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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Sep 2019, 10:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 17, 2019

A Bit of Song
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:14-16 NLV)

It was a beautiful morning. I was still asleep in my bed when the rising sun sneaked through my curtains and tapped me on my eyelids. I quickly woke up and walked into my living room. My cat was sitting on top of my desk soaking in the sun that shone through the widow. I smiled at her as I leashed up my dogs and headed outside. I took my time walking them too. It was cold and frost was on the grass, but I didn't mind. After weeks of overcast skies I delighted in the light. I watched as the pink and purple clouds slowly turned a brilliant gold. Then I smiled up at the sky and thanked God for the beautiful morning and for another day here on Earth.

Later in the day I was grabbing a few odds and ends at the local grocery store. I was exchanging pleasantries with the cashier when I heard a giggle behind me. I turned and saw a little girl holding her Mom's hand. She looked up at me and said: "You sing when you talk." Her Mom looked embarrassed and apologized, but I just smiled at the little girl and laughed along with her. It was only then that I realized that I had been feeling so fine on this glorious day that my voice had even changed. It had become so light and airy that my "Good morning", "Thank you", and "Have a great day" had taken on a song like quality. Instead of feeling embarrassed by it, though, I felt even better. It was so wonderful knowing that I had been singing when I talked and that I had made that little girl giggle with joy.

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote: "The sun does not shine for a few trees or flowers, but for the wide world's joy." May the same be true for all of us. May we all share our love not just with those around us but with everyone we meet. May we all shine our light not just in our own homes but for the whole, wide world. May we all give our joy to God, ourselves, and everyone else. And if a bit of song should sneak into our voices when we do then all the better.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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We hope and pray that you will find this newsletter a blessing to you and to your families. God bless each of you as you strive to draw closer to Him!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 2:16 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 12, 2019

Thick Fog
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    The fog is so thick. I can't see my hand in front of my face. I can't see where my feet are going, there is nothing to keep me from tripping...Oh God, You promised to never leave us or forsake us, but where are You now?

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 NLT)

But Lord, I don't know where You are! I can't see anything in this fog! How can I come when...

"Be still, and know that I am God!" (Ps 46:10a NLT)

Be still...Okay, I'll try...

"Come to me..." (Matt 11:28a NLT)

Maybe if I follow Your voice, I will find You. Maybe then I'll find my way out of this fog. Maybe...

"Come to me..." (Matt 11:28a NLT)

I must keep moving...I must keep making my way towards that voice...Hey! There's a hand! God, is that You?

"For I hold you by your right hand--I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.'" (Is. 41:13 NLT)

Okay. Oh, Lord, Your hand, full of power and might. Thank You, thank You, thank You!

"Come, follow me..." (Matt. 4:19 NLT)

But wait. It's still foggy...I thought that You were the Light of the world. I thought that once I got to You the fog would lift, that I would be able to see my way out, that this storm would cease...I thought...

"Blessed are those who believe without seeing..." (John 20:29 NLT)

You mean, I'm supposed to continue to stumble along in this fog? Where's the abundant, fog-free life you promised? Where is the...

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b NLT)

But...but...I'm afraid I'll stumble, I don't want to trip and fall...

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NLT).

But...but...I can't see in this fog! What if I go the wrong way? What if...

"[I] will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber." (Ps. 121:3 NLT)

So, I'm just supposed to hold your hand and let You guide me through this fog?

"Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:29 NLT)

But if I can't see, how can You?

I am you light and your salvation--so why should you be afraid? (Paraphrased from Ps. 27:1a NLT)

Okay Lord. There doesn't seem to be any choice but to flounder in this fog, so I choose to take Your hand and let You lead me through.

Let all that you are wait quietly before God, for your hope is in Me. I alone am your rock and your salvation, your fortress where you will not be shaken. Your victory and honor come from Me alone. I am your refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach you. O my daughter, trust in Me at all times. Pour out your heart to me, for I am your refuge. (Paraphrased from Ps. 62:5-8 NLT)

Hey! This isn't so bad. You truly aren't letting my feet slip...And since You see the end from the beginning, the fog of my circumstances doesn't bother you in the least...Wow. So I've always thought that the solution to finding peace was for the fog to lift, yet all this time Your peace is nothing but my choice. I can have it even in the fog of my circumstances...Never have I felt so much peace...and joy...and love...and...

Wait! Isn't that what Peter experienced in the storm? Didn't he walk on top of the waves? Didn't the storm continue on? Yet amidst the storm, he found his peace in You (see Matt. 14:22-33). That's what I'm doing right now, isn't it, Lord? I'm walking through the fog of my circumstances, I'm walking blindly in peace...Wow!

But Wait...The fog is lifting a little...I'm starting to be able to see...Oh God, it's so beautiful...

"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over." (Mark 5:34 NLT)

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 Thu 05 Sep 2019, 8:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 5, 2019

Animals...ALL Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Tuesday, in "Animals...All Around, Part 1", we saw that just because we don't always recognize God's blessings doesn't mean they aren't there. We also saw that sometimes we don't recognize God's blessings because we are too busy to stop and watch for them. Are there other reasons we don't see the fulfillment of God's promises in our situations?

While touring in Australia, I told myself that I was watching for animal life 24/7. In reality, however, while driving I was watching the road and trying to remember to drive on the left. When out hiking, I was often swatting flies or watching where I put my feet. Take, for example, the day I decided to take a walk through the park while my husband visited the ANZAC museum in Albany, Western Australia. I was doing the right thing, right? I was taking the time to stop the mad scramble and search for birds. Unfortunately for me, only a few paces into my walk, "nature" began to "call", and I had to switch the focus of my search from birds to toilets! Needless to say, I heard birds calling out as I rushed to find that all-important place, but I didn't stop to look for them. Could it be that one of the reasons I didn't see more animals was because I was, in general, too...distracted?

In the same way, so often we don't see God's abundant blessings because we are too distracted by other things: Problems, illness--even just the busyness of life--can all blind our senses to the touch of our God. It doesn't mean He isn't there, it simply means we don't see Him. We need to stay focused on seeking the blessings God pours out on us, even--and perhaps especially--when emergencies arise!

Here are a couple of examples:

1. You are feeling so overcome with fear that when an encouraging email arrives, you don't even open it. Or if you do, you don't even realize that the encouraging words are actually God speaking into your situation.

2. You may be feeling discouraged and depressed, like the "sun" of prosperity and happiness will never shine again. You pass someone who attempts to make eye contact with you to give you a cheery smile. You don't even notice. What you don't realize is that this particular person's smile was the ray of sunshine you had been hoping for. He was sent to you by God to give you hope, but you were too distracted to even see him.

