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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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Post  Admin on Fri 22 Dec 2017, 12:31 am

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.
Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request to prayerrequest@answers2prayer.org and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
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Post  Admin on Tue 19 Dec 2017, 10:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 19, 2017

Humility All the Way, Part 4

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   Today we come to the concluding part of our series on the subject the "Mind of Christ" focusing therein on the final aspect of our Lord's humble persona...

Perpetual...

The enormity of Christ's humility in coming down in a mere man's body assumes different proportions altogether when we consider one more act of his inimitable humility: His conscious choice of remaining confined in it for eternity. His condescension meant, He would forever remain man, albeit in a Glorified body after the ascension (Rev 1:12-16). 

Consider these Scripture portions (in present tense) penned after Christ's ascension, which are a "clincher" as it were, in substantiating this "chilling" truth... 

"For in Christ there is all of God in a human body..." (Col. 2:9 TLB) 

"That God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus, himself man, is between them to bring them together..." (1 Tim 2:5 TLB) 

"I looked and saw a Lamb standing there before the twenty-four Elders, in front of the throne and the Living Beings, and on the Lamb were wounds that once had caused his death." (Rev 5:6 TLB)

Let me conclude now with a relevant, touching story which goes thus... 

There was an orphaned boy living with his grandma when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy's cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck. Several weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town's wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked, the lad's eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the man's neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had settled the issue. 

With Christmas around the corner, let us reflect on the truth that Christ will never get back the perfect state He was in before that first Christmas. His hands and legs still retain the scars we inflicted upon Him. Let's respond with a resolution to show life-long loyalty purely out of love and humility for the ONE who out of his indescribable humility has given His all to us! What a Saviour! Hallelujah!

Prayer: Father, we are inspired by all of theof Your Son borne out of His great humility. In our own trials, enable us to draw inspiration from His example. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder why the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove?  Check out the recently published mini-series, "Dovetailing Some Dove Facts", and find out!   
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 12:12 am

Welcome to the Nugget
 
December 16, 2017
 
Humility All the Way, Part 3
 
 
By Answers2Prayer 
  Whilst continuing to meditate on the subject of "mind of Christ" we come to the penultimate part of our series focusing therein on yet another area which underscores the truth about our Lord's humility...
 
 
Spiritual...
 
The word "Double Promotion" instantly draws attention. Parents brag of their bright kids getting promoted straightaway from say 5th grade to 7th grade primarily on account of high marks. Fans of exceptionally-talented Pakistani Cricketer, Wasim Akram, can boast of their hero having been fast-tracked into Test Cricket in 1985 without ever having played a single match in the Quaid-E-Azam trophy (Ranji Trophy equivalent across the border)...so on and so forth. If in the spiritual realm there is a three tier hierarchy with the Trinity at the top, angels in the middle and human beings at the bottom, then in the case of Christ, it was an instance of "Double Demotion" (Heb 2:7,9) being vested with a finite human flesh on the "First Christmas". Donning of this human vesture was necessary. Why? Read on... 
 
It is not an understatement to say that at the fall of mankind, sin damaged the entire personality of man. His body, soul and spirit (hey, the human being is also a trinity -- I Thess 5:23) were deeply "wounded" as a result of his conscious choice to breach his conscience in the Garden of Eden at the behest of the crafty tempter (Genesis 3:1-7). As the descendents of the fallen Adam, we inherit the same "fallen, broken and damaged personality" at our physical birth. The Redemption work of atonement required that all the three parts of the fallen man be set right. 
 
The terrible suffering of our Saviour on the Cross on all three fronts ensured that the "complete redemption package" is in place on the first Good Friday. His terrible physical anguish before and during the Crucifixion (a horrific death sentence where pain is maximal with death the "pain reliever" arriving oh so slowly) was immeasurable. The flogging and crowning of His head with the "laurel wreath of thorns" only compounded this. Yes, we were "sick" from head to toe (Isaiah 1:6), hence it required that our Saviour in His atoning work on the cross bleed to death from head to toe. 
 
What about His emotional (soul) suffering before and during the Crucifixion? I would caution the readers to not be carried away by some "Christian" paintings that depict Christ praying in a dignified posture in the Garden of Gethsemane and being crucified with the loin cloth on. Even as the Cross, with all its indescribable pain, loomed before the spotless Son of God, He suffered so much emotionally that He fell prostrate on His face (read the Gospels to know the truth -- Mark 14:35) sweating blood. Then what about the insults that accompanied Him, all through this ordeal ...the spitting and stripping (Matt 27:27-31)... The historians tell us that in order to instill uttermost fear of rebelling against their authority, the Romans ensured that the perpetrator was insulted publicly in toto, by crucifying him stark naked. So virtually, Christ covered the shame brought about by sin (Genesis 3:7) by Himself enduring shame on the cross (Heb 12:2). 
 
Coming to the spiritual suffering, let it be said that when all sin came upon His sinless self (2 Cor 5:21), He experienced hell for us in order that we do not end up there. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! Jesus' only source of comfort in this fiery affliction until then (the Father's Holy presence) also abandoned Him as the Holy God whose pure eyes cannot see evil (Hab 1:13), could not stay in the presence of despicable sin. Hence that heart-rending cry from the cross..."My God, My God (Note: Not My Father, in the way Christ had along addressed His Father) why have You forsaken Me!" (Matt 27:46) in perfect fullfilment of the prophecy recorded about 1000 years back in Psalm 22:1). 
 
Prayer: Father strengthen us to endure the sacred ordeal of bearing the Cross everyday. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
There is no example of humbility quite as pronounced as Jesus leaving the grandeur of Heaven to walk this Earth, despised and rejected of men...Join us next week for the conclusion of "Humility!" A Mini-Series by Suresh Manoharan.
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Dec 2017, 11:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 14, 2017

Humility All the Way, Part 2
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
Continuing our series on the humility of Christ, let's today focus on three more related subjects all under the overall ambit of the mind of Christ ( See Phil. 2:5):

Professional...

