was a little over 2 years old at the time, and my middle son was just a baby. We split up in the store, and I had my oldest in the shopping cart with me, and Lisa had my little one with her.

God of the Universe

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Thursday, 10 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 362

God of the Universe

My boss is a good guy, but sometimes it would seem I get lost in the details of his work. He often forgets what he has asked me to do and obligates me for conflicting tasks without telling me. When we have a meeting scheduled, he frequently gets called elsewhere and has to cancel at the last minute. And when I reach out with a need, he’s typically too preoccupied to get back to me directly, so he sends someone else to take care of it.

With all that my boss has going on, it’s completely understandable that I sometimes get lost in the shuffle. He’s running a growing business and wears a lot of hats, and frankly my role isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of the company. He's got bigger things to worry about.

There’s Just Something About That Name

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 03 September 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 3725

There’s Just Something About That Name

I’d like to start this blog with a simple request: Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And, whether you choose to do this audibly or silently, please sing the simple melody of “There’s Just Something About That Name.” Be sure to focus on each word and let them sink in (I know you know them). But, just in case your memory has slipped, here are the lyrics:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … there’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus … like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name.

If you’re like me, you either have tears in your eyes (or rolling down your cheeks), a smile on your face, and peace in your heart from that simple act (or all of the above). Not a bad way to start your day or pause in the middle of it, right?

God Is Making Us Brave

Written by Sister Christina DiCenzo on Thursday, 27 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 311

God Is Making Us Brave

Lately, in our Zoom meetings, our Lord has been speaking the message “Stand Tall.”

Not only are these the first two words of the Songs of Zion “In the Army of the True and Living God,” but throughout scripture there are times when the Lord asks His children to be brave in Him. Brave to stand on His promises even when we may be in situations that may be uncomfortable or out of the ordinary for us.

The world's views and voices are certainly being heard. Are our views being heard, or are the Lord's words and views being heard and seen in our lives? In my own personal walk with the Lord, by prayer for His help and guidance and by leaning into His Word and promises, I am made braver.

Do my knees still shake in certain situations when I am put to the test? Yes, they do! However, now I am quicker to go to the Lord in prayer, and I do not stop going to the Lord until I feel His peace.

In the Middle of It

Written by Brother Jared Scolaro on Tuesday, 25 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 1160

In the Middle of It

Have you ever felt like even after praying and praying about that tough situation in your life, you still see no sign of improvement? Like you’ve waited and waited, but it still feels like too much to bear? Where is God’s deliverance in these times?

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Psalm 34:17)

Many times, God moves His hand in an obvious and powerful way to deliver us from our circumstances. Other times, He sees fit to deliver us in our circumstances by renewing our strength, even when nothing around us seems to be getting better.

House or Home?

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Thursday, 20 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 552

House or Home?

I love home renovation shows. It’s fun to see an out-of-date house stripped to its studs and built back up with shiny new appliances, modern furniture, and fresh paint. I love to watch with my husband so we can take notes on designs and styles we would want to include in our future home.

There is a saying often used on these home improvement shows, and I’ve found it rings so true — a house is made of up of the four walls surrounding you, but a home is made up of the people and love found inside.

Scripture tells us that our body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we allow Jesus into our hearts, we are providing Him a dwelling place, a place to reside. Essentially, we are His house. Our hearts are the four walls (two ventricles?) in which Christ has chosen to live. Will it stay a house, or are we taking the time to make it a home?

Are Your Roots Tight?

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 223

Are Your Roots Tight?

"Do you miss living in Ohio?" I often get asked.

The first words that quickly slip off of my tongue are "I MISS gardening!"

"But Florida is beautiful, why can't you garden there?"

"It's not the same; everything I plant dies."

Not to brag — trying to keep in mind James 4:6 "God resisteth the proud" — my yard in Ohio won the City Beautification Award! When I think back on the missteps I made when it came to gardening after we moved to Florida, I hang my head in shame. It took me a year or two to realize that there was no need to yearn for Mother's Day to run to the nursery, prune my perennials, spread mulch, and more. And just in case you're wondering, "knee high by the Fourth of July" means nothing to Floridians.

I'm 140 words into this blog, and I still haven't gotten to the meat. So, why have I spent 140 words writing about gardening in Ohio versus gardening in Florida? Because I finally found success!

What's Your Spiritual Temperature?

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Thursday, 13 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 318

What's Your Spiritual Temperature?

"Ninety-seven," said the medical assistant, "You may enter the office."

I have heard these words quite often in the past few weeks. I am not permitted entry to certain establishments without first getting my temperature screened. Even my dog got his temperature scanned today when I took him for grooming.

