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Welcome to the Nugget

May 22, 2018

One Thing You Must do to be Truly Happy


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Doesn't it feel good when we help another person? A friend visited from Cuba and lamented on the condition of her hair. I took her hand. "Look, you don't need to worry about fixing your hair," I said. "We'll go shopping and get you a lovely wig."

She hugged me. "In Cuba, we could never afford a haircut, much less a wig...thank you!"

We walked in the store and she chose one to match her natural hair color. As she stood before the mirror, she put it on. Her gasps of delight were heard all through the store. "I don't want to take it off, "she said. "I look so pretty."

Then weeks later she wrote me from Cuba. "I'm sorry. I can't wear the wig because the weather is so very hot here. I put it away in my drawer."

Did she say she put the gift I gave her in a drawer? She sure did. And that's exactly what the enemy (the devil) wants you and I to do. He wants us to--put God's gifts in the drawer of our emotions.

When and how does he do that? He does it each time we face adversity, struggles, conflict, or bad news. He does it by distracting us so we forget God's gifts.

And the gifts are many. Each one is suited for the situation we face. Each gift is prepared with the answer we need. Each is molded to fit the longing in our heart.

And when we receive them, unwrap them and use them, here are seven results:

1: When unfair accusations create wounds, we're protected as we say, "I am free from any charge against me." ("Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one--for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one--for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us." Romans 8:32-34 NLT)

2: When life seems uncertain and shaky, I have access to God through the Holy Spirit. ("Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us." Ephesians 2:18 NLT)

3: No painful experience is a match to God's love. I cannot be separated from the love of God. ("And I am convinced that nothing can ever 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 8:38a,39 NLT)

4: The world's evil cannot affect me because I am established, anointed, sealed by God. ("It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NLT)

5: When I feel confused about all that's going on, I remember that all things work together for good. ("And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT)

6: When feeling empty and unable to give, my spirit is revived because I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. ("You didn’️t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name." John 15:16 NLT)

7: When no one listens or has any advice, I may approach God with freedom and confidence. ("Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’️s presence." Ephesians 3:12 NLT)

Ready to pull out those gifts from the drawer of your heart? They're yours. They're ready to be used. They're offering the power to ease the pain. To deliver you from strongholds. To bring peace to turmoil. And to erase fear.

Father, when life becomes so very difficult, help me to open my heart and receive these gifts. In Jesus' name, amen.

Which of God's gifts will you unwrap today?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


Welcome to the Nugget
May 24, 2018
Not What You'd Hoped

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)

Perhaps there was a time when you didn't get the job, even though you were the most qualified. For some reason, out of your control, you didn't get the position. Perhaps you didn't make the team, didn't get the raise, or promotion, got left in the dust in a relationship you trusted. Maybe you didn't receive an invitation and that left you feeling less-than.

Disappointments, and hopes that are dashed, hurt. The pain is real. I would have liked nothing better than to protect my children from the pain and disillusionment of the real world. However, that is not only not possible, it is not wise. We have to learn to deal with disappointments and frustrations in our lives.

There is Someone who actually knows all about our pains and disappointments, who understands and has walked every step of the way with us. The Lord, who is sovereign and mighty, is still on his throne, and yes, He cares for us. He's with us, He comforts us, He heals us, and we move on in His time.

If you feel excluded, passed over, or insignificant remember that the truth is you were chosen by the Lord himself. (John 15:16) Thank God today we have Someone who is real and very present in our lives (Matthew 28:20), especially when experiencing a time of 'not what you'd hoped for'.

"...you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalm 25:5 NIV)

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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May 26, 2018

The "Birthing" Process


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Things were looking pretty grim for Israel. They were slaves in Egypt with no deliverance in sight. But God had not forgotten, and when the time was right, He acted: "They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act." (Ex. 2:23-25 NLT).

Why didn't God act earlier?

I don't know the answer to this question, for none of us knows the mind of the Lord (See Rom. 11:34). However, we have all experienced what it is like to have to wait for God to fulfill a promise. We know He keeps His promises (See Deut. 7:9), we believe that He acts in His time (See Eccl. 3:11), and we understand that He only acts when the time is right: "He looked down...and knew it was time to act." (Ex. 2:25 NLT). It is easy, however, to get impatient when we wait for that time to be "right", and it is often tempting to think that God doesn't really know when the right time is... 

When we look at the context in which the above passage in Exodus 2 was written, however, we can glean some clues as to why the time isn't always right, and why God sometimes waits...

Exodus 2 tells us the story of God's promised deliverer, Moses. Beginning with his birth, it goes on to tell of his upbringing, his act of murder and his flight into the wilderness. The Bible then relates how Moses settled in with Reuel and his family (see vs. 21), and finally, we are told that while in the wilderness, Moses' wife gave birth to a son: "In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son..." (Ex. 2:22 NLT).

Could it be that one of the reasons we must sometimes wait for God to keep His promise to us is that we need to..."give birth" to something?

Now I, for one, am groaning at that prospect. Been there, done that, not wanting to do it again...But before you write this off completely, go with me a step farther... 

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, God promised me healing, yet I waited several months to receive the fulfillment of that promise. During that time, however, God was so near. My walk with Him was strengthened and my faith was grown. In a sense, during the time I waited for God to keep His promise, God "birthed" faith into my life. 

Of late, there have been many promises given to those I care about, yet their trials and bad circumstances continue as they await the fulfillment to those promises. When I look closely, however, I see that God is "birthing" many good things during these waiting periods... 

Take my son, for example. He has been waiting for over a year for God to fulfill His promise of a job. During this waiting period, God "birthed" the opportunity and the funding for him to complete his master's degree in just 2 short semesters. I've also watched as God has worked in my son's life to "birth" faith, trust and reliance on Him in the hard times. 

My dear mother has been suffering from an infected ulcer in her foot for the past 16 months. God has promised her healing, and her foot is significantly better. To date, however, it is not completely healed. During this waiting time, I have seen God "birth" an incredibly amount of faith into my mother's relationship with Him. 

A dear friend who has been in the midst of significant, debilitating health problems received the promise from God that her healing was coming. She suffered from some of these complications for more than two years. During this time, however, I saw God "birth" the ability for her to relinquish all of her problems to Him. 

Someone else who is dear to me was in a relationship with someone who has been seized by anxiety. God promised healing, but she awaited His healing touch. During this time, I watched God "birth" a stronger, deeper relationship between these two individuals. I saw God "birth" a strong conviction that God is our deliverer, and I witnessed God "birthing" in both the ability to fight the demonic forces with the armour of God. 

I could give multiple other examples, but I would like to invite you right now to think about the promise you are waiting for God to fulfill. I challenge you to look back over the past few days/weeks/months and see what God may be "birthing" in your life. The resolution to your problems is coming, but it may only happen when the "birthing" process is complete. My advice to you? Embrace the waiting period; allow God to "birth" those important things in your life; but most of all, never doubt this: the same God who delivered Israel will do the same for you...when   the time is right! 

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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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


Welcome to the Nugget

May 29, 2018

Avoid This Mistake when Looking for Fulfillment

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  We don't need statistics to know that millions of people live aimlessly without fulfillment, purpose or meaning. But there is an answer--simple and doable.

My brother and sister-in-law, Lois, visited a few weeks ago. As usual, Lois and I did a little shopping. And it's always, always a super fun adventure.

Why? Well, there's a unique thing about us: Lois is deaf. And, as you know, I'm blind (yup, totally).

I held her arm as we walked through aisle after aisle in Hobby Lobby, looking for a specific item.

"There's a store clerk," Lois said.

Whew! Finally, the help we need, I thought.

"It's over there where that lady is turning," the clerk said.

Well, those instructions didn't help. I couldn't see where she was pointing. And Lois couldn't read her lips as the store clerk wasn't facing her.

What disappointment!

We couldn't blame the clerk. She had no clue she was addressing two gals, one deaf and the other blind.

Our mistake was to count on someone who didn't know our needs or limitations.

We all do that in life, right? Mistakenly, we count on someone to give us the answer, provide the solution, point us in the right direction, or fill our needs. But because they don't know us, they simply cannot.

Here is a test. Have you made any of the mistakes below?

a. You seek a job, expecting it will provide financial security.
b. You look to your spouse, hoping they will bring joy.
c. You look to the success of your children, expecting you'll find gratification.
d. You look for relationships, hoping to fill the emptiness.
e. You seek health, hoping you'll live longer.
f. You take a risk, hoping you'll find success.
g. You seek the perfect position, expecting to find satisfaction.
h. You write the next book, hoping to change lives.
i. You find good works to do, expecting to please God.
j. You save and save, hoping that will make tomorrow secure.

If you made even one of these mistakes, disappointment is about to knock at your door.

That's because none of the situations above are constant; they're not reliable, consistent or dependable. They're not as trustworthy as God's word and promises.

They can't provide what only God can. They don't fill the void only God promise to fill. They don't bring the fulfillment or meaning found only in Him.

Are you ready for the good news?

Although things in this world are pitifully imperfect, "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect" (2 Samuel 22:31-32).

If God is our refuge, why worry about our protection? If He's our rock, why think we're weak? If His word is flawless, why look for meaning anywhere else? If He's our shield why fear? And if He's perfect, why doubt His fulfillment for our soul is perfectly designed?

Father, I confess that my wounds, disappointments and grief are a result of placing my trust in other things, people or circumstances. Transform my mind and heart with the truth that you and you alone can fill me. In Jesus name, amen.

How can you correct the mistakes you made in seeking complete fulfillment?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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May 31, 2018

Give Life Meaning


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   "Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7,8 NET)

"What is the meaning of life?"  This is a question that we all ask ourselves at one point or a nother of our existence here.  It is a question that I have asked myself many times over the years.  The best answer that I ever came across was written by the great psychologist, Viktor Frankl who had survived the Nazi Concentration camps in World War II.  Frankl wrote that "The meaning of life is to give life meaning."         

When I was a young boy I gave my life meaning by simply playing, running, jumping, swimming, laughing, and riding my bike.  When I went to school I gave my life meaning by learning, studying hard, getting good grades and trying to make my Mom and Dad proud.  When I was a teenage boy I found meaning in playing sports, hanging out with my friends, and trying to impress girls.  In college I found my meaning by deciding what I wanted to study and what career I wanted to prepare for.  When I was working as a teacher I found meaning in helping to open young minds to new ideas and old wisdom.  When I married and had children I found meaning in protecting, providing for, and watching over those I loved.  When I found out both of my sons were mentally handicapped I found meaning in loving them, caring for them, and learning so much from them about life, love, compassion, patience, faith, and joy.      

As I got older too I began to realize that meaning isn't something that comes and goes.  We can give meaning to every moment of our lives here.  We can bring meaning to the thoughts we think.  We can bring meaning to the things we do.  We can bring meaning to the hearts we touch. All we have to do is love.  It is love that gives life meaning.  It is love that makes life worth living.  Love is our Heavenly Father's gift to us.  Love is our gift to each other.  May all of your days be full of meaning then.  May all of your days be full of love.

Joseph J. Mazzella  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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June 2, 2018

Stop and Smell the Roses
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
"Stop and smell the roses" is a great English expression meaning that we should relax and take time out of our busy schedules to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of life (https://en.wiktionary.org). I'm afraid I'm not very good at this. My life is far too busy. There are too many responsibilities and too many items on my "to-do" list to enjoy the beautiful things God has given us, or to even notice His daily blessings. 

I'm sure you can relate. With all the problems that are constantly knocking at our doors and taking over our lives, it's a wonder we even notice things as obvious as the passing of the seasons. Take this year, for example. As winter passed into spring, did we notice that the Lilacs were prettier than usual? And what about the trees? I'm sure we all noticed that they came back to life after winter, but did we take the time to observe how each spring day brought change to those stark, bare branches? First the brown limbs became brown-green, then the green spread until it enveloped each and every twig. The trees then took on a bright lime shade as the leaf buds burst forth, and then the shades of green darkened and brightened as the leaves grew bigger and took on their summer hues... 

And if we don't notice such beauties of nature and all the lessons God has for us in each one, how can we recognize the other blessings God has for us as well?   