Oh yes, there were Doctors and Engineers in Biblical times too (Col. 4:14/2 Chro. 2:13-14) and of course it is not a sin to pursue these "lofty" professions. Nonetheless, our Lord consciously chose a profession (Mark 6:3) which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a "White collar" job. Given His wisdom, which naturally is accompanied by problem-solving abilities (Luke 2:52), He could have easily opted for a job that would guarantee a better social status than the lowly one of a carpenter. This subject also leads us to a more profound thought that any lawful job, even if it is a "servile" one, such as a road-sweeper or drainage-cleaner, for example, becomes "sacred" in the eyes of the Lord when it is carried out as "unto the Lord" for His glory (Col. 3:23).


Regional... 

Some places become notorious thanks to the sinful tendencies of the natives therein. No, I am not talking of Sodom and Gomorrah, or even Crete (Gen 13:13/Titus 1:12) for that matter; rather, I am talking about Nazareth. Nothing "good" could ever be associated with this village (John 1:46), which was part of a sin-darkened region of Galilee (Isa. 9:1-2). However, the Saviour consciously chose to spend his formative years, not in a popular town like, say, spiritually-enlightened Jerusalem with a Temple in its midst, but rather, sin-darkened Nazareth. He could have just as easily chosen a poor family from Jerusalem to be born into, and carpentry could still have been his profession, for weren't poor folks and carpenters residing in Jerusalem also? Nevertheless, a village of ill-repute...Nazareth...was preferred by the Lord so that it's darkened precincts could be illumined by His light (Matt. 4:15-16).


Financial...

If growing up as a poor carpenter in the obscure surroundings of notorious Nazareth is no open sesame to riches, then having a popular healing Ministry, where people flock around you in thousands (Matt 4:25), surely is. Ask some modern-day misguided, private jet owning "Charismatic"! But what did our role-model do? Did He greedily and opportunistically "fleece the flock"? Or did he selflessly feed it with both spiritual and physical food? The Saviour, who had no place (read home) to lay down His head to sleep (Matt 8:20), even when his popularity touched its peak, would own nothing more than one seamless garment (John 19:23-24) till the end of His Earthly Ministry. We have heard of several inspirational "rags to riches" stories, but how's this for a "riches to rags" story? "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor..." (2 Cor 8:9-ESV). 

Many years later, an inspired Apostle Paul would say... 

"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)
 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thy humility is unparalleled. Enable us to follow on your footsteps. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request by clicking here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 12 Dec 2017, 10:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 12, 2017

Humility All the Way, Part 1


By Answers2Prayer
First things first. What is the chief and highest end of man?

Let the revered Christian book, namely the Westminster catechism, give the answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify (worship) God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

When it comes to glorifying Him and fully enjoying Him, let it be said that the entire exercise ought to be "absolutely genuine emanating right from the innermost core of one's being (read spirit)" (John 4:23).

This would lead to the next question: how could the process of glorifying Him originate right from the depths of one's heart?

It is only possible, when a person is truly moved by the Holy Spirit in recognizing His unique traits. Remember, that the highest form of worship is to worship God for what He is. This stands head and shoulders above other forms of worship, such as worshipping Him for the blessings He showers upon us, which come with strings attached.

In this series of 4 parts punctuated with...what else... "Hallelujahs!" Incidentally "Hallel" in Hebrew language means "To praise" and "Yah" means "God". In my heart I would like to bring before my readership one pristine quality of Christ, which, amongst others, at once evokes awe in me: His indescribable humility. What then is Biblical "humility"? The original Greek word used for "humility" in portraying the mind of Christ (Phil 2:3-5) is "tapeinophrosune", which means "a conscious preference of lowliness of mind over self-boasting." In what areas of Christ's life do we see it manifested?


Social...

Hey! Do any of us have the choice of selecting our parents? Given the choice, some of us may have chosen to be born into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Gates! But consider this truth: If there was one person who could have chosen affluent parents, it was Jesus!!! Yet He chose a lowly carpenter's abode to grow-up in. Do you want proof of Jesus' earthly "parents" social "low income" strata? Consider these Scripture portions:

As per the Mosaic Law, for a mother's purification ritual, the woman was required to...

"And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean." (Leviticus 12:8)

So what did Mary and her supportive husband do??? Let the Scripture speak again...

"And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, 'Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord') and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, 'a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.'" (Luke 2:22-24)

Hmmm...It's time for a subject within a subject. Donning the Sherlockian hat, one can say that the Wisemen bringing gold as one of the gifts to the Christ-child did not exactly arrive on Christmas day. Otherwise Jesus' parents could have easily been able to afford a lamb. In fact, the Christ-child was not even in the manger but in a house when they came (Matt 2:11)!

Prayer: Father, continue to mould me into Your Son's image. Give the strength to withstand the moulding process. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."

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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Dec 2017, 11:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
December 9, 2017
Festival of Lights

By Answers2Prayer
Life can turn dark in so many ways. We were heading to church and Hubby rolled down his window. As he opened his wallet, he said, "There's a woman with a sign that says, 'My kids need to eat.'"

Some put up signs and some sink in self-pity for lack of funds. But many more curse their situation. The same way the Israelites did. Remember how they grumbled when they thought God had forgotten them? They were hungry and thirsty. And they even mumbled about going back to Egypt where they were slaves! Crazy thinking, in my opinion. But we've done the same thing--wish we were in a different place, maybe one we knew long ago. And we murmur our misfortune.

I'm here to challenge you: Toss that grumbling out the window, cross-out those pitiful remarks from your vocabulary, and kick out negative thoughts that take away your peace; and instead, celebrate Chanukah with me. (Please don't tell me you know what that is...I didn't, and feel a bit embarrassed about it.)

So I asked. And a precious Jewish friend who now loves Yeshua as her Savior and Lord explained it to me. After I read the explanation, I was so touched by the meaning and the significance that I deposited a huge amount of joy right into the bank account of my heart.