Another reason we were never able to see certain Australian animals in the wild was that many are nocturnal, and the ones that were not nocturnal tended to be "crepuscular" (in order to escape the heat of the day, they usually don't come out of the cooler forests except in the early mornings and late evenings). We, on the other hand, were forced to be "diurnal" (opposite of nocturnal)! Because of the problem with animals on the roads at night, we were actually not allowed to drive our rental car anywhere except in town between dusk and dawn. As a result, we could not be in the animals' habitats at the times when we would have been able to see them.

In the same way, we may be expecting God's blessings to pour out on our own timetable. What we don't realize is that God's timing is always right, even when it differs from our own. Take, for example, the sale of a home. God prompts you to move to another town. You put your house on the market, but it doesn't sell right away. Why isn't He blessing your obedience with a quick sale? Is it, perhaps, because the timing isn't right? Maybe the home you need to purchase in the new town isn't available to you yet, or there may be some other reason for the delay. The point is, God will bless you with the sale of your home. It may not, however, be in your timing. Just like we needed to be in the forest at the right times to see certain of the Australian creatures, we need to recognize that God's blessings will come at just the right time.

God's blessings abound; however, in order to recognize and receive them, we must await God's timing, and we need to stay focused and not allow our circumstances to distract us.

There were times, however, in Australia, that I was wholeheartedly looking for diurnal animals in the daytime. I was in their habitat and I was taking my time and staying completely focused on the search, yet I still didn't find any. Are there times in our lives that we are seeking God's blessings in His time, times when we are attentively pushing aside our distractions and taking the time to watch and wait, but those blessings still seem to elude us? Join us on Saturday for "Animals...ALL Around, 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. 
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Join us on Saturday for some ideas in "Animals...ALL Around, Part 3: Too--Commonplace? Camouflaged? Masked by Disappointment?"
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Sep 2019, 7:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 3, 2019

Animals...ALL Around, Part 1: God's blessings...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     As my husband and I were preparing for a once-in-a-life-time trip to Australia, I couldn't help but begin to imagine all the wonderful animals we would see. From the stories I had heard, the roads would be littered with hordes of Emus, Camels and kangaroos, and I knew I would have no problem achieving my goal of seeing and photographing every unique member of the Australian animal kingdom.

Needless to say, this isn't exactly the way it was. We had been in Australia for over two weeks before we saw our first wild kangaroo. A month brought us our first kookaburra, and we never did see wild Tasmanian devils, camels, platypus, or even cockatiels or budgies. We only saw one snake in the wild, and the spiders were actually not everywhere, and they were of ordinary size...To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Where were all the animals we were purported to see?

In the same way we were told that animals were everywhere in Australia, we are told in God's Word that God's blessings abound. Here are a few examples of the blessings God's Word promises us:

1. God blesses His people: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (Num. 6:24-26 NIV); "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Eph. 1:3 NIV).

2. God is near to the broken-hearted: "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Ps. 34:18 NIV).

3. God gives us comfort: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4 NIV).

4. God provides for us: "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul." (Ps. 23:1-3 NIV).

5. God is our shelter in times of storm, our Rock, our strong tower: "For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." (Ps. 27:5 NIV; see also Ps. 62, etc.)

The problem is, in the midst of our troubles, these blessings seem like my animals in Australia: non-existent!

In truth, the continent of Australia truly is teaming with wildlife. The abundant roadkill lining the highways will attest to this, as will the many reports of animals sightings in the same areas we visited and declared "animal free".

In the same way, the fact that we don't see God's blessings being poured out upon us does not mean that they don't abound. God has promised to bless, comfort, protect, feed, encourage and empower us, and God keeps all His promises: "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." (Ps. 145:13 NIV). It isn't that God doesn't pour out His blessings; rather, just like I didn't always see the abundant wildlife in Australia, we do not always recognize the blessings of God.

The question, then, changes from, "Where are all the purported blessings?" to "Why don't we see and recognize God's blessings?"

There actually were several specific reasons why we didn't always see the abundant wildlife in Australia. I believe that from my failed experiences with animal sightings we can learn some vital lessons in recognizing the blessings God showers us with. This will be the focus of this mini-series.

For today, let's look at one of the biggest reasons I didn't see wildlife in Australia: We didn't take the time...We were, after all, on a set agenda. Australia is big and our time was limited! Were we unable to spot wildlife because we were in too much of a hurry? I decided to test this theory. When my husband wanted to visit the ANZAC museum in Albany, Western Australia, I opted to take a leisurely walk around a quiet park instead. The result? I came away with many pictures of exotic birds.

Herein lies the first vital suggestion for recognizing God's blessings: We need to stop rushing through life. We need to learn to be silent and watchful, for when we do, we will begin to notice the many blessings God has for us.

Take, for example, that day when I, as a hospital worker, was feeling completely stressed out as I rushed through my morning agendas. I didn't even notice the occasional smile or cheery word from coworkers and patients. If I had stopped long enough, I might have realized that God sent those cheery smiles and greetings specifically for me, to brighten my day! Doesn't God tell us: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Ps. 46:10 NIV)?

Please join us on Thursday for "Animals...All Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction..."!

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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So how do we begin to recognize God's blessings in our lives? Join us on Thursday for "Animals...All Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction..." for some pointers.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Aug 2019, 8:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 31, 2019

Each Tiny Leaf...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ." (1 Cor. 12:12 NIV)

Why is there so much disunity in the church? With unity being so near and dear to Jesus' heart that it appeared four times (see John 17:11, 20-24) in His last recorded prayer before going to the cross, shouldn't it be near and dear to our hearts as well?

But wait. The church is made up of so many different types of people. Some are true believers, some are not. Everyone is of a different culture, and our skins are so many different colours. We all have our preferences. We all come from different socioeconomic levels. How can something so diverse truly become "one body"?

The answer is simple: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Cor. 12:13 NIV)

The one "common thread" so to speak is God's Spirit. This doesn't mean that we all look or think or act the same. In fact, that will never be: "Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." (1 Cor. 12:14 NIV). What it means is that when we are filled with God's Spirit, our differences won't matter, and we will be able to work together as one.

In fact, the secret to the church's strength and functionality actually lies in our diversity: "Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body...If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?...But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." (1 Cor. 12:15, 17-18 NIV. See also vs. 16).

The truth is, the body would not be able to function properly without its diverse, individual parts: "If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." (1 Cor. 12:19-20 NIV)

I am so saddened by the fact that we have segregated church congregations. Why do all the members of a congregation need to have the same culture or colour skin? Or why do they all need to be middleclass or citizens of good standing? Why can't we let the outcasts in? When we discourage someone from attending our church or treat them as if they are substandard, we are, in essence, saying we don't need them. Yet Paul tells us, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'" (1 Cor. 12:21-22 NIV)...

What if that person we don't think belongs in our congregation is actually someone who is vital to the functioning and testimony of our church? What if they can encourage and bless on a different level than anyone else, because they are different?

