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Post  Admin on Sat 06 Jul 2019, 9:47 am

Welcome to the Nugget

July 6, 2019

Saving the Whales
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     It was Wednesday, the 30th of July, 1986. A few members of a pod of false killer whales became stranded in the shallow waters around Augusta, Western Australia. Because this specie is highly sociable, the rest of the pod probably responded to the individual distress calls of the stranded whales, resulting in the entire pod, 114 in total, becoming stranded and disoriented in the shallow waters.

The story fascinated me. I couldn't help but see the unselfish love in each of those false killer whales as they put aside all thought of their own safety to try and rescue their fellow pod members. Yes, it resulted in them becoming stranded themselves; but the whales knew that above all else, they had to be there to comfort and encourage each other. 

The Bible says, "For this is the gospel message that you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another..." (1 John 3:11 NET). Imagine how much less hurt and loss the church at large would experience if we were to have as much unselfish love as that pod of false killer whales... 

But the story doesn't end here. 

The local residents of Augusta immediately banded together. They administered first aid to the stranded whales, and eventually they were able to liberate a few. The freed whales simply came back into the dangerous waters, however, to comfort and encourage their fellow pod members. The result? They restranded themselves... 

Those whales should have simply been happy to have been freed, right? But no. Their concern wasn't for individual pod members, but for the pod at large.

Jesus loved the church, and His act of giving up His life for the church is proof of His love (See Eph. 5:25). We are told to follow His example: "For I have given you an example--you should do just as I have done for you." (John 13:15 NET). What if we were to worry as much about the unity of the church at large as that pod of false killer whales in Augusta, Western Australia? What if we, the freed, were to dive right back into the thick of the very things we've been freed from, for the purpose of saving the church? 

It soon became apparent that the whales would have to be rescued as a group, and as a group, returned to the sea. Wildlife authorities choose a deep-water site in nearby Flinder's Bay, and they began ferrying the whales by truck to this point. More than 500 townspeople came out to help. Families "adopted" individual whales, and they worked tirelessly through the night and the following two days to care for "their" whale. Some took turns in the water, others cared for the beached whales, and still others provided supplies of hot food and blankets to the ones doing the hands-on work with the animals. By Friday morning, August 1, 1986, boardriders and swimmers helped to guide the last whales through a channel reef and safely into the open ocean.

Why don't we respond in similar fashion to the church's hurting members? 

There may be many reasons, but one possibility is that we often feel underqualified. Remember, not everyone in the town of Augusta could swim. In the same way, not everyone in the church is trained to respond to someone who is grieving. Not everyone understands the holds of addiction. Not everyone is in-tune to the individual needs of our fellow churchgoers. What we can learn from the Augusta whale rescue is this: rather than abandoning the entire operation, each of us must find something helpful that we are comfortable doing!

We also may see that the task of caring for the church at large is overwhelming; but in the same way that the townspeople of Augusta broke up into small groups and "adopted" individual whales, we don't have to see the task as ours alone. We can also divide and conquer. We can also focus on one or two hurting individuals, ever knowing that as a group, everyone is being cared for!

In total, 96 whales were saved in what was heralded as the world's most successful whale rescue. The volunteers from the town endured cold, rain and lack of sleep to save the whales, and their action captured the imagination and admiration of the world, sparking a growing, active community concern for wildlife.

Jesus prayed for unity four different times in His pastoral prayer recorded in John 17: "that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you...The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one, I in them and you in me..." (John 17:21,22 NET. See also vs. 11, 23). There is a reason that unity is so important to Jesus: "...so that the world will know that you sent me..." (John 17:23b NET). When the townspeople of Augusta banded together, they became an example to the world, and their actions sparked more communal concern for wildlife. If the unity that saved those 96 whales could be seen in the church, the world at large would see beyond a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God, sent to this world as our Lord and Saviour. 

Thank about it! 

If you ever find yourself in Augusta, Western Australia, make your way to the Flinder's Bay Boat Ramp and enjoy the memorial that has been set up in honor of this whale rescue. But even if you never have the opportunity to visit the actual memorial, let the story of the Augusta whale rescue inspire you to put aside selfish ambitions, to love the church as Jesus does, to do everything in your power to help your fellow brothers and sisters; for in so doing, you will preach a powerful message to the world at large. 

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Jun 2019, 12:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 11, 2019

One Big Thank You
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thes. 5:18)

Today I awoke to the sound of my heater kicking on, warming my home on this cold Spring morning. Today when I bent down to put a lease on my dog for his walk he nuzzled his head up against my leg to be petted. Today when I walked outside I saw the sun rising above the trees and bathing the world in its golden light. Today my oldest son walked up to me with a cheerful, "Good morning, Dad!" and gave me a hug. Today my youngest son started his day as he usually does with a big smile and a bigger laugh. Today my breakfast of warm oatmeal and hot coffee made my belly feel full and my insides feel toasty. Today as I was doing my morning exercises I realized that I hadn't thanked God for any of these things that had happened this morning. I quickly remedied that situation and suddenly felt the powerful love of God filling my heart and expanding my soul. I thanked God again for His glorious love and promised to love too with all of my heart.

The truth is that I have spent far too much of my life here focused on the wrong list. I am talking about my wish list. It is the list I wanted to achieve for my life to be the way I wanted it to be. It led to anger, frustration, jealousy, and guilt. It made me constantly compare my life to some ideal and not enjoy the life I had been given. These days I am trying more and more to live from the right list, the thankfulness list. I am accepting life as it is and seeing the countless, loving, blessings that our Heavenly Father gives us each day. It is leading me to more joy, peace, kindness, and love than I have ever known. It is helping me live the life I was meant to live.

It is fine to work to achieve your wishes in this life, but don't forget to count and cherish your blessings as well. God loves us so much and He wants us to be happy and grateful in our lives here. May we all turn our lives into one big Thank-You then. May we all live with love and joy.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Not Thanksgiving for another 4-5 months? Fortunately God doesn't wait until the fall to pour out His blessings, but sends them on a daily basis. Why not set a new trend and give Hiim thanks, not just once a year or once a month or once a week, but every day?
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 23 May 2019, 10:50 am

Welcome to the Nugget
May 23, 2019

Finding Strength
 bible
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

All banks closed. too bad. Airport shut down, that's life. No water or electricity, sorry!
That was our hometown in Bolivia each time a revolution exploded. Not far from us, only blocks from where we lived. Now, they are but ugly memories from the past.

But recently, my good friend was in the middle of a similar political unrest. Her mission trip ended. Airports closed. Electricity and public services minimized. And she had no way to get back home to the States.

Until, a miracle shone through. A travel agency found one flight available. She boarded the plane and the crowded aircraft had a surprise for her. They bumped her to first class. She's now home safe and sound.

Isn't that like life? We're going through each day, minding our own business. Being good, not bothering anyone. When suddenly a revolution of anxiety explodes in us--a diagnosis, a financial setback, a devastating situation, a chronic illness--all threaten to shut down the airport to peace. The bank where we find strength and energy is closed. And the electricity supply that had brightened our days is now off.

But when we least expect it, God has a flight waiting. One seat available in the first class of His love. Here are three secrets to find strength until we board that plane:
1) Know that it's not us but He who pilots the aircraft that takes us to healing, solutions, and answers
2) Accept the situation with gratitude as He is aware of every need. He collects every tear. He understands every sigh. And pours the grace we need for each moment.
3) Turn a deaf ear to the enemy's lies that whisper hopelessness, defeat and gloom. His lies are shut down with God's promises that have resonated with hope through the ages.

So if you find yourself I the middle of a revolution of fear, know the Lord's wings will cover you. You'll not be defeated, fall or sink because "...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." (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV).

Father, I confess I feel defeated in face of tough moments, unforeseen setbacks and unexpected heartache. But now I know I can wait upon you. I can wait in expectation that you will grant me the strength I don't have. Hold me when I want to faint. And renew my strength to face each moment. In Jesus's name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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The early church united in prayer, and as a result, miracles upon miracles happened. Sadly, that unity experienced by the early church has been shredded in modern times by differences of opinion and doctrinal disputes. Just what does the Bible have to say about doctrine? Check out the mini-series, "True Doctrine: A Pentecost Message"!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 18 May 2019, 9:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 18, 2019

Rising Above the "See" Level! Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us      Mortality...

"One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, 'So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself--and us, too, while you're at it!' But the other criminal protested, 'Don't you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn't done anything wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.' And Jesus replied, 'I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.'" (Luke 23:39-43 NLV)

Let's visit Calvary now on the first Good Friday, and see an amazing scene unfolding with an amazing side character who bears very close resemblance to both Ruth and Ittai's stories: The repentant thief on the Cross (Luke 23:39-43). What would one helpless dying man see in yet another dying man that he would seek a lasting relationship with this man, which would also guarantee him a place in paradise? Normally, such a gesture wouldn't make much sense, unless the man he was seeking was none other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Now this very Jesus, after his agonizing death on the Cross for all of humankind, will be one day ruling humankind from the very place of His death: Jerusalem (Isa 2:1-4/Rev 20:4)! 
As we talked about previously with regards to the perceptions of Ruth and Ittai the Gittite toward Naomi and David respectively: they did not linger on their seemingly hopeless situations, but rather on something more transcendental. Likewise, the perceptive thief did not see a helpless victim of injustice adorned with a crown of thorns on his head and nails in his hands and feet, but rather a Royal Dispenser of Justice; adorned with a golden crown on His head, a royal sceptre in His hands, and is seated on a glorious throne in the Millennial age of the future (Psa 2:4-7/Matt 25:31). Therefore, by aligning himself with that future King of the coming age, he was perfectly securing his eternal future.