So, read on, take in the message, and ponder on the absolutely wonderful truth God is reminding you through the recount. Here it is:

Chanukah is the Jewish holiday of the festival of lights -- where we celebrate when a tiny band of men called the Maccabees conquered the Greek army and recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem. The Greeks had desecrated the temple and all the Jews could find was one day's worth of oil to light the eternal light -- which must burn continually, according to the Lord's command. It takes eight days to produce the proper oil from the olives to use in the temple. But in faith, they used the little bit of oil -- and it ended up lasting the full eight days -- enough time to consecrate the new oil. It was a miracle all around -- and that is why we light a Menorah, called a chanukiah -- each day for eight days -- to honor the Lord for his faithfulness and miracles!

Okay, you know God is the same yesterday, today and forever...do you think He'll provide what you need? When you need it? And give you the oil, though meager it might seem, to last to cover the biggest bill in the pile?

God worked a miracle long ago...and He will now too. Not enough oil, but still, they lit the candles in trusting, not doubting, not wondering, not questioning -- but in faith -- and why shouldn't we do the same?

Pray with me: Lord, I place the oil of faith before you. And I count on your Word, your promise and your provision to take care of all my needs. In Jesus' name. Amen.

What needs will you bring before the Lord today?

Janet
Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.
Announcement:
Tuesday of next week begins the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. In honour of this celebration of God's miraculous provision, why not give God whatever problem you are dealing with at the moment, ever expecting Him to provide?
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Dec 2017, 11:36 pm


Welcome to the Nugget

bible
December 7, 2017

God's Armour, Part 6: The Sword of the Spirit
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
Last Tuesday, in "God's Armour, Part 5", we saw that when we don the "Helmet of Salvation", we protect our most vulnerable body part, our mind. We do so by replacing the devil's lies with Truth, Truth that the victory is already won; by choosing to believe in what appears impossible; by keeping an eternal perspective; and by treasuring our Salvation.

This brings us to the final piece of God's Armour: "And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph 6:17b NET).

The sword that would have been Paul's inspiration when he wrote about the sword of the Spirit was likely the "gladius", the primary sword of a Roman soldier. It is said that after putting on his protective armour and taking up his shield, the fully equipped Roman legionary would then take his weapons: javelins, a dagger, and a "gladius".

In much the same way, we are not considered to be fully armed on a spiritual level without offensive weapons, and Paul advises us to take up a "sword", the "word of God", made up of the ancient Jewish Scriptures paired with the gospels of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Apostles.

But wait. I don't know about you, but I have no idea how to use a sword. Isn't it pretty useless unless you know how to use it?

The Romans knew this. It is said that Roman soldiers had to attend weapons training every day, at which time they practiced hand-to-hand combat with wooden swords and shields that were deliberately much heavier than those they used in battle. If the roman soldiers had to train every day, how much more then, should we spend time in training to use our "sword"?

How, then, can we learn to properly wield our "sword"?

By spending time in God's Word every day. We need to know it, memorize it and be familiar with key verses; and we need to practice being open to God's Spirit as He impresses us with meanings for specific situations and as He plants the words in our minds. This takes time and effort, yes; but just like the daily training ensured the Roman soldiers went into battle fully-equipped, this daily "training" with God's Word will also ensure that when we are brought face-to-face with the fiery darts of the enemy, we know how to wield our "sword". We will be able to defend ourselves and our faith. We will be able to fight back against the schemes of the devil.

As mentioned above, however, the Roman soldier did not go into battle armed only with a sword. The Roman soldiers would use their javelins and daggers offensively by throwing them at the enemy. Their purpose was to disable enemy shields and disrupt their formation. This would then allow them to engage in closer combat.

We must note that God's armour does not include these items. The only weapon we are told to take up is the sword...Does the fact that the javelin and dagger are not mentioned by Paul mean that we are actually not meant to be offensive or aggressive in our advances? It's food for thought...

We also note that all the armour, including the sword, is meant to be protective in nature, and this "sword of the Spirit" is the only item mentioned by Paul that can be used defensively...Could it be that while engaged in our Spiritual battles, we are only meant to be defensive? More food for thought...

One further notable lesson can be derived from the study of Roman armaments. Let's remember that the Roman soldiers would first cover themselves with their armour before taking up their weapons. Then, once in combat, we are told that they would lead with their shields before thrusting with their swords. In other words, no act of offense would be done without full protection ensured!

Interestingly, our spiritual "sword", is also the last piece of equipment we are told to take up. Could it be that the only way to use the "sword" to its maximum potential is to already be dressed in the full amour of God? That in order to truly engage the enemy with the Word of God, we must first fully embrace our salvation, we must see ourselves as clothed in Christ's righteousness, we must hold on to Jesus Christ, our Truth, and we must stand in readiness with the gospel of peace as our foundation? And only when we have fully engaged our faith should we attempt to use God's Word in our defense?

Isn't it interesting that these gifts of Jesus are exactly what the traps of the devil prevent us from seeing. The devil knows this, and he also knows that it is only by keeping us from using God's armour that he can succeed in causing us to fall into his foul traps in the first place. Thus, the enemy is not so eager for us to realize that the spiritual armaments we need to completely avoid his snares are ours, free of charge; gifts granted to us by Jesus' ultimate gift that we celebrate this season.

Dear God, help us to fully embrace Your armour this year. Help us to protect ourselves against the enemy of our souls by fully embracing Your Salvation, by accepting Your righteousness as our own, by focusing on Your Truth, by shielding ourselves with faith, and by standing ready upon the gospel of peace. Then help us to spend time daily in Your Word so that we learn it and practice hearing You speak to us through it, so that when the flaming arrows of temptation, doubt, discouragement, etc. are at the door, we will face them changed, empowered, protected, ready to continue the battle "...so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day" and then, "...and having done everything, to stand" (Eph. 6:13 NET). In the precious name of Jesus, Amen

This is the last lesson from the God's Armour series. If you have missed any of the lessons, please find them by clicking here, or email me and I will send them to you. God bless you as you go into the Christmas season and the New Year fully clothed--in God's Armour!

