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Post  Admin Today at 4:07 pm

Welcome to the Nugget


July 16, 2019


The Appalachian Trail


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Guide to the Appalachian Trail


I settled in the back seat of an Uber car the other day, folded my white cane, and stuffed it in my bag. As I usually do, I began a conversation with the driver. As expected, we became friends. That's because I ask questions that prompt them to share and keep sharing about their lives.


This last driver told me about his brother who wrote the guide for the Appalachian Hike. I learned this adventure can take from 5 months to 10 years to complete. Gulp. But with the help of the guide, the hike is doable. In it, he details all the challenges, the best gear to bring, places to avoid, potential dangers, list of easier routes, best places to eat, how to find laundromats, lodging, etc.


Whew! Sounds like more than I can handle...




The long hike called life


But whether we like it or not, we're all, indeed, on a long hike called life. And the path is often filled with challenges, unexpected turns and obstacles. The good news is that much like the guide for the Appalachian trail hike, God wrote the guide for us to follow and reach the destination called peace.


Not sure where you are on that hike? Or maybe peace is a foreign word in the midst of this world's chaos? Good news; the guide to finding that peace is free, available and in the language any hiker can understand.




Let's conquer obstacles


With that guide in our hearts, we're ready to conquer obstacles of any kind.


We need a companion. We need encouragement. We need a comforting word. And we desperately need someone to tell us that all will be okay. That's why God's peace comes through this truth: "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted that have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death." (Psalm 72:12-13 NIV)


Oh, those difficult and unexpected turns of heartache that barge in. Most are out of our control. Some crash in because of other's sins. Yet, God knows the oppression against our soul, and right when we cry out for help, "He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." (Psalm 72:14 NIV).


Fear visits. We fear we won't make it to the finish line. When we grumble about the sorry turn of events and the unfairness, when we long for His presence, peace fills us because, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)


Gloom hovers over. When no one understands. When most cannot help, peace conquers sadness. "You are sad, I'm listening, and I will save you from your troubles." (Psalm 34:6 NIV)


Helplessness invades. But God offers His peace through this invitation: "When clouds of grief try to overtake you, ask Me for consolation and relief. Cry out to Me in your times of trouble, and I will save you from your distress." (paraphrased from Psalm 107:19).


Frustration won't let up. When we walk in circles around the same mountain of adversity, tears blur our vision; the path looks crooked and rough. That's when His guide instructs: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)


Better days are coming, hang on to the guide; the One who wrote it is with you. He never abandons or leaves you. And with Him by your side, there is no fear. There's only strength for each step. Reassurance for every turn. And He ushers the peace that carries power.


Let's pray: Father, how often, with a restless heart, I've embarked on the hike with my own plans and my own map in hand. Forgive my prideful ways and grant me a heart of humility. Show me how to follow your steps, to allow your guide to lead me. And find peace as I learn to walk on the path you prepared for me. In Jesus' name.


What guide are you using for your hike today?


Janet Eckles


If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
No access to the "guide" in your preferred language? Great news! Answers2Prayer has a webpage offering 68 Online Bibles available in different languages. Please visit us! If you know of an online Bible in a language that we do not yet have available, please let us know by sending an e-mail. Thank you my friends.
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 14 Jul 2019, 1:17 am

Welcome to the Nugget

July 13, 2019

Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In the concluding part of our introspective series of examining whether we belong to the "Thermometer" or the "Thermostat" category of believers, today let's focus on yet another "Thermostatic" Saint...


Cell...

Let's dive headfirst into the Scriptures...

"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." (Phil 1:12-14 ESV)

Hey! The Apostle Paul, far from being discouraged at his confinement to a restrictive Roman "cell" (actually house arrest), was a true "thermostat". In addition to "regulating the temperature" (read preached the Gospel with boldness) of fellow Christians outside of his "cell", he also introduced the heart-warming Gospel to the Roman Soldiers who were guarding him (See Acts 28:16).

Speaking of Roman soldiers (on duty on shift basis) who were always in the vicinity of that great Apostle, it is often asked "who was a prisoner to whom?" Was the Apostle Paul a prisoner to the Roman soldier? Or the other way around? The ever present bubbling infectious joy (the words "joy" and "rejoice" are used not less than 11 times in the Epistle to Philippians) in the Apostle, along with the power of the Gospel in his words, were having their needed impact on the Roman soldiers, as the above-captioned Scripture portion testifies.