Now onto a minor incidental subject not often touched upon in Christian circles: that of miraculously fast-tracking promised blessings. "You shall be with me in paradise today". Honestly speaking, crucifixion by tying a person to the cross does not lead to death in a day like nailing does. There may be an endless dispute amongst historians as to whether the thieves on either side of Jesus' cross were tied or nailed to their respective crosses. But the fact remains that if not for divine providence, (we see it being enacted in John 19:31-33 in the breaking of the thieves' legs to quicken their expiry), the thieves wouldn't have died that same day and therefore, the divine promise given to one of them would have remained unfulfilled. As the words of the Word (another name for Jesus-John 1:1) must be fulfilled at any cost (Matt 24:35), Divine providence made it so that the repentant thief enjoyed the presence of the Lord in paradise that very day in perfect fulfilment of His Divine promise.

Now that we're drawing close to the end of my message, dear friends, I would like to say this. Let us be known as wise "perceptive Christians" in the likeness of Naomi, Ittai or the repentant thief on the Cross, rather than as merely "seeing" Christians. When we see a fellow Christian in dire straits, without being judgmental or prejudiced, let us be sensitive to the fact that there is a Covenantal, Unchanging God "who wouldn't put off the smouldering wick" (Isa 42:3/Matt 12:20/Heb 13:8) with that suffering Brother. Let's resolve to do all that we can to bring glory to our Heavenly Father and succour to the suffering of others in need, whatever the cost. By taking such a God-hono uring stand, it can be said without an iota of doubt, immeasurable blessings will come our way in this world or the next (Matt 25:31-40), just as they did in the lives of three Biblical characters that we covered here today.

In conclusion, let it be said that our actions regarding our needy Christian brethren need to be guided not so much by the fact as "who they are or where they are in their life journey, but rather by the one as to who they are"!

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Looking for tips on how to witness to your non-christian friends and family?  Check out "Fishers of men!" a two-part mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 17 May 2019, 8:18 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition." (Mark 5:25-29 NLT)

 
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe More Illustrations Contact us
Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976): Miracles of the Past, Part 12

"A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.' Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition." (Mark 5:25-29 NLT)

Jesus healed this woman when doctors could not; and this same healing power still flows to all believers today.

All of the people that have been so far presented in this devotional series have been men. This would lead to the question: Can women also heal people?

The real answer to this is "no"! And neither can men! Healing only comes through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit!

However, women can pray for people to be healed just as well as men can. Kathryn Kuhlman certainly did...

Kathryn lived in the early 20th century. She didn't consider herself to have a specific healing ministry; rather, she loved to preach about the Holy Spirit. She loved to invite His presence to fill the room and touch hearts. She was very specific that any healing that happened during her meetings was not done by her; rather, it was done by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who heals.

Kathryn's healing ministry began in Franklin, Pennsylvania. She had spoken the previous evening about the Holy Spirit and had invited His presence into the room. That evening, just as she got up to speak again, she was interrupted by a woman who stood up in the audience. "Pardon me Miss, Kuhlman," the woman called out, "but I have a testimony to give. While you were preaching last night, I had a strange sensation in my body, and I knew I had been healed. I knew it! Today I went to my doctor, and he confirmed that I was healed!" Kathryn would later learn that this woman had been diagnosed with a tumor. When she asked for God’s Spirit to fill the room, He touched this woman, and now her tumor was gone.

One day, Miss Kuhlman began walking back and forth across the stage, praying silently for the presence of the Holy Spirit to fill the room. She then turned to invite those who needed healing to come to the stage. As people came forward, she said: "Someone is healed of cancer." The lady with cancer later went to her doctor and found out that her latest biopsy was actually completely normal. She no longer had any type of malignancy. God’s Spirit had touched her and she was healed.

Another day, a 5-year-old boy who was crippled from birth walked by himself up to the platform. He was healed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Another person, a woman who had been crippled for 12 years, stood up and walked without any help as well. She, too, had received a touch of God’s Spirit.

Another time, there was a man had been using a pacemaker for the past eight months. When he returned home one day after hearing Miss Kuhlman preach, he found that the scar on his chest where the pacemaker was located was completely gone. When he went to his doctor he would learn that the pacemaker was completely gone! He was completely healed!

There are many, many other examples from Kathryn Kuhlman’s ministry, but I think you get the picture! Nothing can stop God’s Spirit from healing people. God loves us that much! When we truly trust in Him, even the most impossible mountains will be thrown into the sea!

Trust is important!

Rob Chaffart
Announcement:
The Answers2Prayer Altar Ministry is looking for volunteers who are fluent in foreign languages that would be willing to translate the Saviour’s Call into another language. Currently the Saviour’s Call and Prayer of Salvation are only available in English. Our goal is to make both available in a variety of different languages so that we can better reach others with message of salvation in Jesus Christ.If you are willing and able to help us with this please write and let us know."Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen" Galatians 1:3-5God bless,Lyn Chaffart
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 16 May 2019, 9:52 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 16, 2019

Rising Above the "See" Level! Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us      Instability...

"Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, 'Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don't even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.' But Ittai said to the king, 'I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens--whether it means life or death.'" (2 Samuel 15:19-21 NLT)

Heard of a Pakistani terrorist who would one day become a key general of the Indian army? Welcome to another similar, yet Biblical account which would fit perfectly in Ripley's of Believe it or not!; the David and Ittai the Gittite story. The residents of Gath were called the Gittites; note that a notorious Philistine warrior and a giant thorn in the side of the Israelites, Goliath, was also a Gittite. 1 Sam. 17:4.

Let's pick up from 2 Samuel Chapter 15 verse 13 onwards and what do we see? King David's situation, which was the very definition of instability! With the shocking news of rebellion of one of his favourite sons, Absalom, just revealed, the greatly unprepared (for civil war) King David basically presses the figurative panic button, and flees from Jerusalem, his capital city, with his loyal Jewish men in tow! Where would he flee for safety? Where and when would he re-organize his army? With these kinds of questions hanging before David, it would take quite a loyalist to throw his weight behind him now. In this "doom and gloom" scenario, it's safe to bet that David was quite bewildered to see a Philistine Asylum seeker named Ittai the Gittite marching right alongside his Jewish loyalists during the hasty retreat from Jerusalem. But what was David's reaction? Well , according to scripture...

"What are you doing here? Go on back with your men to Jerusalem, to your king, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. It seems but yesterday that you arrived, and now today should I force you to wander with us, who knows where? Go on back and take your troops with you, and may the Lord be merciful to you." (2 Sam 15:19-20 TLB)

And what was Ittai's perceptive response? Pointing back to scripture...

"I vow by God and by your own life that wherever you go, I will go, no matter what happens--whether it means life or death." (2 Sam 15:21 TLB)

Is this starting to sound like the Naomi-Ruth tale enshrined in Ruth 1:15-17? Doesn't the wise Law always insist on having two witnesses to underscore a point (Deut. 19:15), which in these cases both benefit from wise perceptivity?

Before the perceptive eyes of Ittai the Gititte, the image of David, though physically forlorn, was not one of instability, but rather one of security. Presently chastising but a covenantal God would never leave him or forsake him forever, (2 Sam. 7:8-16) but rather would guard him as the "apple of his eye" (Ps. 17:8).

Now what benefits came to Ittai, courtesy of his amazing perceptivity? Unbelievably, he's promoted to a commander in David's Army! Keeping this in mind, Ittai's background is it not an earth-shattering one, especially when we factor in the point that King David's army is also called the "Army of God" (1 Chron. 12:21-23 CJB). Boy, a despised gentile hailing from an enemy country now is helming the Lord's army! While such a juicy news piece would have been heaven-sent manna for the WSJ (had it been in circulation in the Biblical age), for the faithful lot who feed on God's word it is yet another reminder of how blessings would come one's way--on account of decision making borne out of wise perceptivity.

While on the subject of Absalom's rebellion, it wouldn't be out of place to state that out of two of David's constant counsellors (1 Chron. 27:33 TLB), the one who sided with Absalom, Ahithophel, went to an early grave whereas the other, Hushai the Archite, who threw in his lot with David, had a blessed role to play in influencing the outcome of that civil war.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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How is your relationship with God?  Does it need a boost?  Would you like to experience Him more fully in your life?  Why not boost it with a series of studies on the Song of Solomon?  Just follow this link!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 May 2019, 1:50 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
May 11, 2010

Questions...Questioning...
Being Questioned...
 
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Asking questions. Something we all do.

I've learned something over the years, however: People don't like to be questioned. When we question others, we display a huge lack of trust in their knowledge, abilities, experiences, etc., and showing lack of faith in someone sends them the clear message that they don't measure up in our eyes.

I don't blame people for not liking it when I question them, for I don't particularly like being questioned either. When someone comes to me asking why I do or say what I do and say, my tendency is to get--well--a bit defensive!