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:

Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request to prayerrequest@answers2prayer.org and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 21 Nov 2017, 11:05 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 21, 2017

Heaven Sent

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
"Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." (Proverbs 19:17)

It was a chilly Autumn morning a few years ago. I was driving along the mountain roads slower than usual trying to take in all the Fall colors. It seemed like all of the leaves had changed overnight. It looked as if God in His good-humor and love had painted the mountains themselves while we slept. The yellow and gold leaves were sparkling in the sunshine. The red and orange ones were fluttering brilliantly in the breeze. The deep, rich burgundies and earthy browns were appearing as well. The few remaining green ones looked even better being surrounded by the others. It was so glorious. It was a day made for happiness. Yet, a part of me still felt sad, small, and insignificant in the midst of all of this heaven sent beauty. 

As I rounded a curve I suddenly saw an old man hurrying along the side of the road. As soon as he saw me he raised his thumb, hoping for a ride. I braked and pulled over to the side of the road. I opened the door and the white haired man got in with a smile. He was hoping to make it to the local post office and still have time to catch a bus. As I drove along we laughed and talked about what a beautiful day it was. Then just as I pulled over to drop him off he turned to me and said: "Thanks son. You were heaven sent."

I drove away with a smile on my face and a light in my heart. I wasn't sure if I had been "heaven sent" for him but he certainly had been "heaven sent" for me. He had reminded me that I too was an important part of God's creation and that I should enjoy taking my place in it. In God's eyes none of us are small. None of us are insignificant. All of us are Heaven sent. 

We are here to help each other. We are here to share our love and our kindness. We are here to make this world a better and more beautiful place with our lives. May you always take your place in God's glorious creation. May you always love well and shine bright.

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Nov 2017, 10:55 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 11, 2017

The Trails, Part 1: Two Hikes

By Answers2Prayer
During a recent trip to Pennsylvania, my husband and I had the opportunity to hike two very different trails. One was flat. The wide, smooth path wandered through beautiful woods alongside a flowing river. Footing was perfect, there were no plants on the path to scrape and sting, the birds were singing, the sun wandered in and out of the clouds, tiny waterfalls littered the side of the trail...It was absolutely gorgeous. We quickly covered four kilometers with only one tiny little annoyance: The bugs.

The second hike was an exact opposite in every way. We slid our way down a narrow, overgrown, steep path covered in loose gravel. From the bottom of a huge, deep canyon, we crossed a narrow, creaky bridge over a tiny stream, and then we waded our way through fields of fern, wild raspberries, wild strawberries, and unfortunately for us, poison ivy, as we explored a bed of towering but fallen towers, the aftermath of a tornado at Kinzua Bridge. Finally, we had to slip and slide our way back up that loose gravel path to return to our car, and although the entire trail probably didn't even cover 3 kilometers, we emerged from the canyon bruised, scratched, sunburned and thoroughly exhausted.

The success of a hike in our home, however, is not measured by fatigue, relaxation, scratches and bruises, or even by the distance covered. It is, rather, measured by how many beautiful pictures were taken. I probably took four on the first hike, and my husband took double that many. Forty is a conservative estimate for the number of pictures I took on the second hike, while my husband probably took over a hundred (Aren't digital cameras wonderful?). In addition to this, we found ourselves raving for days about how much fun we had in that canyon. That steep, slippery trail quickly became a highlight of our trip, while the first hike, largely, went forgotten.

Why?

Because we came away from our first hike with very little "takeaway". We didn't have any fantastic memories; there were no moments when we had to rely on God; we didn't even take very many pictures, because the scenery didn't warrant it. In fact, the most memorable "take away" was the bug bites! This could not be said of that second hike. Though we emerged from the canyon sore and tired, our muscles and cardiovascular systems were stronger. Though we were sunburned, we soaked up an incredible amount of Vitamin D. Though we were scratched and had certainly touched poison ivy, our skin became tougher and our bodies must have become more resistant to the poison, because we didn't have any skin reaction from the plant. We had such fun climbing around and photographing the remains of that train bridge that even the upward trail didn't faze us. In fact, we were exhilarated by the climb.

Our "hikes" through life can sometimes be like our first hike: smooth, level, good footing, peaceful, with only the occasional "bug" to annoy us. More often than not, however, they are much more like our second hike: Steep, slippery and painful. We would likely never choose to start into these "second hike" kinds of trouble; but at the end of the day, when we look back over these "valleys" of our lives, we have to ask ourselves which ones gave us the most takeaway..."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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (Rom. 5:3-5 NLT).

I don't know about you, but the "takeaway" of endurance, strength of character and hope seem pretty much worth the climb. Don't wish away the problems. Instead, let God carry you through.

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 10 Nov 2017, 1:47 am

Welcome to the Nugget
November 9, 2017

What to do When it ALL Falls Apart...

By Answers2Prayer
"We have some good news and some bad news," the airline rep announced to those of us sitting at the gate.

We squirmed in our seats.

"The good news is that we identified the mechanical problem with the plane," she said. "The bad news is that we need to bring a part from Chicago. It will be at least two hours."

Groans of annoyance echoed throughout.

That meant I missed my connecting flight and the changes resulted in my 4-hour trip turning into 13 hours.

We waited for three hours. Then the lady seated to my left said, "Why weren't they honest with us? This is totally ridiculous."

The lady to my right let out a huge huff. "All my plans for the day fell apart. This is a horrible way to treat their customers."

And since I'm a mind-your-own-business kind of gal, I said to myself: Chill friends. This delay might be a way for God to protect us from a disaster while flying in the clouds.

Then, suddenly another announcement: "Those of you on flight 2049, approach the counter for a courtesy voucher for your inconvenience."

I knew it would be a lunch voucher, and navigating to make a line would be cumbersome with my white cane. So I turned to the lady to my left and said, "Would you be so kind as to get the voucher for me?"

"Not a problem," she said.

Later on, she came back and placed two slips of paper in my hand. "Here, we all got a $200 voucher toward our next flight."