Say Reader, are you sharing the Gospel with your fellow plane, train or bus "prisoners"? (Opps! Sorry! I mean "passengers"! Remember that for a few hours, those who are seated beside you cannot "escape" from you!) After establishing a common point of contact, say sports or politics (see 1 Cor. 9:20-23), are you filling their ears with the contageous joy of the Gospel?

Did the Apostle Paul's "thermostat" role in the "heat of his fiery trials" remain confined to only fellow Roman Christians outside his jail and the Roman soldiers inside it? Not at all! Boy, it spanned hundreds of miles. From Rome, courtesy his imprisonment (Rom 8:28) he would dictate Epistles (to scribes such as Tertius - See Rom 16:22), which in turn "regulated" the spiritual temperature for the good of Churches in Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and even in the life of an individual named Philemo n. Thanks to his imprisonment, we now have access to the "rich spiritual treasures" contained in these four Epistles.

In conclusion what I would like to say is the God-honoring lives of His Saints like that of the awesome threesome in Babylon, of devout Daniel and of pious Paul would play "thermostat" transcending even time and space. Boy, I for one, had the cockles of my heart "warmed-up" writing about them...thousands of years after their inspirational acts. Say Hallelujah, if reading about them produced a similar effect in you!!!

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for the wondrous heroes of faith who have preceded us in History. Their lives inspire us even today. Enable us to always walk in the straight and narrow of pleasing, while always influencing the World for the better. Help us to be "thermostat" believers instead of "thermometer" believers! In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
This is the last part of the "Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers" mini-series. If you have missed either of the two previous parts, you may access them online by clicking here. If you do not have access to the internet, please email me and I will be happy to forward them to you.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 7:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 11, 2019

Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In our introspective series of examining whether we belong to the "Thermometer" or the "Thermostat" category of believers, today, in the penultimate part of the series, let's focus on yet another "Thermostatic" saint...

Fast forward by another 46 years (539 BC) from the time of the heroics of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego (585 BC), and what do we see in Daniel Chapter 6? Yet another Royal decree goes throughout the Medo-Persian Empire, only this time the empire was much bigger than the one in Babylon. The book of Esther tells us that the empire covered 5.5 million square kilometers (See Esther 1:1)!

The proclamation this time? "Peace be multiplied to you.  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26 ESV).

Now what was the reason for this Royal Decree?  Now it was on account of Daniel, who in the midst of "fiery trying circumstances", preferred to play a "thermostat" rather than a "thermometer". Rather than being cowed down by the King's orders, given at the behest of Da niel's enemies: "whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions..." (Daniel 6:7b ESV), Daniel, as was his wont, preferred to petition the "King of Kings" three times daily (see Daniel 6:10). The eventual result of it all was not only that God's saving power was amply demonstrated, but also His Name, which had been tarnished courtesy of the Jewish exile in 586 BC, was magnified throughout the world over once again.

And Daniel's enemies? Poor guys, the same ones who had hoped that Daniel would serve as a sumptuous dinner to the famished lions, ended up instead as a delicious breakfast to them! A lesson within a lesson here for us, folks! Never fiddle with God's people (read fellow christians- especially the anointed ones...see Zech. 2:8)!

Hmmmm...Where were Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego at this time of Daniel's "fiery trial"? Jewish Biblical Scholars speculate that they could have used their influence over the erstwhile King Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian's reign itself and got their "postings" in the Land of Israel before 539 BC. As such they, may not have been in the "radar" of Chapter 6 of the Book of Daniel...

Prayer: Father, enable us to overcome the worldly pleasures that come our way to conform us into the World's image. Strengthen us always to walk in the straight and narrow path of pleasing Thee even whilst impacting the World for the better. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Can christians influence those around them, rather than being influenced by the world? Please join us on Saturday for the final part of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers to learn from another powerful Biblical example...
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 04 Jul 2019, 9:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 4, 2019

God's Citizenship

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Poor doggie, July 4th is a torture for him. My friend's puppy had to be protected from the noisy fireworks that blasted his furry ears.

For him they were a nightmare, for me the sound of July 4th fireworks reminds me of a dream come true.

A few decades ago my parents chose to make the U.S. our home. Soon after, we received our residency papers and five years later, the big day arrived. We entered a large court room. The red, white and blue of the American flag covered the front wall.

"Raise your right hand," the immigration official instructed me and my family. And with gratitude bursting in us, we pledged our allegiance to the United States. At the same time, we renounced our allegiance to our native country of Bolivia.