Consider Paul's words: "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other." (1 Cor. 12:22-25 NIV)

Let's remember this all important truth: "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor. 12:26-27 NIV)

One of the many thousands of things that fascinated me on my recent once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia was the leaves on the tree. I would note that the leaves of many were actually made up of thousands of tiny, tiny leaves, all bunched together in what would appear as one leaf.

Isn't this the way our churches should appear? Shouldn't we live so much in unity that no one sees our individual parts, but only the beauty of the church as a whole? Shouldn't we be so supportive and caring, shouldn't we each carry out our individual roles in such a way that we appear as one? Then, just like those leaves in Australia, outsiders would have to look closely to see that we are, in fact, individuals making up the whole.

Think about what kind of message this would send to the world at large: "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21 NIV).

Prayer: Father God, may we see the true value of each other. May we stop judging and setting racial and cultural boundaries in our churches. May we be one, so that the world may believe that You sent Jesus!

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 you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Aug 2019, 10:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 29, 2019

6 Ways to Bring Back Peace

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     New friends ask me, "Being blind, how do you put on your make-up?"

My answer is simple: I do it carefully.

After living with complete blindness for 33 years, I often forget my limitations. But trouble comes when getting ready to go out. I pry myself from endless tasks. At the last minute, I rush around like a crazy woman. I hop in the shower, slip on my robe and dash into my walk-in closet. Frantically, I slide hangers, looking for any outfit to wear.

How do I do this with no sight? It's pretty simple. When I purchase an item, I store in my memory its characteristics--the texture, the shape of the neckline, buttons or length of sleeve. One light touch tells me what the item is. But when I'm in a hurry, trying to find the right outfit gets a bit tough. Not because I can't see, but because I just have too many clothes. Way more than any blind gal should be allowed to have. The bar holding all those hangers is probably sagging from the weight.


A jammed-filled closet and a jammed-filled life.

Oh, how my jammed closet resembled my life--full of tasks of all kinds and sizes. Like a squirrel running from tree to tree, I'd dash from one task to another.

I had no choice--lots of people to please. Fueling that desire, even as a young girl, I tried to perform to win my parents' and teachers' approval. Later on, I wanted to please my family, my employer, and my friends. Phew! I thought that the only way to please myself was by pleasing them.

Have you been there? The pleasing craze explodes. We rush through life eager to make someone happy. And the level of stress and tension rises like the thermometer in Orlando's summers.

So this season of our life, how about if we vow to cool off. God never meant us to live in the heat of tension. He gave one pretty refreshing directive: "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:36-37 NIV).


The 6 Secrets

When life sags from the weight of countless tasks, obeying His greatest commandment is the key to peaceful success. Early In the morning as we slide our feet into our slippers, this is what should play in our head: Loving God means receiving His peace. And when the world robs it, here are six secrets to bring it back:

* Inviting Him into our day.
* Drawing wisdom from His word to place the correct order to our priorities.
* Presenting Him with our to-do list for His approval.
* Giving thanks in advance for glitches as we know He will resolve.
* Invite into our day moments of silence in His presence to refuel our energy.
* Inhale the aroma of His reassurance for calmness.

Deviating from His ways equals burnout. But obeying His greatest commandment ushers wisdom to: arrange priorities; press forth when fatigued; bring clarity when confused; be calm when overwhelmed; and know the warmth of His love.

The love that sparks a desire to please Him. To receive His rest. And to know His peace because "It's useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don't you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?" (Psalm 127:2, MSG).

Let's Pray. Father, the tension and stress of life are keeping me from experiencing your peace, which I so long for. I invite you into my day and look to you to bring the calmness and peace I seek. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Since the Bible teaches that God's blessings abound, why can't I see any in my life? Join us next week for "Animals...All Around", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 12:17 am

Welcome to the Nugget

August 27, 2019

The Lord is in His Holy Temple...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 12: Psalm 11
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     
In past "Lessons From the Psalms", we have seen that in ancient Judaism, the Psalms were known as the "five books of David", and that these five books correspond and contrast with the "five books of Moses"

The first book of David is comprised of the first 41 Psalms, and it is thought to parallel Genesis, due to its theme of man and his relationship with God and its focus on how all blessings are bound up in obedience.

Over the past few months, we have explored a few of the Psalms in this first book: Psalm 1 in Part 7 of this series; Psalm 3 in Part 8 of this series; and Psalm 16 in Part 3 of this series. Today's Psalm, Psalm 11, also gives us unique perspective on man and his relationship with God, this time with specific emphasis on God's justice and trustworthiness. Let's take a look...

"I trust in the Lord for protection.
     So why do you say to me,
'Fly to the mountains for safety!'" (Vs. 1 NLT)

Isn't it true that we so often verbally put our trust in our loving, all-knowing, ever-faithful God; yet we then turn around and try to do things by our own power? For example: We pray that God will give our doctor wisdom. But when that same doctor comes in and tells us things we don't believe and prescribes treatments that we don't think will help, don't we tend to badmouth him a bit? Insinuate that he doesn't know what he is doing? Call him a fool? Refuse what he has prescribed?

Or perhaps we have prayed and asked God for courage to witness and for His Spirit to give us the words to say. Yet when the time comes, we are sure those thoughts planted in our minds are not right to be said, and we sneak off, out of the situation, without saying them.

When we say we are believing God for something, we are entering into a trust relationship with Him. That requires that we know Him, that we trust in His wisdom and His unfailing love. We may not trust the doctor in the above example, but we trust that God is big enough to give him wisdom. Or we may not trust our ability to hear God's Spirit, but we can trust in His Spirit to know how to speak to us in a way we will understand. There is, therefore, no need to doubt. We don't need to "fly like a bird to the mountain" in order to be ensured of God's protection!

Unfortunately, we see that everything in the world goes against this logic. We see others around us making bad choices. We see our leaders lying and cheating. We even see our pastors and priests falling into temptation. This, my friends, is not new. Psalm 11, written by David so many hundreds of years ago, describes something similar:

"The wicked are stringing their bows
     and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.
at those whose hearts are right.
     The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?" (Vs. 2,3 NLT)

With all the bad that is happening around us, it is so hard to truly trust and so easy to scratch our heads and ask, "Where is God in all of this?" Yet God asks us to know and love Him enough to trust Him, no matter how many there are who "shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right". He asks us to trust in His unfailing love for us that He has proven time and time again, and that He solidified with the cross of Jesus Christ (See Rom. 5:8).

"Where is God in all of this" you ask? Let's look:

"But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
     the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
     examining every person on earth." (Vs. 4 NLT)

In all of this, God is in His holy temple, and He rules from Heaven. He asks us to trust that He is not blind, that He knows when the wicked are trying to destroy us, for:

"The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.
     He hates those who love violence.
He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,
     punishing them with scorching winds." (Vs. 5-6 NLT)

In His love for mankind, God is just. He looks at the wicked. They will receive their just punishment. We can trust in God's omniscience and His justice!