It has taken a bit of self-study, but I've come to realize that the defensiveness that arises whenever I'm questioned is rooted, most of the time, in insecurity. Maybe I'm feeling insecure about a decision, or maybe I'm feeling that my opinion isn't good enough, that I don't have enough knowledge, enough experience to be making decisions and speaking forth opinions. Maybe I'm doubting the decision in the first place. Maybe I'm just parroting something that someone else has said without giving it proper thought, and I don't want others to discover that I haven't thought it through completely.

Another hidden message given when we question others is that of accusation. When we are questioned, we actually feel accused!

The funny thing is that although most people hate being questions, we all tend to spend plenty of time questioning others. I am no different. Anytime I feel that what is said, or the decision that has been made, doesn't match up to my own interpretation, my own experiences or my own wishes, I tend to question!

This brings up a very interesting question: Is it right to question God? I mean, we are told to trust God, and doesn't questioning Him clearly show a lack of faith?

Unlike us, God doesn't appear to mind being questioned. We see this clearly in the tiny book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk the prophet, who likely lived some time prior to the Babylonian invasion, seems to have nothing but questions for God: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help?... Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery?" (Hab. 1:2a,3a NLT)

In fact, Habakkuk takes this even one tiny step farther by openly accusing God: "...But you do not listen! 'Violence is everywhere!' I cry, but you do not come to save." (Hab. 1:2b NLT)

Does God retort with fire and brimstone? Is there a lightning bolt thrown down from the sky to forever silence this annoying, accusatory prophet?

Interestingly, there is not. You see, God has no reason to feel insecure. Unlike humankind, He is all wise, all knowing, all powerful: "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through him and to him are all things." (Rom. 11:33-36 ESV). When God does something, there is absolutely no room for error, and because He has no reason to feel insecure, His response to Habakkuk's questions--and his accusations!--is one of love: "The Lord replied, 'Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it...'" (Hab. 1:5 NLT). Not only does God not send down those lightning bolts, but He prepares the w ay to actually reveal more information to this belligerent prophet.

Thus we see that God is absolutely okay with our questions, and in His love, He uses our questioning minds to reveal more of Himself through our situations!

Want to know "why"?

Ask the God of ultimate wisdom and ultimate good! Just like He responded in love to Habakkuk of old, He is also anxious to reveal more of Himself to you as well!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Do the "seeing" really "see"? It's an interesting question. Join us next week for "Rising Above the 'See' Level", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan, to see what the Bible has to say about the subject!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 May 2019, 9:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 9, 2019

Why does Life have to be so Hard?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     During my recent visit to West Palm Beach, God had a wonderful surprise waiting for me. The lovely couple who hosted me quickly became my close friends. I learned an interesting fact about them.

"His closet is meticulously organized," my friend said about her husband. "All hangers are spaced evenly and all is perfectly placed in the exact spot.

"And how about yours?" I asked her.

She confessed hers wasn't quite the same. But that's okay. In all relationships, each one brings unique habits, methods, approaches, and attitudes. But more importantly, each has a specific task assigned to them.

The same in our relationship with God. He has His role, and we have ours.

But do you think I learned that lesson well? Not yet. Lately, as my family faces another dark valley, that lesson had to be drilled in me. Though we face struggles, hardships and heartache, that's ours to endure.

But God has His own role. In the midst of suffering, He has the serenity to calm our heart. In our struggles, He has the victory. In our heartache, He has the healing.

Here are five reasons why.

1. He promised that what we face will be temporary. What we fear will be defeated and what we need to do is not fret, worry, be anxious...but simply be still. "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still'" (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV).

2. He has a place for us where we can count on His favor. The favor that is enough for each moment. His favor to conquer all. And the favor that completely surrounds us. "Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield" (Psalm 5:12, NIV).

3. He provides the refuge. His protection is firm, constant and available. In fact, He said that we must dare to rejoice as we're nestled under His refuge. "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." (Psalm 5:11, NIV).

4. He knows the army of negative thoughts that attack. He sees the enemies of our soul that taunt us. And He's aware of the weapons lifted against us. But He promised they have no power or means to harm us. He reassures: "No weapon forged against you will prevail..." (Isaiah 54:17, NIV).

5. And finally, He repeats, that yes, He will be the one to help us, to make us strong, to hold us up. And He commands us not to fear. "So do not fear, for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you and help you; yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).

When these promises wash our soul, the troubles seem smaller. The battle has an end. The victory is sure and the journey is bearable.

How about you? What battle are you facing? Are you giving the Lord room to fight for you? Are you counting on His victory? Are you anticipating triumph?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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LESSONS FROM HANDICAPS!!!  Are there lessons you can learn from handicaps? Click here and see!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 10:02 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 11, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 1


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Before we delve into today's topic, a brief description of the phrase "turning the tables" would benefit those of you who are unfamiliar with such a term... to reverse one's position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage (The Oxford Dictionary). 

An awl (a pointed object used usually for boring a hole- Deu 15:17), was considered "awful" to handle early on in a worker's life, but years and years of hard work and experience with the tool, it can become very useful in the right set of hands. But who would have thought that such a difficult tool would also lead to making the lives of blind people across the world easier? Welcome to the inspirational story of Louis Braille. Louis's father was a saddle maker, who lived in a small Northern France village named Coupvray. While a three-year-old Louis was playing in his father's workshop, he happened to take hold of an "awful awl" into his hands. He tried to replicate his father's work of boring a hole into leather with it. Unfortunately, Louis ended up accidentally piercing one of his eyes with the "awful object". This not only led to instant blindness in that eye, but also caused a severe infection, which spread to his other eye. Very soon, young Louis would sadly enter the world of total blindness; his future seemingly becoming as "dark" as the night. 

Fast forward 25 years later, and what do we "see"? After several twists and turns in his life, Louis Braille had invented what is known as the "raised dotted-system", using an "awesome awl" this time. All 26 letters of the Latin (English) alphabet were implemented by piercing holes suitably on pieces of leather. This system allowed the blind to read simply using their sense of touch. Today, the Braille language is used universally to essentially serve as a virtual "lamp in the darkness" for the blind. 

Coming at this from a spiritual perspective, my dear friends, have you ever contemplated how great our Almighty wise God can use objects, or situations in which were initially considered a "curse", only to end up become a "blessing" later on? In this five-part series, yours truly aims to focus on Biblical events using words that begin with the letter "T" (what else, considering the title), where one clearly discerns how the good Lord "turned the tables", so to speak, in order to foster blessings upon His chosen ones. 

Tree... 
The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil appeared quite appealing to the eyes of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Gen 3:6) They were both commanded by their loving creator to stay away from it; to only admire its beauty from a distance. The result of their "adulterous advance" towards it, is now inscribed in history. Oh yes, they ate of its fruit at the behest of the crafty tempter, bringing forth a hefty price upon themselves and all of mankind (Gen 3:1-19). The truth of the Tree of Knowledge brought in its wake spiritual darkness to all of humanity. This darkness can only be dispelled when one comes near yet another tree, which by its appearance, can be initially thought of as ugly. Friends, let us travel to the Tree (the cross) at Calvary. 

Love for God can be exhibited by implicit obedience to his commands, (2 John 1:6) but disobedience was found in the first Adam, when he was exposed to the lure of the Tree of Knowledge. However, there is a stark contrast between the first and final Adam (read Jesus... 1 Cor 15:45), whose personified obedience willfully let himself hang on the Cruel Tree (Gal 3:13) as per the Father's will (John 6:38/John 14:30-31), right in the middle of the Earth (Ezekiel 5:5). 

The Tree of Knowledge proved to be a bane for mankind, bringing in its wake spiritual ignorance. Ironically, the Tree (cross) of Foolishness (so-called by the scholarly Greek peers of Apostle Paul- 1 Cor 1:18) has been a cause for manifold blessings towards ushering in spiritual emancipation and enlightenment. The enticing, toxic words of the sly snake spoken, even while "hanging" from a tree, brought forth a terrible curse to humankind, whereas the energizing words proclaiming the completion of the redemption plan (John 19:30) spoken of by the suffering Savior, while also "hanging" from a tree; a cruel tree of execution (Gal 3:13/Deu 22:21). These words have heralded the free release from that curse to anyone appropriating it in his/her life (Romans 10:8-10). We who are all connected to the First Adam (genetically and spiritually) need not remain "chained" to him. Rather, we are now free to seek our liberation by looking with saving faith (John 3:14-15/Numbers 21:4-9) at the Final Adam, who completed the onerous work of providing free salvation at a great cost (can anyone truly put a price tag on the Saviour's sufferings?). 

The Gospel would be a palaver only to the perishing, blinded as they are, by the arch-enemy of every human soul (2 Cor 4:4). But to those being redeemed by it, it is the power of God in action (1 Cor 1:18-TLB). 

Trees...(Garden) 
If the first death was pronounced on mankind amidst the trees (read the Garden of Eden- Gen 3:19-20), then the Heavenly Father ensured that resurrection proclaiming victory over death also took place amidst the "trees" (Jesus rose victoriously from death in a "Garden" - John 19:41-42). 

Today, we are armed with a "Blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), and can look at our timeless foe known as "death" seemingly as it were, on its face and taunt "O Death, where is thy sting" (1 Cor 15:55), for Jesus rose from the Garden grave on the first Easter as the "first fruits"-- symbolizing the future resurrection of all the Christians (1 Thess 4:13-18-TLB). 