Oh, how I wish I had made that same pledge giving my allegiance to God's plans and His will. I didn't. Instead, I vowed to follow my own.

And, with misdirected passion, I crafted the blueprint for my life--get married, have healthy beautiful children, enjoy financial security, serve God and watch our grandchildren grow up around us with love overflowing.

That was the path to happiness I envisioned, and the plans I designed. But God had a different path. His didn't match my own. And that's when the battle began. I clung to my plans and resisted His.

Have you done that? You formed simple expectations, nothing extravagant, nothing complicated. And when least expected, your world turns upside down with disappointment dragging with it unwanted heartache.

The reason is our plans have great intentions, but flawed expectations. They hold a specific image of what life should be but lack the foresight of what life often brings.

There's good news.

Sweet freedom begins when we let God's will rule, when we allow His will to dictate our moments, order our days and design our future.

To accomplish that, He invites us to step in the courtroom of His love. Raising our right hand, we pledge to renounce those unrealistic dreams, those flawed plans. And turn our allegiance to His plans instead.

And should nights turn lonely and the black of sadness close in, those plans of His speak tranquil reassurance to our soul.

Jesus gave us the secret to that tranquility. He came to His knees with similar sorrow and, in the midst of pain, He said: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

He relinquished to God's Will. He gave up His own. He stepped away from His desires and invited God's instead.

What were the results?

He suffered still, but victory came. He was crucified, but glory followed. He took His last breath, but when he came back alive, He breathed in us life eternal.

Today in the midst of all the ugliness of life, we do the same. We declare, "Not my will, but yours, Lord." And His will takes over. Makes the way. Opens doors. Erases fear. Heals the wounds. Pours grace and makes the impossible possible.

What will it take for you to surrender and pledge your allegiance to God's divine will?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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To all of our American subscribers, Happy Independence Day!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Jun 2019, 10:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 29, 2019

Tremble...In the Presence of the Lord!

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 10: Psalm 114
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

Last month we saw that in ancient Judaism, the book of Psalms were divided into five books and were known as the "five books of David". Today's interesting fact is that ancient Judaism saw these five books corresponding and contrasting with the "five books of Moses". They saw the image of the five books of the law in the five books of the Psalms, and it is recorded that they regarded it as a second Pentateuch, an echo of the first...

Today's lesson from the Psalms focuses on Psalm 114. It is actually not known who authored this song. Though it is often accredited to David, some say it was penned after the division of the kingdom into Israel of the North and Judah of the South. Whether we know the author or not, this Psalm builds us up in the depths of our despair. Consider these first few verses:

"When the Israelites escaped from Egypt--
   when the family of Jacob left that foreign land--
the land of Judah became God's sanctuary,
   and Israel became his kingdom.
The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
   The water of the Jordan River turned away.
The mountains skipped like rams,
   the hills like lambs!" (Psalm 114:1-4 NLT)

This Psalm begins by reminding its listeners of God's almighty power and might by directing our attention to a monumental event in history: Israel's deliverance from Egypt and their conquest of Canaan. If God's miraculous power could accomplish all of this, is there anything He cannot do?

Most of us right now are in the midst of some kind of a bad situation. It seems the troubles are folding in on all sides, and it is tempting to say, "Where's God?" The best thing we can do in the midst of these circumstances is to remember the works of the Lord in the past.

Now no one alive actually was in that party that crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry ground; however every one of us has experienced God in a miraculous way. Maybe He got you into an education program or helped you pass a test. Maybe He arrived just in time to pull your tractor out of the ditch. Maybe He provided a good job. A warm house. A loving family. All you have to do is prayerfully think about it, and you will find multiple examples of God's power in your life.

I would suggest that you then use the format of Psalm 114 and personalize your prayer. Here is one I could easily pray about the time that in my ignorance about Canadian Immigration, I took a job in Canada, put my belongings on a moving truck and sent it to Canada, all before I had my immigration papers signed...

"When we immigrated to Canada--
   when my family left the land of our birth--
Canadian Immigration saw us coming and hurried out of their way!
   The process that should have taken 9 months took 1 hour..."

If we want our faith to truly be supercharged about whatever situation we find ourselves in at the moment, Psalm 114 urges us to then reflect upon the miracles:

"What's wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
   What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
   Why, hills, like lambs?" (Psalm 114:5-6 NLT)

Why not spend some time reflecting on the miraculous nature of God's goodness to us in the past? Again, it is helpful to personalize this. My personal song might continue something like this:

"What's wrong, Canadian Immigration,
   that made you hurry out of our way?
What happened, Embassy,
   that made you approve our applications immediately
   instead of making us wait the prescribed 9 months?"

