Christ

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

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God is Still in Control

Good morning family and friends! This is not a political rant nor is it the intent to turn it into one. However, I awoke this morning with these thoughts on my mind and felt impressed to share them with all of you.

With all of the hatred, tumult, and confusion that exists in our nation, nay our world, at this daunting hour, there remains one important fact that so many people seem to have forgotten or overlooked. That is that God Almighty is still on the throne and in total control. He did not relinquish His power or authority to any individual or group of persons on Inauguration Day or any day for that matter. He is still God Almighty – the Lord God Jehovah.

He is the Alpha and the Omega. That is to say, He is the First and the Last – the Beginning and the End. In Hebrew, He is the Aleph and the Tau. He was from the beginning, and He will be in the end. He wrote the beginning chapters of this story, and only He knows what the ending chapters of this story will say. He spoke all things into existence. Therefore He alone knows the end to all things. He is the Author and the Finisher.

When all is said and done, it will not matter who I voted for, who you voted for, or if there were those who did not vote at all. Lest we forget, those who have human authority over us have only been dealt the measure of authority and power that God will allow them to have and not one thimble full more. Lest we forget, they, like you and I are mortals. And like you and I, they will one day stand before the Eternal Judge and give an account.

Therefore, as for me and my house, we are not going to use what precious time we have to worry and fret about the things that are happening at this moment. Why? Because we are leaning on the Everlasting Arms – Jesus Christ – and not the arms of flesh.

No President, Vice President, nor even the Supreme Court justices or any other elected officials of the land will have the final say. The Lord God Almighty and He alone will have the LAST word. And as long as I have my complete trust, confidence, and faith in Him, I know that everything is going to be alright. Amen!

Jennifer Thomas – Christmas Music Video – “Alleluia”

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Alleluia Music Video

Jennifer Thomas, an independent American composer, pianist, violinist, concert performer, and recording artist was born on 23 June 1977 in Seattle, Washington. Her genre of music includes Classical, Crossover, and New Age. While most of her works are original, she also covers classical pieces as well as pop music and movie soundtracks. She was trained by her mother (Carolyn Southworth) and started playing the piano and violin at the age of 5. She later went on to study music at Brigham Young University – Idaho where she earned a music degree in Performing Arts/Piano Pedagogy. For 3 years, she performed as a featured soloist for the Temple Square Concert Series on historic Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and she has also performed with various symphonies including the Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

Jennifer’s fourth album Winter Symphony was released on Friday, 20 November 2015. The Christmas album features the Ensign Chorus (recorded at Bastyr Cathedral), soprano Felicia Farerre, violinist Taylor Davis, and musicians from The Utah Symphony, Salt Lake City Pops Orchestra, and the Chochin Chamber Orchestra. The album includes such holiday favorites as “Silent Night”, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “Carol of the Bells”, as well as cinematic scores from “Home Alone”, “Edward Scissorhands”, and more.

Just in time for the Christmas season, Jennifer has released a new music video which is appropriately titled Alleluia. The song is featured on her new Christmas album titled Winter Symphony which now has a holiday station. Jennifer’s original composition “Alleluia” creates that same type of exuberance and jubilation as the timeless “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, as viewers and listeners will want to join in and shout “Alleluia” – God be praised!

Jennifer Thomas has done a magnificent job in creating a masterpiece that certainly helps to reminds us all of the real reason that we celebrate the Christmas season. She has indeed created a masterful work of art through the unique gift of music that will in time, itself be considered timeless. The message conveyed by the video is one of hope, everlasting joy, and peace that anyone can obtain by focusing less on the material aspects and commercialism that are so often at the forefront during the Christmas season, and focusing more on the Savior of the World – He who was born King – He who is the Light and the Life of the world – He who is the Prince of Peace.

