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Written by GospelBlog

Today's verse is a famous Book of Mormon scripture on the theme of weakness. The clarity almost takes your breath away.

So often, we wonder why bad things happen, why God allows certain things to affect or afflict us, and why every human yearns to be good but is held back by innate selfishness. This verse tells us that one reason for our weakness is so that we can learn humility.

Now, God doesn't want us to be the kind of people who are defeated, kicking dirt, and thinking, "Oh, I'm so weak. I'm useless. I'm garbage." That's not humility.

Humility is knowing your place before God and recognizing that He's God and you're not. That is an empowering and liberating realization! When we look at our weaknesses as lessons in humility, we're on the right track.

We all have weaknesses; that could mean things we aren't good at, an area of life that holds us back, a temptation that plagues us, or even circumstances outside of our control that bring us down. When we can look at those areas of weakness and think, "This is a job for my all-powerful God!" what a demonstration of humility.

God wants us to recognize Him for who He is. He wants us to recognize His Son for who He is and what He did for us. Weakness is one tool that He uses to draw us to the truth.

In the same verse, it says, "my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me." See the connection between humility and Christ's saving grace?

We aren't saved without grace.

We cannot receive grace without humility.

We won't humble ourselves if we don't perceive our weakness.

Stay tuned next week for our final Good Word Friday on the theme of weakness, in which we look at the next part of verse 27.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Sister Michelle Watson

On Tuesday, I told you about how my youngest son screams — and how it quickly brings me to the end of my mommy rope.

Today is about you. Is there something in your life that gets on your last nerve? This is something bigger than a pet peeve, something that grinds deeper. It triggers an emotional response that's anchored below the surface. It really gets to you.

You may feel a little like the writer of Psalm 42:5, asking, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?"

Like the psalmist, I often want to know why. Why does this thing get under my skin so easily? Why does it so quickly bring me to tears? Why am I left feeling unsettled even after I "handle it"?

We know the trigger — for me, it's my son's constant whining; for you, it's something else — but we often don't really know the root cause.

The next part of the verse offers a solution: "Hope thou in God."

Instead of getting mired in the moment, I can look upward to my Lord, recognizing that He can un-grouch me and put me back into my right mind. But, how exactly does "hope in God" cure my crankiness?

It's about looking to God rather than festering in that miserable mood.

Looking to God prevents my emotions from controlling my behavior.

My emotions tell me how I'm feeling, but they cannot tell me what to DO in response. When I let my emotions control my response (my behavior), I'm likely to do wrong. This is especially true with negative emotions. Ex: You're feeling angry, so you lash out at someone. You're afraid, so you don't confront a problem.

1 Peter 1:13 says, "gird up the loins of your mind," which, to me, is like tightening the straps on my thoughts, reining them in, hemming up the loose bits around my brain. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs me to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." I don't have to follow my crabby thoughts down a rabbit hole of self-pity and excuses.

Looking to God helps me get to the root of my bad mood.

Instead of seeking temporary relief through various escape paths — just give the kid what he wants and he'll stop screaming; turn the TV on to distract him; put a cookie in his mouth! — it's much more productive to face the problem. What's the real reason I'm upset?

Instead of a quick fix, what I really crave (and need) are the "whys" from Psalm 42.

Sometimes it's only God who can really reveal to me the underlying thoughts (usually half-truths or misconceptions) that are at the root of my ugly moods. Sometimes it's only God who can soften my heart enough to see the truth I'm trying to avoid. Sometimes I just need God to calm the waters that Satan is troubling inside me before they boil over and burn somebody.

My son's screams are the trigger, but they're not what's really bothering me. It's these thoughts that kill me …

  • My son is unhappy in my care (not true)
  • I'm an inept mother (also not true)
  • I'm helpless in the situation (definitely not true)

"Hope thou in God."

Funks aren't fun. But God won't leave me alone when my feelings overwhelm me. He's always there if I just raise my eyes upward.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Brother Jerry Valenti

We probably all experience occasions in our lives when negative consequences result from actions we take that may later seem rather questionable. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, someone may even ask us — or we may even ask ourselves — "Why would you do such a thing?" Sometimes, the only answer we can give — as lame as it may be — is, "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Sometimes, the consequences of doing something that seemed like a good idea at the time are minimal and can be laughed at later. To see a few short videos depicting this, click here.

