Devotional

The Shadow We Cast

Written by Brother Richard Lowman on Tuesday, 14 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 352

The Shadow We Cast

I was recently reading in Acts 5:15-16: “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed every one.”

Wow — what faith! They wanted to be in Peter’s shadow. Prior to this in Acts 4, the Apostles were given the gift of The Holy Spirit. Then by the next chapter, everyone who was in need was healed!

It is said that in the Asian customs to this day the shadow has much power. For example, if a person of ill repute walks by in the street, people will make certain that the shadow doesn’t fall on them or their children. On the other hand, if a person of great influence or importance passes by, people want to be in the shadow.

A Visitor’s Guide to Doubt

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 09 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 777

A Visitor’s Guide to Doubt

Recently I took a trip to a place called Doubt, famous for its confusion, insecurity, and total lack of confidence — a trip sponsored by The Man Downstairs. Reviews of Doubt range from “The literal worst” to “I’m never going back there again,” which explains its zero-star rating (not surprised). My hope is that you’ll never find yourself passing through. But just in case you do, here’s a little guide I put together to help you find your way out.

Things you should know when you arrive: There are no certainties. There is no past or current evidence that God is real, and there are definitely no answered prayers. There are, however, lots of folks repeating phrases like, “I just don’t know,” and, “No, that can’t be true,” and, “Are you sure you don’t want to overthink that until you’re blue in the face questioning everything you ever believed?” Very comforting. (Not.) You can’t make a decision without considering all the negative “what ifs.” And don’t even try to trust that things will work out because the second you do, you’ll think of 10 reasons it won’t.

Other things of note: Every road is broken. And they’re all named “The Right One” so you never actually know which to take. Also everyone else in Doubt is just as unsure as you, so don’t ask for directions. They’ll just steer you wrong.

Type and Shadow of Christ

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Tuesday, 07 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 409

Type and Shadow of Christ

As we approach Easter weekend and the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I think about His sacrifice. Without His crucifixion, the resurrection and our opportunity for eternal life would never have been possible. If we look to Him on that cross, giving His life for our sins, we want to know what we need to do moving forward. We can’t ever repay Him, but what meager thing can we do? All He asks is that we be obedient, repent with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and follow His commandments the rest of our days. If we do this, then we will have accepted that opportunity He made possible so many years ago on Calvary’s hill.

There was a type and shadow of Jesus on the cross many, many years before. In Numbers 21:1-9, we read that while still in the wilderness, God delivered up the Canaanites into the hands of the children of Israel. Not long after this, they began to murmur again. They complained against God and Moses, wondering why they were brought up out of Egypt where there was bread and water. Plus, they were tired of the manna God was giving them daily. So, God sent fiery serpents among them, and many of the people were bitten and died. This humbled the people, and they went to Moses, recognizing they had sinned and asked him to pray to God that the serpents would be taken away. Moses prayed, and God told him to make a replica of one of the serpents and set it on a pole. Anyone who was bitten would only need to look upon it to live. Moses obeyed, and when someone was bitten and looked, they lived.

Knowing Others, Knowing Him

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 02 April 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 472

Knowing Others, Knowing Him

Family and friends, brothers and sisters, coworkers, students in our classes … we like to think we know them well. Sometimes we finish each other’s sentences or even place their order in a restaurant — boasting that we are experts at what they like.

Here are a few examples:

  • I know, without a doubt, that if a restaurant is inspired by New Orleans cuisine, my husband will want to eat there.
  • If I’m looking for a birthday card and I find one with a butterfly on it, I know my mom will love it. The card could be blank inside and she’d still treasure what’s on the front.
  • Two words: Elvis Presley. If he’s on the radio, my dad’s sure to be in a good mood.
  • Passenger, steam engine, or subway … no matter what kind of train is in the book, my son will want to read it.

These little details have made their way into my memory — and help me to feel close to those closest to me. I have come to enjoy what they do and take pride in identifying what makes them happy. Po’ boys and king cake, monarchs, "Blue Suede Shoes," and Thomas the Train … I’m ready for any trivia you throw my way.

Focus on Him

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Thursday, 26 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 521

Focus on Him

When we feel afraid...focus on HIM.
When we feel uncertain...focus on HIM.
When we feel anxious...focus on HIM.
When life gets heavy...focus on HIM.
When Satan tries to whisper fear...focus on HIM.