Prayer: Father, we commit our troublesome circumstances into Your hands. Steer us through them with Your Divine Wisdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Apr 2019, 11:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 9, 2019

Moments, Days, Years
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11 ESV)

When I was a young man I had a lot of ego and very little empathy. I thought I knew everything. I looked forward to fame and success. I can even remember once in college arrogantly telling one of my friends: "If only everyone listened to me then they would all be happy." I finally left school ready to take on the world. Little did I know the world was about to take on me.

In the years following college instead of success I found struggles. I had trouble finding work. The jobs I did work at were either temporary or back-breaking and none of them paid well. When my wife and I had children we were shocked to learn that not one but both of our sons had Autism and would need to be taken care of for the rest of their lives. I had no idea why this had happened to us and I was very angry at God.

In time, however, I began to change. My formally massive ego was shrinking fast and my empathy was beginning to grow. Instead of success, I found my joy in moments of love. Playing and laughing with my sons brought me so much happiness. My boys taught me more about peace, patience, kindness, joy, and unconditional love than I could have ever learned on my own. I began to share the lessons I learned through my writings and my life. I finally realized too that my purpose in this world had nothing to do with fame or success and everything to do with allowing God's love and light into my life and sharing it with everyone I could.

Always remember that moments of love become days of love and days of love become years of love. You may not be happy 100% of the time. No one can be in this world. Yet, in God's love you will find a joy no earthly success could ever give. Put all of your moments, days, and years to good use then. Live them with love.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder why the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove?  Check out the recently published mini-series, "Dovetailing Some Dove Facts", and find out! 
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 06 Apr 2019, 10:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 6, 2019

Follow Me! Do NOT Pass!
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 10
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Although our entire stay in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park could be described as nearly perfect, one of the few "flaws" was the fact that the Cabot Trail, which is the primary road around the park and through the Cape Breton Highlands, was under construction. There were bridges being reconstructed, road beds being graded, new railing being installed, fresh tar being laid, and fresh paint being put down.

The repairs resulted in long waits, followed by many kilometers of unpaved and sometimes ungraded roadways, often filled with potholes. This was inconvenient in the best of times, but when we were towing our trailer over these sections of road, it became more challenging, especially when we were forced to stop on loose gravel on a steep incline. Although we recognized the necessity of the road repairs, we couldn't have helped but wish that it was happening in a year when we were not visiting the island!

Due to the fact that most of the work zones areas were under active construction, most of these sections of road had a "pilot" vehicle to guide us safely through the best sections of the construction zones. These "pilot" vehicles were easily identified by the large sign on their rear bumpers: "Follow me. Do NOT Pass!"

The first time I drove behind one of these "pilot" vehicles, it occurred to me that just as there were sections of road being repaired, there are sections of our "road-through-life" that also appear to be "under construction". We wish those sections would just go away; yet without these "rough" spots, would we ever be able to have smooth roads? It's true that the "rough" spots on our walk through life don't always appear to be in the most convenient places. Just like the road construction was easier to deal with without the trailer, the problems life will throw our way are always easier to face when we're not cumbered by other things. After all, wouldn't that stomach bug that has hit your spouse and kids have been easier to deal with if you, yourself, weren't also sick with the same bug? And wouldn't the broken engagement have been easier without the stress of a master's thesis coupled with a r ecent death in the family?

The good news lies in the fact that there was a way around all of those sections of road construction. All we had to do was follow our assigned "pilot" vehicle. In the same way, we also have a "Pilot" when we're going through the rough times in our lives, a gentle Shepherd who leads the way: "The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need." (Ps. 23:1 NLT); "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" (Ez. 34:31 NLT).

When we follow our Shepherd, we can be sure that, "He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name." (Ps. 23:2-3 NLT).

The problem is, we have difficulty with "following". We want to go our own way. After all, who would choose the hard times? But it is only when we follow that we can experience the peaceful streams, the renewed strength, the rest: "It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him." (Deut. 13:4 NIV).

Just like those "pilot" vehicles sported those signs on their bumpers, "Follow me. Do NOT Pass", Jesus also calls out to us, just as He did to Matthew of old, "Follow Me!" (See Matt. 9:9). It is only when we "follow" and "do not pass" that we can experience His blessings for us, that we can experience the best paths through the troubled times, that in the midst of our problems, we can still say, "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever." (Ps. 23:4-6 NLT)

Is your road through life under construction? There's a "Pilot" vehicle to guide you through. Your only job is to: "Follow Me. Do NOT Pass!"

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the 11th of a 13 part mini-series based on a fantastic trip that my husband and I made to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia in the Fall of 2017.This 3 week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned are being outlined in this series that has been appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 3:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 2, 2019

Hand-Me-Downs


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too." (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9, NLT)

Aside from socks and underwear at Christmas and an occasional new pair of sneakers, I never got any new clothes as a child. What I got were hand-me-downs. My coats, jackets, shirts, sweaters, pants, and even belts were all clothes that my older brothers had out grown and then been given to me. My clothes were often torn, sewed, and patched. They were never "in style." I didn't resent having to wear them, though. We weren't rich and new clothes were a luxury not a necessity. That is just the way it was. Most of my friends in school were dressed in hand-me-downs as well. 

Even today I often shop at thrift stores and rarely buy new what I can find used. It is just who I am. I happily reject the march of materialism that so many others follow and find my true treasures not in money but in people, not in stuff but in ideas, not in things from the stores but in feelings from the heart. 

Looking back too I realize that clothes weren't the only thing my Mom, Dad, and Nana handed down to me. They also handed down a deep compassion for other people and a desire to help them. They handed down a respect for this world and a delight in all living things be they flowers, plants, birds, or bugs. They handed down a sense of justice and fair play. They handed down a sense of pride in hard work and a job well done. They handed down a thirst for knowledge and wisdom. They handed down their kindness, good cheer, and happiness in doing good for others. They handed down a faith in God, awe for His creation, and joy in His love for us. Most of all they handed down their love. They loved me and instilled in me a love for God, myself, others, and life. They also instilled in me a desire to share all of these things with my own children and with everyone else. 

What are you going to hand down in this life? What are you going to pass on to others? What are you going to share with the world? Whatever your hand-me-downs are give them with love. Make them gifts from the heart that touch the hearts of those around you. Make them treasures from your soul that others will treasure as well.

Joseph J. Mazzella  
Announcement:
Just what IS love, anyway? Check out "Lessons In Love From 1 Corinthians 13", a mini-series by Soyna Richards, to find out!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."




Welcome to the Nugget

April 4, 2019

Trials to Triumph

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I turned toward a new friend seated beside me during a writer's conference. "He's got to be kidding! Did I hear him right? Did he say what I thought he said?"

Those questions ricocheted in this crazy chica's head when I heard him described what he did on the side.

I let out a quick gasp as he related, with a matter-of-fact tone, that he made jewelry out of, are you ready? ...moose droppings!

I pinched my nose. "Tell me this is a joke," I said.

"Nope." (Friends, check the picture above to prove it.)

Being from Alaska, he explained the process. And I tried really tried to understand this craft. My imagination went wild with not-so-pleasant images.

But, amigos got to spill it all. This brought to mind the yucky droppings of trials that had paraded through my days--blindness, my son's death, the struggles of sorrow--all gave my life a bad smell of heartache.

But viola! God turned the trials to triumph as He saw beyond the pain, the sin, the ugly scenes and transformed it all to a shining jewel for His glory.

No, amigos, don't you think for a minute I'm saying this chica is a jewel. But the triumph God ushered certainly is.

Your triumph is waiting for you too. In the horrible, ever-present battle you're facing, He's got his tools and is at work too. He is at work to clean, shine and make it glow.

And during the process, all you have to do is:

1) ...receive the joy for the moment. The joy that comes because you know He's in control. The joy that resonates even when we don't see the end result.

2) ...choose gratitude in expectation of what He will do.

3) ...look back at ways He transformed other smelly circumstances in the droppings of life.

4) ...spray the perfume of repentance on that smelly sin. When He's done He will showcase His victory in you.

Life sometimes does stink. But no matter how unbearable the stench of sin or sorrow is, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 NIV).

Father, from a discarded soul, tainted with sin, smelling of pride, you polished life, beauty and sparkle through your son Jesus. Thank you that our life now has a glow of salvation, of freedom, of joy and hope. In His name we thank you. Amen

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Sometime early in His ministry, Jesus had an interesting encounter with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. We aren't told much about this particular Pharisee, but Jesus' short encounter with him, recorded in John 3:3-20, is packed with essential life-giving nuggets of Truth. Please check out "Jesus and Nicodemus," A Study on Rebirth! 
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 8:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 14, 2019

The Power of Words

By Answers2Prayer 
    Oh, those words that can cut right through! And then there are those that can soothe our pain.

Last week, I stepped to the counter at my doctor's office. "Here is your referral for your blood work," the receptionist said. But her words, though simple and mundane, were delivered in a delightful, pleasant tone.

I smiled. "Thank you."

Then I leaned toward the desk and added, "And stay as sweet as you are."

Her reaction surprised me.