However, when the actions taken are sinful in nature, the consequences may be such that we won't be laughing when we look back and wonder why we did it. Helaman 6 recalls a few such examples from the scriptures, adding that the devil is the source of these "good ideas":

  • Adam and Eve knew that God had told them not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. However, the serpent told them that if they ate it, they would become as gods, knowing good and evil. It seemed like a good idea at the time. However, the consequences of their actions — expulsion from the Garden of Eden and eventual death — were severe and affected all mankind.
  • According to Helaman 6:27, the devil convinced Cain that he could kill his brother and nobody would find out about it. Based on this, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time — perhaps Cain thought his sacrifices would be more acceptable to God if he didn't have to compete with his brother. However, God cursed Cain such that he was a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, causing Cain to remark, "My punishment is greater than I can bear."
  • Building a tower tall enough to reach heaven must have seemed like a good idea at the time since the people actually began working on the project. However, any plan to try to get to heaven without serving God is obviously inspired by the devil. God wound up confounding the languages of the people such that they couldn't understand each other so the project was effectively terminated.

Notice that in all of the above examples, what the people did seemed like a good idea AT THE TIME. Later on, they realized that it really wasn't a good idea at all. This is how the devil works — he entices you to act without thinking it through and without considering the consequences. Although it is sometimes tempting to just take a leap without having to always be thinking about what will happen later, remember that if the devil is inspiring the action, you will find out later that it was not a good idea at all, and you will regret taking that leap.

How can we tell when a "good idea" is actually coming from the devil?

When the associated actions are contrary to what is taught in the Word of God.

It doesn't matter if we think something good can come from it — the ends don't justify the means. It doesn't matter if we think we can "get away with it" — God sees all. It doesn't matter if other people (family, friends or famous people) say it's OK. God is the one who has defined what is good.

As servants of God, our goal should be to live as God has taught us to live. That was a good idea yesterday. It's a good idea today. And it will be a good idea for ALL TIME.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Sister Michelle Watson

My youngest child is going through a screaming phase. This isn't the pterodactyl thing that many babies do. He's over 2 years old (and he can totally use words) but he screams a lot. He keeps things interesting by mixing in whining and crying with the screaming just in case I get bored.

There are many reasons for the screaming.

  • Tell him no, and he screams in anger, frustration, and disappointment.
  • Give him a command he doesn't like, and he screams in defiance.
  • He's sick with a cold, so bring on the screams of discomfort.
  • He's got a crumb on his finger from lunch and it won't come off. WHAAAAAAA!!!!

The kid can scream. It never gets him what he wants, but for whatever reason, he's not ready to quit screaming just yet. (Everyone assures me he'll grow out of it, and I pray they're right.)

In the meantime, I have a hard time holding it together on bad days. It can really wear on my nerves. I imagine it's similar to having a colicky newborn. You do what you can do, but you can't force them to stop, so you feel useless and helpless in addition to frazzled. I've realized that there's a limit to how much screaming I can take. When I get to the end of that rope, it's not pretty.

So, on those bad days, I try to lead my mind to something else … some spiritual lesson I can draw from this … somehow. And one thing comes strongly to mind:

God listens to me scream and cry and whine all the time. And He hasn't struck me with a bolt of lightning. Instead, He actually listens to me and comforts me. What an amazing Father He is!

Instead of getting frustrated and weary — "You again, Michelle? Didn't we just do this yesterday? Don't just blubber; use words." — He puts His arms around me and says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He reminds me that my bad days are better than some other people's good days: "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28, 30)

What's more, He actually invites me to bring Him my weary pleas (1 Peter 5:7). He asks me to come closer when I'm "screaming" for help instead of sending me away from His presence.

Becoming a parent has helped me (forced me) to respect and cherish the character of God so much more than I ever have before. He is the best and most experienced parent. When I don't know what to do in each specific situation that I face from moment to moment, I can rely on His Holy Spirit for guidance. Should I respond to my son's screams by turning into a brick wall or a soft blanket? The Holy Spirit is there to help me figure it out in real time.

I look back at my ugliest parenting moments — the ones without any grace, patience, or justice — and I compare them with the times in my life when God gave me so much more than I deserved. It helps me put things in perspective. It helps me look at my son with new eyes. (And hear his screams with new ears.)