With everything that’s going on right now, the human in us can start to feel afraid. But, we know that all things are in God's control. We know that we must stay prayerful and faithful and trust in Him always. No matter what.

A few years ago, I had a dream I want to share with you.

Sustaining Miracles

Written by Sister Vicki Ali on Thursday, 19 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 467

Sustaining Miracles

Recently, a morning devotional I read suggested Mark 6 for further reference. There you’ll find the familiar story of Jesus’ miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. After satisfying the crowd with this special meal, Jesus sent the people back home and His disciples out to sea while He went to a mountain to pray.

When evening came, the disciples’ ship was in the middle of the sea, and Jesus saw them “toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them; and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them walking upon the sea” (verse 48). When the Lord made it into the ship and the wind ceased, the disciples “were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”

The first word I thought might be a modern equivalent of “sore amazed” is "gobsmacked." "Gob" is slang for mouth, so being left gobsmacked is much stronger than ordinary surprise; it rises to the level of jaw dropping, being left utterly speechless or otherwise stopping someone dead in their tracks. Who wouldn’t feel sore amazed (or gobsmacked) at witnessing Jesus coming to their ship in that manner?

Someone's Gotta Go in the Cave First

Written by Sister Erin Light on Tuesday, 17 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 447

Someone's Gotta Go in the Cave First

On one of our family trips to Hawaii, we found ourselves driving around the island on our way to go snorkeling when we saw two people appearing suddenly, as if they came straight out of the ground. Always curious, Mom told Dad, "Pull over. Let's see what they're doing."

By the time we pulled over, the couple had gotten into their car and drove off. Curiosity still not satisfied, Mom walked around this barren field of lava rocks and stumbled upon the entrance to a lava tube! (A lava tube is a long, hollow opening where lava once flowed underground — like a volcanic eruption sprung a leak — and eventually cooled off and dissipated, leaving behind a long hollow cave.)

Mom motioned for us to come over and I feared she was off on an exploration. All I could do was start to worry, and very loudly too. "Mom, there are no signs here. I don't think we're supposed to go here. Mom, it's not even marked; we don't know if it's safe." She didn't even reply to my concern, totally unfazed and confident. She just started climbing down the rocks into the cave.

Letting Go of Control

Written by Sister Tayla Barbe on Thursday, 12 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 441

Letting Go of Control

I always thought I had some sort of control over most aspects of my life. I tried to think out every possibility and figure out a solution just to be sure I was completely prepared. I thought this was working for me, and I was happy living in my little bubble of control. I started to pray about doing more in my branch and church. I thought maybe I would teach a few Ladies' Circle and MBA classes. I didn’t want to do anything too wild because I needed to maintain control. Of course, that didn't go as planned.

It’s funny; when you start asking God to give you things to do, He automatically pushes you out of your comfort zone! About a month into me praying about doing more, I was asked to be the assistant camp director for Southwest Area MBA (SWAMBA) Campout for 2018. And that meant I would be the camp director for 2019. It was a huge responsibility, and I know how much this campout means to everyone. I’m not a very good public speaker and it was something that I thought wasn’t meant for me to do. I was beyond nervous, but I felt God’s Spirit, and I knew He wanted me to do this.

He Is Still Good

Written by Sister Mallory McNamara on Tuesday, 10 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 444

He Is Still Good

“…and if not, He is still good.”

This little phrase stopped me in my tracks — my selfish, wanting-it-my-way tracks.

This phrase is all about attitude.

It’s been proven that having a positive attitude can positively impact our lives. This is no different in our spiritual lives.

When we ask God for things, there is often a waiting period before we get our answer. Days. Months. Years. Decades. You can learn a lot about yourself in situations where you have to be patient. Where does your mind go?

Redeem the Time

Written by Sister Dianne Maddox on Thursday, 05 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 484

Redeem the Time

The date is December 21, 2019, and as I sit at my kitchen table early this morning, I read a message requesting prayer for Brother Paul Palmieri. I love Brother Paul’s testimony of being called into the Gospel. It’s short, simple, and succinct. He was at college, sitting in a chapel service, and he heard the voice of God say, “Redeem the time.” He knew it was his time to be baptized. I won’t go on, since it’s not my experience to tell, but he has shared it on enough occasions that those three words stuck with me. “Redeem the time.” We “sing of our Redeemer,” Jesus the great redeemer. Have you been redeemed? In churchese or church-speak, we hear the word "redeemed" often. But out of church, we may not hear it every day, (unless you’re a big Amazon shopper and you have points to redeem).