 

 

 

BYU TV Presents – Christmas under the Stars – Gentri and Lexi Mae Walker

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Bells of Christmas

On Sunday, 6 December 2015, at 5 p.m. MDT, BYUtv presented “In Performance: Christmas under the Stars” with special guest artists Gentri and Lexi Mae Walker. The program aired before the broadcast of the 2015 First Presidency‘s Christmas Devotional of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Filmed on site at an old Jerusalem replica set, Gentri and Lexi graced the audience with Christmas songs celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the holiday season. Casey Elliott of Gentri commented, “I think music communicates more effectively than words.” And, Brad Robins remarked, “When you’re on stage you have an influence that you don’t have just with spoken word.”

Lexi Mae Walker is only 13-years-old, but she has already graced the stage of Good Morning America, America’s Got Talent, and the Queen Latifah Show. In her brief time in the music business, she has had the privilege of performing with Alex Boyé, The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, David Archuleta, and Kristen Chenoweth. She sang beautiful holiday classics as only she could perform them. She commented, “I hope they remember the message that we’re giving about Jesus Christ. Throughout the whole season, there’s that underlying feeling of being more loved, and just feeling that the best is brought out in you and in everyone else.”

You can watch the program online at BYUtv by going to “In Performance: Christmas under the Stars.”

Gentri
Gentri – The Gentlemen’s Trio

Lexi Mae Walker
Lexi Mae Walker

Gentri – The Gentlemen’s Trio, established in June 2014, is comprised of Brad Robins, Casey Elliott, and Bradley Quinn Lever. The members of the trio are distinguished tenors. According to their official website, their music can be described “only as ‘Cinematic Pop,’ a fusion of lush, epic orchestrations coupled with rich, dynamic three-part harmonies.”

Lexi Mae Walker may only be 13-years-old, but she is definitely not a stranger to the stage and the music industry. She has been singing professionally since she was a little girl, and is perhaps best known as a soloist with the One Voice Children’s Choir out of Salt Lake City.

 

Spiritual Mathematics 101

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Math Board

Key Verse: Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Good morning class and welcome to Spiritual Mathematics 101. What is Spiritual Mathematics? Simply put it is taking those basic math skills of subtraction, division, addition, and multiplication that we learned in our early school days and applying those concepts to our spiritual growth process.

Let us begin by examining the basic principle of subtraction. Even small children understand basic mathematical equations such as two take away two leaves zero. Just as the basic skill of subtraction is taught and learned early in life, the principle of Christ’s forgiveness should also be learned early in life. Christ “takes away” the sins of those who repent and believe on Him. We can express this basic principle with the simple mathematical equation: Repentance – Sin = Forgiveness. In 1 John 3:5 we read, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.”

Next, we will examine the basic principle of division. In Isaiah 53:12 we read, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Christ is our Great Exemplar. He gave Himself for us, dividing a portion with the great. As Christians, we are to follow His example. In 1 John 2:6 we read, “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” We should be willing to divide our time, talent, testimony, and treasure for the furtherance of the work of the ministry.
The basic premise behind the principle of addition is that the way to gain more of something is to add to that something. For example, if a child has one apple and then a friend gives him another apple, he now has one more apple than he originally started with or two apples. We are to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ by adding, or increasing in the fruits and virtues of the Spirit. In 2 Peter 1:5-7 we are taught, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” We begin with faith and end with love. We can express this idea with the mathematical equation: Faith + Virtue + Knowledge + Temperance + Patience + Godliness + Brotherly Kindness + Charity [the pure love of Christ] = Growth in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Adding these fruits of the Spirit to our life will settle, establish, and strengthen us as Christians.

Finally, let us examine the basic principle of multiplication. Some people seem to have difficulty with multiplication tables. Multiplication is nothing more than repeated addition. It is fascinating to observe the great increase that multiplication brings. For example, if you have some good news to share with a lot of people, start out by telling a couple of your closest friends. It is almost guaranteed that each of those friends will tell a couple of their close friends, and so on and so forth until the news is spread over a large area. Christ wants the number of His disciples to be increased. This is done through our missionary efforts of sharing the Gospel and bringing others unto Him. As we do this we will receive multiplied blessings (see Jude 1:2).