Woo hoo! Thank you, Lord! I quickly stuffed it in my purse.

Next, I heard the same ladies talk on their cell phones, "You won't believe what happened. Because of the delay, I got a $200 voucher...I love this airline. It's the best."

I've done that. Maybe you have, too. We praise only when good things happen. When doors open, opportunities come, blessings show up, surprises happen, and good times appear...we praise God and we rejoice, right?

But when mechanical malfunctions in life cause all to fall apart, we're left stuck in sorrow, frustration, and anger. Who could blame us, we grumble and complain.

But the one who taught me not to fall for that trap is Habakkuk (I know, strange name). But when I get to heaven, he's on my list to give a big ol' hug because this is what he said when he found himself in the gate of emptiness because all his plans had fallen apart.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

In the waiting for answers, in the sadness of emptiness, and with broken plans, what rumbles in your heart and what slips from your lips?

Janet Eckles

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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Nov 2017, 5:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 4, 2017

Rain on my Camping Trip

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us As I listened to the torrential rain falling on the roof of our trailer, I couldn't help but think: "No, I wouldn't have pre-ordered such weather for this camping trip..."

And it rained through the night and as we started out on our first hike of the morning. In fact, it rained so hard that we had to turn back. As we got back to the car, however, the rain eased off, and it didn't rain another drop all day. This allowed us to spend most of the day hiking even prettier trails, pick berries, and souvenir shop to our hearts' content, without a single thought about the weather.

Oh, it did rain overnight again...but it stopped just in time for us to break camp...

And then it rained for almost the entire trip from Bayfield Wisconsin to Green Bay; but it stopped just in time for us to explore the city and set up camp for the night.

With the forecast still far from good for the next day, I was fretting about how we would be stuck inside all day when my husband looked up from what he was doing and said, "It will be sunny tomorrow. You watch and see."

I raised an eyebrow. He obviously hadn't read about the 50 mm of rain predicted in the next 24 hours...

My husband just grinned at my raised eyebrow. "We're going to trust God on this one," he said. "We're going to have sunshine tomorrow!"

I'm afraid there was some "rain on my camping trip" in my personal "forecast" as well at that time. When you are a cancer survivor, the thought ever in the back of your mind is, "will it return?" Cancer is known, after all, to do just that. And every time I would find a strange lump or bump, or every time I would experience a new pain of unknown origin, this thought would go through my mind. And at the time of this camping trip, there was this strange swelling under my chin...Yup, it was highly possible that my personal "forecast" called for "torrential rain on my camping trip"...

My husband's prediction proved true. And why not? He got it straight from our Lord and Creator. Any moisture that fell from the sky did so during the night, and the next day was beautiful and warm. We were able to hike and climb lighthouses and snap pictures to our hearts' content, and the following day, when it was time to fold down the pop-up trailer, everything was packed away dry.

It did rain, however, as we began our homeward trek. Torrentially in fact. But when we arrived at our campground in upstate Michigan that evening, even though the forecast still called for torrential rain, the ground was dry, the sky was clear, and nary a drop fell.

Yes, "rain" will fall in life. Whether in the form of cancer or other illnesses, financial difficulties, relationship problems, problems with the kids, unexpected fires, or whatever it may be, it will come. But if we take the time to look back over our lives, we see that though we don't realize it in the moment, those troubled times always fall when they will leave the least noticeable footprint. It reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven ...He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Eccl 3:1,11)

As I think back over the rain on our camping trip, I realize that if I had adopted a bit more of my husband's attitude, I would have spent a lot less time worrying about the weather messing up my hiking and kayaking plans. In the same way, if I would simply put my trust in God, who is certainly big enough and loving enough to plan the timing of life's trials, I wouldn't be so inclined to worry about them, either. I could simply weather them, as we did the rain we had overnight and on the road, while enjoying the blessings He provides for me along the way, for I would rest calmly in the Truth that God's timing is always perfect in everything.

What do you say? Shall we worry about God's timing? Or shall we simply trust the God of the universe that the "rain" in our lives will always fall in the least-disruptive times?

I decided to believe this truth for that strange lump under my jaw. Sure enough, it was nothing to worry about, and life was once again "sunny"...

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 25 Oct 2017, 12:32 am

Welcome to the Nugget
October 24, 2017

Singing From the Soul

By Answers2Prayer
"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy." (Ps. 100:1-2)

I was 8 years old, squirming on a hard wooden pew in our church. I tried to follow the sermon but it was a bit over my head at that age. Finally, it was time to sing the closing hymn. I stood up with a smile. Our church guitarist and hymn leader was my music teacher at school and a family friend. I always loved hearing her sing and I also loved joining in. She started to play and everyone in the church began to sing. When we reached the chorus, though, I felt a sharp elbow hit my shoulder. It was my brother letting me know that I was doing it again. You see, even though I always sang from my soul by the time it reached my lips it was more often than not, much too loud and far too off-key.

As I got older I learned how to sing much more quietly to blend in with the music and not damage the ears of the people around me. Occasionally, when I am alone I still burst forth in full voice and even get my dogs to join in. Sometimes when I am driving my car down the country roads of my home I will even sing from my soul at the top of my lungs. I am sure my guardian angels don't mind. After all, God only asked us to make a "Joyful Noise" unto Him, not one with perfect pitch.

There is more than one way to let your soul sing, however. We can sing from the soul when we do an act of kindness. We can sing when we give a hug, a pat on the back, and a word of encouragement. We can sing every time we share a smile and cause those around us to smile as well. We can sing when we offer a caring heart and a helping hand to another. We can sing every time we shine our light and share our love.

Let your soul sing then. Make your life a "Joyful Noise" that all of Heaven can hear. Sing

with all the love inside of you even if it is sometimes loud and off-key.

Joseph J. Mazzella

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Post  Admin on Sat 21 Oct 2017, 10:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
October 21, 2017

God's Touch

By Answers2Prayer
Members of our church are currently going through very difficult times. Their beautiful home just--blew up!