When I despair that my son is never going to grow out of this stage, I think back to my own life and how long it took me to grow out of certain things. If Jesus can patiently wait on me and work with me, then I can draw on His strength to do the same for my child.

What in life is wearing you thin today? What gets on your last nerve? What issue keeps popping up day after day without end? Let's continue this conversation on Thursday. Stay tuned! I'll be back with an article titled, "The Cranky Cure."

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Sister Suzanne Beeman

Today's Miracle Monday comes to us from Sister Suzanne Beeman. Enjoy!

One evening, I was cruising down a very dark road in my neighborhood that I have driven hundreds of times. This time, my mind was still on work. All of a sudden, my right foot slammed on the brake. Well, I immediately thanked God that no one was behind me.

Seeing that I was in no danger of causing an accident, I chuckled at myself, wondering why my foot decided to separate from the pack and have a mind of its own.

Just then, a drunk driver turned the corner towards me fast and wide. Had my foot not slammed on the brakes, that car would have hit me head on.

What a blessing it is to be a child of God and benefit from His love and protection. Without question, I know God directed my foot to brake. Without question, I know God spared me from a horrible accident.

No Idea Why … Until Later

Like in today's story, have you ever found yourself in a situation that didn't make sense until after the fact? You're not sure why something happened (or didn't happen) but it became clear to you that God was working behind the scenes. Click here to share your story with us.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by GospelBlog

Today's Good Word gives us the opportunity to look at the concept of weakness from another angle than we have yet done. Let's start by placing the verse in context. Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, explaining that outsiders may look at their Christian faith as a sign of weakness.

Verse 18 says, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." In other words, unbelievers will think that Christianity is silly. They'll think they know better. But believers are the ones who truly know better.

Have you ever been made to feel foolish for what you believe? Like you're somehow mentally deficient? Some people automatically think that religion is a crutch of some kind — believers are too weak to face life without faith. Christians are small-minded folks who secretly know that their faith isn't stout enough to withstand close scrutiny, so they never fully examine what they believe, afraid of what they'll find.

To those of us who know Jesus Christ, this couldn't be further from the truth. The Gospel is simple enough that everyone can understand it regardless of intellect. But, it's a well that runs deep, a suitcase that you can never fully unpack, a source of wisdom that can apply to every person who reads it at any point in the span of their lifetime, not to mention the span of history. Now, that doesn't sound like something that appeals to only the weak-minded.

The first part of today's verse reads like this, "The foolishness of God is wiser than men." That means the simplicity of the Gospel contains more wisdom than anything man's mind can think up on its own. This will always repel unbelievers, but to Christians it will always ring true.

The next time that someone makes you feel weak-minded for what you believe, remember today's verse and how your faith is, in reality, stronger than anything the human mind can muster alone.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Sister Erin Light

My mom told me a story about a really amazing experience. When she was little, a sister in the Niles Branch, Ohio, had a husband, a brother in the church, who was very sick. He went to the hospital, and he passed away while he was there. However, the sister was not in the mood to grieve. In fact, she would not let nurses and doctors take her husband to the morgue until the ministry from her church came to pray for him. Two ministers from the Niles Branch, Brother Russell and Brother Joe, went to the hospital to pray for this brother who had been passed away for some time. Under the hands of the ministry and by God's grace, the brother was brought back to life to the astonishment of the doctors, and he lived for many more years with his wife as a testimony to God's power.

Now, what could I gather about this sister's faith? Was she wanting the ministry to come see if they could perhaps bring her husband back to life, or do I think she was fully confident in what would happen? I am certain she had no doubt, that she 100 percent expected this to occur, and, more importantly, she knew it would.

I can also assure you this wasn't a regular occurrence in the Niles Branch; neither minister had ever brought anyone back from the dead before under the prayer and power of God. But I know they knew the scriptures, and I know they knew what God could do. And however much this was a blessing and a miracle of the power of God through the ministry, this story was simply about a sister who took God up on His promises to watch over her life and come through in a time of need.

Instead of approaching a trial with, "Oh no, how am I going to get through this one?" what would happen if I thought, "Oh good, I can't wait to see how God brings me through this!" The scriptures are full of God's promises of protection and love to His children. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them ... he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

Think of the greatest miracle you've ever heard in your lifetime. Perhaps it was a missionary telling a story of a young child unable to walk who was healed. Perhaps it was of a family who had nothing to eat and were visited by a stranger who provided them an entire Thanksgiving feast. Perhaps it was an experience of God steering someone out of danger in a close-call traffic accident. If I believe those happened, then I can also believe God will continue to take care of His people and exceed my human expectations.