After reflecting on the miracles, Psalm 114 goes on to glorify the power of the almighty God, our God, the One Who loves us enough to die for us, the One who did everything to make a way. It reminds us that nothing can stand before the presence of the Lord:

"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
   at the presence of the God of Jacob.
He turned the rock into a pool of water;
   yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock." (Psalm 114:7-8 NLT)

Friends, whatever it is you are going through, it cannot stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling! Remember: "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NLT)

Take whatever it is that is before you now, and pray it into these final two verses:

"Tremble, O death of a spouse, O sale of a home, O (insert your current problem here) 
   in the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the MY God.
He allowed us to begin the jobs we had waiting for us in Canada right away,
   And this illness, this (insert your current problem here) is nothing in His presence either!

Feeling weary, filled with doubt and despair? Follow the Psalm 114 formula:

1. Remember God's miracles of the past.
2. Reflect upon them.
3. Claim the Truth that nothing (and that includes your current situation!) can stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling!
4. Challenge your situation to try to stand before the Lord!

Then sit back and make yourself comfortable, because in God's time, He will cause your situation to crumble and fall!

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:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most. For previously-published Lessons From the Psalms, please click here.
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Jun 2019, 10:15 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 27, 2019

Family Reunion
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, asYou, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May theyalso be in Us, so that the world may believe thatYou sent Me." (John 17:20-21 Borean Study Bible)

Epiphanies often come to us at the strangest times and wisdom often awakens in us in the most unusual places. It was a late Friday afternoon and my family and I were at the grocery store. We usually shop on Saturdays but the early Spring weather forecast had predicted a Winter snowstorm. Thus, here we were grabbing groceries in time to beat the storm.

Unfortunately everyone else in town had the same idea. The store was both crazy and crowded. Everywhere I turned shopping carts were blocking my path. The more I tried to maneuver the less progress I seemed to make. We were stuck and stressed and it looked like we weren't getting out of the store anytime soon.

It was at this point that somewhere deep in my heart I heard a voice speaking to me. "Why are you rushing?" it asked. "Relax and enjoy this moment. Look around and see who you are with."

Thankfully, I listened to it. I opened my eyes, cleared my mind, and relaxed my heart. I let go of my stress and smiled. It was then that I saw something very beautiful: my family. I wasn't just seeing my own children either. Everyone in the store was my family. The old lady pushing her cart was my sister. The little girl grabbing for her favorite cereal was my daughter. The big guy with the bushy beard was my brother. I didn't know the names of any of them but at that moment we were all one. We were Children of God on a wonderful journey of learning and love. I wasn't at the store. I was at the family reunion. I slowed to a stroll then and spent my time sharing smiles, kind words, and friendly laughter with my family.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much. He created us to love each other as well. He created us to be one family here on Earth. May we always live then as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. May we always live as one.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
Announcement:
How about looking for ways to treat your neighbours as family today?
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 25 Jun 2019, 11:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 25, 2019

One Bad Apple

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I was at my desk following my morning routine the other day. The screen reader installed in my computer read Psalm 34 to me. (This is because I'm blind and use a screen reader to operate my computer). So, there I was, delighting in God's Word while I munched on my morning apple.

I noticed the apple was softer than its usual juicy, crispy texture. But focused on what I was listening to, I didn't stop to analyze it.

Moments later my Mom walked in. She grabbed my hand. "Honey, honey. Don't eat that."

I halted my chewing and gave her a look of shock. What could have rattled her so much?

Then my stomach churned a bit when my mom pointed out that I was eating a rotten, really rotten apple. Maybe there was a worm wiggling there. But she didn't say.

But wait a minute! Don't for a moment feel sorry for this blind chica. You might have done the very same thing.

Life is good...or is it?

There you are, following your own daily routine in life, carrying God's promises in your heart. And in your mind, you have engraved His instructions. Life is good.

But then the nightly news comes on. The world looks black. Life brings on a glitch. Relationships fall apart. And the view of our own world brings gloom. Without realizing it, we take bites of stress. We grind our teeth into rotten reminders of past failures. And mix them up with today's pain. Before we know it, we munch on that bad mush of worry and fear.

No wonder we're taking Maalox to soothe the emotional indigestion that burns during sleepless nights.