This was a vitally important lesson that I learned in my cancer walk. I had never before stopped to admire the tiny flowers in my lawn. In fact, I had always thought of them as "weeds". Nor had I realized that hummingbirds regularly visited my deck, and I had never simply sat and admired the colours of the dawn. Cancer forced me to take time off--from work, from being a mom, from cooking, from cleaning, and from all the myriads of things that are supposedly so important. As a result, I found myself, for the first time in my life, "stopping to smell the roses". Although there weren't any actual rose bushes in my yard, I literally began to notice and admire God's handiwork; and what I learned was phenomenal: Each tiny blossom, each bird feather, each blade of grass, each butterfly wing--even each tomato worm!--are all intricate works of art, designed in elaborate detail and fashioned in love by the Creator's hand. 

As I "stopped to smell the roses"--as I began to recognize the hand of God in the beauty of nature--I also began to notice His hand over my life as well, even in the midst of cancer. In my moments of worst discouragement, He never once failed to send me encouragement. In the midst of my worst fears, I could always see His hand of comfort and strength upon me. And as God brought each of His blessings to my attention, the Truth was solidified in my heart that my God was (and is!) in control of everything, including cancer!

And He is in control of whatever you are going through as well. 

Isn't this what Jesus meant in His famous Sermon on the Mount? "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we d'rink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matt. 6:25-33 NLT).
 
If you can't see God's hand of blessings in your life right now, I encourage you to take 15 minutes of your day and meditate upon these words of Jesus. Savour them. Roll them over your tongue. Allow them to penetrate your mind, your soul, your spirit, and then resolve to put aside a few moments each day to "stop and smell the roses". Take a few moments to watch the birds as they hop about searching for food. Listen to their songs of joy. Take a stroll through your yard and admire the intricate flowers He has made, especially the ones you might have called "weeds". Watch for God's encouragement in your life today. Allow Him to minister to your heart. Then, when it's all over--and it WILL come to an end!--don't forget this vital lesson: Always take the time to "stop and smell the roses"! I can guarantee that you will never look at your problems in the same way again. 

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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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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June 5, 2018

Take a Back Seat


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  I've always enjoyed driving. 

When my children were small and we vacationed as a family, I felt privileged to be anchored behind the steering wheel where I could be in control and keep my family safe to the best of my motoring ability. As a child I always felt secure wedged between my older brother and sister while my dad navigated the busy roadways and mom offered directional commands from the map on her lap. Yes no talking GPS back then!

I still love climbing in behind the wheel and feel that as long as I'm in that position, I can maintain control and safely steer my vehicle where it needs to go. Last week my wife and I ventured forth on a lengthy road trip. Part way my eyes became heavy and with three hours still to go, she kindly offered to drive so I could rest. But in all honesty, I inwardly struggled to relinquish control even though my Mrs. is an excellent driver! It's just that if I wasn't the one driving, I wasn't the one keeping us both safe. Ok yes, I have automobile control issues!

But this got me to thinking about my own life and how often I struggle to let God take the wheel. I still find myself trying to jump in and help steer even though He's fully capable of handling the twisty roads. It's easy to ask for God's help, but it can be difficult to keep anxious hands free and clear. I tend to step right back into the Captain's chair and override His sovereign ability to guide me through a stressful traffic jam. 

As a reminder of God's hand upon my life, I found a comforting verse that says, "He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you." (Psalm 91:4 NIV) This reminds me that it's ok to let God drive while sitting back and enjoying the passing scenery. It's all about learning to trust that He knows better than I which freeway to take and which trouble spots to avoid, and that by handing over the wheel, God is ready, willing and able to quell my uneasiness. 

As a driver, I often find that I don't get to enjoy the scenery as much as my passengers because I'm too busy turning, braking and avoiding hazards. Our lives are often full of pot-holes, pylons and barricades, and it's not always easy to pass operational control to our Lord and Savior in difficult times. In my life I need to allow God access to the driver's seat and ask Him to grant me the trust I need to simply be a passenger. To let Him drive so I can rest my weary eyes: "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

Will you join me in the backseat and let God handle the bumpy roads?

Let's enjoy the view together. That really is the best way to travel!


Paul Smyth
 
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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June 9, 2018

Walking by Faith
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
For the most part, the trail along the banks of the Crowe River near Mamora, Ontario, was wide and level, with plenty of ground between the edge of the trail and the edge of the river bank. There were places, however, where the trail narrowed and sloped towards the river, with little solid ground between the slippery gravel and the water below. 

Now I have excellent vision and depth perception (praise God!), and according to my husband, I am half mountain goat by nature. As a result, I skipped over these spots without a second thought. He, on the other hand, is legally blind in one eye and has very poor depth perception, and his eyes simply do not see things the way they truly are. As a result, his brain registers false images of what is ahead, and what to me is a simple part of hiking can quickly become a challenge for him. Needless to say, my husband didn't do quite so well on those narrower, sloping parts of the trail...  

As we've been married for 34 years, I have come to know when my husband may have vision-related trouble on the trail, and after skipping over the first of these slippery sections that day, I turned around, positioned myself on the edge of the river bank with my body between the trail and the water below, and invited him to cross. I assured him that I was on safe ground and that as long as he stayed between me and the cliff on the other side he would be fine. 

The problem was, all his brain could register was his distorted view of the trail, and not only did the spot look perilous, but he panicked thinking I was also in ominous danger. It wasn't that he didn't believe me when I told him I was fine, it's simply that he couldn't get beyond the lies his eyes were telling him. 

It took a bit of coaxing, but he eventually took my offered hand and made his way safely to the other side of that section of trail. 

This problem of sight is an inconvenience to him, but I have to admit that I have a far worse "sight" problem. Oh, my physical vision is fine, but when it comes to my spiritual sight, I fail almost every time. I suspect many of you can relate. When our spiritual sight doesn't see the end result, we tend to have a terrible time putting our trust in God. We understand that He knows best, that He's all powerful and all wise, but we, as human beings, seem to be programed to need to experience things with our own senses before we believe they are real. It is completely foreign for us to simply believe what our senses cannot perceive. 

The Bible, on the other hand, encourages us to not live our lives by what we can "see", but rather, to live them by faith in God: "For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Cor. 5:7 NLT). In just the same way that the trail wasn't at all dangerous from my perspective, God's view of our lives reveals to Him that we will make it through unscathed; and just as I put myself between my husband and what he perceived to be the dangerous portion of the trail, God puts Himself between us and the perilous portions of our life's walk. However, in the same way that my husband initially couldn't move beyond what his eyes were telling him, we often cannot move beyond what our senses tell us, and as a result, we get stuck.

What should we do?

Perhaps we should do what my husband did:

1. He stopped his backwards retreat. In the same way, we need to stop trying to avoid the problems in life, but rather, we need to embrace them for the spiritual growth they can give us: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." (Rom 5:3-5 NLT).

2. He chose to believe my words of encouragement. God also gives us many words of encouragement, Truths such as: "This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NLT, see also Is. 40:31; 43:2; Prov. 18:10, Ps. 31:24, etc.). Our job is to believe in those promises.

3. He took my hand. This is what Jesus is encouraging us to do in Matt. 11:28-30: "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (NLT).

4. He decided to trust in me rather than in what His eyes were telling him. In the same way, we need to blindly stumble on through those valleys, ever trusting that where we cannot "see", we can believe in the One who can: "For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Cor. 5:7 NLT).

What will it be? Will we continue to insist on walking by what we physically perceive, or will we put our faith in the fact that where we can't see, God can? Will we turn back, or will we take God's hand and allow Him to bring us through unscathed? 

The choice is ours to make!

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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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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June 7, 2018

Heartache: 7 Ways to Conquer it...


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Sorry, no 911 to call. No emergency assistants available. And medical facilities are nowhere around.

My brother and I snuggled next to my Mom. We rode in the back of a truck. "When will we get there?" I asked her as my 10-year old mind anticipated fun moments in the tropical area of Bolivia.

But to get there, we risked our lives as we rode on the most dangerous road in the world. Should there be a car accident on the narrow mountains bordered with huge cliffs, fatalities are unavoidable. That's the scene outside my hometown of La Paz, Bolivia.

One such accident took place recently, leaving a young man paralyzed. His family, American missionaries, sent prayer requests through cyberspace. Walking only moments earlier, paralyzed the next.

Why is it that tragedy barges unannounced? It catches us unprepared, vulnerable to its cruel claws.

I tasted that heartache years ago when the doctor said to my family and me "He didn't survive the stab wounds he received."

Losing my youngest son was unthinkable. I cried out to God, "Why?"

I found that kind of pain has no reason, but also learned that God's peace has no limit.

Friends, if you or anyone you know is in the prison of pain, here are seven vows needed to conquer heartache:

We count on His help, constant and never changing because "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)

We silence words of self-pity or sorrow. "My lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live…" (Psalm 63:4a)

We let go the grip on bitterness and instead, we reach up to Him. "In your name I will lift up my hands." (Psalm 63:4b)

Our heart may be broken, but our soul is intact. "My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you." (Psalm 63:5)

We thank God for the sweet sleep that will come because "On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night because you are my help…" (Psalm 63:6)

We claim His power, knowing where we find protection. "We sing in the shadow of your wings. Our soul clings to you…" (Psalm 63:7)

We declare: Lord, we will not faint because "Our soul clings to you; your right hand upholds us." (Psalm 63:8)

Father, I praise you for already knowing the help we would need, the comfort we would desire, and the reassurance we would call for. Thank you for going before us to prepare the healing and the restoration of our peace. I thank you in Jesus' name, amen.

How long does heartache have to steal your joy?
What needs to change for you to accept His comfort?
In the silence of the night, what calms your soul?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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Welcome to the Nugget
bible
May 1, 2018

Status
 bible
By Answers2Prayer 

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

"you are...holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession." (Deuteronomy 14:2)

Everybody's a celebrity in someone's eyes. The high-profile, obvious ones might be athletes, olympians, singers, or movie stars. It could be a parent to a young child, or perhaps an older sibling. Maybe a student would have a teacher who filled that role, or a ball player, a coach.  

Perhaps someone you don't even know thinks of you as some sort of celebrity. Your smile might light up the day for a weary check-out person at the market, and buoy up his outlook. Or the elderly receptionist handling the front desk in the office may think of you as a celebrity-type, because each day you take an interest and ask how the family's doing. Or maybe you are the only person in months who has thanked the hardworking person who's cleaning the turnpike restroom, and to her you might have celebrity status.

Whether you're aware of it or not, you're a celebrity in God's eyes: He made you ("Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image'...God blessed them" Genesis 1:26,28). 

He loves you ("the Father himself loves you" John 16:27; "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests" Revelation 1:6). 

And, you are always on His mind ("I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands" Isaiah 49 15,16).

Enjoy your celebrity status today. Walk in it, knowing that in Somebody's eyes, you are just that, a celebrity.

That's good news.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy
Announcement:
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Come explore it here!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."

Welcome to the Nugget

May 3, 2018

Evidence


By Answers2Prayer 
  "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Peter 2:12 NASB)

I was preparing to shave my fifty year old face this morning when I noticed something: my wrinkles no longer disappear when I relax my face. They have become permanent etchings in my skin. I know too that the television and internet are full of advertisements for creams, treatments, and botox to ease and lessen these permanent wrinkles but as I looked at mine in the mirror I decided that it would be far better just to let them be. They are, after all, the evidence of the life I have lived.

When I looked at them more closely I could see the lines on the bridge of my nose and between my eyebrows that have been cut from a lifetime of dealing with back pain. There are also some pretty deep ones above my eyebrows that have come from all of the times I have been stressed, angry or frustrated. On my forehead are even deeper ones that have come from all of those moments when my eyes opened wide in astonishment, fascination, or learning. The thickest and deepest ones of all, though, seemed to be the curving lines around my eyes. They are the evidence of my every laugh and my every smile. I noticed too that the happier my smile the more their cousins in my cheeks appeared as well. All in all then I wouldn't erase the evidence of this life I have lived here. It has been a good life. It has had its pains and sorrows but also its loves and joys. It isn't over yet either. I can't wait to see just how deep my wrinkles will one day become.