And what about the righteous?

"For the righteous Lord loves justice.
     The virtuous will see his face." (Vs. 7 NLT)

Those who love and trust in the Lord will receive the ultimate in rewards: to "see His face"!

And herein lies perhaps the most beautiful picture of the purpose of the first 41 songs in the Psalms: When our relationship with God is bound up in love and respect, our ultimate reward is the highest honour in the universe: to "see His face"!

Never forget: it matters not what the wicked do and say; when we cling to God, we will "see His face", for "the Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord still rules from Heaven"!

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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In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 10:37 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 29, 2020

Lawn Mowing? Or Lawn Care?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I have a love/hate relationship with my lawn mower.

I love the way the grass looks once it is cut.

The hate part?

Pushing it requires work. It takes energy, it takes time...

Besides, there will always be areas where the machine can't get -- like around the bases of the fence and in the corners. And the grass only looks nice for a couple days before it begins to need cutting again...

I saw a truck the other day with the words, "Lawn Care" written on the side. Two young men in blue shirts were pushing lawnmowers, and one was using a trimmer on all the areas the mowers wouldn't reach. Wait. What a great idea! All the good things about cutting the lawn, without any of the bad!

It makes me think about life's problems. They are there. We apply a "fix" -- counselling, mechanics, finding new jobs, seeing the doctor -- and there is some satisfaction in seeing the "fix" begin to work until the problem is resolved. But mere antibiotics can't cure most of life's problems. Neither can counselors, mechanics or good jobs. Some of them are so large that no matter what "fix" you apply, they can't be resolved. And just like mowing the lawn doesn't stop the grass from growing back, clearing up an infection -- or seeing a marriage counselor or taking your car to the mechanic or finding a new job -- won't stop problems from returning either.

So what to do? Is there a "Problem Care" service?

Good news: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Just like there are two ways to get my lawn cut -- To push though and do it myself, or to hire a lawn service -- there are also two ways to get through the problems of life. We can worry about them and try to fix them ourselves, or we can give them to the One who truly can fix them.

But wait, you say. I have tried to give my problems and my worry to God; but how can I "not" worry when they aren't resolving? When it seems like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?

Are you sure they aren't resolving? Are you certain that your prayers aren't reaching Heaven? Is it possible that God is providing for you in a different way?

I once knew someone who was praying for a job. When it didn't materialize, that person began questioning whether God even heard the prayers. That person would later tell me that during even the worst of the unemployment crisis, they always had enough. God was providing for them, and they didn't need to worry about finances, even when the job didn't materialize.

I, myself, prayed for God to heal me of cancer. No matter how hard I prayed, however, the tumour remained. In the end, I had to undergo cancer treatment via the medical system. Did God hear my prayers? Absolutely. In the end, I was healed. Maybe the healing didn't look quite the way I had anticipated, but the cancer was gone just the same. And while going through this experience, God was right there, holding me up, carrying me through; and perhaps most importantly, He was teaching me important lessons on how to help others who are going through similar experiences.

When we truly cast our worries upon God, He comes through for us. His solutions are in His time and His way; but even while we continue to wait, He is there to help us through.

Problems abounding? What it will be? Will you worry? Or will you give the worry to the "Problem Care" specialist, the God of the universe who loves you exponentially more than you can even imagine? Will you try to find your own solutions? Or will you trust God to provide for your needs in His way, even when the "desired" outcome seems to be nothing but a pipe dream?

I don't know about you, but I want to subscribe to that "Lawn Care" service... And I want to subscribe to the "Problem Care" service 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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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2019, 11:19 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 22, 2019

The Waiting
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We had just put our house on the market a week earlier.

Up until that time, it was a flurry of activity with painting, striping wallpaper, scrubbing, cleaning, repairing and redecorating being the theme.

We hoped that in not-too-many days, the house would sell, and the flurry of activity would start all over again with packing and moving, and of course, there would be the painting, etc., of the new place.

We were in a rush for this to happen. We wanted all the dust to be settled by the end of July, because our son was getting married at the end of August; but we were, at that moment, in a waiting phase.

We had looked at a few houses, yes, but until our home sold, we really couldn't do anything. We couldn't even really start packing, for the house needed to stay pristine-looking for potential buyers. Besides, when we didn't yet know where we would be going, it would have been difficult to know what to get rid of and what to keep!

It seemed like such a waste of time, this waiting. We could have been busy doing so much towards advancing the move; but there we sat, twiddling our thumbs so to speak, waiting...

Do you find yourself in a waiting period of life? Maybe you've been given a promise of restoration, but you await its fulfillment. Maybe you thought you were on the right track, but you were derailed by a bad medical diagnosis or relationship issues. Or maybe you lost your job. And since there isn't anything you can "do" to change these derailments, to get yourselves back on track, you find yourselves waiting...

It's hard to wait patiently, isn't it? I just wanted to start packing! In the same way, I know you want your lives to get back on track as quickly as possible from the bad circumstances that have brought you to a standstill.

Let's remember, however, that, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven..." (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV). God never intended for us to push forward full-steam all the time, and His Word tells us that there are benefits to waiting: "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." (Is. 40:31 NKJV).

So what do we do when we wait?

*Here are a few suggestions I found...

1. Remember that God hears our cries: "Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me." (Micah 7:7 NKJV).

2. We must put our hope in God's Word and remember the blessings yet to come: "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope." (Psalm 130:5 NKJV); "Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him." (Isaiah 30:18).

3. We must trust explicitly in the Lord and not in ourselves: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding..." (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV).

4. Our job to watch with expectancy and to be prepared for unexpected answers: "My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up." (Psalm 5:3 NKJV)

5. We need to see the waiting period as an opportunity to experience God's goodness: "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him." (Lamentations 3:25 NKJV).

6. While we wait, we need to be strong and take courage: "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:13-14; see also Ps. 31:24 NKJV).

7. We also need to be still and choose patience, putting a stop to our fretting and anger: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm." (Psalm 37:7-8 NKJV).

8. Finally, we need to continue in steadfast prayer: "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving..." (Colossians 4:2 NKJV).

I'll try to remember this the next time I have to wait.... And maybe I'll catch up a bit on my writing in the downtime!

*Adapted from the "Unlocking the Bible" website...

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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What are you waiting for? Give it to God, He'll bring you through.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Aug 2019, 11:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 20, 2019

A Broken BB Gun
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)

When I was a young boy my favorite toy was a BB gun. It was shaped like an old fashioned Winchester lever action rifle. When I had it in my hands I suddenly became all the heros of the Western movies that I watched. I was John Wayne riding to the rescue, fighting off train robbers along the empty train tracks that ran next to our yard. Occasionally I would shoot BB's for target practice but most of the time I just pretended to be a cowboy with it.