Been there? God knows we all have. So, we need to change. God's plan is for us to live in triumph. Yes, rotten spots come up, but we can still be victorious. Yes, disappointment visits, but we don't have to let in. And yes, heartache barges into our life, but we don't need to embrace it.

What the victorious person looks like.
And to make it easier for us, the description of the person who achieved all this is found in Psalm 112:6-8:

1. Nothing shakes him. No matter what bad news or rotten circumstances pop up, he lives calm, confident and secure because, "Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news..." (vs. 6,7a)

2. No fear defeats him. When the world fears, He increases his faith. When the world panics, he stands firm. When circumstances become darker, he looks to God's light: "His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure; he will have no fear..." (vs. 7b,8a)

3. Nothing keeps him down. When evil approaches, he declares victory. When attacks pour in, he knows the battle is won. And when his foes gain ground, he gains trust. "...in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." (vs. 8b)

That's what living in triumph means--embracing the promise that God defeated our foes. Welcoming a new beginning. Believing in a greater promise. And anticipating a new tomorrow.

Let's pray: Father, I admit I've chewed on rotten episodes in life, but I thank you for your path to triumph. Thank you for the wisdom to know that in You, I cannot be shaken. In You, I have no fear. In you, my foes are defeated. And in you, my life is secure. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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You don't care for punishment?  What if you knew it was for your own good?  Join us on Tuesday for "No Pain No Gain", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only permitted but encouraged!  
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Jun 2019, 6:10 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 22, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Over the past couple of devotionals, we've learned some powerful lessons in church unity from the interesting bell miner, also known as the "bellbird".

I must say, however, that the first fact I learned about bellbirds didn't come from the internet. It came directly from the lady in the campground reception office who checked us into our cabin that day in Eden, NSW where I first heard the "bells". When I asked about the pretty tinkling noise, she rolled her eyes, and the tone of her response dripped with disdain. But I didn't get it. I was enjoying the silvery bell-like calls. What was there about this warm-blooded, flying "carillon" that made the campground receptionist so annoyed?

A quick internet search revealed that she wasn't the only one annoyed by these little birds, and after just 24 hours in the region, I began to understand...The bell-like call rarely ever ceases, and once a bellbird colony "moves in" to a neighbourhood, it rarely ever leaves. As much as I love birds, I had to admit that if I had to hear that bell-like call 24/7, it would likely drive me crazy. There is just one thing that can be said for certain: The call of the bell miner will not be ignored!

In "The Bellbird, Part 1", we learned that Jesus specifically mentioned unity at least four times in the pastoral prayer given just before He went to Gethsemane. The reason Jesus gives for requesting unity, however, is worthy of special mention: "I pray that they will all be one...so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:21 NLT). Jesus' reason for praying for unity is none other than--evangelism!

Remember that Jesus does not wish for any to be lost ("...He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9b NLT). His desire is that everyone be saved!

The incessant call of the bell miner may be annoying to those who have to listen to it, but it teaches us a powerful lesson. What if we were to be as incessant about evangelism as the bellbird is in making its bell-like call? What if we were to spread the gospel every chance we got? We would most definitely be noticed!

Of course, the bellbird call is annoying; and if we were to incessantly talk about God, it would likely be seen in the same light. There are, however, many other ways to preach the gospel, and only a few of them require that we open our mouths. Here are a few examples:

1. We preach a powerful sermon in our unity alone: "I pray that they will all be one...so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:21 NLT).

2. We preach a powerful sermon when we love one another: "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." (John 13:34 NLT). When we reach out to others in love, they notice, and it isn't annoying to them. Isn't Jesus the perfect example of Someone who showed incessant love? Aren't we called to follow His example? "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." (Eph. 5:2 NLT).

3. We preach a powerful sermon when we care for one another: "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" (Matt 25:40 NLT). When we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give clothing and shelter to the cold and homeless, provide means for education and medical care, etc., we go a long ways in evangelising the world.

Remember the Sermon on the Mount? "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matt. 5:16 NLT). This is what the bell miner does 24/7. This is what we are called to do as well.

Let's learn from the bellbird. Let's stand in unity beside our fellow believers. Let's pray for them, strengthen and encourage them and help them in their times of need. But let's also be incessant about spreading the gospel to a lost and hurting world by showing love and support, feeding the hungry, encouraging the discouraged, comforting the hurting and providing shelter to the cold and homeless. In doing so, our good deeds will shine out for all to see and everyone will praise our Heavenly Father.