“Redeem the time” has had a different meaning for me this week. Remember, I said today is December 21, 2019? On December 27, 2019, I am scheduled to have life-altering surgery. I hope that by the time you’re reading this article, I will know if the surgery was successful. But let’s get back to the subject.

Be a Froot Loop

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Tuesday, 03 March 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 2624

Be a Froot Loop

The clever poster pictured here caught my eye one day as I walked with my students in the hallway of the school where I teach. As you can see, it is handmade. The student who designed the poster was working on a character formation project. There is a lot of wisdom in these few short words, and here is my take.

When my daughters were younger, I was “that” mom who really monitored their sugar intake. As long as I did the grocery shopping, our pantry was lined with Cheerios and other low-sugar cereals; you know, the "mom-tested brand.” Yes, that’s right. We consumed plain-old Cheerios, not even the Honey-Nut kind. Froot Loops were definitely a treat, and we always found them at a morning breakfast buffet in a hotel. To my daughters, they were the “hotel” cereal. At a hotel breakfast buffet, given a choice, they would certainly pass up the Cheerios and gravitate towards the Froot Loops.

Walking Blind

Written by Brother P. on Thursday, 27 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 391

Walking Blind

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

My job is walking people in a nursing home. I often have students with me, such as a nursing assistant, or physical therapy students. In those cases, my job is to teach the students how to transfer and walk with the residents. Occasionally, the patient is completely blind.

So, I tell the student to put a gait belt on the patient, and I say that the patient is completely blind. Then, without further instruction I say, “Let’s go."

Growing in the Way

Written by Sister Cindy Henderson on Thursday, 20 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 396

Growing in the Way

As parents, we are accustomed to attending parent-teacher conferences and receiving feedback about our children’s performances in school. We converse about each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and possible next steps for growth in these time-measured appointments. Fortunately, we have never had to hear disappointing news. Today, after reading the Dec. 17, 2019 article, "More Than Just Playing Piano," I am reminded of the reason why this is so.

On different occasions when I’ve engaged in less formal conversations with colleagues at our children’s elementary school, I’ve heard the following comments: (Mind you, there have been a few less glowing ones.)

Are You Content?

Written by Sister Colleen Moore on Tuesday, 18 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 420

Are You Content?

Contentment (noun): A state of happiness and satisfaction.

Am I content in life? At my job? In my marriage? In my spiritual life? Do I find myself feeling happy and satisfied with how things are going?

Or, do I find myself feeling restless, lonely, and unhappy? Is there a void that needs to be filled?

God wants us to feel joy and happiness. All good things come from Him. We know that this life will also bring us sadness and grief, but joy comes in the morning. He will comfort the brokenhearted and those that mourn.

His promises are real. His love is real. When we start to feel those voids, or those feelings of uncertainty, I believe those are from the evil one. They are a red flag of what the source is, and we need to immediately turn to the source that can heal. God will give us the peace and comfort needed.

The White Bull

Written by Sister Charity Lombardo on Thursday, 13 February 2020. Posted in Devotional Hits 508

The White Bull

In my first year as a working writer, I learned about a thing called “The White Bull.”

It’s what Ernest Hemingway called the blank page staring back at you, waiting to be filled up. It comes with a side of pressure, fear, and uncertainty (fun!) and it’s something every writer understands. Because it’s intimidating, staring into the unknown. Whether you’re starting from scratch or continuing a story you’ve been working on, sometimes you’re just not sure what’s ahead.

I was reminded of The White Bull because, well, I faced it yet again as I sat down to write this blog. I won’t lie, inspiration was not striking. Topics were not coming to mind. Even after praying, I didn’t know what God wanted you to hear. And then it hit me. It was right there in front of me (quite literally, staring back). Suddenly He had me identifying all the White Bulls in my life — big, scary, empty unknowns — and reminding me how He’s conquered each one.

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