A Global Christ-Centered Faith

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Some people may refer to it as the Mormon Church, however, the official name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a testimony in and of itself that it is the Lord’s Church and its members worship and revere Him as Savior and Lord. It is a worldwide Church consisted of many diverse cultures, nationalities, backgrounds, languages, and dialects. Nevertheless, no matter where a person travels in the world, he or she will find that the Church is the same. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are used in teaching the gospel, as well as in personal study. Latter-day Saints believe and testify that both are the Word of God. By their fruits ye shall know them, and so everyone is also welcome to visit the weekly services and learn for themselves what Latter-day Saints believe and teach. Members of the Church are ordinary people who strive to emulate the Savior in their daily lives through compassion, charity, and service, realizing that we are all God’s children, and so we are all brothers and sisters.

Is there anything too hard for the Lord?

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Beautiful Stream

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. – Song of Solomon 4:15

 

From time to time I pause to reflect upon the events that have taken place as this pilgrim continues on his journey through life. As I have traversed the hills and the byways there have indeed been many wonderful mountain top experiences, but there have also been some down in the valley experiences as well.

The terrain upon which I have traveled has at times been smooth and easy to navigate, but at other times it has been extremely rocky and filled with obstacles that I have had to overcome to continue on my pilgrimage. Indeed at times I have enjoyed precious moments when I have had opportunity to rest for a bit from my travels as I have sat down in luscious green pastures. However, with the sweet, oftentimes comes the bitter, and at times I have traveled through some hot, dry, and dusty desserts seeking even just a cup of cool water to quench my dying thirst and cool shade to take shelter from the sweltering heat.

As I reflect upon these things I am reminded that no matter how rough the journey may seem at times, the Lord has been and continues to be right there beside me to guide my footsteps along the way. In times of loneliness and despair,  He is always there to comfort me. In the darkest of nights, He is my Guiding Star. When I grow tired and weary, He is there to give me rest and to carry me. Though the way may seem hard and at times I feel that I cannot go one more mile, I am ever reminded that there is absolutely nothing that is too hard for the Lord.

To us, who are mere mortals, oftentimes what lays before us seems to be mountains of impossibilities. With our human mind which is finite, and with our mortal vision, there are things which seem to us to be impossible to do. In our own mind and strength this is indeed the reality of the situation. And so, many times we are left with a feeling of defeat because in our mind’s eye, the tasks before us are too hard for us to master and to conquer.

Of a surety, the Lord’s ways are not our ways. His mind is infinite and His vision expands beyond the widest horizon. What may seem to be too hard for us, seems as mere insignificance to Him. There is absolutely nothing that He cannot do, except fail. There is nothing that is impossible or too hard for Him.

To truly be at a success at what we do in this life, we must take our focus off of what we believe to be impossibilities, and place our full and complete trust in Him who is able to make supposed impossibilities – living realities. Yes, all things are possible if we only believe. For again I say, there is absolutely nothing that is too hard for the Lord.

A Message Written in Red

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Who say ye that I am ?

The crimson thread of redemption that reveals the infinite love that the Savior has for all humanity flows through the entirety of the scriptures. His story is the GREATEST story ever told. From Bethlehem cradle, to preaching in the temple, to the sermon on the mount, to His last hours with His disciples, to His intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and the ultimate betrayal by one of His own, to the mockery of trials that were illegal according to Jewish law and custom, to the cruel Roman cross on Golgotha Hill, to His glorious Resurrection – there was one central message written in RED. That message was simple, yet powerful. That message to us all is “I LOVE YOU!