The evidence of our lives doesn't just lie in our faces either. It also lives in every heart we touch, every person we help, and every life we make better. It lives in the love and joy that we bring to this world. It lives in the light that we carry around in our souls. May the evidence of your own life always bring a smile to your face and to God's as well.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


Welcome to the Nugget

May 5, 2018

Created for His Pleasure


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." (Rev. 4:11 NLT)

So much of humanity struggles with feelings of insecurity and low self-worth. The question, "What is my purpose?" is common, and many spend valuable time, effort and resources seeking answers to this question. 

Though it may sound simplistic to some, the key to finding our purpose can be found in the above verse: "For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." (Rev. 4:11 NLT) 

Our ultimate purpose? We were created for God's pleasure!

Wait. Does this mean we are simply toys in His hands? Are our lives nothing but elaborate video games? 

If you take the word "pleasure" from a worldly perspective, it would be tempting to think that we are nothing but pastimes for the God Almighty. Let's remember, however, that the Bible describes God's relationship with us as that of a Father: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13 NIV), and the theme that runs throughout the entire Bible and cumulates in the gift of Salvation is this: God, our Ultimate Father, is actively involved in our affairs. Consider the following Truths:

1. God takes interest in each of His children: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26 NIV);
 
2. God always acts in our best interest: "'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.'" (Jer. 29:11 NIV); and He 

3. God communicates with us and desires to give us guidance: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (Is. 30:21 NIV). 

Because God is our ultimate Father, the concept of being created for God's pleasure can perhaps be best understood from the perspective of a parent. Being a parent doesn't mean that we should "play" with the young lives placed in our care, or that we should use them for our own selfish intentions. Rather, loving parents will take pleasure and find fulfillment in being interested in their children, in acting in their best interest, in communicating with them, in giving them guidance and in being actively involved in their affairs. The difference is subtle, yet any caring parent will understand that the idea of "taking pleasure" in our children is completely unselfish. 

This is the kind of pleasure that is spoken of in Revelation 4:11: "and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created"; and herein lies the key to finding our purpose in life. We were created to provide God with the pleasure of being involved in our lives, of providing for us, of interacting with us and communicating with us. Thus, we are bringing pleasure to God and fulfilling our God-given purpose when we actively pursue a relationship with Him; when we allow Him to be our provision, our Rock, our help in time of trouble; when we make the effort to spend time with Him and when we seek His will for our lives, 

It actually doesn't matter where we are in our walk in life or what profession (if any at all!) we have. It is completely immaterial whether or not we have even discovered God's direction for our lives. Rather, in our search for purpose, we can rest assured that when we make an effort to spend time with God, when we put our trust in Him and allow Him to be our provision and our strength, we are fulfilling our purpose in life. Perhaps the best part, however, is this: When we make it our first priority to bring pleasure to God, we actually open the door for Him to provide us with guidance and a knowledge of His will! 

Do you want to feel fulfilled in life? Do you desire to accomplish your purpose? Why not make it your number one goal to bring God pleasure? For it is truly, "for [God's] pleasure that exist and were created." (Rev. 4:11 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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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
Welcome to the Nugget

May 8, 2018

One Thing You Must do to be Truly Happy


By Answers2Prayer 
 Last week, I followed my nightly routine and fixed myself a cup of chamomile tea; not sure why I filled it to the brim, but I did.

Funny thing is that those of us who are blind tend to bump into things, especially when we're in a hurry. And that's exactly what I did. As I carried it from the kitchen to the bedroom, I misjudged the door frame and my elbow caught the edge, causing my tea to spill out. UGH!

That's what happens to all of us. When we experience bumps in life, whatever overflows in us will pour out. If we carry fear and we hear bad news, fear will spill out. When we harbor anger and someone doesn't measure up to our standards, rudeness and anger will trickle out. When insecurities overflow, a defensive attitude will leak out. And before we know it, we stand in a puddle of unhappiness.

But there's hope, and it comes in the vehicle called "change." When faith, grace, patience, genuine love and gentleness overflow in our heart, no matter how hard the bump, these will spill out. "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him" (Matthew 12:34b-35).

What we store in the heart is the determining factor between living a marvelous life or a miserable existence.

Father, grant me wisdom to analyze what fills my heart. Show me what I need to remove and replace. Reveal to me what I must store in order to please you; to bring honor and glory to you. Teach me how to store genuine love so it spills out to those around me. In Jesus' name, amen.

What fills your heart today?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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Join us next Thursday to welcome the newest Nugget Author, Paul Smyth, for some lessons to be learned...from the cockpit of an airplane!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


Welcome to the Nugget

May 10, 2018

Pause Button
By Answers2Prayer 
  Descending through four thousand feet, the twin engine Beech Baron was purring like the happiest of felines as it maneuvered through a cloudless sky. Above, twinkling stars were beginning to reveal their positions as the weary pilot prepped his bird for landing. Glancing out the left window, he was comforted by the fact his wings were secure, their smooth surfaces generating the lift needed to stay aloft and right side up.

Thanking God for a safe flight, he reached for a lever close to his knee and tapped it once. A vibration told him the flaps were extending. The veteran aviator lowered the landing gear and adjusted his seatbelt one last time. Then he set flaps to full and keyed his radio microphone, "Owensville Tower, Skywest four-seven is ten miles west, inbound for landing."

Once he received landing clearance, the pilot made small adjustments to keep his airplane aimed at the centre line of the illuminated runway. Concentrating fiercely, his goal as always was a trouble free landing where the wheels kissed the tarmac with hardly a bump. If only life brimmed with soft landings and light winds, he reflected. At fifty-six, the man knew that life packed a punch. It was during those difficult times that he was most grateful for his faith.

Anxious for a hot cup of coffee inside the terminal, the pilot smiled and adjusted the trim; then the unthinkable happened: A sudden cross wind hammered the aircraft, launching it violently to the right. Stunned by the sudden loss of control, he kicked in left rudder and yanked the control yoke in the opposite direction. The airplane levelled off briefly, but then rolled again to the right. Fighting to regain stable flight, he knew something had gone terribly wrong. As his face contorted with the realization he was about to crash, there was still one emergency procedure that could save his life...

With his index finger shaking, the pilot quickly reached for the only button that could prevent calamity: The 'PAUSE' button! Mere seconds from disaster, his airplane suddenly froze on the computer screen. Sitting back in his chair, the haggard pilot wiped his brow and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Crisis averted!

So where am I going with this flying yarn? Let me explain! I'm a flight simulator pilot, a virtual aviator! And the guy in the story is me! Whether its clear skies or storm clouds, the experience transports me into a world of make believe. 

But we all know that real life stresses are anything but simulated. Have you ever wished your life came with a 'pause' button, that at the first sign of trouble, you could hit 'P' and simply halt the pain, grief or sorrow long enough to plan an exit strategy?

I don't know your circumstances, but I do know that we're all going through something. Perhaps it's job loss, financial hardship or an unexpected illness. Or maybe the garage door came down on your brand new Ferrari! Ouch! If life's good for you right now; fantastic! But one thing is certain: rough air will eventually rock your wings and send you spiralling towards the ground.

We all know that sidelining the stresses in our lives is impossible, but even so, do you have a game plan for enduring those trials? Whatever it is you're facing right now or will face in the future, might I encourage you to pause long enough to speak to the One who gave His life for yours. Including God in your circumstances and laying your baggage at the foot of the cross will quiet your heart before our Savior Jesus Christ. Cool thing is; He hears you and promises rest! Psalms 94:19 (NIV) puts it this way: "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." I'm totally good with that!

Jesus understood better than anyone the dynamic power of prayer and He encourages us to follow His lead. He's fully tuned in, so everything we face in life is already on His radar! So incredibly enough, we don't have to go it alone! 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight." Those three little words, "trust", "lean" and "submit" are fueled by our prayers. Prayer breeds trust, allowing our hearts to lean on God for support. Through prayer, we learn to submit our lives Him. 

If your life is crazy busy like mine, I know that stopping to pray to is easier said than done. But when I do, I've discovered that peace, trust and submission take root in my weary heart. And isn't confidence and full dependence on God what we as believers ultimately strive for?

God tells us in Matthew 7:7 (NIV), "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." One of the best ways to knock on God's front door is through prayer. He cherishes you and delights in the time you spend conversing with Him or reading His word. 

So has my own life been trouble free? That's a gargantuan negative! There have been times when the sky before me looked impenetrable and the horizon bristled with choking grey clouds. But I'm slowly learning to cast my burdens by pausing the chaos long enough to pray. Prayer brings a smile to my lips and peace to my heart...and guaranteed it will to yours also! 

Your words don't have to be eloquent or perfectly phrased. God knows what you need even before you ask Him for it! So I encourage you to let Him pilot your life. All you need to do is sit in the backseat, hit the 'pause button' and pray!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a plane to save!

Paul Smyth  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


Welcome to the Nugget

May 12, 2018

The Will of God


By Answers2Prayer 
  God's will...A term we hear often, something we're advised to seek, something made reference to throughout the Bible...But just what IS God's will, anyway?

I don't know about you, but I've always thought of someone's "will" in a somewhat negative light. The "will of Lyn", for example, certainly stands in my way of Spiritual growth and happiness; for if it isn't happening according to "Lyn's will", then I'm not overly happy about it!

I have to also admit that the term, "will of God," holds somewhat of a negative connotation in my heart. Somehow, the term seems to conjure up images of God as a disciplinarian, someone who looks at global well-being above personal happiness. I mean, even though I know God's will is best and I want it to happen, whenever it doesn't line up with "Lyn's will," I generally sigh and resign myself to not getting my own way. Once in a while, I even fall into the trap of asking God why He can't take 'my' desires into account once in a while... 

But is this truly the way to look at God's will? 

Last Saturday, an article based on Rev. 4:11, NLT, was published in the Nugget: "Created for God's Pleasure": "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." 

This message had been a deep revelation to me, for I had never before fully understood until then how God takes so much pleasure in caring for us, giving us gifts, helping us through life, and especially in the few moments each day that we try to dedicate to Him. Imagine my surprise to receive a loving note from one of the Nugget's astute readers informing me of the truth that the word "pleasure" in the NLT version of Rev. 4:11 cannot be found in most English versions of the Bible. Rather, in most Bibles other than those related to the KJV, the original Greek is translated as "will"! 

Now I don't know about you, but the words "will" and "pleasure" are not synonyms in my personal lexicon...So which is it? Are we created for God's will? Or for His pleasure?

A quick internet search revealed that the original Greek word that is sometimes translated as "pleasure" and sometimes as "God's will"--thelema--is taken from the Greek root thelo, meaning to desire or to wish. More properly translated, it is often referred to as God's "preferred-will", or stated differently, His "best-offer" to people. (Taken from Helps Word Studies, as referenced in Bible Hub ). 

Wait a minute. Aren't desires and wishes positive? Aren't "best offers" set with the good of everyone in mind, including the recipient of the offer? 

With this in mind, Rev. 4:11 could read like this: ...and it is for God's desire and wish that we exist and were created. It is because creating us was God's "best-offer"...

It puts a different spin on things, doesn't it? We are here for a reason, and that reason is to fulfill the desire and wish of God Himself! We are here, as it is translated in the KJV and the NLT, for His pleasure!

This made me think about the term, "will of God", seen in so many other places in the Bible. Could it be that the use of this term in other contexts also connotates "desire" or "wish", or even "God's 'preferred-will'"? Does it mean that every time we see "God's will" in the Bible, it is referring to His "Best-offer"? 

But wait. If this is what the term "will of God" refers to in the Bible, what does this mean for all the other gazillion times we hear and use this term? 

Take our prayers, for example. So often we pray, "Lord, may Your will be done". What if we were to pray in this manner: Dear God, may Your "desire and wish" come to be! May we accept Your "best-offer"!