Is there a miracle in our lives we are waiting for? Does a solution seem out of reach, or too far-fetched? By seeking out the Word, we will find ourselves among fellow followers of Christ who are presented with similar situations, who experienced the amazing power of God when they turned their mountainous trials over to Him.

Here are a few miracles that the world would tell us are impossible, but we know are true accounts in history by God's power:

  • Peter walked on water to Jesus.
  • Moses parted the Red Sea (still a body of water we recognize today).
  • The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years was immediately healed by her faith when she touched the hem of Jesus' garment.
  • God made the sun stand still for Joshua.
  • Jonah was swallowed by a whale for three days and survived.
  • Nephi built an entire boat for his family through God's direction.
  • Elizabeth had a child in her old age.
  • Mary, a virgin teenager, birthed the Son of God.
  • Lehi and his family followed a compass sent by God that led them to the promised land.

"And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27)

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Written by Brother Jerry Valenti

In Helaman 5, Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman, enter Lamanite territory to preach the gospel. They have much success as 8,000 are baptized, but some of the Lamanites become angry and cast Nephi and Lehi into prison. The Lamanite guards later enter the prison to kill them, but they encounter an unusual sight: "Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned" (verse 23).

After a series of events in which the walls of the prison tremble and a voice from heaven urges all to repent, Nephi and Lehi are again encircled by a pillar of fire:

"Yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not…and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words." (Helaman 5:44-45)

In the above story, the lives of Nephi and Lehi were saved by the fire that all of the people witnessed that day. Afterward, they were filled with the fire that represents the Holy Ghost, which allowed God to speak through them, eventually saving many people from their sins.

The same Holy Ghost is available to each of us today. We receive it after being baptized when the ministry lays their hands on us and prays for us to receive it. At that moment, we should feel as if we are "filled with fire" — ready to live our lives for the Lord, thankful for the gift of salvation, and anxious to help others learn the way that they can also be saved from their sins.

As long as we listen to it, the Holy Ghost will also keep us on the "straight and narrow path" that will lead to having our souls saved in God's eternal kingdom for all time. The world will one day be destroyed by fire, but we will be saved by fire in God's kingdom.

As an added bonus to eternal salvation, the Holy Ghost also allows God to communicate with us in this life. We likely all have testimonies of being saved from going through some type of difficulty as a result of being prompted by God through the Holy Ghost. Past Miracle Monday submissions to the Gospel Blog as well as The Church history books have recounted some of these occasions, including some where lives were literally saved by heeding the prompting of the Holy Ghost. When reading these accounts, picture the person surrounded by fire as Nephi and Lehi were and being saved by fire that day.

Part of my own personal testimony is a time when my life was saved without a doubt by one word from God through the Holy Ghost:

Driving to work one morning, I exited the highway and prepared to make a left turn to drive up a hill. I looked up the hill and saw a large tractor trailer barreling down the hill at a high rate of speed. In my mind, I did the quick calculations that many of us do as drivers: Truck will reach me in 5 seconds, it will take me 3 seconds to cross the intersection and turn up the hill — plenty of time!

As my foot touched the gas pedal and prepared to press down, it happened — I heard one audible word in the car — "NO." The word and the meaning were unmistakable and yet there was a part of me that was still thinking, "But I can make it in time!" As if trying to lift a heavy weight with my foot, I struggled against my own will and finally managed to lift my foot from the gas pedal.

I sat there and watched as the truck cruised through the intersection at such speed that the wind in its wake rocked my car back and forth. With the coast now clear, I stepped on the gas, my car proceeded into the intersection and immediately stalled, leaving me right in the path of where the truck had passed just seconds earlier. Clearly, had I proceeded across the intersection in front of the truck, it wouldn't have had time to avoid me and my car would have been crushed, beginning with the driver's seat. My life was saved that day by God speaking to me through the Holy Ghost.

We can all be thankful for the "fire" that God has provided that can save us from trouble, can save our lives, and can especially save us from our sins. Let's appreciate and heed the Holy Ghost — our own personal piece of God that He has given us.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Written by Sister Zarella Scolaro

“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2)

Have you ever been asked to lead singing in your branch, and you only seem to be hearing your own voice?