"What did you say?" She said then paused. "That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me lately."

What? I gave a simple ordinary comment and it touched her. Can our words have that power?

I think they do. So, when hubby came home that night I gave him the usual hug and after a quick peck, I said, "Do you know how much I look forward to you coming home?"

He picked me up and twirled me around. "...So sweet," he said.

There you go, my theory proven. Words spoken are like a fishing line. Cast them out and you're sure to reel something in.

And that something depends on us. Caring words reel in pleasant results. Conversely, raw words cut through the heart.

Listen to what L. Tomlin once said, "Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain."

But the contrary is also true; people have a deep need to be encouraged. They have a longing to feel valued, appreciated and accepted. Our words can speak to that need.

And the effort is easy. Positive and kind words are available at all times. And even better good news is that our words are the beginning of the love God commands we must extend to others...even strangers.

Here's the true test.

I decided to use this approach with telemarketers. Whenever they call, I search and choose words carefully.

I answer the phone. "Did you say your name was Mary?" I ask. "Well, Mary you sound like you're a nice person. So very sorry that I can't accept what you're offering. But what I'll do is pray for God to bring success in your life. Is that okay?"

There's usually silence. But one woman seemed touched because her voice choked as she said, "Thank you. I needed to hear that today."

We all have that power. Those sounds that come from our lips called words make a difference. They can change an attitude. Transform negativity. And ring a bit of joy into an otherwise gloomy life.

No wonder God said, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

And as we speak life into others, the beauty is that what we say also comes back with positive, satisfying, and pleasant feelings that make our soul happy.

Delight in that feeling as you consider that...
-Words are free.
-They require little effort to say them.
-They're always available.
-They can be chosen with love.
-They can turn a life around.
-They can calm anger down.

Speaking loving, sincere words are like tracing a colorful rainbow across the gray skies of someone's life.

Let's pray.

Father, thank you for the power of my words, may I use them to make a difference, to bring your light into the darkness of others, and may I be quick to praise and slow to tear down. In Jesus' name, amen.

What influence have your words had lately?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Can we, as Christians, learn something from the Election process? Check out the mini-series, "Of Elect and Select"! 
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 12 Mar 2019, 11:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 12, 2019

God's Math
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" (Matthew 25:37-40, NLT)

When I was young I was great at math. I had started playing cards with my Mom, Dad, Nana, and brothers when I was only four years old. All of those pleasant evenings at the kitchen table playing "Knock" and "Rummy" had made me very good at addition and subtraction. It gave me a head start over the other first graders. I was soon at the top of my math class and I stayed there until high school when a thing known as Algebra both kicked my butt and befuddled my mind.

After I was grown up, however, I was introduced to an even more complicated form of math: "God's Math". It was quite different from any math I had ever known and I had a terrible time learning it. It was based on the truth that "It is in giving that we receive."

I am sorry to say that I fought learning this for a long time. I hoarded my money and spent it only on my family and myself. I never gave a dime to charity and ended up feeling poor, miserable, isolated and alone. This finally changed one day at the local grocery store. There was a box there for donations to the local food pantry. I had already bought my family's weekly groceries and was about to check out when something stirred in me. I picked up another big bag of rice and put it in my cart. As I was walking out the door I quietly dropped it in the food pantry box. I left the store feeling like the richest person in the world. I felt joyous, connected, at one with God and everyone else. My wallet was a little lighter but my heart so much fuller. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey of learning about love and giving that goes on to this day.

If you want to truly live your life here you have to do God's math. You can't live just for yourself. You have to give of yourself. You can't just love yourself. You have to love others as yourself. Give from your heart then. Give your goods. Give your talents. Live your life with love. If you do then you will receive so much more from life and from God.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 9:30 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 7, 2019

A Little Yellow Face
 

By Answers2Prayer 
   "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

It had been a long winter. Bitter cold, snowy days had hit us again and again. On the warmer days there had been little sunshine only cold, icy rain. The sun had become such a rare sight that I had taken to looking at a picture of it on my wall calendar to remember what it looked like. The grass had remained brown and dormant in the meadows. The deer had come out of the woods and started digging through the fallen leaves in our yards looking for what acorns they could find. My own backyard had turned into a muddy mess that tried to steal the shoes right off my feet as I walked on it. My heart ached and longed for Spring and my own good cheer had trouble rising up against the continuous, cold, gray days.

The rain poured down on me as I walked my dogs, holding their leashes in my icy fingers. I looked up at the sky hoping to see the sun smiling down with its warm, golden face. But it was no use. The sky was as overcast as ever and Spring still seemed an eternity away. It was then, however, that I saw it. It wasn't the smiling face of the sun in the sky but a little, yellow face peeking through the mud. It was a dandelion, the first of the year and it filled my heart with hope and joy. I smiled and thanked God for this little sign that Winter would soon be over and that Spring would arrive bringing life to this world once again. I felt my good cheer rising up at last and I promised God that I would share it with everyone I could.

One day that tiny dandelion's seeds will fill the meadow with little, yellow faces smiling up from the ground. Its work will make this world a better and more beautiful place. May we all do the same. May we all shine our light and share our love even on the coldest and grayest days. May we all help God to share a bit of Spring in the midst of Winter. May we all work to make this world better and brighter even when it is at its darkest.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sun 03 Mar 2019, 11:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 2, 2019

A Good Thing? Part 1: No Propane...Lessons from Cape Breton, Part 8a
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

We were aware that we would encounter colder weather in Cape Breton. We were, after all, leaving in September, but no problem! Our new trailer came equipped with a propane-operated furnace. As an additional precautionary measure, I also wrapped an extra blanket in a plastic bag and stowed it in a storage compartment under the bed.

As anticipated, the nights were cool, and we used the furnace before going to bed and first thing in the morning. There was that one night, however, where "cool" was an understatement, and before we could get back to our trailer that night, the chill had permeated every part of our little home on wheels.

Unfortunately, when I pushed the furnace "on" button, nothing happened. Our propane tank was completely empty...

It was nearly midnight, and because we didn't know how far or where we would have to go to refill our tank, we decided to huddle under coats, mitts and blankets instead; and with this in mind, I crawled under the bed to pull out that extra blanket.

But wait...The bag it was wrapped in was...Sopping wet...And heavy...Far heavier than it should have been...What???

If there was any good news in the story, it was that the wool blanket had acted like a sponge, which is why the leak in the trailer plumbing took us so completely by surprise. This didn't help our temperature dilemma, however, and we'll just say it was a long, cold night...

The next morning found us on the hunt for the source of the leak. After searching for an hour, we discovered that some "helpful" camper had closed our outside drain, and the water from the sink had simply backed up and flooded the storage compartment. After mopping up the excess water, we then set out to "fix" the problem of no propane, only to discover that the nearest 24-hour propane-filling station was exactly 3 kilometers down the road...

Wait! Why did we have to run out of propane on the coldest night of the trip? Why weren't we aware that we could refill our tank at any time of day or night, just three minutes down the road? Why God, why...?

Yes, it was a tempting question to ask. We could have also asked "why" the engine light on our new tow vehicle came on just 50 kilometers after leaving home, and "why" it rained...the only truly rainy day...just when we were scheduled to hike the last of the Highland's National Park trails. We could also ask "why" our first camp was one of those open affairs where we felt squashed between hundreds of rigs that were three and four times our size, and "why"...

Well the list could go on, but as I contemplated this, God began placing the answers to the "why" questions on my heart: Why had it rained on our trail? Because God knew that we were coming into a town that had a service shop for our car. The extra time we had due to not being able to hike the trail allowed us to have the time to service the vehicle. Why was our first camp so unromantic? Because God knew there was a major windstorm on the way. He knew that our little 12 foot fold-down trailer would not have been able to ride out the storm without toppling over. Those huge rigs provided us shelter from the storm. And finally, why did our propane tank run out on the coldest night of the trip? Because God knew about the leak when we didn't, and He knew that the cold would be the only thing that would drive us to go after that blanket!

Life is full of frustrations. Yours may be a lot more serious than the petty inconveniences I've mentioned above; nonetheless, sometimes the answer to the "why" question is that God is actually using what we feel is a very negative set of circumstances to "protect" us from something worse. Sometimes He allows these hard times to "prepare" us for even harder times to come, and sometimes He uses the problems to reveal other problems that could potentially have far worse outcomes.

Remember, we don't go through hard times alone. God is there: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Ps. 23:4 ESV).

His love is still our umbrella. He is still our shelter in the time of storm: "O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love." (Ps. 59:17 ESV).

And perhaps, rather than continually asking "why", we should instead begin to praise Him: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Ps. 34:1 ESV).

Let's determine to bless the Lord, especially in the hard times, for what He is busy doing in the background: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28 ESV).

Propane tank dry on the coldest night of the trip? Don't despair. Instead thank God for using this to reveal the leak in the trailer's plumbing!

Bless the Lord!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 10:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
February 26, 2019

Be Still and Know that I am God...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 6: Ps. 46
 bible
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

Today's lesson focuses on the often-quoted Ps. 46:

"Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth." (vs. 10 NIV)

I, for one, have often been blessed by this verse. When problems and worries rise up around me, all I can see in my troubled soul is turbulent waters, and God seems so far away from my reality. When I make the effort to meditate upon these words, however, my heart quiets, my soul calms, and I am filled with the assurance that the God who is exalted among the nations, who is exalted in the Earth, has got my problems--in His hands!