One day I walked into the house carrying my gun in my hand. I was imitating a John Wayne movie where he swung the rifle by its lever and shot it with one hand. As I did so, however, I heard a pop. I hadn't totally cleaned the BB's out of the gun when I was shooting it the day before. I watched in terror as the BB parted the hair of my Dad who was snoozing on the couch. A half an inch lower and it would have shot him in the head. My Dad woke up instantly and saw what happened. With a lot of anger and cursing he grabbed my BB gun, walked out to the railroad tracks and smashed it on the rails. I wouldn't have another BB gun for a long time after that and when I did I refused to put BB's in it.

What bothered me the most, though, was seeing the anger in my Dad's eyes. I hid in my room for the rest of the day not wanting to face him. I was afraid he didn't love me anymore. At dinnertime he finally walked into the room and put his hand on my head. "It's ok, Joey", he said. "I forgive you. Now come and eat." I felt so relieved and joyful at that moment. I felt safe, happy, and loved once again.

In the years that followed I would disappoint my Dad more than once. I would also disappoint my Heavenly Father time and time again. I was a slow learner and suffered the consequences of my own actions. I hurt myself and others. I cried and struggled and grieved. Yet, through it all I always felt loved. No matter how many times I messed up I knew that God loved me and forgave me. I knew too that He was helping me to become better, kinder, and more loving. I just had to do my part.

God loves us all so much. His love is unconditional. He forgives our mistakes, failures, and bad choices. He guides us along the path of love and helps us to become the people we were meant to be. He helps us to find the light and love that lies deep within our own souls. Whatever you go through in this life then remember, you are loved! Remember, you can love! Remember, YOU ARE LOVE!

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Come explore it here!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Aug 2019, 10:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 17, 2019

The Hum of the Air Conditioner
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Ps. 118:29 NIV).

When you choose to visit a hot climate in the midst of their summer season, the value of air conditioning becomes all apparent. In our recent January/February trip to Australia, we found air conditioning units to be so commonplace that we mostly didn't notice they were there. If I had made the effort to listen, I might have heard their background "hum"; but the sound was so ordinary that it didn't warrant my attention, and you most certainly wouldn't have heard me thanking them for doing the job that I wasn't even noticing they were doing!

There were a couple of times, however, when I did take notice of the air conditioner's hum: When the units were not functioning as they were supposed to! Once, for example, the day the unit actually began to blow hot air into the room. You can believe me when I say that unit immediately came on our radar! It was, after all, already 35-40 degrees C outside, and even hotter in the hotel room! We fussed and fiddled to no avail, and we eventually called the hotel manager.

It all made me think about God's blessings and His workings around us. Just like the air conditioning units that were prevalent in Australia, God's handicraft is all around us. The Bible teaches that He is always at work: "In his defense Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.'" (John 5:17 NIV). But just like the quiet hum of the air conditioner was so commonplace that I didn't notice it, can we honestly say that we understand the Truth that God is always at His work? Do we see God at work in our lives? Do we recognize the effect of this work?

I am afraid that I, for one, usually do not. Especially in the good times. In fact, it isn't until bad circumstances arise that I generally even think about God's blessings and the fact that He is always at work around us; and then, just like that air conditioner unit blowing hot air got my full attention, it is in the midst of the hard times that I begin to look for God's hand in my situation.

But remember that I couldn't find the problem with the malfunctioning unit. In the same way, I generally don't see God at work in the midst of my troubles, either! I don't see it, of course, because I am looking for a specific resolution to my problem that I have defined, and when I don't see what I am looking for, I conclude that God isn't there...

Take my last years' "hot-blowing-air-conditioning-unit", for example: God helped us to understand it was time to think about moving, and our house was put on the market. After two weeks, however, not a single person had come by to see it. It was as if the house were invisible. I saw the solution: People had to start coming by to see my house so that my house would sell as quickly as possible! But was this God's solution? Apparently not, because it didn't happen. I was telling a good friend about my frustrations one day, and her response seemed to be coming to me straight from God: "Well then, the house you are to move into next is not yet available!"

Something else also happened that same day. There had been escalating tension between my neighbour and his neighbour on the other side. I had been feeling frustrated because there didn't seem to be anything I could do to help; yet God opened a door. Could it be that God wasn't quite ready for us to move? Did we, perhaps, still have a role to play in our neighbourhood?

No, the fact that our house didn't sell when we thought it should didn't mean that God had somehow "misplaced" us and our house. Not at all. What it meant was that God was, indeed, busy at work in the background, preparing the way, not only for the best house to come available for us to buy, but also using us in a small way to accomplish what we had been praying for: Reconciliation between our neighbours.

It's sad that it took a broken air conditioning unit to help us appreciate the air conditioning in Australia. It's even sadder that it takes the troubles of life to make us realize that God is, indeed, not only in control, but busily at work, not only for our own personal good, but for the greater good as well.... Perhaps, even during the good times, it might be a good idea to notice "the hum of the air conditioner"...to see where God is at work around us, and give Him thanks!

And more on the sale of our house to follow...

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 Thu 15 Aug 2019, 10:34 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 15, 2019

Reward

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     How demanding life can be! You know what I mean, right? We follow that same routine—trying to catch our breath as we rush through the day, meeting everyone's needs. Where is the reward?

My answer came through my brother and his wife Lois who were our house guests for a few days.

One evening I knocked at the door of our guest room.

"Come in," Lois said.

I walked in and felt the ironing board. "What are you ironing?"

"The table runners we bought."

"You don't have to." I protested, "You did more than enough: cleaned, rearranged, shopped and even painted a table for me."

"I don't mind," she said.

She didn't mind because that's what she does. Anything she tackles is done quietly, with no expectation. She helps in a silence that screams kindness and pure love.

Why can't I be that way? Secretly, I look for recognition or at least a faint sign of appreciation.

Can you identify? You just wiped the kitchen counter and cleaned the floor for the umpteenth time. But no applause from anyone. You did the third load of laundry. No one noticed. Paid the bills with stress cramping your stomach, and no appreciation there either. And while at work, the extra load of tasks is completed, but the boss gives no recognition. You even smile at the cashier at the store but it goes unnoticed.

Sigh! Do we just keep on giving and giving? Is there any hint of satisfaction or return for our efforts?

God has the answer:

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4)

Prayer: Father, in the secret of my heart I want to be recognized and I look for rewards. Change my heart and grant me humility to do all in the quietness of love. May my actions be for your eyes only. In Jesus' name, amen.

What reward can you expect from the Lord 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 Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 13, 2019

Absorbing the Dirt
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Have you ever noticed how messy things become when you are trying to clean?