Taking prayer a bit farther, so often we pray, "Lord, if it is Your will, please heal ____ of their ___." When we think of God's will as His desire and wish, however, we begin to realize that healing is always God's desire and wish. Isn't this, after all, what made up the major portion of Jesus' ministry on Earth? Why would God's desires and wishes things change just because Jesus returned to Heaven? How much more powerful our prayers for healing might be if we understood that "God's will" is also His desire for our best good!

And let's think about the whole "'God's' will vs. 'my' will" conundrum. Thinking of God's will as His absolute "best offer" suddenly puts it in a completely different light and my own "best offer" pales in comparison to the one offered by the all-wise, all-knowing God of the universe. Suddenly it doesn't seem so much like He is disciplining me when things don't go "my" way; but rather, that in His love, He is offering something better, and He is asking me to simply trust in what I cannot see!

Doesn't this speak to His incomprehensible love for us? Thinking of His will as His desire or His wish can help us come to a better understanding of His infinite love; and I don't know about you, but I am going to understand something far deeper the next time I come across "will of God!" 

"Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Rom. 12:2b 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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May I add here that if there is ever a time when something published in the Nugget doesn't seem to add up to what you understand from the Bible, please let me know. The last thing I would ever want to do is to "scratch" your "itching ears" with what I want to believe the Bible says, if ever it were actually not true (See 2 Tim. 4:3). 
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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Apr 2018, 2:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 28, 2018

Not by Sight


By Answers2Prayer 
 Genesis 19 records the sad story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

We know from Genesis 18 that the day before, Abraham, concerned for his family in Sodom (see Gen. 19:29), interceded with the Lord on behalf of the city, and in the end, the Lord promised: "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." (Gen. 18:32b NIV). Sadly, ten righteous people were not found in Sodom, and even more sadly, even Lot and his family had to be pulled out of the city by force (See Gen. 19:16). 

Abraham, however, did not know that his family had been saved. In those days there was no 11 o'clock news, no internet, no texts, no email and no telephones. There weren't even newspapers. When Abraham looked out early that next morning, he didn't see Lot being drug away from the city. All he saw was dense smoke: "Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace." (Gen. 19:27-28 NIV). Because the Bible doesn't record any further interaction between Abraham and Lot, there is the possibility that Abraham would never know that Lot had been saved!

What must he have thought at that point? 

The Bible actually doesn't tell us what Abraham thought. All we can do is imagine, and I don't know about you, but my thoughts might have screamed forth something like this: "Oh God! My family! They're...gone!" 

Interestingly, the fact that Abraham must have believed Lot to be dead didn't change the fact that what he saw with his eyes and believed as truth was missing one important piece of information: Lot had been safely pulled from the city (See Gen. 19:16-26, 30)!

God may not always reveal to us exactly what happens. He may leave us without all the facts. What our senses scream forth may be missing some vital piece of information. What do we do then? Do we believe that God has not kept His promises? Do we begin to doubt? Do we become angry with Him? Or do we simply have faith that He is in control and cling to Him despite what our senses are telling us?

Let's remember that the recipe for living a blessed life, a life without fear, requires that we put our trust in God: "But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jer. 17:7-8 NIV). Though we don't always have all the answers, two things are clear: Our lack of knowledge about the facts doesn't change them, and sometimes we are required to simply: "...live by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7 NIV). Abraham's life was an example of this, for although we do not know his reaction to the destruction of Sodom, we do know that He continued to put His trust in God: "By faith Abraham..." (Heb. 11:8 NIV). 

Whatever it is you are going through right now, it doesn't matter what your senses are telling you. What matters is that you cling to the One who is the Author of Truth; that you never let your faith waiver despite what your eyes may see; that you trust in the Lord and put your confidence in Him no matter what. What truly matters is to live..."by faith and not by sight"!

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 26 Apr 2018, 10:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
April 26, 2018

What to do When Feeling Trapped
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
Sometimes God has a message for us in the oddest ways and even in the silliest situations. I pulled away from my computer and turned to hubby. "Listen to this story," I said.

A baby camel looked up to his mother, "Mommy, why do we have these long eyelashes, these big hooves and a hump on our back?"

She turned to him. "God made us that way for a very special reason," she explained. "Our large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand."

"Why the big eyelashes?" he asked.

"It's to protect our eyes from the sand."

"Why the big humps?"

"That is to store fat and have enough energy to go long distances in the hot desert!"

"I see!" The baby camel stretched his neck and looked up at his mother. "The large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand, the long eyelashes are to keep the sand out of our eyes, and the humps are to store energy to travel...then what are we doing in this cage in the middle of a zoo?"

I have asked the same question. Like the camel, I had all I needed to enjoy life. I had desires and dreams, and prepared my wings to fly high to success. But instead, I found myself in a cage of grief and heartache. Pitiful really, and definitely not the place I thought I belonged. At the age of 30, my eyesight closed in completely. I lost my joy, my purpose, and my freedom. Bars of gloom and desperation surrounded me.

Inside that cage, I longed for days gone by. Days when I could see. Days when life still held promises for tomorrow.

Have you ever been there? Have you known that longing?

If you have, like He did with me, God might be whispering this powerful truth right into your soul: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18)

When looking forward, we see the freedom from past longings. When we choose to see outside our cage, we see His hand calling. And when we choose to use what God gave us, we can live in the richness of today.

Pray with me:

Father, I need your reminder each moment of each day that you created me for much more than what I see within my cage. Thank you for showing me the way to the freedom you offer, fresh with your promises. 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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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Apr 2018, 9:54 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 24, 2018

The Ordinary Extraordinaire

By Answers2Prayer 
  "In everything give thanks." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

The ordinary, ho-hum everyday, something that's so easy to take for granted. Mountain-top experiences are wonderful but life is lived in the plains and valleys. It's practically impossible to overestimate the ordinary everyday.

Perhaps among those might be a familiar scene out a window, or thick clouds and a gentle soaking rain, the glory of a sunrise or a spectacular sunset, a child's loud, joyous laughter. Or reading a morning newspaper, coffee in hand. A field of wild flowers, studying your Bible, making a sandwich. Washing dishes or doing laundry. Going through the mail. A phone call or text from a friend. The sound of city traffic. A warm smile from a cashier you don't know. A tail-wag greeting from your neighbor's puppy.

Today's the best day to come to a holy halt, slowing it down just a bit and enjoying the day. An attitude of gratitude will take us a long way, and ordinary is truly beautiful.

Thank you, Lord, for the mountains and peaks, and thank you especially for the valleys and plains - the gift of our extraordinary ordinary everyday.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy  
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Post  Admin on Sat 21 Apr 2018, 10:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 21, 2018

The Ultimate Nemesis

By Answers2Prayer 
  My 14 year-old Golden Retriever is on borrowed time. Having already surpassed the normal lifespan of her breed by at least two years, she continues to do the things that she has always loved, including romping in the snow, rolling in the grass, and begging to go for a walk. There is only one major problem in her life: Stairs! With age, her arthritis has become so significant that even the simplest tasks of getting up from the floor or walking across the linoleum are challenges for her. By far the biggest challenge, however, is the stairs. More times than I can count she's tried to climb the stairs, only to slide--or fall!--back to the bottom. It has reached the point that she is actually afraid of stairs. Unfortunately for her, we live in a five-level house...

As her arthritis has worsened, we have set her up on the entry level of the home so that she doesn't have to climb a single stair in the house unless she chooses to. Her only problem, then, is the stairs she must climb in order to enter the house, and due to her her newly-developed stair-phobia, it is now necessary for one of us to hold her collar as she faces them. 

It occurred to me today that this "collar-holding" serves two purposes: It provides her with some stability and assurance that she won't slide--or fall!--down the stairs, yes; but it also gives her that little "nudge" of encouragement she needs to even attempt the climb.

In life, there are many "stairs" we must face in order to move forward. Life's "stairs" generally look a bit more like trials and troubles than they do ascending and descending structures; but they still provide us with obstacles that inhibit our forward movement. There are times in our lives that we embrace those "stairs" with joy. Sometimes, however, the "arthritis" of life--the stresses, the emotional and physical pain, the broken relationships, etc.--cripple us to the point that we can't seem to face that extra responsibility, that new diagnosis, that sudden death in the family, or whatever it may be. Much like my dog, we find ourselves cowering at the mere thought of what we must face. 

Unfortunately for our dog, we can't remove the stairs from our house. In the same way, we cannot remove the trials and temptations from our lives. Just like my dog must make herself climb the stairs in order to get inside to her food, her comfort and her family, we also must pass through the troubled times. Fortunately for us, there is Someone who willingly left the comforts of Heaven to make a way: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body..." (Heb. 10:19-20 NIV), and that Someone has promised to be: "...our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Ps. 46:1 NIV). He has promised: "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deut. 31:8 NIV see also Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5, Josh. 1:9, Is. 41:10-13, Matt. 28:20, etc.). Thus, it is Jesus Himself who promises to "hold our collar" so to speak, ensuring that we don't slip and fall and enabling us to make it through.

Interestingly, sometimes He is there to give us the stability and strength we need; but other times we require the occasional "nudge" to move forward. That nudge may not feel good, for it may be that God is encouraging us to continue in a direction we do not wish to go; however, that nudge will always be accompanied by the strength and stability He promises us. 

In the face of whatever new challenge has been put in your path, think about my arthritic dog and the hand on the collar that stabilizes and encourages her to go forward. Remember that it is the mighty hand of Jesus Christ that is always there for you. Let Him be your strength and stability, and when those gentle "nudges" come along, encouraging you to move onward even when you don't think you can, respond to them by doing just that: moving onward in His power and might. You'll be amazed at how much easier it becomes to be victorious through the trials!

P.S: This was written 6 months ago. My sweet, 14.5 year old "puppy" took her final breaths on this Earth this past Monday. We rejoice in the time God alloted us to be her human parents, and we will always remember all the thousands of lessons God has used her to teach us. 

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 Wed 14 Mar 2018, 9:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 13, 2018

You'll Love me Later


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." (Matt. 7:11 NLT)

I was in a local store recently when I saw something that opened a window into my soul and let in a little more light. I had just picked up some shampoo and was headed to the pet supplies to get some more dog food for my furry friends. I decided to take a shortcut through one of the toy aisles. Blocking my way, however, was a young father and his four year old daughter. The little girl was pleading with her Dad to buy her a new doll. The Dad was being gentle but firm telling her they couldn't afford it right now. Finally, the daughter burst into tears and said angrily, "I hate you!"

I thought that the father would get mad at her for this outburst. I know that I probably would have when I was his age. Instead he just smiled down at her, put his hand on her head, and said, "That's alright. You'll love me later". I stood there in amazement as he took her hand and they walked off. Then it dawned on me that I had been in this situation many times myself over the years but not as the father.

Many times over the years I have cried and thrown a fit when I didn't get what I wanted. Many times I grew angry at God when I felt my prayers weren't being answered. Through them all, though, our Heavenly Father was patient, loving, and kind with me. He knew that I didn't understand why certain things had to happen the way they did. He knew that my anger was a part of my growing up spiritually in this world. He knew that I would love Him later.

God loves us all so much. We are all His Children. But we are still growing up spiritually in this world. We don't know all the answers. That is why we need to trust in our Heavenly Father's Love and give Him ours as well. It is never too late to love God. It is never too late to invite Him into your soul. It is never too late to let His light guide your life.

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 10 Mar 2018, 9:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 10, 2018

Arm-stretching? Or Reading Glasses? Part 2
By Answers2Prayer
Last Thursday, in "Arm-Stretching? Or Reading Glasses? Part 1", we saw from the example of my farsidedness and my need for reading glasses, that it isn't necessary to undergo the torture of "arm stretching" to be able to read and understand God's Word. Just like I need reading glasses to read, we all need "Spiritual Glasses"--God's Holy Spirit. When we humble ourselves before God and ask for His Spirit to help us as we read the Bible, we are amazed at how the words suddenly scream forth meaning.

It is also true, however, that there are still days that even these "spiritual glasses" don't seem to be doing the trick for me. My "arms" are still way "too short", for I still can't always understand what I'm reading. Why?