I would encourage each of you to memorize this verse, and as soon as the stormy waters of trials begin to hit, mediate on it. Repeat it over and over in your mind. You will be amazed at the difference, for as you do, your mind will stop its downward spiral of replaying your problems and all the potential negative scenarios to focus on the One who is exalted!

But wait a minute. This familiar passage is verse 10 of 11. What can we learn from the surrounding verses?

The psalm begins with an important reminder:

"God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble." (vs. 1 NIV)

What does it mean that God is our ever-present help in trouble?

Psalms 46 gives us the answer:

"Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging." (vs. 2-3 NIV)

With God as our ever-present help in trouble, we have no need to fear!

But wait. Who wouldn't be afraid when their spouse passes away?

Yet Psalm 46 reminds us that we do not need to fear, "though the earth give way."

Well what about the loss of my home? How can I not be afraid?

"though…the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..." 

Contemplating the Lord's power gives us the assurance we need that He can and will handle what we are going through, and this makes it easier to give Him the problem!

But what if it isn't a solitary problem? Life usually brings trouble in bunches. Who wouldn't be afraid when that cancer diagnosis comes along with multiple other health problems, just at that time you lose your job and your teenager goes into a bout of rebellion?

Yet Psalm 46 tells us we do not need to fear, "though… [the sea's] waters roar and foam @and@ the mountains quake with their surging."

It doesn't matter how many serious the problem is or how many are piling on at once: God's got this! For:

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
   God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
   he lifts his voice, the earth melts." (vs. 4-6 NIV)

The problem is, when we focus only on our problems, no matter how significant they truly are, they begin to mushroom in our eyes. We can learn from Psalms 46 to mediate upon the works of the Lord instead. As we repeat these truths in our minds, our problems will seem to decrease as our faith grows strong: God is within us, we will not fall! God will help us at the break of day! The troubles may uproar and it may seem that everything we have worked so hard for is falling around us, but the Lord lifts His voice and the Earth melts!

God has got this and we do not need to be afraid, for:

"The Lord Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress." (vs. 7, 11 NIV)

Interesting that this verse is repeated twice! God is trying to get our attention, to help us know beyond a doubt that no matter what you face today, He is your fortress!

The Psalm still doesn't stop there. It goes on to spell out for us the glory and might of the God of Jacob, the One who is our fortress, the One who invites us to:

"Come and see what the Lord has done,
   the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
   to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire." (vs. 8-9 NIV)

God has nothing to hide. He invites us to observe and contemplate what He has done in the past, for in doing so, we will draw strength, our faith will increase and we will be overcome with the assurance that the God who has done all those things…has got your problems!

Our job is simply to:

"Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth." (vs. 10 NIV)

Overcome with troubles and temptations? Be still. Remember what God has done in the past. Remember that He is your fortress. Remember that He will be exalted in your troubles and temptations! Be still and know that He is God!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.  
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 10:20 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 23, 2019

Bunnies...Everywhere! Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 7
 

By Answers2Prayer
   (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

One of the highlights of our trip to Cape Breton was our visit to the Two Rivers Wild Animal Park. Situated in Huntington, Nova Scotia, it is home to many of the native creatures of Cape Breton. It isn't a typical zoo, however. Rather, most of the animals in this park are rescue animals that cannot be released into the wild, and care has been taken to create a large and natural environment for each creature.

Unfortunately, "natural environment" also means thousands of hiding places, and the animals were often hard to find; and on one notable occasion, the sought-for animals were actually not in their pen...

The map indicated it was the bunny pen, but after searching the enclosure for about 10 minutes, we told ourselves the rabbits were hiding and moved on. A bit farther down, however, we were startled on three separate occasions by the sight of a rabbit feeding in the grass along the footpath. These bunnies were obviously not wild, for they hopped along slowly, turning this way and that, as if posing for the many pictures that we were taking. In the end, we realized that the only reason we hadn't found rabbits in the bunny pen was that they weren't actually even in their pen...

Too bad we didn't think to ask the zoo keepers about the bunnies...We could have saved ourselves the 10 minutes we spent searching the bunny pen...

It is no secret that life brings us plenty of opportunities to make decisions. Some are innocent things, such as, "where will we go on vacation this year?" Or "What should I do this afternoon?" Because we are all human, it is in our nature to seek the answers on our own: "Well I've always wanted to visit Australia..." or "The basement sure needs to be cleaned!"

Sometimes the decisions we are required to make involve troubled times. Here again we tend to seek our own, logical answers: Lost that job? Pay a few visits to JobGym, shoot off a few resumes, go on unemployment! Car problems? Go out and buy a new one, and be sure to get the make and model that you have always wanted, no matter what the cost. You owe it to yourself! Got sore knees? Find an orthopedic surgeon who will do knee surgery!

These solutions are all very logical. The problem is, sometimes our "logical" solutions may not be the best ones for us. In the end, the knee surgery only aggravated the knee pain. JobGym didn't have jobs for you, and you weren't eligible for unemployment. The car of your dreams resulted in significant debt. So did that trip to Australia, and the basement flooded before you could get the cleaning done...

The point is, when we follow after the "logical" solution, the results aren't always what we would envision them to be. It is like we are searching the "bunny pen" when there are actually no bunnies in the pen at all!

Just like the empty bunny pen didn't mean no bunnies, however, our lack of positive outcomes doesn't necessarily mean the solutions aren't there. It just means that our "logic" isn't broad enough to find them. It means we are searching in all the wrong places.

Where is the right place to look? Solomon, the world's wisest man, tells us to seek "wisdom": "Get wisdom; get insight;...Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom..." (Prov. 4:5-7 ESV).

In other words, in order to ensure that we always make the right decisions in life, we should seek God's counsel. The good news is, the Bible tells us this wisdom is free for the asking: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5 ESV).

God doesn't mind telling you which car is the right one to buy. He is happy to let you know if that knee surgery is right for you, and as the Creator of the universe, He can "create" just the right job for you if you seek His wisdom to know where to look. In the same way, He will provide insight as to where and when to take that vacation, and even if you should take it at all!

What do you say, friends? Do we waste our time looking for "bunnies" where there are none? Do we simply write it all off as "no solutions available"? Or do we ask God for the wisdom we need to make the best decisions possible?

I don't know about you, but I think I'll ask the zookeeper next time where I might find the bunnies; and I think I'll consult with the God of the universe as to where to look for the decisions I need to make in life.

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Come explore it here!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 11:16 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 21, 2019

Happiness

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Gotta love this friend. She made me laugh with her story.

While a favorite cake I made baked in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. I saw an item that interested me.

In order to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture. I expected it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It's not going to load anything else. It can't load. It's not digital...it's print!

I laughed, and you might have, too. But how often you and I have done the very same thing? We've tried and tried to enlarge God's love.

When the ugliness of life turns dark and tears soak our pillow, we want God to be large enough to ease our sorrow. We want to enlarge His power to quickly erase our heartache. And we definitely want to increase His understanding of the yuckiness of our situation.

Who visits me now? 
Then we go to the next stage. Self-pity visits and settles besides us on the couch of life, and biting our lower lip because happiness left us, we so desperately wish His voice to be big enough to bring it back. Or at least loud enough to order our gloom to go away.

I know this first hand because I've been there. At 31, enjoying my role as a Mom to my 3-, 5–, and 7-year-old sons, an intruder came and robbed my happiness. It was called Retinitis Pigmentosa. The dreaded hereditary disease dropped a black curtain over my days, leaving me completely blind.

Desperation, not a nice sensation. 
And in that darkness, I furiously wanted to tap the surface of my faith and make God large, super large to look down upon me and say, "I'm big enough to grant relief to your pain. I will give your sight back."

But He didn't. And so, I went to bed with wrinkled tissue in hand, trying to suppress my cries, hoping my husband wouldn't hear his blind wife sob her night away.

Hubby didn't hear me, and apparently, God didn't either. He seemed small, distant, and aloof to my heartache.

Give me the end of the story. 
So, what happened? Some of you have already read my books and know the rest of my story. But let me remind you that the light shone in my heart when I took a long sigh and got quiet, really quiet.

Since my eyes stopped working, my hearing became sharper. With earphones securely on, I listened to God's Word. It was His voice speaking to me. So clearly, he repeated the verse in the book of Matthew.

He said that I was more than a fool. I was first looking to see again. I was obsessed in being a "normal" person. I sought first to be a sighted Mom and wife. But His Word was saying, stop that nonsense. Instead, seek me first. And guess what! All the stuff you're looking for will be added to you. (This is not a quote from the Bible, but rather, my bold paraphrase and interpretation of Matthew 6:33.)

Taking action. 
And so, I did. I put on my eyeglasses of obedience and began my search...of Him. In doing so, I stepped back and realize that my blindness was no match to the size of His provision. My darkness was insignificant compared to the brightness of His light.

Then all turned around. All fit perfectly where it belonged. No more desperately seeking to see again. The eyes of my heart saw His promises with 20/20 spiritual vision. What glory!

Now what? 
How sweet the truth that God is already large enough to conquer anything. That's why my seeking never stopped. Today I seek Him, with fervor, with diligence, with passion, and with expectation.