On this glorious Easter morning, as we celebrate His Glorious Resurrection, I share my personal witness and testimony:

I bear solemn witness and testimony of a loving Savior who loves all of us so much that he willingly gave His life for us as sin’s final sacrifice. With His very life, He paid a tremendous debt that He did not owe, a debt that none of us would ever be able to pay on our own. He took upon Himself all the sins of humanity – past, present and future. He who knew no sin became sin for us. When He cried “It is finished!” the plan of redemption was fully put into place and because of His vicarious death on that cruel Roman cross on Golgotha Hill, the gulf between sinful man and a loving Heavenly Father was finally bridged providing for each of us a way back home to the arms of a loving Heavenly Father who awaits us. The Good News is that His death upon that cross did not signify finality. Three days later He triumphed over the grave and arose and is alive forevermore seated at the right hand of God the Father. Because of His glorious Resurrection we too look forward to the day when we shall be resurrected and we shall see Him and know Him as He is. He is the Son of the Living God! He is the Christ! Of these things I do so testify and bear solemn witness, in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

A Letter of Self-Reflection

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Writing a Letter

This is a different type of post in that what you are about to read is a personal letter of self-reflection which was written by guest writer, Karlyn Kay Stebbins. I want to personally thank her for allowing “Morsels of Bread” to share this letter with our audience. It is hoped that this letter will help someone who may be going through a struggle in life at this time to never give up, or give in, but to keep pressing forward. There is light at the end of a seemingly long and dark tunnel.

Karlyn’s Introduction to the Letter You are About to Read:

I had a tumultuous childhood. My very first memory is being three years old and my father molesting me. It got increasingly worse as the years went by. By the age of six, my father put me into a child pornography network, and by the time I was fourteen years old, he sold me to a pimp. I continued in that lifestyle until seven years ago when I ended up in jail weighing only eighty-seven pounds. Throughout the entire ordeal, I have been close to death’s door many times. I knew that if I didn’t turn my life around I would finally end up dead. In the last seven years, I have gotten an education and graduated with a double major and minor. I was also baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of the latter-day Saints on 26 March 2011. My life is slowly is coming together in God’s time.

Karlyn’s Letter Exactly as She Wrote It:

Dear Karlyn,

I know that you hate yourself for what you were forced to do and who and what you became as a result of the drug and prostitution world . You were scandalous and you put up with a lot in your childhood and adulthood. You put up with rape and being stabbed and left for dead and you also witnessed other many murders in your life and felt guilty about it and you suffer from survivors guilt and you carry it around with you to the point of attempting suicide 32 times and pronounced dead on arrival once. You bounced back and came back when you had a choice of dying or coming back. God has given you the same Choice twice and you came back because you know that you have a great and mighty purpose in this life. You have seen Jesus Christ Himself and you have seen Satan yourself so therefore you have seen two spectrum of the coin that’s more then what anybody sees. Instead of looking at your losses focus in on what your purpose is and go find it because it is not feeling like a victim and scared get out of your house and quit imprisoning yourself with other people’s guilt and shame and remorse because it’s not yours to carry! Set yourself free to be just you because you are a very special daughter of a loving God. Keep working hard on yourself and it will surely pay off. Furthermore quit hating yourself and Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have gone through and survived and be proud of who and what you really are and quit trying to please people to feel ok. All of them days are over now and has been for quite awhile so stop tripping yourself up with others nonsense and quit internalizing your predators ideas and the brainwashing that they fed you. You are so much better than that. Free yourself from self hatred and free yourself from others ideas. It doesn’t matter! Stop and give you a fair chance and you is what matters it’s not what others thinks. This is about Karlyn Kay Stebbins and not about what others has told you or done to you but it’s what you can do for yourself and stop hating yourself because your growth and development is slower so what! No one has gone through what you have had to so what about them and comparing yourself to other people and their situation because you are you and your situation is unique like you are so get over feeling like you are less then in fact you are a hero because you survived and beat the odds and still are beating the odds! From today I give myself permission to start loving myself and giving myself a much needed break from others and their ideas and etc,but to go on and keep developing myself and to start taking care of myself and start taking actions to start liking myself because I am a likeable person. The reason why you don’t like yourself is because you feel like you don’t belong but you do so start belonging and liking yourself for you will not regret it.