I do not know any of the details about the cause of the explosion, when it happened, etc., for I have only been following the story through the pictures on facebook; but where there was once a beautiful home in the country, fully-furnished and full of all the important things that we all need, there is now nothing but a pile of rubble. And with winter coming on, times can't get much harder than that.

I know that each one of you is facing hard times. The troubles that surround you may look very different than the complete loss of a home, but in one way or another, your negative situations are equivalent to the explosion that destroyed this church members' home.

There were some other details of the story that I was privy to. In this home that is normally full of children and grandchildren, only two people were present at the time of the explosion. It didn't happen at night, and as a result, the two occupants were not asleep. Neither were they down in the basement where the explosion occurred. These two made it out of the raging inferno unscathed, and they were even able to save 3 of their 4 pets.

Perhaps the part of the story that really brought tears to my eyes was the piece that was posted on facebook a few days later. A single, fire-scarred page of a bible was found in this family's yard. It was from the Bible that had belonged to the mother of the lady of the house, and in the top right-hand corner there was a Bible text underlined and still readable. The text? Matt. 6:34: "So don't be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow. Live one day at a time."

Perhaps the lessons to be learned from this story are many and multi-faceted, but the one I want to point out today is this: God does not abandon us to our troubles. Right in the midst of them, He is there, and His hand is upon us. He also leaves evidence of this so that at the moment of our greatest despair, we can feel His touch on our lives and remember His goodness, mercy and grace.

It's true that sometimes we have to look for that evidence. I mean, the members of my church, upon finding this fire-scarred page, could have just chucked it into the garbage can without even looking at it. Being on the alert for evidence of God's touch on our lives will help to ensure that when we most need it, we will see it...even--and perhaps especially!--in the midst of our biggest troubles.

Thank you, God, for taking care of this family. Thank you for keeping them safe and for leaving behind an important reminder that You have not abandoned them to their troubles. Help us to remember this story in the midst of our biggest problems. Help us to be on the alert for the evidence of Your touch on our lives. Help us to understand that no matter what, You have not abandoned us to our problems!

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 19 Oct 2017, 9:30 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
October 19, 2017

Staying the Course

By Answers2Prayer
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

I've never run a marathon but my self-proclaimed 'couch potato' friend is about to run her first race at the age of sixty. "It's for a good cause," she bubbled to me this morning. It's never too late to embark on a new endeavor. Getting on-board with something is not always the challenge, though; it can be staying the course.

Heavy and hurtful had been words and actions directed towards a friend of ours at his workplace. How to deal with that? It can be frustrating and depressing, when you want to stay the course and do the right thing.

David is the only person in the Bible called "a man after God's own heart." (1Sam 13:14, Jer 3:15, Acts 13:22) Over and over, in the songs he himself wrote, is the solution to situations such as this: Turn to God, trust in God to heal you and direct you, and have faith in God that He will vindicate you. God is the embodiment of truth; you can have complete confidence He will do what he says: He will take care of you, His child.

So the answer to how to deal with staying the course is--carry on, do the next right thing. Keep on doing what you're doing. Retaliation and revenge only backfire. The Lord will fight on your behalf. Don't cave, don't waiver. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we think or ask. Know with certainty that God's power is available and at work--for you--now.
Staying the course, a good plan with a good God to help us. That's good news.

"the battle is not yours, but God's...stand still and watch the Lord's victory. Do not be afraid or discouraged... for the Lord is with you!" (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17)

Sally I. Kennedy
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Post  Admin on Wed 18 Oct 2017, 11:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
October 17, 2017

Five Reasons why NOT to Worry About Tomorrow...

By Answers2Prayer
Hubby and I took off for our routine evening walk. And as we rounded the walking trail, he repeatedly had to duck to avoid smashing his head against the branches that hung low. He endured this annoyance for a while.

Then he decided to take action.

So the next day, before we headed out, he grabbed the trimming clippers from the garage. Armed with this weapon that he carried rifle style, we set off for our walk. As we drew closer, he gave a gasp of surprise. The maintenance folks had taken care of the trimming.

I couldn't suppress my chuckle as he carried the clippers back home.

We all do that, don't we? When the branches of life annoy us, we get fed up. Sometimes we become anxious because the problem persists. Then anger flares up, wondering if God is watching. And frustrated, we ask ourselves if He's planning to do anything about it.

But through David's words In Psalm 139:4, God has five ways to remind us that although we don't see how, God is in full control. His clippers are sharper and better, capable to trim our restlessness and cut off our worry:

* He's aware of our every move: "You know when I sit and when I rise..."

* He reads our mind: "You perceive my thoughts from afar."

* He follows us wherever we go: "You discern my going out and my lying down..."

* God knows our habits, quirks and flaws: "You are familiar with all my ways."

* God is ahead of the game. "Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD."

If God is working on taking care of the glitches ahead, why do we carry the clippers of worry?

Janet P. Eckles

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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 5:36 pm


Welcome to the Nugget

October 14, 2017

CATHEDRALS!

Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 6: Die Schlosskirche

By Answers2Prayer
Last Thursday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 5", we learned from La Playa de Las Catedrais, the naturally sculpted "cathedral" on the beach in Ribadeo, Spain, that when our advice and assistance is not requested and we can't do anything to change a situation, we need to simply release it into the hands of the Master builder and pray for God to make something beautiful out of the bad circumstances and decisions.

But what if we release the situation into God's hands; what if we commit ourselves to prayer and...nothing happens? How can we continue to be supportive by--doing nothing? Isn't there anything else we can "do"?

Perhaps one of the most famous of all European cathedrals can be found in Wittenberg, Germany. Officially called the "All Saint's Church", but commonly known as the "Schlosskirche" or "Castle Church", this beautiful, 15th century Gothic structure is a magnificent work of architecture. On October 31, 1517, however, the cathedral forever entered the books of history when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to its door.