(If there are any bird enthusiasts out there who are interesting in actually hearing a bell miner bird, click here. If you live in Eden, NSW, or any other place where there are colonies of bellbirds, I will understand if you don't choose to click this link...)

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the last part of "The Bellbird" mini-series. If you have missed any part, you can access the entire series by clicking here, or by email me.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Jun 2019, 10:31 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 20, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 2


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us The bellbird is actually a member of the miner bird family, and is more correctly known as a "bell miner". Last Tuesday, in "The Bellbird, Part 1", we learned valuable lessons in unity and selfless giving from these interesting birds; but as I continued to read up on the bell miner, I would learn other inspiring facts about the specie...

Apparently the bell miner aggressively and communally defends its colony against any and all other insect-eating birds who might compete for their favorite food, the psyllid bugs that feed on eucalyptus sap. It made me think: What if we, like the bell miner, were to also aggressively and communally defend the church from intruders?

I'm not referring to human intruders here, for we are told that our battle is not against flesh and blood: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12 NLT). Rather, I am talking about the various and serious attacks of the devil.

This would, of course, include every temptation that comes our way. Imagine how strong the church would be if we were to stand up with one another and fight against any temptation that our fellow brothers and sisters in the church might be facing. If we could stop being judgmental, we would create an atmosphere where those who are weak would feel comfortable sharing their struggles with us. It would open the doors to being able to pray for them and to encourage and strengthen them in their faith. When we stand by one another, when we pray for one another, we are building each other up, we are making each other strong, we are encouraging each other, we are assisting each other in defeating temptation.

Is it for nothing that we are told multiple times in the New Testament alone to encourage one another? "So encourage each other and build each other up..." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT; See also Heb. 10:24-25; Eph. 4:29; 1 Cor. 14:26; Rom. 14:19, etc).

Of course, temptation isn't the only tactic used by our spiritual oppressors. Illness is another of their favorites, and this is why the bible teaches that we should pray for the sick: "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16 NLT). What if we were to take lessons from the bellbird and band together to pray against this "predator" that is trying to claim the wellbeing, even the very lives, of our fellow brothers and sisters?

Another type of spiritual attack is addiction. Most of us don't feel comfortable admitting we have addictions. We are afraid others will point the finger and we will be criticized and ostracized; and maybe we are just a bit too proud to admit our weaknesses. What if we were to remember the bell miner? What if we were to join together in prayer instead of pointing the finger at those who are bound by addiction? What if we were to reach out in spiritual warfare and battle alongside these victims of the devil's oppression? What if, instead of judging one another, we were to encourage each other? What if we were to fight the good fight side by side? Imagine how empowered those with addictions would feel! Imagine how encouraged, how better able to rise up and fight!

The list could go on, but the point is, the bell miner's habit of aggressively and communally defending its colony against intrusion teaches us a valuable lesson in aggressively and communally defending the church against spiritual intruders!

Think about it!

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:
We would only stayed in Eden, NSW, one night, but it was enough for me to personally experience a somewhat annoying fact about the bell miner... Please join us on Saturday for the final part of "The Bellbird" mini-series, to see what their one "annoying" trait has to teach us...

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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Jun 2019, 2:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 18, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We were entering a campground in Eden, a small town on the southeast coast of New South Wales in Australia, when we first heard, in the air all around us, the silvery tolling of tiny bells. When we looked around, however, there were no bells to be seen...

I asked the lady at the campground reception about the source of the silvery sound. She rolled her eyes in response, and her one-word answer dripped with disgst: "bellbirds!"

Ever since we landed on this beautiful continent, finding new sorts of Australian birds had become a bit of a hobby, and my interest was pricked. I was especially excited, later that day, to have the privilege to seeing and photographing the little "carillons" as they flitted about, feeding in the local gum trees and sending forth their incessant silvery calls.

Once back in our rented cabin, I looked the bellbird up on the internet, and I was immediately inspired by what I learned...

The bellbird lives in colonies, yet despite the fact that the colonies tend to be large, there are general only 3-4 pairs of birds that are nesting. The non-breeding colony members will apparently spend their days assisting the breeding pairs by gathering food and helping to raise the young! I couldn't help wondering how different our local churches might be if we took some lessons from these creatures. What would happen if we all banded together? Rather than looking out only for ourselves and our own advancements and happiness, what if we were to spend our time helping our fellow brothers and sisters? What if we were to bring each other food? Help each other with the raising of our children? Be there to comfort and encourage each other in our troubles?