Take cleaning out the garage, for example. When you begin sorting through the junk, cleaning up tools, etc., it isn't long at all before your hands are greasy and your clothing is muddy. The end result may be a clean garage, but you will have to take a shower and wash your clothing in order to remove the dirt that at one time was in your garage!

We notice the same phenomenon on the emotional level. When we are with someone who is depressed, worried or angry, it isn't long before we begin to feel the same way.

What about on the spiritual level? If we are around sinners, will we absorb their sin?

Throughout the books of Moses, we see many interesting reference that would indicate that sin is transferable. Take the instruction, for example, in regards to the scape goat: "He will lay both of his hands on the goat's head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people's sins to the head of the goat..." (Lev. 16:21 NLT). This is not without cost to the High Priest, for the next verses tell us: "...he must take off the linen garments he was wearing...Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place...and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord." (Lev. 16:23,24 NLT)

We get another glimpse of how sin can be transferred in Exodus 29: "Each day you must sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering...Afterward, cleanse the altar by purifying it; make it holy by anointing it with oil." (Ex. 29:36 NLT). Thus the bull receives the sins of the people; but the altar it touches becomes defiled and must be cleansed and made holy again.

If sin is so highly "contagious" that the people--and even the altar--that touch those "sinful" animals are now in need of cleansing, then it certainly stands to reason that reaching out to those who are entrenched in the dredge of sin also puts us at risk for compromise. Even if we find ourselves so appalled by what we see that there is no way we would ever fall into the same traps, we might find ourselves at risk for the sins of pride or self-reliance, or even of developing the "holier-than-thou" attitude.

The point is, whenever we do our part in the "cleaning up" process, be it in the garage, the city slums or anywhere in between, we are at risk for receiving some of the "dirt"!

Does this mean we shouldn't try to reach out and help people?

Not at all! The Bible is very specific that we are to help one another: "We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord." (Rom. 15:1-2 NLT)

It is important, however, for us to be aware of the fact that helping out in a cleaning-up project puts us at risk of assuming some of the dirt. In the same way I should wear gloves and coveralls when I clean the garage, it is necessary for us to go into these spiritual "clean-ups" covered in the blood of Jesus. We need to be aware of the risk and pray for God's Spirit to build a hedge of protection around us that we will not be compromised even in the least way.

How should we dress for helping one another? By knowing who we are in Christ (See Eph. 6:10-18): by knowing the Person of Truth and having a personal relationship with the One who IS Truth (vs. 14a); by accepting Jesus' righteousness as our own (vs. 14b); by standing ready for the fight (vs. 15); by having unbendable faith in God (vs. 16); by believing in the power wielded to us by Jesus' Salvation (vs. 17a. See also Eph. 1:19-20); by knowing and using God's Word against the enemy (vs. 17b); and above all, by covering ourselves and each other in prayer (vs. 18).

When we go in so dressed, we will be protected against the transferable power of sin. However, let's remember that after receiving the sin offering, it was necessary for the High Priest to wash and the altar to be cleansed. In the same way, it is important for us, after we've been helping those imprisoned by sin find escape, to make the effort to cleanse ourselves. We need to ask God to cover us with His Spirit and remove any dross we might have picked up along the way.

Helping others? Vitally important; but for our own protection, we must go in properly clothed, and we must make an effort to have God cleanse us afterwards!

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 Thu 08 Aug 2019, 10:08 am

Welcome to the Nugget

August 8, 2019

Mowing the Lawn
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude...That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it." (1 Peter 3:8,9b NLT)

It had been raining on and off for several days and the weather forecast called for even more rainy days ahead.  The only break seemed to be for several hours this morning so I knew that I would have to cut the grass now. I had several large lawns to do so I quickly pulled out my old push mower and hoped that the wet grass wouldn't choke it up too much.  I got to work cutting 20 inch swaths over and over in the thick grass.  I took my time and did my best to mow around the patches of buttercups and dandelions so the butterflies and bumblebees could still have something to snack on. 

As I worked I let my mind wander.  Bits of songs bounced around my brain and I let myself sing along with them.  Old memories made me smile and I let myself delight in them.  Plots from old books and television shows popped up too and I allowed myself to enjoy them.  As I grew tired from cutting the large lawns, however, my thoughts grew more serious and turned to the questions that I often mull over.

One in particular stuck in my mind today: "Why am I here?"  I knew that I wasn't just here to mow lawns, do laundry, and wash dishes.  I knew that I wasn't just here to write my stories and share them with the world.  I even knew that I wasn't just here to care for my two mentally handicapped sons.  In a sense I was here for all of these things but I was also here for something more.  As I was finishing cutting down the last of the grass I felt a warmth come into my heart and a Divine answer enter my mind.  It was the same answer I always get but often forget. It said, "You are here to Love!"

We are all here to love! We are here to love God! We are here to love ourselves! We are here to love everyone as ourselves!  Live your life in love then.  Bring your love to everything you do. Let your love flow when you work at your job.  Let your love flow when you hug your family.  Let your love flow when you laugh with your friends.  Let your love flow when you share a smile with a stranger.  Let your love flow from your every thought and prayer.  Let your love flow from your heart right up to Heaven. 

And don't forget to let your love flow even when you mow the lawn. 

By Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Aug 2019, 8:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 6, 2019

What to do When Facing Impossibilities

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Memorial Day brings back memories of heroes as with gratitude, we recall their brave commitment to bring us victory. But why do we forget the victory Christ has already won for us?

Do you remember this story?

"One day the angelsa came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the Lord, 'From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.'" (Job 1:6-7 NIV)

Did he say the earth? Gulp. Friend, you and I are on that same earth on which he roams. And we need to watch out because, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

He's probably licking his lips, staring at us.

And when we're alone, seated on our bed of self-pity, surrounded by walls of gloom, lamenting our impossible situations, we become more appetizing. We're more appealing because we're weighed down by negativity. And we're weakened by moments of hopelessness.

I've been there.

And unaware of what an inviting prey I was, I was soon to be his spiritual lunch.

The giant I faced towered over me, reminding me of my frailty, whispering I was defenseless.

That's the place the enemy wants us, walking into defeat and deceived in thinking that victory will only come when the impossible problem would be removed.

But often that doesn't happen. Not to us and not to David. Instead, like our struggles, the giant stood firm, relentless and threatening.

Poor David?

No! Although a boy, He was scrawny, a bit of a shy kid, the youngest of his brothers and probably voted the "least likely to succeed" in the senior class of the local shepherd high school, yet God was with him.

Success was at work. David stepped forward and the size of his opponent didn't infuse fear, but injected boldness instead.

Unprepared to face giants, he probably smelled of sheep wool and with mud caked on his sandals, he stirred God's power within him.

We're like that, too; we're walking with shoes caked with discouragement, and possibly smelling of hopelessness.