Joy has been visiting each night, Hubby's respect and admiration repeats each time he says he loves me. My sons grew up strong, capable and loving.

And the things God said He would add...well, He multiplied them instead.

How about you?
I write these lines because He's probably whispering the same to you: What in the world are you seeking? Are you searching what this world cannot hold? What it cannot give you. Or what it cannot answer?

Seek Me, God says. And watch; just watch how powerfully big and mighty I am. Watch what I will do.

Father, keep me humble enough to first and above all seek you. Keep me bold enough to declare the size of your mighty power, perfect enough to meet my every need. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 10:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 14, 2019

How to Find True Love

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Looking for love in all the wrong places. Remember that song popular a few years back? The lyrics resonated with millions because they probably did that very thing.

The other day, I looked in hubby's direction, fist planted on my hip. "You mean you wouldn't get up in the middle of the night and, knowing that noise scared me, you wouldn't take care of it?"

"Well," he paused, "I might have maybe when we first got married. But After 41 years of marriage, I don't know."

I tried to give him a hateful look. But he didn't give me a chance because he gave me a quick kiss on my cheek. "Only kidding," he said.

Ha! Maybe not. The truth is that through our marriage, our love has changed. It resembled the seasons of the year. Some years saw the freshness of spring as we began a family---joy blended with the exciting stage of parenthood. The summer brought the warmth of affection, particularly when things went well. And even coldness in the winters when we both needed to grow, mature and learn.

Yes, hubby and I have experienced all levels of love, all forms, and in various intensities.

Our love changed because we're only creatures in the learning mode of life. Not so with Jesus. He loved us even before we could be called His children. He loved us enough to die for us. His love didn't diminish when we shrugged at His instructions and went our own way. And His love remained constant even when fear threatened to consume us. Could we say Jesus is the only true love, ready to defend us when noises of adversity scare us?

We can count on the fact that His love never changes, never wavers, and, joy of joys---never, ever will it leave us.

And if that weren't enough, that true love carries the promise that we'll be filled with the fullness of God. So "...you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge---that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV).

Father, I praise you because I no longer have to keep looking. Your love is mine. And for me, that's enough. In Jesus' name, amen.

What kind of love fills your life today?
Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:36 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 7, 2017

To Do Today, Stay in the Present Moment
 

By Answers2Prayer   First off I need to give credit where credit is due. The title for this devotional was passed to me by my very wise sister. It was divinely timed because when she sent me the email, I was struggling with the exact opposite. I was fretting about tomorrow, about the following week, about the whole next month. Have you ever done this? Have you ever found yourself unable to focus on the present moment even when as believers in Jesus we're taught, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34 NIV

Admittedly this is easier said than done, especially when our thinking takes us in directions that cause worry, anxiety and occasionally outright panic. Stewing about issues outside of our present moment can lead us away from trusting God and in the fact that he always has our best interests in mind. In my moment of distress, among many it seems, my sister offered me this; she said, Sometimes when I'm feeling down I ask myself, "what do I need right now?" or "what can I do for ME to make me feel better?" Perhaps for you it's a good cup of tea or coffee, a brisk walk or browsing through scripture and finding a verse that brings comfort and helps settle your mind. Maybe it's a prayer that helps re-direct your thinking.

During the time preceding my mother going to be with the Lord, she struggled daily with her thinking. It was difficult for her to stay in the present moment because of the pain and suffering she endured. Despite this, she offered my sister a coping strategy that I believe has merit for daily living and the tendency we have to fret beyond the present moment. She would break the day up into three parts and concentrate on getting through the morning and thinking of nothing else. Then she'd focus on the afternoon and finally the evening. This helped her live in the moment and not to fear beyond that.

And with that idea, latch yourself to a piece of scripture that provides you with the strength to ‘do today, to stay in the present moment' as you trust God to take care of those little and often troubling details in your life. Here are a few of mine, "Praise the Lord; praise God our Saviour! For each day he carries us in his arms." (Psalm 68:19 NLT), or this; "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

If you're worrying beyond today, focus on Jesus and give Him the moment you're in right now. Allow his love to surround your heart and mind as you do something just for you. Living in the here and now of our lives is no easy feat, but as we lean on God's promises, we can know with assurance that our heavenly Father will see us through today and provide the strength we need when the sun rises again tomorrow.

Paul Smyth 
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The book of John takes us through many deep discussions that Jesus gave at various times in His ministry. Please click here for Study #1 -- JESUS AND NICODEMUS; Study #2 -- THE WOMAN AT THE WELL; Study #3 --  AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA; Study #4 -- BREAD OF LIFE; Study #5 -- THE SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK; and Study #6 -- THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 10:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 8, 2019

Exemplary Exemplar, Part 1
 
By Answers2Prayer 
     Welcome to an account that would make the first pages of Ripley's Book of Believe it or not!

Dr. Evan O'Neil Kane was the chief surgeon at Kane Summit Hospital in New York City. He was 60-years old and had been practicing surgery for 37 years. He was especially interested in anaesthetic. You see, he practiced back in the early part of the 20th century, when the only kind of anaesthetic used was general in nature--and it had its complications. Patients were sometimes left paralyzed and on occasion, they died. Convinced that a local anaesthetic would also suffice for certain operations, Dr. Kane tried hard to find a patient willing to undergo surgery under a local anaesthetic. As people are generally resistant to "revolutionary" changes, there were no volunteers forthcoming. Finally he did discover a "patient" who was willing to help him experiment. The patient needed his appendix removed, and he was scheduled for surgery. It was February 15, 1921, a Tuesday morning. The patient was prepared and rolled into the operating room. Kane, who had perf ormed over 4,000 appendectomies, performed the initial cut. He clamped the blood vessels while he located the appendix. He then skilfully removed it as he had done many times before. Through it all, the patient experienced only minor pain, he recuperated quickly and was released from the hospital two days later. Dr Kane had proved his point. It was a milestone in medical history that a person could be operated on under local anaesthetic while still awake.

Oh, by the way, did I tell you who the patient was? Dr. Kane himself! Oh boy...Oh boy...he had operated on himself to prove a point!

This "first practice and then preach" ideology was first outlined in Acts 1:1: "In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach..." (NLT). Notice the inspired sequencing of the words, "do and teach"! In other words, long before Dr.Kane personified this ideology, our Lord, the exemplary exemplar, had embodied it by going "the God-honouring ways" Himself first. Take for instance his twin commands of, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." (Matt 22:37, 39-40 NLT). A careful scrutiny of His life would reveal that all along He had been practicing this Himself.

Our Saviour's life can broadly be divided into three parts: Preparation (at Nazareth); Proclamation (Ministry by and large at Capernaum); and Passion (in Jerusalem). In this Series of two parts, I will endeavour to bring home the truth as to how our Lord diligently went about fulfilling these two commandments in each phase of His life, so that valuable lessons gleaned thereof can be applied in our own lives as well. Of course, the "greater" aim as always is to lead us to a greater realization of His greatness and greater adoration of Him.


Preparation...

Not much is documented about this phase in our Lord's life, barring some details in the scrupulously-penned Gospel of Luke (See Luke 2:39-52). However, the Heavenly commendation during His baptism, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy." (Matt 3:17 NLT) would leave none in doubt that our Lord was indeed fleshing out these two commandments scrupulously during His "preparation" days in Nazareth.

Prayer: Father, help me to always toe my Saviour's line of first practicing and then witnessing for Your Glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Join us on Thursday for Part 2 of Exemplary Exemplair, a study focused on the life of the only One who ever truly practiced what He preached!  
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 9:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 5, 2019

The View From Artist's Bluff, Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 2

By Answers2Prayer 
     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

On our way home from Cape Breton, we stopped for an unforgettable 2-day visit to the Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire, and while there, we were privileged to climb up to the beautiful Artists' Bluff. The view was absolutely spectacular. This particular outcropping of rock is named for its popularity among artists who come there for inspiration. Quite naturally, the bluff provides a breathtaking view of Cannon Mountain, Mount Lafayette and the Franconia Notch, all with the beautiful Echo Lake in the foreground.

The bluff also offers a wonderful view of state park's only RV Park, a 7-site camping spot at Echo Lake for self-contained units. The way the 7 trailers were lined up below us made it seem as if the RVs were surrounded by a ring of beautiful trees, all decked out in the gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. Yes, it definitely looked like a wonderful place to camp...

I had to laugh as I looked at that RV park below us. You see, the tiniest trailer in the bunch was ours, and no matter how romantic the park looked from Artists' Bluff, I knew the truth: Those seven sites were not rimmed by trees at all. Rather, they were unceremoniously lined up along the edge of the large public parking lot that served Echo Lake Beach! You couldn't see the lake at all from the camp, and even the view from the top of the hill behind the RVs looked out over--the service garages for the Franconia Notch State Park!

I also knew something else about that park...There are no camp bathrooms or showers! Of course, the park is advertised as being for self-contained RVs only, but since we don't own a self-contained unit, we didn't fully appreciate what that meant. Fortunately for us, there were also no lights in the RV park, and once the sun went down, it was dark enough to feel comfortable finding a tree or a bush to substitute for the lack of camp bathrooms...