Wait. I'm being a bit idealistic, aren't I? We are far too busy with our own lives to give of ourselves to each other all the time. And besides, is it really all that important anyway?

One look at Jesus' famous pastoral prayer would firmly answer this question...

The evening before His arrest, Jesus' prayer revealed what was nearest and dearest to His heart. Isn't it interesting that one of the major themes of His prayer is none other than unity in the church? "Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are." (John 17:11 NLT). It is said that when God is really trying to hit a point home, He repeats Himself; and Jesus went on to pray for unity in the church three other times in the same prayer (see vs. 21, 22, 23)! Shouldn't this speak to us about the impo rtance of unity? Of taking care of one another? Of being one, just like Jesus and the Father are one? Just imagine what this might look like in the church!

How do we achieve this unity?

It all begins with unselfish love. We need to love one another as Christ loved the church. He put aside His own ambitions to come to this earth, to die on a cruel cross, all because He loves us that much (See 2 Cor. 8:9). Just like most of the bellbirds in a colony must put aside their own ambitions so that they can help each other, we must also put aside our own desires and plans in order to help one another.

But wait. There are bellbirds who do not put aside their own ambitions. Remember that there are usually 3-4 breeding pairs in each colony!

In the same way, we will find that just as there are seasons for helping others, there is also a season for receiving help from others. What this means for us is that our primary focus needs to be on the unselfish giving of our time, our talents and our resources to help our fellow brothers and sisters; but when the time comes when find ourselves in need, we can be sure that God will also provide for that need!

Let's take lessons from the bellbird. Let's put aside our personal ambitions in order to be able to reach out and help one another. Let's strive to be the church that Jesus prayed for just before He went to the cross. Let's strive to live together in unity and love...

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head...It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." (Ps. 133:1-3 NIV)

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:
Further internet research revealed that the bellbird colonies had another important lesson to teach us all about what a unified church looks like. Please join us on Thursday, for "The Bellbird, Part 2".
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 15 Jun 2019, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 15, 2019

A Pleasing Aroma...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "These offerings are given as a special gift to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to him." (Num 29:6 NLT)

If you were to simply read this text out of context, your thoughts might go something like mine did: Wow, that offering must be fresh bread or cinnamon rolls! Definitely something that smells nice!

When you read the text in its entirety, however, you see that this is not the case. Consider the preceding verses: "It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects...In addition, you must sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord. These special sacrifices are in addition to your regular monthly and daily burnt offerings, and they must be given with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings." (Num 29:2b-6a NLT)

The "offering", then, that has such a "pleasing aroma", is nothing more than animal sacrifices...

Now I don't know about you, but having been raised vegetarian, the smell of any meat cooking is not "pleasing" to me. I do understand that the majority of the world would not agree; however, this passage isn't talking about just cooking meat. It's talking about burning it! I believe most of you would agree that the odor of burning flesh does not smell "pleasing"!

Taking this a bit farther, I would have to say that even if the odor of burning meat was a pleasant one for me, what is there about slaughtering bulls and rams and lambs that is "pleasing"?

Yet this phrase, "pleasing aroma", is used multiple times throughout the books of Moses, and the context is always that of slaughtering animals for burnt offerings (See Ex. 29, Lev. 2-4, Num. 29, etc.)...Just what is so pleasing about burnt offering?

I am currently reading the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible. I have been asking myself this question throughout the books, but it wasn't until I arrived at Numbers 29 that I began to understand...

Let's remember that the Bible teaches us that sin separates us from God: "Listen! The LORD's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." (Is. 59:1-2 NLT)

Let's also remember that: "...without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22 NLT). Thus the animal served as a substitute. It died in the place of the sinner.

When God said that the animal sacrifices were a "pleasing aroma" to Him, could it be that He desired for their sins to be covered? That He desired for there to be nothing separating Him from His people? That He desired to walk with them? To talk with them? To have a relationship with them? Did the odor of burning sacrificial meat simply signify to God that the sins were covered and the door was open for relationship? Was this why God called the sacrifices, "a pleasing aroma to Him"?

The Truth of the matter is, God wants to be with us!

It is true that the sacrificial system was not adequate as a long-term solution, for: "...it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Heb. 10:4 NLT). Thus these sacrifices could only "cover up" the sin, so to speak. And since God wanted a permanent fix to this sin problem that caused Him to be separated from the ones He loves, He further proved His love and His desire to be with us by making a better way: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:19 NLT). God sent His own Son to be the sacrifice that permanently removes our sin. And since, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13 NLT), doesn't this serve to prove His ultimate desire to be with us? To spend time with us? To lavish His love upon us?