If I think about my reading glasses, there are also times when they are properly balanced on my nose, but I still can't make out the words of the book or email I am trying to read. This is because there is a dirty haze covering those all-important lenses, and it is amazing how clear the words become once I wipe that haze away. Could it be that my spiritual "glasses" can also become dirty? Is there a "haze" or "fog" that can cloud my ability to discern spiritual things, even when I ask for God's Spirit to help me understand?

The Bible suggests that there is actually something that can keep us from communicating with God: "If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened." (Psalm 66:18 NLT). Isaiah also suggests something similar: "Listen! The LORD's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." (Isaiah 59:1,2 NLT) In other words, when we harbor sin in our hearts, we block that line of communication with God!

But just what is this great sin?

Any sin, really; however, there are some things that may not be quite as obvious as others. Take worry, for example. The Bible tells us to: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). When I worry, I am being disobedient to this command, and that worry clouds my spiritual vision and makes it difficult to communicate with God.

There are other times when I do understand. Clearly. But what I understand isn't in line with what I want to understand. It is at these times that my own will clouds my ability to utilize my "Spiritual glasses". It is so often said, "You hear what you want to hear", and if you think about it, we aren't so likely to listen when what we hear isn't in line with our own will!

Another related "layer" that can coat my Spiritual vision is control. Often times what I see in God's Word speaks to me about relinquishing control...to Him! But I don't want to relinquish control, for that would put me...out of control! Horrors! That would be just...awful!

There is, however, something absolutely amazing that I have learned: when I repent of my sin, renounce my will, relinquish control and hand my worries over to God, my spiritual vision clears and I can make full use of those "Spiritual glasses". It is truly amazing!

God's Word. One of the greatest gifts He has ever given us; yet our arms will always be "too short" unless we choose to wear the "Spiritual Glasses". The Bible will never make total sense without the help of its Inspiration, God's Spirit, and this is the first and most important step in understanding the Word of God. However, just like my reading glasses are of no use to me when they are dirty, when we allow our minds to become "clouded" with things like our own will, worry, control, sin, or whatever it may be, we will not be able to see through God's "spiritual glasses". We won't hear the voice of His Spirit, and when this happens, we have a little "lens cleaning" to do.

Last Thursday I suggested that we pray and ask for God's Spirit to be with us when we read His Word, to unblind our spiritual eyes and unstop our spiritual ears, to be a lamp unto our feet, to pierce to the division of soul and spirit, to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (See Ps. 119:105, Heb. 4:12). In addition to this prayer, I would suggest that we also ask God to help us search our hearts for anything -- sin, control, our own will, worry, whatever it may be -- that could cloud our spiritual vision. Repenting of these things will work on our "spiritual glasses" in the same way the lens cloth cleans my reading glasses, rendering our spiritual vision crystal clear. The result will be an exciting time in God's Word. Guaranteed.

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 Sun 25 Feb 2018, 4:03 pm


Welcome to the Nugget

Februry 24, 2018

When a Moralistic Mission goes awry, Part 3


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us Today, we come to the concluding part of the series titled "When a moralistic mission goes awry"...


Miserable...

While King David's friend may have lost his life, it was the King who felt the most miserable (1 Chro 13:11-12) at the sorry turn of events for which he himself was solely responsible. Be it as it may, let's capture what David himself has to say about the reasons behind the Lord's act of inflicting painful chastisement, albeit in a different situation: "The punishment you gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws. They are more valuable to me than millions in silver and gold!" (Ps. 119:71-72 TLB).


Modify...

Misery led to the temporary modification in David's plan to take the Ark to Jerusalem. He would now instead take it to the home of a Levite, Obededom (1 Chron. 15:24) the Gittite, so called because he was the resident of Gath-Rimmon, one of the Levitical Cities (Joshua 21:24-25).


Manifold...

Put yourself in Obededom's shoes, as the Ark of the Covenant came home! Considering the circumstances, one can well imagine with what reverential fear he and his family members would have gone about their lives. No wonder, the Scripture says, obviously out of joy in seeing Obededom conduct affairs of his home with deep reverential fear for three months, that the Lord blessed him with manifold blessings (1 Chron. 13:14).


Mend...

Trust godly David to repent whenever he was confronted with his faults and fallacies (Psalm 51/2 Sam 24); and this incident, which is the first of the other two grave mistakes of his life, kind of establishes a pattern: Stand...fall...rise! Deep remorse of this contrite King over a moralistic mission gone awry due to Scriptural negligence can well be gauged by these sombre words, even as he mends fences with His Creator. Let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar, the High Priests, and for the Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 'You are the leaders of the clans of the Levites,' he told them. 'Now sanctify yourselves with all your brothers so that you may bring the Ark of Jehovah, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. The Lord destroyed us before because we handled the matter improperly--you were not carrying it.'" (1 Chron. 15:11-13 TLB).

About a Christian's life also...the wise Rick Warren observed, "A Christian begins with repentance and is sustained by repentance".

Mission 2...

If seeds for failure of "Mission 1" were laid by way of an improper spiritual preparation, seeds for success of Mission 2 were by the same token planted this time out by proper, reverential, meticulous preparation. No wonder that when the curtains come down on this particular account of finally bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, the Scripture makes mention of peaceful and joyous settings at the end of it all: "And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house" (2 Sam 6:18-19).
May we too, at all times, undertake tasks for God's Glory in the way He desires, so that we can also experience this truth of which that great Missionary Hudson Taylor speaks of thus: "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply." Oh of all the finest things He supplies, let's crave for His approval first and foremost in everything we undertake in His Name!

Prayer: Father, let all our steps be ordered by Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Feb 2018, 9:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

Februry 20, 2018

When a Morlistic Mission goes awry, Part 1


By Answers2Prayer 
   Heard of anecdotes when something done with an apparently good intention, but done in the wrong way, went haywire? Here's one for starters... 

Who can forget a school time story often told to emphasize the importance of proper usage of punctuation marks? It is said that on account of a last-minute Presidential pardon, a convict's death sentence by hanging was slashed. But unfortunately, due to improper usage of a comma, the wired message to the Prison (sent in a hurry), where this convict was to be executed, read: "Hang him, not release him" instead of the supposed "Hang him not, release him". 

Coming to the spiritual realm...St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators, studied Hebrew so he could translate the Old Testament into Latin from the original language instead of from the third century Greek version that everyone else had used. The resulting Latin version, known as, "The Vulgate", which became the basis for hundreds of subsequent translations, contained a famous mistake. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai, his head has "radiance" or, in Hebrew, "karan." But Hebrew is written without the vowels, and St. Jerome had read "karan" as "keren" or "horned." From this error came centuries of paintings and sculptures of Moses with horns. Even the great renaissance artist Michael Angelo sculpted Moses with a horn, and thus, the odd offensive stereotype of the "horned Jew" was born. 

While at best (or worst...Sic), the resultant damage may have been limited to some Jewish sentiments getting rubbed the wrong way courtesy this semantic error of that great Saint, there was nothing as catastrophic as the loss of life, nor was any incumbent King left with egg on his face, so to speak. Now welcome to the Biblical story that resulted in just that! Consider David's gaffe over transporting the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chron. 13:1-14) from Kiriath-Jearim to Jerusalem in an ox-cart instead of on the shoulders of Priestly Kohathites (Numbers 4:15/Numbers 7:19)! 

It is an altogether different story as to why the Ark, which symbolized both God's presence and His Covenantal relationship with Israel, landed in Kiriath-Jearim in the first place, when it ought to have been in the "The Most Holy Place" (a separate Chamber) of the Tabernacle at Gibeon. Incidentally the story of Tabernacle itself moving to Gibeon from its original place of erection in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) is a gargantuan subject in itself. Amongst others, the subject would lead us to a topic culminating in a fascinating time in Israel's history, when there were for the first and only time, two High Priests. One was in Gibeon and the other in Jerusalem (See 1 Kings 4:4). Yours truly will endeavour to throw light on fascinating subjects some other time, but in this 3-part series, we will see what lessons can be glean from David's moralistic mission gone awry. We will focus on alliteration, sub-headings beginning with "M", as we, of this generation, are better served in paying proper attention to our Lord's instructions (1 Cor 10:11)... 


Miss-out...

Until this goof-up, one of the outstanding characteristics of the man of God's own heart, David himself (See 1 Sam 13:14/Acts 13:22), had been to often "enquire of the Lord". A careful study of the Scriptures would reveal that until this "spiritual blunder", David had enquired of the Lord when faced with different challenges not less than 6 times (1 Sam 23:2,4/1 Sam 30:8/2 Sam 2:1/2 Sam 5:19,23). Sadly, however, before embarking on this "noble" mission of bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the permanent "home of God", Jerusalum, where the temple would soon be constructed (See Ps. 132:13-14), instead of Gibeon, which was only a temporary place for the Lord's presence in dispensation of Law, there is no mention of this great King "enquiring of the Lord". The Scriptures say he, "consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader" (1 Chron. 13:1 NLT) instead. If seeking the Lord's opinion seemed too much to ask for David, then ideally instead of military leaders, it would have served him well to consult the Levitical leaders before making the "final call" on the subject. This was, in all, predominantly a spiritual matter...Talk of consulting a Nephrologist to discuss your Cardiac problem, rather than a seeing a Cardiologist... 

Sadly, it would seem that David missed out on the obvious opportunity to seek the right answer from the right source. While the saying, "the work well begun is half-done" is true, the converse of it is also equally true: work not well begun, is half-done for! Say Servant of God, are you prayerfully enquiring of the Lord before launching out on any noble mission that is purportedly to be carried out for His Glory? 

Prayer: Father, we confess of our haste shown in taking up spiritual projects without properly seeking Your counsel in those matters. Forgive us and make us fully dependent on you for all of our projects, from the their beginning until their end. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Feb 2018, 11:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 17, 2018

Mountain Range of Troubles
By Answers2Prayer 
  Isn't it interesting how troubles always seem to come in bunches? It isn't a "mountain" of trouble, it's a "mountain range"!

As I come off a current "mountain range" of problems, I have to wonder: Wouldn't each of these trials have been easier to take one at a time? Take my dog being sick, for example, and me having to clean up multiple spots from the carpet. Wouldn't that have been easier to deal with if I had arrived home from work on time? And the cleaning up would certainly not have been so painful if I hadn't just sprained my wrist. And wouldn't the wrist sprain have been easier if it weren't for the fact that we were on "high alert" to drop everything and fly to Europe? If it weren't for the fact that my mother-in-law didn't not have much longer to live? And wouldn't that have been easier to work through if we hadn't had sick staff at work, making the work load of the rest of us double and requiring that we all work several hours of overtime? And wouldn't the extra time at work have been easier to manage if I hadn't also been sick with the same bug? And since all the above took away my time to do things at home in the evenings, wouldn't it have all been easier if I hadn't had to deal with another family emergency on the weekend, thus taking away any "catch-up" time I had?

Back in 2012, when I was going through some serious health concerns, I remember asking God why it all had to come in bunches. I mean, wouldn't the torn rotator cuff have been so much easier to deal with if it hadn't been for the accompanying frozen shoulder? And wouldn't the shoulder issues have seemed less daunting if I hadn't just broken two ribs and injured my calf in two separate accidents? And God, wouldn't it all have been easier to manage if it hadn't been for that cancer diagnosis? 

I could give many more examples, but I think you get the picture. In fact, you could insert into this devotional multiple examples of your own "mountain range" of problems. For whatever reason, it never seems to be the case that we deal with just one problem at a time. In fact, I would say that 10 seems to be the norm! 

So how should we react?

The prophet Micah gives us some clues. Micah prophesied at a time when the Babylonian captivity of Judah was an imminent reality. Troubles were piling up for the people of Jerusalem and Judah, and the worst was yet to come: "Why do you now cry aloud--have you no king? Has your ruler perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?" (Micah 4:9 NIV)

Any woman who has ever given birth knows exactly what pain the prophet is speaking of here. In fact, Micah, being a man, probably had less idea than we women do. Yes, the pains of labour are an excellent description of how this mountain range of problems feels at the moment!

What does Micah tell us to do?

"Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor..." (Micah 4:10a NIV)

Excellent advice, Micah. You obviously have never been there. Labor is said to be the worst pain known to mankind...