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
March 03,2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.

The Wayward Child of God

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How to Pray for a Wayward Child

There has been something placed upon my heart. When you are a parent you want the best for your children. You do your best to teach them good morals and standards so that they can live a life that is pleasing to their Heavenly Father. You hope that what you teach them in the days of their youth will carry with them into their adult years. Sometimes, however, it may not seem as though the gospel lessons that you taught while doing your best to raise them in a Godly home with structure, morals, and standards has any positive influence in their lives. And so, as a parent you feel devastated and ask yourself, “Why would my son or daughter choose the path that they are on when I spent so much time teaching them the right way to go?” You find yourself in despair over the matter and soon begin to feel as though you have in some way failed in your duty as a parent.

There is a verse found in Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”This verse not only applies to parents in raising their children, but it also applies to each of us as members of the Church because we are all children of God. The Church teaches us Godly principles to live by as we follow Jesus Christ’s commandments and are faithful to the covenants that we have made. When we are disobedient to God’s commandments and deny the covenants that we have made, we deny ourselves great blessings from the Lord. I am a witness of this as I have been a wayward member of the Church, and have found myself being disobedient to God’s commandments and not living the covenants that I have made. I cannot rationalize or prove the things that I have done as being right because they are not. God gave us commandments and covenants for a reason, and if we choose to live contrary to those things which we know are true, we can find ourselves falling into an empty pit of nothingness.

Because I know in my heart that the Church is true, I have repented and have come back to it, all the while experiencing the joy of knowing that my waywardness has been forgiven.

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 31, 2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.

The Almighty Orchestrator

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When I Lose Hope

Life is full of questions, uncertainties, and inconsistencies. I am sure that there have been times in all of our lives when we have asked the question, “Why did this happen to me?” Or, “Why do bad things happen to animals, innocent children, and genuinely good people?” As I am progressing on my journey to discover who the real Karlyn Stebbins is, I am learning that I can ask “Why this?” or “Why that?” all that I want, but the truth of the matter is that there are some questions that will never be answered in my lifetime. I am beginning to realize that the real question is not “Why?”, but rather the real question that I should be asking myself is “What is God orchestrating in my life?” In other words, what is His plan for my life? What is my real purpose?

This suggests a scripture found in Isaiah 61:3 which has meant a lot to me in my life, and I also believe is one that we all need to give some attention to. The scripture reads:

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Sitting around and persistently asking “Why?” for every situation that occurs in life, especially those things that are a part of our past, can eventually cause us to become stagnant and can also seriously hinder our spiritual progression. This reminds me of the words of a poem called the “Serenity Prayer” :

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.

What this prayer is basically saying is that we cannot change people, places, things, past events, or future situations that we may encounter. However, we can change our attitude about and our outlook on life. We have to arrive at a point in our life when we finally realize that the things that may have occurred in the past were unjust, but the million dollar question is whether we are going to stay stuck in the past, or change our perspectives and move on with our life as best we can. This may involve taking some actions which may take us out of our comfort zone. But, another thing that I am learning is that if we are uncomfortable taking healthy actions which eventually lead to being part of a solution, then we are growing and truly progressing on our journey.

There is a saying, “Get off the cross, someone else needs the wood.” What that means is we need to stop acting like people are always out to crucify us and us alone, when that is not necessarily the case. For years I have kept myself “on the cross” and that has not provided any solutions to problems in my life either.

Our real purpose in life is to be of greatest service to God and to the people around us. Life itself is ever-changing, but through it all, God remains constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must learn to call on and rely on Him during our times of challenges and struggles. He never changes, but the question is, “Are we willing to change for Him?’

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 31, 2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.