In a few weeks, I will be scanning students' temperatures as they enter school as part of a daily safety protocol. My body temperature is usually on the low end. Yes, 97 is normal for me, but according to a recent virtual sermon called "What is Your Spiritual Temperature?", given by Apostle President Joel Gehly, 97 would be considered a low spiritual temperature.

Brother Joel encouraged us to have a high spiritual temperature for the Lord and even used the word "fever."

The 100 Hall

Written by Brother P. on Tuesday, 11 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 273

The 100 Hall

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

In the nursing home where I work, we have a hallway that is locked. The 100 hall is for people who are confused and may walk out of the building and get lost. There are four other halls where patients can come and go as they want.

A large portion of my job is to walk with people. I often take patients from the other (open) halls and walk them onto the 100 (locked) hall. The reason I do this is because I want the residents in the 100 hall to have more stimulation and different things to look at, and it often gives the person I am walking with a new perspective on their own health.

Rest for My Soul

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 04 August 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 356

Rest for My Soul

Today, I'm writing about the concept of "rest." Take a look at the scale of 1 to 10 below, and give yourself a rating.

scale 1

Now, how about this next scale? Where do you rate yourself on this one?

scale 2

Some of us spend the majority of our time feeling worn out (stressed, rushed, and tense), especially in these uncertain times.

But we all know what it feels like, naturally speaking, to get a great night's sleep and wake feeling refreshed and replenished. Many of us know what it's like to feel similarly revived in spirit, after attending church, or praying, or reading scripture. At those times, we feel replenished and ready for whatever is next.

We all need these episodes of rest (naturally and spiritually) but is it possible for you to find a state of ongoing "spiritual rest"? So, you're "at rest" all the time — not just when you take time out for the Lord. Hmm .... what?

The Peace of God

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Thursday, 30 July 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 955

The Peace of God

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Last Sunday, one of the elders in my branch opened our sermon with these verses. I felt the Lord was speaking to me, as these same exact verses had recently been laid upon my heart.

We can look around us, see things on social media and the news, and we know the scriptures are unfolding before us. The “human” in us can start to feel afraid, uneasy, and even anxious, as we hear and see things happening. But we know that God does not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is a liar and comes from the father of all lies.

Please, Rebuke Me

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Tuesday, 28 July 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 308

Please, Rebuke Me

Friend: Um, Michelle. Can I talk to you about something?

Me: Sure, what about?

Friend: Well, remember the conversation we had the other day?

Me: Yes.

Friend: Remember what you said about Sister Jane?

Me: Yeah.

Friend: I've been thinking about it ever since. And I realize now that you were gossiping about her. You told way more than I needed to know, and you worded things so that I'd think poorly of her. You implied that she brought all her hardships upon herself. Next time, I'd much rather pray for people together than gossip about them.

Me: You're right. I shouldn't have said those things. Thank you for pointing out my error and restoring me to the truth in a spirit of meekness, as described in Galatians 6:1. If I am wise, I will heed your rebuke. I know that it is an act of love on your part, so, please, keep confronting me with my sin. I need it.

Takeaways from the First Half of 2020

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Thursday, 23 July 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 324

Takeaways from the First Half of 2020

As I sit here and write this article, we’re coming up on the halfway mark through 2020 and also the three-month mark of our buildings being closed. Wow, what a year so far.

Pretty much every major function has been cancelled or postponed, from General Church and region conferences to GMBA Camp, to sporting events (both pro and recreational), to school proms and graduations. And if that were the worst of it, then I think we’d be OK with that, but there are many more issues that the world is facing right now. It’s been a crazy year to say the least … but, let’s look at just a few of the positives that have surfaced over the last six months instead of the negatives.

When all our gatherings were put on the shelf, God gave us something that would keep us going. Many of our branches jumped on the streaming bandwagon via multiple platforms. Rather than tuck away and sulk, we found ways, via the inspiration of God, to work the problem. Now, instead of having conference twice a year, in some cases, it’s like having it every week!

Big Windshield, Small Rearview Mirror

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Tuesday, 21 July 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 294

Big Windshield, Small Rearview Mirror

Memories—they can be both a blessing and a curse. There are the wonderful kind like walking down the aisle at your wedding … and the not-so-wonderful kind where you lost a job. Human nature is to think upon the good memories with a smile, but that doesn’t mean we completely forget the bad memories, either. They’re stuck in the depths of our brains—and, if you’re like me, they pop up from time to time when you least want them around.

It isn’t easy to let go of the former things or to stop considering things of old—they are a part of us, after all. But things can become dangerous when our past becomes larger than life, causing us to miss what is right in front of us.

Isaiah said, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old,” (Isaiah 43:18) to a group of exiled people who could only remember their past. God had a different plan for them, however. He encourages them and says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

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