And like you and I, David probably had to shoo off the enemy's lies: that problem is too big, destruction is inevitable, the pain will be fierce, or you are doomed to lose.

And as he does today, the enemy presented opposition from all sides. People doubted David's abilities, King Saul scratched his head with bewilderment, and when Goliath saw David's size, he laughed.

But God smiled ...

...because he prompted David to shed the armor King Saul had given him. The metals and chains were way too cumbersome for his thin body. Instead, he tapped into the power of the Lord.

It was the same power he had used to bring down those ferocious bears and lions. He had the weapon--not a rifle, a shotgun, a knife or sword. And he didn't trust in the smooth rocks in his sling either. He trusted in a greater and mightier weapon--the power of God.

Have you faced those giants that loom over you?

They mock your courage and laugh at your faith? The lies from the enemy that fuel your fear.

The lies that say your 2-inch faith is no match for the 9-foot giant of impossibilities. The deception that repeats you'll never see relief, healing or triumph.

We've all faced that at one time or another. And in desperation we slip on that armor--our own abilities, wisdom, and solutions. But dragging ourselves toward the battlefield, we find that human armor hinders us. It's too heavy with pride.

That's when you and I do what David did.

We shed that wrong armor and pull out our best weapon instead. David was bold as we should be, he's defiant like we have to be, and he's truthful to declare to whom belongs the victory.

It's not the giant that threatens, but it's the gigantic love God has for us that must fuel our courage. That's why David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty" (1 Samuel 17: 45).

Did you read that? The God David spoke about is not just any god, He's the Lord almighty, creator of the universe, and immensely powerful.

Troubles can come from all sides bearing the sword of anguish, the spear of anxiety and the javelin of fear. But you and I come in the name of the Lord--with confidence, with resolve and trust that through Christ, the victory is already won.

And holding the smooth stones of faith, bearing the spiritual weapon of God's faithfulness, we can face any giant of impossibility in the name of the Lord.

I had to make that choice.

In his devious craftiness, he lied to me when he said it would be impossible to find peace after my son was killed. But his lies are no match for God's truth, to God's power of restoring what was broken, to heal that which seared, and to defeat the giant who threatens our peace.

To the world, our problems seem gigantic, to God they are miniscule. They're big when we see them with human eyes. They shrink when we see them through Christ's eyes.

And as we gaze at our problem we have a choice: either to live hoping for blessings, or to bless the hope we already have in Christ.

Let's Pray: Father, you know the giants in my life. I confess they rob my sleep and anxiety visits often. But I ask you to fill me with the faith David had, the wisdom he carried, and the courage he displayed. In Jesus' name, amen.

-- What giant looms over you right now?
-- How do you silence lies in order to live triumphantly?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Would you like to make a difference in the world?  Why not join the Answers2Prayer Ministry team?  We have many volunteer positions.  By joining in, you can help in carrying out the Great Commission: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in Heaven and on Earth have been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matt. 28:18-20 NIV)The time is right and we are in need of many laborers.  "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord f the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:37-38 NIV)If you feel compelled, let us know by sending us an email.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Jul 2019, 9:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 27, 2019

How to Praise God when you Don't Feel you Can...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 11: Psalm 117
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Last month we learned that in Judaism, the Psalms, or the "five book of David", are seen to be an image of the five books of the law and are considered to be a "second Pentateuch", an echo of the first. Did you know that the book of Psalms contains both the longest (Ps. 119 with 176 verses) and the shortest (Ps. 117 with 2 verses) chapters in the Bible? Another interesting note is that in the King James Version, this shortest chapter in the Bible also stands as its exact middle chapter, with 594 chapters before it, and 594 chapters after it!

And today we will take a closer look at this exact middle chapter of the King James Bible--as well as the Bible's shortest chapter--Psalm 117...

"Praise the Lord, all you nations.
   Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
   the Lord's faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" (Ps. 117:1-2 NLT)

On first glance, this particular Psalm doesn't look too deep. It is short, it doesn't contain many examples, and it isn't even very precise. I would argue, however, that this shortest chapter, found in the exact middle of the ever-popular King James English Bible, provides us with one of the most powerful recipes for how to praise God in our lowest moments...

We are told to praise God in the midst of our circumstances. It is even suggested that we praise Him for specific things, small things, big things, personal things, etc. Isn't it the case, however, that in the midst of whatever crisis we are in, we have absolutely no ability to recall God's past miracles in our lives? I don't know about you, but when I'm in the middle of particularly bad circumstances, I sometimes don't even remember how to pray! All I can think to say is, "God! Help me, God! Oh God, oh God, help me!"

It is exactly in the midst of these moments, the moments so troubling that the only prayer on our lips is, "Oh God!" that we need Psalm 117 the most. The beauty and simplicity of this psalm makes it a prayer that we can pray, even in the midst of the worst crisis! Let's take a look:

The psalm begins by telling who is called to praise the Lord. Notice that it doesn't mention people who are going through good times. Notice that there is absolutely no qualifier whatsoever to indicate "which" people are to praise the Lord. The psalm simply tells us:

"Praise the Lord, all you nations.
   Praise him, all you people of the earth." (Vs. 1 NLT)

There it is in a nutshell: If you are a member of the "people of the Earth", you are called to "Praise the Lord", no matter what you are going through! In the midst of crisis, there is no need for you to wonder if this psalm specifically fits your situation or not. As long as you are a member of the "people of the Earth", this psalm fits your situation!

But now the hard part: What do we praise Him for? Like I said above, in the midst of crisis, we often can't even remember where we are going or whether or not we brushed our teeth, let alone recalling the miracles of the Lord!

No problem. Psalm 117 doesn't encourage us to spend time wracking through memories for specific examples of God's love and power in our lives. It doesn't require that we be Bible scholars, that we be familiar with God's power as portrayed in His Word. It doesn't even require that we tear our tormented minds away from your dire circumstances to focus on how God has been real to someone we know. In its simplicity, the psalm simply tells us exactly what we can always pray, no matter what we are going through. It tells us the real reason for praise:

"For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
   the Lord's faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" (Vs. 2 NLT)

In the midst of whatever it is you are going through, remember these truths from the shortest chapter in the Bible that stands as the exact centre chapter, Psalm 117: You are called to praise God no matter what, and the reason is that His love is unfailing and power, and His faithfulness will never end!

I encourage you now, in the midst of whatever it is that is blinding you to memories of past miracles, to contemplate these powerful truths: God's love is unfailing and powerful, and God's faithfulness will never end! As you meditate upon these Truths from Psalm 117, you will begin to see your circumstances from God's perspective. You will come to understand that God's unfailing, all powerful love will come through! You will begin to comprehend that God's unending faithfulness will bring you through these tough times as well!

Whatever your circumstances: Praise the Lord, for His love is powerful and unfailing and His faithfulness is everlasting!