Have you ever looked around on Sunday morning during singing only to see people’s song books closed?
This can be very frustrating at times. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s during a hymn that I feel the Spirit of God. When we sing in unity and in spirit, contemplating the beautiful words of worship that we utter can be overwhelming. How many times have we stopped to really meditate on some of those words?

We have several brothers and sisters in The Church that have been inspired to write songs for the Lord. One example is our late Brother Eugenio Mora from Tijuana who was inspired by God to write over 300 songs! Most of the time they came in the form of a revelation or a dream given typically in the middle of the night! Our Brother Eugenio would immediately have to jump out of bed, grab a pen and paper, and sing the song he had just received on his guitar. Some of his children still hold on to the memory of waking up at 1 or 2 a.m. to listen to their father singing a new song.

Brother Eugenio never completed the first grade and had to teach himself to read and write; therefore, for him to have written such beautiful words was a miracle and a gift fully inspired by God.

During a trip to Pennsylvania, Brother Eugenio and Sister Arlene Buffington were both asked to share how they received songs from the Lord. Many of us are familiar with how the Songs of Zion were given to Sister Arlene in English. As a parallel, Brother Eugenio also expressed that the songs he received from God were given to share the message of the Restoration to the brothers and sisters in Spanish.

My father has said repeatedly, “What brought me to The Church were the songs, what kept me here is the love of God.”

There are so many others who have testified about the power these hymns hold and how their message has impacted their lives.

We all have different gifts that we can use for God’s purpose — some have the gift of song, others compassion, and others a quiet demeanor to be listeners when another is in need. Whatever your gift, we can all use that gift to be a missionary and a pillar.

So, next time you stay quiet, when you don't open your song book, or you skip a few verses to shorten a song, remember all the souls that have come to Christ because of the hymns sung by YOU!

Here is a verse and chorus from a song titled “El Cristo de Samaria" written by Brother Eugenio Mora. Scroll to the player at the bottom of this post, and click play to hear it sung!

Del fondo de mi alma, surge una plegaria
Mas ya no encuentro forma ni expresión
Para explicarla, y ya no encuentro llanto
Ni múltiples palabras, y clamo como el ciervo
Cuando se dice brama, es una sed terrible
Es una sed terrible, es una sed de mi alma

Coro:
Sed de paz, sed de amor
Tengo sed de comprensión, pero el Cristo de samaria
Agua viva me ofreció, y pudo saciar mi sed
Que era una sed de Dios

English Translation: "The Christ of Samaria"

From the bottom of my soul, a plea arises,
But I can’t find the way to express
or explain it. Neither can tears nor many words express it. And I cry out like the deer
When it pants (Psalm 42:1-2). Such a terrible thirst, such a terrible thirst, it is a thirst from my soul

Chorus:
Thirst for peace, thirst for love
I thirst for understanding, but the Christ of Samaria
Offered me living water, that could quench my thirst
That thirst for God

 

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Written by Sister Angeline Young

Today's Miracle Monday is a miraculous incident submitted by Sister Angeline Young.

One morning while driving home from a long midnight shift, I was approaching a stoplight and became concerned and distracted by a group of kids riding their bikes in a dangerous area onto an expressway.

I was distraught by the idea of their safety being compromised by cycling in an area that was prohibited to anything but motor vehicles. I stopped paying attention to the road, and when I looked back at the wheel, the light in front of me had turned red, and I was seconds away from a fast-paced collision.

In that moment, I yelled out, "God help me," and He swiftly placed my car into the next lane and stopped my vehicle safely without me having moved the wheel or touched the brake.

I thank God that He loved me enough to bring me out of harm's way. I feel He knew my heart and my sincere concern for my fellow man at that time and rewarded me for my unselfish concern for these children.

I did not get to backtrack and was shook up by this miracle, so I do not know what happened to the cyclers, but somehow I am certain that the Lord looked after their wellbeing as he did mine.

AMEN!

What Is Your Most Recent Testimony?

If someone asked you, "What has God done for you lately?" how would you respond? We'd love to hear about any standalone miracles, of course, but we also welcome stories about how God has been working with you over time. Sometimes "miraculous changes" happen over a period of years. We have a patient Savior. Click here to share your story on the blog.

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