But Micah is heartless: "...for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon..." (Micah 4:10b NIV)

In other words, we need to face that labor pain, because we WILL go through illness. Our troubles WILL pile up against us. The loss of our loved one WILL be coupled with sprained wrists, sick dogs, illness and other family problems. That cancer diagnosis WILL come at a time when troubles are already abounding. We WILL lose that house in the middle of winter. That relationship WILL fall apart in the face of all those financial concerns: "...for now you MUST leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon..." 

Some comfort, Micah! 

So where is the advice I promised? 

It was there in the opening line of vs. 10. Did you catch it? 

"Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor..."

Let's not forget that labor pain does not last forever. It can sometimes last hours, even days, but in the end, all the pain results in the birth of a beautiful baby. This is the advice that Micah gives us when we are going through that mountain range of trouble: Face them like you would face labor pains. Charge in courageously, ever knowing that it will be temporary; and once on the other side, it will be worth it.

Not convinced? I'm not sure Judah would have been, either, except for the last line of vs. 10: "...there you will be rescued. There the Lord will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies." (Micah 4:10c NIV)

Whatever mountain range of problems assaults you today, face it like you would labor, ever knowing that God will get you through, and in the end, rescue and redemption!

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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Did you ever try to do something out of good intentions, only to have it go sour? Join us next week for "Moralistic Missions Gone Astray", a Mini-Series by Suresh Manoharan for some Biblical examples of the same, as well as some valuable lessons we can learn from their experiences!
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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 9:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 13, 2018

Maman, Adieu!
Part 4: Carrying us Through the Hard Times...


By Answers2Prayer 
  When you are grieving the inevitable loss of someone you care about, it is sometimes hard to see anything other than the pain of grief. Nonetheless, God is there, and no matter how much it hurts, He sends little "gifts" along the way to help ease that pain. This was the all-important final lesson God had for me through the loss of Maman, my precious mother-in-law. I don't know how many beautiful little "gifts" He sent before I started watching for them, but once we were aboard the aircraft for our transatlantic flight, He finally got my attention...

Although we had booked our flight through Air Canada, and although we held Air Canada tickets in our hands, we were actually aboard a Brussels Air aircraft. What a blessing of God this would turn out to be... 

First of all, this particular aircraft had a bit more leg room than most, and for an overseas flight, this is a very good thing. Secondly, we were quite naturally sad; but when the safety demonstration was done with a twist of quirky Belgian humor, it lifted our spirits. 

We were only about 45 minutes into our flight when the next blessing came about. The attendants came around with supper trays: "Would you like chicken or fish?" With both of us choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, and with me being intolerant to gluten and dairy, we definitely have to order our meals in advance. In our haste to book our flights, we hadn't even considered that we would be served supper, and I simply shook my head and assured the flight attendant we had some sandwiches. She looked a bit concerned when she left, and it wasn't long before another flight attendant stood beside us with a tray: "You need a vegetarian meal?" As he handed me the tray, I instantly noted it was both gluten--and dairy--free. Wait. How did he know? "You wouldn't happen to have another one, would you?" I asked, indicating my husband's empty tray table. Moments later, he came back, this time with a lovely pasta dish. Now this man also had no way of knowing our individual dietary needs. How was it that there just "happened" to be two "extra" vegetarian dishes, one that was perfect for each of us? 

Perhaps the biggest airline blessing, however, was that our flight was almost empty. This meant that there were many entire rows of empty seats, and as this was an overnight flight, we were each able to have our own "row" to lay down. 

It was in all, a flight full of blessings, and all because God knew Air Canada would put us aboard a Brussels Air aircraft.

Once in Brussels, God had yet another blessing for us. The small car we had reserved had been upgraded to a larger one, one that was actually big enough not only for our luggage, but also for our son, who would be arriving in a few days, and his luggage. 

The weather was another blessing. Though it was February, the temperatures averaged about 10 degrees C (50 F.). The grass was green, and the trees were ready to burst into bloom. The bulbs were all coming up, and a few of the earliest spring flowers had already begun to blossom. In all, God was painting us a beautiful picture, one that would help distract us from the sad moments ahead. 

Our rented room was another gift of God. For only 23 euros per person per night, we had an entire house, complete with washing machine. Our hosts were also wonderful. On our final day, they took us into their home, served us refreshments, and we talked for over an hour.

The list of blessings could go on and on, but perhaps the greatest blessing was that Maman knew we were there and knew who we were. This helped us so much when her status took a turn for the worst the following day. We felt so blessed to have had that one good day and then to have been able to hold her hand and as she went forever to the kingdom of God... 

Death. It was never in God's original, perfect plan; yet because of sin, it is such a part of life. When a loved one dies, it hurts so much; yet God WILL walk with us every step of the way, for He knows how much it hurts to lose a loved one to death. He WILL hold our hand, He WILL hold us up, and as we make the long and painful walk through the valley of grief, He will send us His mercies and blessings every step of the way. 

Our job? We are to simply notice His mercies and give Him the praise. 

I hope none of you are facing the death of a loved one, but life dictates that likely many of you are doing just that. Remember to watch for God's blessings and allow Him to get you through, for: "This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him." (Ps. 91:2 NLT)

Maman loved God very much, and we have no doubts that she is now with Jesus. She would have wanted nothing more than for the circumstances surrounding her death to be a blessing to other people, and it is for this reason that I have penned this short series. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, please email me. If you have missed any of the former lessons in the "Maman, Adieu" mini-series, you can access them by clicking here. Otherwise, email me and I will send them to you. God bless each of you as you go through the difficult valleys that are on your path today. 

In His love,
Lyn 

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
Announcement:
Hounded by problems? Have troubles become your "norm?" Do you find it hard to hold on to faith in the midst of dire need? God know! Check out Victory in Trouble, a 4-part mini-series by Lyn Chaffart, designed to help you be victorious through your troubled times.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 10 Feb 2018, 11:07 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 10, 2018
Maman, Adieu!
Part 3: God's Timing is Always...Right!

By Answers2Prayer
When you know the death of someone you love is imminent, all you can think about is seeing that person again before they go. Especially if an ocean lies between you. Unfortunately, however, the labour laws of our country dictate that we can only receive leaves-of-absence from work with pay--after a death has occured. That meant that in order to see Maman, my mother-in-law, again, we would either have to make two last-minute and expensive trips to Europe, one without pay, or we would not see her before she passed away. There didn't seem to be any compromise. If we only knew exactly when her time would be, we would be able to accomplish both goals with one trip; but since we didn't possess a crystal ball, there was no way to know when would be the best time to make that transatlantic flight.

Some time between the initial scare and the second, real report that Maman wasn't expected to live, my husband received two funny messages from God. He was about to watch a DVD that he had used to record random TV shows. There is no real way to know what show will come up next, but as he put the disc in the player, he heard God's voice: "It will be NCIS." And it was.

Wait. Why would God care to tell my husband what show he would watch on TV?

Two minutes later, he reached for a chewable Vitamin C. There are four flavours of these particular Vitamin C tablets, all colour-coded; but when you blindly reach into the jar, there is no way to know which flavour you will get. As his fingers began to fish out a tablet, he again heard God's voice: "It will be green." And it was.

Wait. What was going on?

God then spoke again: "If I can tell you what show you will watch and what colour your Vitamin C tablet will be, then can't you trust Me to tell you when it is the right time to fly to Belgium?"

Two weeks later, on Tuesday, February 7, we got the call: Maman was only expected to be with us another few days. Because we had received a similar call two weeks earlier that had turned out to be a false alarm, we weren't sure what to do; but remembering the message from the TV show and the Vitamin C, my husband and I began to pray. The next morning, God told Rob that it was time to make our flight arrangements, and He told me that Maman had exactly seven days to live.

We couldn't fly until Saturday, and given the timechange, along with the fact that it was an overnight flight, we arrived in Belgium Sunday morning, February 12. We drove to the nursing home to find that Maman was having a good day. She was alert, she obviously knew who we were, and every few minutes she would smile at us. She even drank some water, which she hadn't done in several days. In all, she was at peace.

The next day, Monday, February 13, she was in a semi-comatose state. She wouldn't eat or drink, her eyes were glazed over, and by the end of the day her breathing had become shallow. We asked the nurses to call us at our hotel if her condition changed, and that call came in at 3:15 in the morning. We hurried to the home and were able to hold her hands as she went to sleep in the arms of Jesus.

Only afterwards would we realize that it was Tuesday, February 14, exactly seven days after God had told me she would be with us exactly seven more days...

But God had only begun to reveal His perfect timing. My husband had three unused personal days he could take from work, along with his five days of bereavement. We had felt led to book our return flights 12 days after leaving Canada, on Thursday of the following week. As it turned out, there was a statutory holiday during that upcoming week, and my husband was able to make the entire trip without losing pay.

But with Maman passing away so early in our trip, what would we do with the ten days that remained of our booked-off time?

God had it all under control. The earliest date for the funeral was the upcoming Monday. We also wouldn't have the death certificate--the piece of paper critical for the settlement of the estate--until Monday. Interestingly, this also allowed our oldest son time to fly in from Canada for his grandmother's funeral.

We then learned that the burial couldn't happen until Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon was also the only time we would be able to see the notary to make arrangements for settling the estate. As it turned out, the days between the death and the funeral were just the right number to accommodate cleaning out my mother-in-law's room, purchasing gifts for those who were helping us out at home, and celebrating our son's 24th birthday.

And finally, because our return flight on Thursday was early in the morning, we would have to move from Ostend (on the coast) to Louvin (near Brussels) on Wednesday. God had quite literally impressed us to book off the perfect number of days!

Somehow just knowing that God cared enough to work out the timing so perfectly helped us to know--and trust--that He would also help us through our grief...

Remember this Truth: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6: 2 NKJV). God's timing is perfect. All the time. Even when we don't see, He does; and we can trust Him to tell us when the time is right, no matter what the situation.

There was just one more lesson God had for me through this ordeal. Please join us on Tuesday for the conclusion of "Maman, Adieu"!

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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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."

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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Feb 2018, 11:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 8, 2018

Maman, Adieu!
Part 2: How to Avoid a Meltdown

By Answers2Prayer
It was Tuesday, February 7, when we received the unwelcome news that "Maman", my precious mother-in-law, was considered to be imminently palliative. We immediately began making plans for an emergency trip to Europe, and you can imagine the hustle and bustle as we went into overdrive, running on pure adrenaline, to ensure we had a place to stay, a vehicle, that our animals would be cared for, etc. And of course, there were mega-arrangements to make at both of our places of work for our extended leaves of absence. Combine this with the emotional turmoil of knowing we would soon lose our precious Maman and that it might happen before we could make the transatlantic flight to Belgium to see her one last time, and you will understand why I was very close to a major meltdown. It was in the midst of this adrenaline-fueled marathon that God reached out to me through each of my boys, respectively, to teach me two very important lessons...

It began with my older son. "How are you doing?" was his text to me. This is his invitation to provide emotional support, and my response was, "It's been rough". Of course he wanted to know what, specifically, was wrong, and my text back to him said something about, busyness, arrangements to make, emotional turmoil, etc.

I should have expected the content of his response; nonetheless, I was blown away to learn that he had also experienced a "rough" day and for the very same reasons...It made me sit back and think. Here I was so concerned about myself and my own problems that it didn't occur to me that my son would also be struggling with the imminent loss of his grandmother. Under other circumstances I would have been in tune to this, but my own problems and stresses, albeit very valid ones, had blown themselves up so much in my mind that they completely blocked me from being able to see that my son was also hurting! And yet, here he was, offering ME emotional support...

What a powerful lesson. It doesn't matter how valid, how big, how encompassing our problems are, they should NEVER be allowed to keep us from seeing the needs of others!

In a communication with my younger son, it became apparent that he, too, was struggling--not with a very "rough" day, but a very "rough" last two weeks. Whenever your kids hurt, you hurt; and this, on top of the rest, was the last straw for me. As I began to allow thoughts of self-pity and insecurity pull me towards the ever-familiar path of depression, I was suddenly overcome with the burden to pray for someone.