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 Thu 25 Jul 2019, 10:46 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 25, 2019

The Way to Find Today's Happiness

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     High Heels vs. Tennis Shoes

Some months ago, a friend came to pick me up. I opened the front door, she came in and paused, "What's with the high heels," she asked.

"Why not?"

"Because we'll be doing a lot of walking in those airports. You need comfortable shoes." She stomped her feet. "Like these tennis shoes."

I chuckled. Few friends understand the Latina thinking--that heels make us, well...more feminine. Silly, isn't it? That desire to wear high heels is one of many quirks to which we cling. Actually, we hang on to many more that might seem a tad trivial.

Yet, no matter what nationality, we all tend to hang on to other stuff that's not trivial, but traumatic--past hurts, relationships now gone, resentment for what we lost, anger for what went wrong and even bitterness for broken dreams.


How did those dreams become nightmares?

Trying to figure it out, we gaze at the rearview mirror of the past, analyzing its painful details. And in doing so, we risk running into a wall of deep depression. We relive what happened back then over and over again.

And when we do, so pitifully, we miss the wide gate God holds open ushering us to a new chapter, a new beginning, vibrant possibilities, treasures to be found and opportunities to savor. We miss it all because we're still staring at the past. What we had. How it was. What we enjoyed and how we felt.


Time to let go.

Broken dreams don't have to shatter our hope. Plans unfulfilled don't have to constantly fill our mind. And unforeseen obstacles don't have to forecast our future.

If we let it, all of this can hold us captive to the world's deceptive lies that say it's okay to sink in unforgiveness, grudges, or resentment. They keep us from breaking free from yesterday's pain. They bind us to our negative emotions rather than empowering our thoughts. But even more devastating, they blind us from seeing Christ's cure for the torment.

How about if we leave all that where it belongs--in the past. Today is here. Today is when God is whispering a new beginning, a new path and new horizons.


Welcome in Contagious Joy

And it's in that view that we realize that contentment for what we have now ushers contagious joy that becomes the strength for tomorrow. That's when we can expect better turns. Ones that we never dreamed nor didn't think we could have. But definitely, we can have them because, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

If He has that future prepared, and if He is almighty and He's true to His word, why linger in the past? If His plans are to prosper us, why not expect the best for tomorrow? If Christ lives in us and we in Him, our destiny shines, our future is secure.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).


Let's Pray

Father, how often do I have to repeat your promises in my head before I believe them in my heart? I ask for wisdom and commitment to believe in what you say and not in what I see. Show me how to praise you today, in the moment and while I relish in a vibrant hope for tomorrow. In Jesus' name, amen.

What is yesterday's sadness that you need to leave behind in order to enjoy today's happiness?

Janet

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Would you like to make a difference in the world?  Why not join the Answers2Prayer Ministry team?  We have many volunteer positions.  By joining in, you can help in carrying out the Great Commission: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in Heaven and on Earth have been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matt. 28:18-20 NIV)The time is right and we are in need of many laborers.  "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord f the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:37-38 NIV)If you feel compelled, let us know by sending us an email.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Jul 2019, 10:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 23, 2019

Every Day is Holy
 
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Ps. 118:24 ESV)
It was late September. I was driving through a heavy fog to a store to pick up a few things. When I got there I strolled through the store looking for what I needed. I grabbed a bag of dog food for my dogs, a pack of batteries for my son, and a bite of chocolate for myself. As I turned the corner to head for the checkout register, though, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. A two foot tall skeleton wearing a tuxedo was staring across the room at a two foot tall stuffed Santa Claus, I slowly shook my head and walked on.

As I was driving home the fog lifted and the loveliness of the Autumn leaves started to shine in the sunlight. There were reds, yellows, oranges, burgundies, and browns. It was so beautiful. It was as if God had hand painted each one, Himself. As I watched them I realized why I had been so bothered by what I had seen in the store. It wasn't that Halloween was a month away and Christmas 3 months away. It wasn't that the stores were doing all they could to take money from our pockets and add debt to our credit cards. It wasn't that all of these former "holy days" had been turned into "holidays." I had known all of these things for quite a while. It was the simple fact that we had forgotten that every day is holy. Every day is sacred. Every day is precious. We had created a world in which we regret the past, live for the future, and spend all of our wealth trying and failing to buy a few moments of joy here and there.

God doesn't want us to live months in advance. God wants us to Love, Today! God wants us to share our smile, our kindness, our warmth and our joy with each other. God wants us to love each person we are with, each day of our life. God wants us to live as if each day is holy because every day is holy. Ignore the Santas in the stores then. Share the love in your heart instead.

Make your life your gift. And give that gift joyously to God and to everyone you meet.

Joseph J. Mazzella  
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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Jul 2019, 3:17 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 18, 2019

The Making Way
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3-5 NIV)

My daughter, husband and baby granddaughter were coming to live with me.

A business opportunity had presented itself in town and they decided to buy it and move home.

How wonderful is this, was my first thought. My second thought was, oh my goodness how are we all going to fit into this house!?

And thus the making way process began. I toured each room, checked out closets, drawers, cupboards, porches and sheds. It could be done but it meant a lot of sorting, organizing, giving away and disposal.

Fortunately I had a couple of months to prepare and bit by bit I did make way. It was a very large task however and there were moments when I felt discouraged and overwhelmed by the project. At such times I would stop thinking about everything that needed doing and dwell on the joy that the end result would yield. My family would be moving in. I would have help with so many day to day tasks and ongoing projects. I would be able to see my infant granddaughter growing and changing moment by moment. In this day and age when many grandparents only see their grandchildren once every few years or via Skype or Face Time, what a wonderful gift I was receiving.

And as I contemplated these great joys today's scripture verses came to mind as Isaiah calls us to prepare the way for the Lord in our lives: "A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3-5 NIV). Make way. This command calls us to search our lives for every and anything that keeps us from knowing and walking with our God day by day, moment by moment.

Indeed, it is rather an overwhelming thought for we live busy and often complicated lives, and there is much that seeks to create road blocks and obstacles to keep us from making way. I have found, however, much like I did when I was making way for my family's arrival, that if I stop and consider the joy that comes when I make way for the Lord, I am inspired to keep going. In fact the making way itself becomes an act of love and joy, no longer a burden or struggle. And what is the joy?

"And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Is. 40:5 NIV). Indeed the glory of the Lord will be revealed more and more in my relationship with Him. And it is a glory that fills me up and is thus revealed to all mankind around me.....around us.....as each one of us makes the decision day by day to make way for the Lord.

Prayer: Father God, thank you so much that You have called and continue to call us to "make way" for Your Son in our lives day by day. Your Son whom day by day enables us to be filled with Your glory and all the joy of living which that brings. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.


Lynne Phipps
      
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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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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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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  
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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
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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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