This teaches us an important lesson, one we would do well to remember in the upcoming New Year: Things in life are not always as they seem. You see, it didn't matter how romantic and appealing the RV park appeared from Artist's Bluff, it was not the ideal camping spot for our little 12-foot trailer that doesn't come equipped with a bathroom. In the same way, that "ideal" job could turn out to have the worst boss ever; the "chance of a lifetime" vacation could result in you getting sick from contaminated food; the "dream" car could turn out to be a lemon; or worse. Remember, "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Prov. 16:25; Prov. 14:12 ESV)

In the same way, sometimes the things that don't appear so ideal in life actually turn out to be perfect. When the "dream" car is too expensive and we are forced to buy a used one in its stead, it could be that God is saving us from the "lemon". When we don't get the "dream" job, and this results in many more weeks of unemployment, it might very well mean that we actually get a much better job in the end, and we are saved the heart ache of having to deal with that less-than-desirable boss.

The point is, when circumstances in the upcoming year dictate that we take what appears to be the "less desirable" path, let's stop worrying. Instead, let's praise God that our "campground" has a bathroom and shower! Let's praise Him for saving us from even less desirable outcomes!

Sometimes it is our choice whether to take the more appealing path through life or whether to take the harder-looking road. When this is the case, let's not forget that God is always there to give us the wisdom we need to make the right--albeit perhaps not the most appealing--decision: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5 ESV).

Don't just jump to what appears to be the most desirable choice. Instead, think about that view from Artists' Bluff and remember that things aren't always as nice as they seem. Ask God for His guidance. He will give it to you, for He loves you incredibly!

Oh, and as the New Year and its upcoming difficulties roll around, don't despair when things don't appear to be a "rosy" as you had anticipated. Perhaps God is saving you from a "bathroom/shower-less" campground because He knows you don't have a "bathroom" onboard!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Dec 2018, 8:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 11, 2018

Celebration Fit for a King! Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 2
By Answers2Prayer 
     Last Saturday, in "Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 1", we saw that it is important to remember this greatest of births...Not just once a year, but every day of the year. This raises the question, however, of just how we should celebrate this greatest of births...

As I think of some birthday celebrations in the past, I am reminded of the one or two times when the entire acknowledgement of my birthday consisted of receiving some presents as we sat down to eat the dinner I had prepared. I did appreciated the gifts, but somehow I was left feeling...cheated. I believe that Jesus must feel this way as well with our traditional celebration of His birthday at Christmastime.

My wonderful family usually doesn't celebrate my birthday that way, however. They usually make it a very special day where they have put aside their regular agendas and spend the day with me. I remember one year when my family took me out hiking at a local provincial park for my birthday. We stopped for ice cream on the way back, and when we got home, my youngest son cooked a special dinner of homemade ravioli, Caesar Salad and a Ricotta pie. I have to admit that although I remember that day in great detail, I have no recollection whatsoever of the gifts I am sure they must have given me...

There were actually two things that made this birthday special: My family gave me their undivided attention; and they made an effort to do things they knew pleased me. Herein lies the two-fold secret to how we can celebrate Jesus' birth--every day of the year.

First of all, just like I appreciate so much when my family spends their day with me on my birthday, wouldn't it be more meaningful to Jesus for us to celebrate His birthday by giving Him our undivided attention, even for a short period of time, every day? Remember that Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us:

a) He stands at the door and knocks, ever hoping we will let Him in: "...If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3:20 NIV).

b) He desires to be with us, to commune with us, to interact with us, to be part of our lives: "You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant dos not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:14-15 NIV).

By setting aside special time with Jesus--time to read the Word of God, time to reflect on its Truths, time to talk to Him, time to listen for His voice--we are showing appreciation for His wonderful gift to mankind. We are truly celebrating His birthday.

The second thing we can learn from my birthday celebrations comes from the fact that I really appreciate the times my family members go out of their way to do what they know pleases me. Cooking my dinner, for example, always pleases me. I also lovw to go out for hikes, and one of my favorite summer things to do is to stop for ice cream. The same way my family makes me feel special by doing the things that please me, we can celebrate Jesus' birthday by going out of our way to please Him.

How do we please Him? The Bible tells us two ways, actually:

a) By doing what He asks us to do: "If you love me, obey my commandments." (John 14:15 NLT). It's as simple as that, and His commandments are not complicated at all: "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:37-40 NLT).

b) By putting our faith in Him: "And it is impossible to please God without faith." (Heb. 11:6a NLT). If we want to truly please Jesus, we must put our trust in Him!

When we love God and one another, and when we put our trust in Jesus, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus has given us by His birth on this Earth. We are, in essence, "celebrating" His birthday by making Him very happy.

Let's not limit our celebration of Jesus' birth to Christmastime. Instead, let's spend time with Jesus and do what He asks us to do every day of the year. Let's listen for His voice, trust Him and show our love for Him by loving one another; for in so doing, we will truly be giving Jesus a birthday celebration fit for a King!

Even though my birthdays are made the most special by the times my family has given their days to be with me, I must admit that I also appreciate the gifts. Besides, gifts are a traditional part of a birthday celebration. Are there any gifts we can give Jesus on a daily basis that are worthy of a King? Join us on Tuesday for "Gifts Fit for a King! Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 3"!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
With all the commercialism, materialism and paganism surrounding the traditional celebration of Christmas, just how should Christians celebrate the birth of Christ? Join us on Thursday for the conclusion of "Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 8:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 8, 2018

Should we Celebrate Christ's Birth?

Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 1
 
By Answers2Prayer 
     The Christmas season is well upon us, and along with it, its habitual flavours of commercialism, materialism, and yes, paganism. In fact, although Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the greatest birth ever, it is pretty difficult to even find Christ in Christmas anymore.

In recent years, we've been told we're not supposed to be saying "Merry Christmas" because it isn't "politically correct". Some schools have exchanged "Christmas" concerts/plays/displays for ones that represent the beliefs of a variety of world religions, and some stores have been known to put Christmas trees upside down, all in an effort to make Christmas less of a religious holiday and more of a secular one. I have to sit back and scratch my head in wonder at this. With Santas on every corner, reindeer in every yard, elves on ever shelf, and ten times as many front-lawn sleighs as manger scenes, it would seems that Christ has already been removed from Christmas!

This leads many Christians to begin to ask themselves whether or not we should even be celebrating Christ's birth at Christmas. After all, we don't even know when Jesus was actually born, and the only thing we can be completely sure of is that it was likely not December 25th; and with all the paganism and commercialism attached to Christmas, it makes it hard to even remember this is supposed to be a birthday celebration.

You may be thinking at this point that I'm saying we shouldn't celebrate Christmas. This, actually, is not the point of this devotional. I believe that whether or not you, as a Christian, celebrate Christmas, is an individual decision, made between you and God. The question, then, is not whether we should be celebrating Christmas, but rather, should we celebrate Christ's birth?

As we consider this question, I'd like to take a moment to remind each of us what Jesus' birth truly means. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to come to this Earth. He lived a completely unappreciated life; He was ridiculed and tortured, and He died a horrendous death, all so that we could be saved, so that our sins could be forgiven, to reconcile us to the Father. Consider the following text:

"Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." (Phil. 2:7-8 NLT)

This makes His birth the most important one in history; and if we make the effort to celebrate our own birthdays, it stand to reason that His birth should be celebrated all the more!

The question, then, isn't "should" we be celebrating Christ's Birth, but "when"?

This past year, we were away on my actual birthday, and as a result, it came and went without any hoopla. In fact, we had some complications on the road, which resulted in the day being in the "less pleasant" category, and we got to our campground too late to go for my promised dinner out. In all, I have to admit I felt a bit "left-out" on my birthday.

But I haven't really told you the "rest" of the story...

Three weeks before my birthday, my husband and oldest son gave me some wonderful birthday presents. The day after my actual birthday, my husband bought me ice cream and took me out to dinner. My mother had given me a beautiful birthday card just before we set out on our trip, and though my youngest son texted me a brief "happy birthday" message on my actual birthday, his card didn't arrive until about a week later, and his gift another two weeks after that. I also received some wonderful, warm birthday wishes from my e-friends around the world, which began arriving the day before my birthday and kept trickling in for the next six days. You can believe me when I say that although my actual birthday was not celebrated at all, I felt a lot more special with the birthday celebration being spread out over a couple of months than any of the "one-day-of-the-year" celebrations of the past.

Many ardent Christians do try to keep Jesus in Christmas, making great efforts to make Christmas a celebration of His birth; and I believe that many succeed and are to be commended for their efforts. However, with the season so filled with stress and diluted with worldliness, I have to wonder if maybe Jesus often feels at Christmas a little like I did on my actual birthday this year: Left out! Especially since we usually go back to not even thinking about His birth and wonderful gift to mankind once Christmas is over. Wouldn't it make Him happy if we were to acknowledge this greatest of births at other times of the year as well? Wouldn't it make Him feel even more special if His birthday celebration were to be stretched out, not just over a couple of months like mine was this year, but over the entire year? Wouldn't this serve to better show Him how much we truly appreciate the ultimate sacrifice that He made so that we might have life eternal?

Think about it!

But wait. We can't have Christmas every day. If we are to celebrate Jesus' birth daily, just what should this celebration look like?

Join us on Saturday for "A Party fit for a King: Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 2"

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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