Now normally when I am headed towards full-blown depression, I ignore such burdens. Especially if I didn't have a clue who or what I was supposed to be praying for, as was the case that night. After all, weren't my own needs bigger at that moment than whatever God was urging me to pray about?

This time, however, the burden to pray actually made me recognize that I was heading down a dangerous, slippery slope. I turned to God, I renounced my self-pity, my insecurity and my depression, and I began to pray in the Spirit.

Interestingly, after spending time in prayer, my own emotions stabilized. Gone was the depression, the self-pity, the insecurity. The upcoming trip to Europe and its emotional baggage were still there, but I knew that with God on my side, we would make it through. And with that truth, my mini-meltdown was over.

It was two days later that one of the special people in my life texted me. She battles crippling anxiety, and I had previously asked her to contact me the moment the anxiety began to creep in. She told me in her text that she had been struggling with anxiety around the same time I had almost ignored the burden to pray. Praise be to God, she had just experienced two peaceful days...

Coincidence?

I don't think so, and herein lies the second important lesson I learned that week: When we pray for others despite the magnitude of what we, ourselves, are going through, we will see our own problems shrink back to their real size as they come under the blood of Jesus.

Doesn't the Bible tell us to encourage one another? "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." (1 Thess. 5:11 NLT). Doesn't the bible teach that we receive comfort from God so that we can pass it on to others? "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Cor. 1:4 NLT).

No matter what it is you are battling this week, I urge each of you to try to consider the needs of others as far more important than your own. Resolve to put the needs of others first, for you can be sure that when you do, you can trust God to take care of your own problems!

And let's pray for God's help in remembering these two valuable lessons...

Join us on Saturday for a lesson in God's perfect timing, even through death, in "Maman, Adieu", Part 3.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:
It is hard to lose someone you love. Yet throughout that horrible experience, God is there, pouring out blessing upon blessing. Join us on Saturday and Tuesday for the concluding parts of "Maman, Adieu", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart, inspired by the recent tragedy of the loss of her precious mother-in-law.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 10:59 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 6, 2018

Maman, Adieu!
Part 1: The Choice

By Answers2Prayer
My precious mother-in-law, Maman, left this earth to be with the Lord on Valentine's Day of last year. It was tough times for all of us, but God, in His loving way, used this sad consequence of sin to teach us some valuable lessons about peace, about trust, about God's power and timing and about His ability to comfort those who are left behind. These will be the focus of the devotionals leading up to Valentine's Day.

Part 1: The Choice

In the days that followed the unwelcome news that my mother-in-law, Maman, was considered to be imminently palliative, I learned an important lesson: Peace of mind is a choice. It doesn't matter what we are going through, we have the choice to submit it to God and rest in His peace, or to carry it ourselves.

The previous weekend, the charge nurse at the home where my Maman lived contacted us to say that if we wanted to see her alive, we would need to make an immediate overseas trip. Quite naturally, we began to grieve, and the entire week was spent trying to figure out how to make this trip a possibility. We would learn on Friday, however, from the same nurse, that in her opinion, Maman had weeks, if not months, to live. Then on Saturday, the nurse who did my mother-in-law's direct care reported that in her opinion, Maman was not palliative at all!

What an emotional roller coaster!

In and of itself, that would have been enough to disrupt the peace, but add the following to the mix: 1) Work had been significant more stressful than usual due to staff off sick; 2) I had slipped on the ice and sprained my wrist; 3) There were significant problems with another family member requiring hours of time to find solutions, only to learn that this particular family member didn't want help. Then the same issues resulted in me losing a significant chunk of my weekend; and 4) I was also sick, but with staff already off, I had to push myself to work through it anyway. Thanks to the prayers of my loving husband and family, I was weathering this pretty well...Until Sunday night, that is, when my son said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I knew at the time that I was taking it all wrong; nonetheless, this little thing was quite simply the last straw. I just couldn't humanly take any more emotional turmoil, and with that thought, I gave away my peace.

God, in His loving kindness, refused to leave me there. Instead, He sent me a timely text from my son, with the strong reminder that God is Jehovah Shalom, God of Peace. Then my son went one step farther: He reminded me that in the Hebrew, these names of God were not just general names, but personal ones. Therefore, it isn't just "God of Peace"; instead, it becomes "God of my Peace"!

That worked on my spirit for a few minutes, and that's when the truth occurred to me: Having the peace of God is a choice. I can choose to allow God to be my peace, or I can choose to hold His peace at bay by continually allowing the "things" in life to mushroom in my mind.

Now I know that I am not dealing with serious, personal health concerns, financial difficulties or relationship problems. I also realize I have a great job, a loving, wonderful family to support me and a warm roof over my head. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, my little bag of "problems" might seem pretty small. Nonetheless, whatever it is, small or huge, God's peace is available to us at all times: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7 NIV). The reason we don't always feel that peace is that we fail to give our burdens to Him: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7 MOV)

I chose to give my problems to Jesus that day, and I declared that Jehovah Shalom is the God of my peace. You won't believe the difference it made!

And it's a good thing; as the news from Europe would again succumb to the whims of reality...Join us on Thursday for "Maman, Adieu!" part 2: How to Avoid a Meltdown.

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 Fri 02 Feb 2018, 10:24 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 1, 2018

The Perfect Connection
By Answers2Prayer
"What's wrong with me?"

I asked myself that question while seated in the window seat of the airplane. I plugged my headset, ready to listen to some music (I had preferred to listen to the Bible on CD, but had packed it away in my suitcase).

"Excuse me," I said to the man beside me, "can you help me with finding the buttons?"

"Sure," he said.

He showed me and I figured out the correct spots to change stations and adjust the volume.

But later when I wanted to change, nothing happened. I pressed, pressed some more and nada. I didn't want to bother the man again. So, I kept trying.

It wasn't 'till the end of the flight that I discovered the earphones had disconnected from the plug.

You've done that too, haven't you? We all have done something similar in life. We try to listen to the music of our own wisdom by looking for the right button. We repeatedly press on, following our own abilities. And we keep trying, only to highlight our foolishness. Before we know it, we're encountering nothing of value, of worth or meaning.

Could it be that we're also disconnected? But, if we lean toward Jesus and ask Him, He's the source to which we connect. Then we find the melody of life, the richness for our days and the abundance for our tomorrows.

Jesus said: "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5).

How much fruit is your life bearing these days?

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 30 Jan 2018, 8:40 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 30, 2018

Just Winter


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

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a dark, dreary day. The Christmas decorations had been taken down. The old year had given way to the new. Now it was just Winter. Outside a bitter wind was blowing. Gray clouds covered the sun. Several inches of snow lay on the grass and trees. Inside my water was dripping so my pipes wouldn't freeze and I was sipping coffee so I wouldn't freeze either. I asked my dog if he was ready to go for a walk, but he just turned around and lay down next to the heater. I shook my head, zipped up my sweater and slipped on my thick socks while I looked out my kitchen window. I wasn't looking forward to another 3 months of this. I sat wearily at the kitchen table to eat my oatmeal. Then suddenly I saw him! A beautiful, bright red cardinal had landed on a low hanging limb of the bare tree in my backyard. I looked lovingly at him while he stared back at me. He gently stretched his wings, gave me a final, knowing nod, and flew into the sky. His visit had left my spirits a little higher, my heart a little lighter, and my soul a little closer to Heaven.

Sometimes in our lives it is just winter. Sometimes the gray gloom of this world piles on the problems and troubles. Sometimes life feels both cold and bitter. Sometimes it is very hard to see the light. It is times like these when we need to call on our own inner cardinal. It is times like these that we most need to shine our own light, share our own love, and let ourselves fly. It isn't always easy and often takes effort, but with Heaven's help it can be done.

Just remember that God loves you in the Winter as well as in the Spring. Life may not always give you what you want but it does give you what you need to grow kinder, better, more loving, and closer to God. Let your inner cardinal fly then. Let God's light shine through you. Let your love help warm this world in the Winter as well as the Spring.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

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Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:49 am

Welcome to the Nugget

January 27, 2018

Jonah: A Different Perspective


By Answers2Prayer 
  The story of Jonah and the big fish is perhaps one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. Ask any Christian what it means, and you will hear something about how obedience to God is important, how we can't run from God, etc.

As I was praying for direction that morning, God directed me to go to this little book. I was a bit puzzled at first. The problem I was seeking guidance for was not something that was in any way my fault. In fact, my husband and I are mere victims in a world-wide scandal involving a big-ticket item we had purchased in good faith. With the company having given us a few options, I was asking God to show us which of our three options was right for us...Why was God guiding me to a book about someone running away from Him?

Despite my doubts, I paged through my Bible to the story, and as I began to read, the words jumped out at me: "But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart." (Jonah 1:4 NLT). 

Let's remember that Jonah wasn't the only person on board. If the ship truly broke apart, the crew, as well as any other passengers, would all lose their lives. None of them had done anything wrong. Why were they being punished for Jonah's sin?

Wait a minute. This was my situation, wasn't it? I had done nothing wrong in purchasing this item. The current "storm" was completely caused by wrong choices made by the manufacturer, and I, like the crew aboard Jonah's ship was nothing but an innocent bystander who had been "swept" into the problems!

Is this your situation as well? You didn't do anything wrong to merit that cancer diagnosis. You are completely innocent in the affair that tore your marriage apart. You did nothing wrong in your parenting, and your teenager had no reason to go off the deep end. You've always been honest and supportive at work, yet you are still being fired. You are in the midst of a terrible financial battle, despite the fact that you've always been faithful with your offerings...Just like the sailors aboard that ship bound for Joppa, the fact that we find ourselves immersed in trials does not necessarily mean we are at fault. Oh, God does use our trials to teach us things; but that isn't necessarily the reason they come upon us. Sometimes, just like those sailors, just like my husband and I in the midst of this scandal, just like you in the middle of your current trials, we are nothing but innocent bystanders, caught up in the fallout of someone else's poor decisions. 

So what do we do? 

We do what the sailor's did: "Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship." (Jonah 1:5a NLT). We seek God, and we search our hearts for any "dross" that God may be hoping to clean out through this situation. 

One more interesting fact caught and held my attention as I read Jonah 1 that morning. It was the reaction of the sailors after they had thrown Jonah into the sea... "The sailors were awestruck by the Lord's great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him." (Jonah 1:15 NLT). It wasn't about the sailors, it was about Jonah; yet God turned the situation for His glory by bringing these same sailors to a knowledge of the One True God. 

This shouldn't surprise us, should it? For we know that: "...God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Rom. 8:28 NLT)

Remember this as you go through your present set of circumstances. God isn't angry at you. He isn't punishing you. You've just gotten caught up in the trouble caused by sin in this world. Seek God, search your heart for anything God may be using the situation to clear out of your life, and hold on to the promise that He will work everything out for good.

Oh, and isn't it interesting to see that in the story of Jonah, the "cause" of the problem was thrown into the sea? Was this the guidance God is giving me about what to do in my situation? God would later confirmed that it was, and needless to say, I no longer have this particular big-ticket item...

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 Fri 26 Jan 2018, 12:49 am

Welcome to the Nugget

January 25, 2018

How to Turn your Weaknesses into Strengths
bible
By Answers2Prayer 

Guilty. Self-pity nearly won. There was a time in my life when I felt unworthy and useless like the pulp my juicer spits out. Memory of that season rushed in when my friend and I had lunch last week.

"You won't believe it," she said, "After I juice, I use the pulp to sprinkle on my salads...it turns out delicious!"

She didn't discard the pulp, rather, she put it to good use. God did the very same with me. When blindness struck at the age of 31, I thought my life was over. I thought I'd be relegated to stay inside my four walls, empty of achievements and like useless pulp, ready to be dumped in the garbage disposal of life.

Did you ever have moments like that? Feeling like your value, your purpose and your passion is dry? We all have. But when God is in the midst, He uses what little we may have, what flaws we display, what mistakes we made or how low we feel. He crafts something deliciously beautiful.

That's because no matter how we try to overcome our weaknesses, God is trying to turn them into strengths. He uses our weaknesses to make great things. He molds sad circumstances to success. And He turns our losses into gain.