Despite its fame, history has not been kind to the All Saint's Church. During the Seven Years' War, the church was bombed; and the ensuing fire destroyed almost everything, including the wooden door to which Martin Luther actually nailed his theses. The church was rebuilt, but because of its exposure over the years to wind and weather and the normal wear and tear affecting all great buildings, further restorations have been required. The church was completely renovated in the late 1800s; and in honor of the 500 year anniversary of Protestantism this year, the church is once again undergoing renovations.

This is not a unique occurrence. It is a common sight in Europe to see cathedrals covered in scaffolding, for all buildings are exposed to the eroding properties of wind and weather, many are subjected to fire, and the two great wars have brought about much need to rebuild and restore. Often the churches have to be completely torn down and new structures built in their place, and if you take the time to read through the history of the majority of the cathedrals in Europe, you will find that most have been restored and many have been rebuilt, often from the ground up, sometimes up to three or more times!

In the same way that wind and weather have eroded the magnificent cathedrals, circumstance, as well as poor choices, can significantly impact our lives and the lives of those we love and wish to support. Being there for them, offering advice and help and praying for them will help to stay some of the impact of the circumstances and poor choices; however, when our advice goes completely unheeded, when our offer of help is completely ignored, or when the circumstances are completely outside of our or their control, there will be negative consequences. What is our role then?

Most would be tempted to sit back and say, "I told you so. If you had only listened..." This kind of a reaction, however, won't change anything. It is kind of like saying to the All Saint's Church, "I told you the wind and weather would damage your stones, but you wouldn't listen!" In fact, the "I told you so" attitude will only serve to push us even farther from the lives of those we wish to support.

Besides praying about the situation and surrendering it into God's hands, do we have a role to play when we've been forced to sit and watch those we care about going through tough times?

Let's again take lessons from the Master Father, the God of the universe. When He was forced to do nothing in the face of the destructive choice of Adam and Eve in the garden; when He had to sit back and watch the horrific consequences of that choice, He didn't say, "I told you so!" Instead, He was there with a solution: He sent Jesus to provide a way out of that poor choice, to reconcile us once again to God. He was there to help us pick up the pieces, to show us the way to recover from that bad choice: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NLT).

Our role, then, is to follow God's example. Just like the state of Germany is stepping up to fund the restoration of the All Saints' Church, we must resolve to do everything in our power to rebuild and restore. Those who are hurting need to know that we are there for them, no matter what.

What does this look like?

When that marriage falls apart, the one you advised against in the first place, you are there to humbly hold them up, to comfort and to assist in any way possible.

When the student loan money is completely wasted because that young person didn't heed your advice and stay in school, you are there to humbly comfort them, to encourage them, to hold their hand through it.

When the car you advised against buying breaks down and strands the one you care about, you are there to humbly pick them up, drive them to work, and assist them in getting the car fixed or replaced.

Remember that sometimes it takes these kinds of situations to help people realize their need to listen to advice!

Oh, and just one more thought...Perhaps a vital part of being supportive has to do with forgiveness. We must forgive the ones who refuse to listen or accept our advice and help.

This is the last part of the "CATHEDRALS!" mini-series. If you have missed any parts of this series, you will find them by clicking here. Or contact me at lyn@sermonillustrator.org and I will be happy to forward them to you. Meanwhile, may God bless you abundantly as you lovingly support those you care about by committing them into God's hands through prayer, and then being there for them to help pick up the pieces.

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:

And speaking of Die Schlosskirche -- the All Saint's Church...

The 500 year anniversary of the birth of protestantism -- that famous day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of Die Schlosskirche -- the All Saint's Church -- in Wittenberg, Germany, is coming up at the end of this month! Please join us the last week of October as we take a special look at protestantism and Christianity.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Oct 2017, 9:24 pm


Welcome to the Nugget
October 12, 2017

CATHEDRALS!

Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 5: La Playa de las Catedrais

By Answers2Prayer
Last Tuesday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 4", we learned from the towns of Mediano and Janovas in Northern Spain that when our advice and help is requested, we must be there for those requesting it; but when it is not, the only way we can truly be supportive is to respect their wishes.

But wait. When we see that those we wish to support are making the wrong decisions and taking the wrong paths, when we see that withholding our advice and help may result in disaster, how can we, as loving, caring parents and friends, simply sit back and do nothing?

We can't, and God used the "cathedrals" at "La Playa de las Catedrais" to help me understand what it is that we not only can do, but we must do...

La Playa de Las Catedrais is a beautiful beach near Ribadeo, Spain. Directly translated, the Spanish words mean "Cathedrals Beach", and when you walk on the sand at low tide, it becomes quite apparent how this section of coastline got its name. The cliffs, some over 32 meters high, have, through the ages, been sculpted by wind and sea, forming spectacular arches, vaults, cracks, tunnels and galleries of rock. To make it even more special, from the sands of this beach, you can look out over the water in the mornings and evenings to watch remarkable sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.

Although all the rock formations are formidably beautiful, there are a couple in particular, that if caught at the right angle and in the right light, make you forget you are on a beach. In fact, were it not for the bare feet and rolled up pants, you would feel like you are standing in a spectacular cathedral.

We had admired so many grand cathedrals throughout Northern Spain, photographing and appreciating each for its unique architecture and decor; but as we stood at low tide that morning, in perhaps one of the most magnificent works of architecture we had ever seen, we realized something vitally important: God is the greatest architect!

With that thought came yet another: God doesn't need suspended models such as were used in the construction of the Sagrada Familia; He doesn't use the cranes, buttresses or molded decor so commonly seen supporting European structures; He doesn't worry about funding, and the threats of fire, flood and wind don't faze Him in the least. In fact, He uses the wind and the waves as tools in His hands; and in the end, His structures stand, as a lasting reminder, that where man fails, God...is!

Friends, when our offers of advice and assistance are rejected; when we are forced to stand by and look on while those we care about make the wrong choices; when any assistance on our part will only break the fragile connection that hopefully still remains between us, remember La Playa de Las Catedrais. Just as God uses the wind and water to expertly sculpt the beautiful arches and vaults found along this beach, He uses the "wind" of our poor choices and the "water" of our circumstances to form us into something of even more beauty and higher value: "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time." (Eccl. 3:11 NLT); "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." (Rom. 8:28 NLT).

What, then, can we do when our assistance is rejected?

We can release the situation into the hands of the Master Architect. We can trust that the same creative hand that uses the wind and waves to sculpt something of formidable beauty along the beach at Ribadeo, will also mold something of great value out of the circumstances and bad decisions made by those we care about. The most important thing we can do to support our loved ones through the hard times is to release them into God's hands.

Wait. We are fixers. Letting go and letting God is not always easy. Isn't there anything we can do?

Yes, there is. We can pray. Prayer is like the machinery that opens the sluice gates on the locks so that the water can raise the ships. Prayer is like the electrician who repairs the broken power lines so that electricity can flow into homes and provide power and light and heat. Prayer is like us pulling the trigger on the gas pump so that gas will flow into and power our vehicles. Prayer is what unleashes God's creative power to change the situations we can do nothing about.

So just what does it look like to be supportive?

It is being there for someone, providing advice and assistance when it is requested, and it is knowing how and when to let go. But most importantly, it is releasing the situations that we cannot change into the hands of God, the Master Architect, and then praying His creative power into those situations.

But what if we release the situation into God's hands, what if we commit ourselves to prayer, and...nothing changes? Isn't there anything else we can do?

Join us Saturday for the conclusion of this series: "CATHEDRALS! Part 6: Die Schlosskirche".

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:

John the Baptist said, "The time has come...The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15). But what exactly is the Kingdom of God? Check out "Basics of Basileia", a four-part mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan designed to help us have a better understand of God's Kingdom!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."

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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Oct 2017, 9:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 5, 2017

CATHEDRALS!

Lessons on Being Supportive, Part 2:
The Sagrada Familia

By Answers2Prayer
Last Tuesday, in "CATHEDRALS! Part 1", we saw that being supportive means we need to hold up those we care about, while at the same time, ensuring that we are not sources of frustration and discouragement to them.

All that is very informative from a cognitive level; but as I stood in the streets of Barcelona that morning, waiting for the famous "Sagrada Familia", to open for the day, I couldn't help wondering just how I could go about holding up, reinforcing and assisting those I want to support. Little did I know that God would use this lofty cathedral to teach me three important facts about being supportive...

The Sagrada Familia is, hands down, the #1 tourist attraction in Barcelona. This towering cathedral dominates the skyline and can be seen for miles from the air; but as I stared at it that morning, I realized something amazing: It didn't seem to have any external supports! I would later learn why. The Sagrada Familia is the creation of the famous Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. When he designed the basilica, he went to great lengths to learn from the forces of nature how to create a self-supported structure. He made upside down models of his designs out of weighted string. He then noted the angles at which these weights fell, and he designed the actual upright structures on the same angles. This cathedral was actually designed to stand--without external support!

Herein lies the first lesson: Being supportive means that we do everything in our power to teach those we care about to be self-supportive. Where Gaudi did this by building upside down models, we do it by introducing them to the source of true strength and support: Jesus Christ. If they already know Christ, then we do everything to encourage them to rely on Him and allow Him to be their support.

As I contemplated this, it occurred to me that the workers constructing the basilica must have had great faith in Gaudi's plans. I mean, wouldn't all those crazy angles seem ludicrous? I suspect, however, that they had seen other creations of this master architect and knew his blueprints could be trusted...

From this comes the second important clue for how to be supportive. It doesn't start when the apparent need for support becomes visible; rather, it begins when we first meet those whom we wish to support. This means we make a habit of building relationships and establishing patterns of listening; it means that we love them unconditionally and unselfishly, not just when they are in difficulty, but all the time. The key to being supportive lies in having established a firm pattern of trust with those we wish to support!

A third lesson about being supportive that we can learn from the Sagrada Familia comes from its external beauty. As mentioned above, the basilica appears to have been built without external supports; and when you see the structure, you realize immediately that adding external supports would not only be unnecessary, but would turn this beautiful work of architectural genius into something ugly.

Unfortunately, this can one of the more painful lessons in being supportive. In the same way that putting external supports on the Sagrada Familia would ruin the structure, we need to realize that those we wish to support may not always want or need our support. If we try to be supportive when they don't need it, it will be cumbersome to them. In order to truly be supportive, we need to simply be there, like the Rock of Gibraltar, ready and eager to help, but not pushing ourselves on them when they don't ask.

Does this sound cold?

Think of it from a different perspective. There is no better parent than God: Abba, Papa, Daddy God. God never pushes Himself upon us, but when we open our hearts to Him and cry out, He is always there: "The godly cry out and the LORD hears; he saves them from all their troubles." (Ps. 34:17 NET).

We also know that we need to "ask" to receive: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you." (Matt. 7:7 NET).

Just as God is always there for us, we also need to be there for those we wish to support. We shouldn't be physically in their faces, but we need to ensure that they realize we are there for them the moment they ask.

But what if they are too proud to ask for help? Or maybe they don't realize we can do anything for them. Or maybe they are simply too overwhelmed by the situation to do anything at all. Then what?

That's when we quietly offer our help. We offer to be a listening ear and to share our ideas. If they accept the offer, then we are free to help, to share ideas and to be that listening ear. If they do not, however, then we must respect them as God respects us. We must release them to make their own decisions, for isn't that what our ultimate Father does?

How to be supportive? We point them to God, our ultimate support; we make every effort to prove ourselves trustworthy; and we offer our help, but we don't push our support upon them if they refuse our offer.

But how can a loving person just sit back and watch people make the wrong decisions? Join us on Saturday for CATHEDRALS! Part 3: Gaudi's Crypt.

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:

Most of us truly desire to be supportive, but we simply don't know how. Little did I know that God would use the towering basilicas from Norther Spain to teach me valuable lessons on how to be supportive God's way. Join us for the next week and a half for: "Cathedrals!" by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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