He did that with me. I had asked God to remove my blindness. He didn't. Instead, He turned my physical blindness into 20/20 spiritual vision.

In a different way, Paul also encountered adversity, painful and unpleasant, He confessed:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10).

What weakness of yours will you delight in?

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 13 Jan 2018, 6:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 13, 2018

Shoveling the Drive


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us It was winter, and they were calling for snow. I didn't believe it, because the weather report is hardly ever right; and as a result, I didn't call and make arrangements for the neighbor to come with his tractor and shovel us out. Unfortunately for me, they got it right this time, for when I looked out the window, there was at least 20 centimeters of the white stuff covering my driveway. In order to get the car out, I would have to shovel...

Of course my husband was home; but it was early, and he was still asleep. Not wanting to wake him, I went out to the garage, and walking past the snow blower, I picked up the shovel. You see, I didn't really know how to use the snow blower. Besides, it's heavy and unwieldy, certainly not something that a weakling such as myself could push...

And so I proceeded to manually shovel out our long, wide drive. Needless to say, I was exhausted before I had finished half the job...

"Not so smart," you are probably thinking, and you are right! I should have believed the weather report. I should have called the neighbor. When I didn't, I should have waited for my husband to wake up and clear the driveway with the snow blower. And if I didn't wish to wait that long, I should have used the snow blower myself. I had multiple solutions at my disposal, but I chose to ignore them all and do it the hard way.

This reminds me of Isaiah 42. It is a powerful chapter, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety; but here are just a few highlights...

First we see a summary of God's call on Israel: "I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons." (Is. 42:6,7 NLT)

We then see God providing proof that He is who He is by showing how His prophecies have always come true and how He always announces what He is going to do in advance: "Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens." (Isaiah 42:9 NLT)

And we see God's promise to go before Israel and fight their battles for them: "The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies." (Isaiah 42:13 NLT).

Next we see a dramatic turn in the prophecy: "'Listen, you who are deaf! Look and see, you blind! You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don't really listen.'...Because he is righteous, the Lord has exalted his glorious law. But his own people have been robbed and plundered, enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped. They are fair game for anyone and have no one to protect them, no one to take them back home." (Isaiah 42:18, 20-22 NLT)

In all of this, I can almost see God "pulling out His hair" and shouting, "I gave you everything you needed! I equipped you with more than you would need...but you refused to use it!"

And that's pretty similar to the idea expressed by my husband when he woke up to find I had shoveled the driveway by hand...

The point is, God has promised to, "...supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 NLT). That means that whatever it is we are destined to go through, whatever valleys we must walk, God, through Jesus, has already given us everything we need to overcome. That means the only reason we are feeling so discouraged and despondent is simply because we haven't made use of what God has given us.

Are you not sure what kind of help God has given you that you may not be making full use of? Here's a few examples:

1. His Word (John 17:14-19)
2. His promise that He will supply all of our needs (Phil 4:19)
3. His perfect track record of never letting us down (Isaiah 42:9)
4. His promise to never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6).

Please understand that this doesn't necessarily mean He will simply "rescue" us from the valleys. In fact, Jesus said, "I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one." (John 17:15 NLT); and "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NLT). What it does mean is that He will hold our hands and help us through, no matter what. Our job in all of this is to accept His help, to open our blind eyes, to pay attention to what we see and read and hear, and to see the glory of the Lord being manifested in whatever situation we are going through at the moment.

God hasn't abandoned us to our trouble. He has given us promises of help, He has said He would never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6), and He keeps all His promises (Deut. 7:9). Why not reach out to His help today? Let's use that snow blower! Or better yet, let's believe the weather report and call the neighbor! Let's use whatever help God has given us so that we are not doing it alone!

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 28 Dec 2017, 9:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget


December 28, 2017
What to do When Feeling Overwhelmed


By Answers2Prayer 
  Life ain't all roses--and it won't be in the upcoming new year. 


The other morning, hubby and I walked hand in hand to the park for our morning exercise stroll. "It's going to be a stressful day," he said, "got a report to finish and don't have all the information..."


He went on and on. Then, as we always do while we walk, we prayed together.


A bit ashamed to admit this, but once the "holy" moment faded, I realized that life stinks sometimes. Yes, it does. Stuff comes up all the time. If it's not the stress at work, it's the illness that keeps us awake. Or the uncertainty of the future. Or broken relationships. Or kids who disappoint us. And our brain nearly explodes trying to figure it all out. And when, on top of it all, another glitch shows up, the red light "overwhelmed" light comes on the dashboard of our life.


But that's when we either let pitiful tears flow or we invite wisdom in--the wisdom in Isaiah 43 where God invites us to believe, to cling to, to embrace when feeling overwhelmed, drained and crushed by the stuff in life:


Life is going to be rough sometimes. Expect that. Situations will threaten to push us into panic because fear has shown up. But here's what God says about that: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1).


If we belong to Him, is there any doubt He will take care of us? "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you" (Isaiah 43:2a). Have you known rivers of pain? They don't seem to stop. But as difficult as the navigating can be, we can be sure we'll pass through them. And never, never alone. God promised to accompany us.


"When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2b). Aren't you glad He never said, "You're a Christian, you'll never experience fires." Instead, He knows we'll face them. But He has the solution. When the heat of adversity is inevitable. His Word to shield is attainable. And here's why: God says: "For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." (Isaiah 43:3).


He's our God, with all His power, with all His might, with all His love, He's our God. Peace when overwhelmed is His gift wrapped in reassurance, giving us the green light to peace.


Father, thank you for your power at work in my life. I will not fear when life becomes overwhelming. When I seem to drown in troubles, burned by anxiety, or swept by the rivers of struggles. You are with me. You're my perfect shield and my constant protector. In Jesus' name, I thank you. Amen.


What has overwhelmed you lately?


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 26 Dec 2017, 4:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 26, 2017

Rich on the Inside


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  God has worked with and on me for all my days here. He has helped me in so many ways to become the person I was meant to be and the Child of God I was called to be. He has touched me through experiences, memories, books, stories, animals, angels, and most of all other people. He has moved me and molded me with moments of love and examples of kindness. He has guided me through times of joy and times of sorrow. He has walked with me every step on my journey through life.

One time on the day before Christmas many years ago when I was a minimum wage mill worker, I found myself with very little money and very little time to buy my small children a few simple toys. I knew that they would have to be cheap ones and I hoped my children would like them. I hated not having enough to give them more. I hated being poor. And I hated feeling bad at Christmas rather than happy.

I pulled into a store parking lot and counted my money again. It wasn't much but maybe I could get something small with it. As I was getting out of the car I noticed the Salvation Army bell ringer at the entrance. I felt bad again because I didn't feel I could spare anything to give him. I started walking towards the entrance when two cars pulled into empty parking spots in front of me. The first was a shiny, new Cadillac and I felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw it. 

"How nice", I thought, "would it be to have enough money to buy a car like that." 

The second car, though, was an ancient sedan more beat up and rusty than the one I was driving. A man hopped out of the Cadillac and hurried into the store right past the bell ringer without a second glance. Out of the old sedan came a young mother with three small children in tow. Her clothes looked as worn out as her car, yet she stopped in front of the bell ringer, smiled, opened her purse, and dropped a bill in his red kettle. 

I stood there for a minute in astonishment while God spent another moment working on my heart, soul, and mind. "Maybe," I thought to myself, "It's better to be rich on the inside instead of the outside." In that second a warmth touched me, my jealousy and hatred left me, and all the love and joy that is Christmas filled me. I fished a bill out of my own wallet, dropped it in the Salvation Army kettle, and wished the bell ringer a "Merry Christmas!" I found a few fun things to give my kids and drove home with my heart singing. I knew it was going to be a wonderful Christmas and I felt like I had traveled another step closer to Heaven, God, and the person I was meant to be.

"And He said, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.'" (Luke 21:3-4)

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 24 Dec 2017, 12:19 am

Welcome to the Nugget
December 23, 2017
A Gift of Giving
By Answers2Prayer 
  "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35 ESV)

Looking forward to Christmas 1994, to me, described a paradox. How can one enjoy Christmas when their loving spouse recently passed away from cancer, and yet Christmas is a time for celebration...

I had a friend, recently divorced, who was going through his first Christmas without his children that he loved so dearly. I called my friend and invited him over to my house for Christmas. He didn't seem overly thrilled, but had nothing else to do. I did the same for another divorced person who had a day without family or friends. I told them to dress nice but withheld my plans from them.

The three of us, at my house, made Christmas canes from pipe cleaners, and after an hour I told my friends to get in my van, as I had a surprise for them. So off we went. 

First stop, a nursing home, left few dry eyes. We visited the ones who had no company, prayed with them and left them little Christmas canes and some candy. One lady, feeling really bad, asked us to pray for her. So we prayed with our hands on her body, and we felt a Power hard to describe.

Second stop, Presbyterian hospital...cancer wing.

First you need to understand how hospitals work with the sick. If possible, patients are sent home for the holidays. The ones remaining in the hospital live too far, are too ill, or have no support from family or friends. About 1/2 of the cancer wing was deserted. We visited the staff and gave them candy and our little Christmas canes, then we visited the dying and ill. How can one describe being humbled? The patients asked for our prayers. We visited with every patient in the wing. We left the patients with a smile. When we left the hospital, we had nothing else left to give, but we received much. Our emotions were drained, we were exhausted, in tears but felt elevated to a 'high' impossible to describe. We all thought "But for the grace of God"...

Last stop. We visited my wife's grave, decorated it, placed candles and sang Silent Night. Our voices were quivering because we found Christmas that day. We gave all we had to give, and it cost us about five hours of our time and about two dollars in pipe cleaners and candy. I said a silent prayer of thanks to my wife for teaching me to give.

May we, in this crazy but special time of year, learn from the Teacher of teachers, Giving IS better than receiving. 

Merry Christmas to all, and a happy new year.

B.J. Cassady
Caldwell, Kansas
 
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Welcome to the Nugget

December 21, 2017

How to Find Triumph in Tragedy
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf." (Heb. 6:19-20). 

My son Joe's empty stocking on the fireplace seared my heart. It had been twelve years since Joe's tragic death.

Christmas no longer called for a celebration. Not anymore. Not when you have a vital part of your life missing. Festivities don't have the joy they should.

And Christmas trees don't emanate the usual scent.

Actually, my days needed to erase the Christmases, the birthdays, the holidays--all ushered pain rather than delight. They reminded me of what I once had and now what was gone.

The world celebrated, greetings of good wishes filled the room. But when tragedy turns your world upside down, no amount of cheer can bring clarity to the fog of sadness.

Strange, though, often, it's the scorching pain that forces our eyes to open to a bigger picture. It did for me as I rewound memories of past Christmases.

Years ago, when our three sons, including Joe, were still young, I focused on providing a perfect Christmas; a perfect tree to wrap a perfect celebration. As a result, little things tended to roil in me such as a light strand that refused to shine because of a burned bulb. Annoyed at the glitch, I promptly set off to resolve it. I fussed, I rearranged, plugged and unplugged until frustration grew hot in me.

How foolish and silly. I focused on that one bulb, dismissing the glow of the star atop the Christmas tree.

I've done the same with light bulbs that burned in my life--from broken relationships to shattered plans. Exerting tons of energy trying to fix them, I missed Christ, the newborn King--the star that gave significance to my life. The star that covers shadows of gloom and sorrow.

Joe's memories changed--his sweet smile, his tender hugs and his sense of humor now sit atop of my life, casting off that glow to bring back the joy.

To remind me that he's not gone, not from my heart, not from my mind, nor have the images of his spunky self vanished.

When that void in our heart aches to be filled, it's Christ's star of comfort that makes it whole. When bitter sorrow robs the spirit of Christmas, it's the star of His everlasting love that whispers joy. When a health diagnosis shakes our world, it's His star of reassurance that shines the certainty of new tomorrows. When our finances rob our security, it's the star of God's provision that ushers the radiance of reassurance. It's the same star that never loses the brilliance of hope. The hope that, through Christ, tragedies turn to triumph.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give.
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