The next time you smell burning meat, remember this lesson from the mosaic laws: The reason God considered the stench of burning meat to be "a pleasing aroma" is because it signified that their sins were covered and He could commune with them. Let's all let that stench be a reminder to you that God wants to have that relationship with each of us, too, and in order to ensure that it would be even easier, He sent Jesus...

Hum. Maybe my neighbour's burning barbeque doesn't smell so bad after all...

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:
Many of you have written in asking about my recent experience with Breast Cancer, and I want to thank each of you for caring, and especially for your prayers. I recently had my first follow-up with Oncology, and I am pleased to report that it went very well! You are invited to read some of the highlights of my ride with God through this valley of my life at Cancer Experiences.  Or if you prefer the whole story, email me and I can tell you how to access the it...
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jun 2019, 10:49 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 13, 2019

When Fear Attacks

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "I took my small dog for a walk one night," my friend Ian said. "The area was dark except for a light near the big fountain in the courtyard of the apartment complex."

"I heard my neighbor yell from her second-floor balcony. But the sound of the water in the nearby fountain drowned her words. So I returned the greeting. Since it was Christmas time, I assumed she had yelled out Merry Christmas."

"Then her shout became louder, 'Look behind you, Ian'!"

I turned. And my eyes caught the glimpse of a big, furious javelina charging at me and my small dog. Heart thumping, with one swoop I scooped my puppy. And I took off like a bullet. That's when I had my Forest Gump moment. My neighbor shouted, 'Run, Ian, run!'"

Ian had his neighbor, but we have the Lord shouting to our soul, "Run, run as fast as you can." When would He say that? Each time we're being attacked by the beast of fear.

You're been there, haven't you? During dark nights, out of nowhere, with no warning, fear charges at you. Fearful that money will run out. Fearful our kids won't grow up like we want them to. Afraid of losing our health. Fearful to be alone. Afraid to stay with the wrong person...afraid to leave them. Afraid we'll never heal from the heartache.

Goodness gracious, God is shouting to you and me, "Run, run from that spirit of fear."

And with the same authority as David did, with the same assurance and assertion, we declare: "The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1, NIV).

Father, how foolish to be afraid, knowing you're the stronghold of my life, of my decisions, of circumstances, relationships and my future. With your power working in me, I have the strength, the courage and the authority to defeat any attack of fear. In Jesus's name, amen.

Janet P. Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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God is concerned about even the minutest points of our lives, and if we let Him, He will guide us into the right decisions, 100% of the time! Our only job is to seek His guidance every step of the way. Visit us online for the previously-published series, "God Guides"!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Jun 2019, 10:07 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 8, 2019

Famous People
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I discovered that there had been someone famous in my office...

As a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in an active stroke rehabilitation program, it is standard for family members to accompany their loved ones to speech therapy; and when a new stroke survivor showed up in my office with his out-of-town son, I thought nothing of it. It was only about five weeks later that I would learn from a completely different source that this stroke survivor's son was actually quite famous.

I knew this information should not have made any difference whatsoever in the way the speech therapy sessions went, and I worked hard to ensure that it didn't. There was definitely a difference in my nerves, however. They zinged with anticipation, and I found myself with added internal motivation to do my best and to showcase my patient's improvement.

But wait. Why should the knowledge that this person was famous have made any difference whatsoever? Shouldn't I have always attempted to put my best foot forward? Shouldn't I have always been encouraging my patients to do their best? Shouldn't every patient and every family member who ever entered my office have always inspired me to give outstanding speech therapy?

We've often heard it asked, "Is that something you'd do if Jesus were sitting beside you?" Usually that question is prompted by the fact that you might not be thinking/saying/acting in a way that is Jesus-like; but isn't God omnipresent? Doesn't He see all things? Isn't He always with us? Doesn't this mean that we should always think/act/say the things that would bring honor and glory to His name?

The incident with this stroke survivor's famous son also made me think a tiny bit more. You see, I didn't have even the slightest clue that this particular patient's son was someone famous. He acted in exactly the same way as the hundreds of other caring adult children who have accompanied their parents to my office through the years. There was nothing haughty about his demeanour, nothing different in the way he obviously cared about his dad's wellbeing and looked to me for advice with his dad's communication difficulties...

It made me realize that we all "famous" in our own rights. We all have talents. We all find ourselves in the position, at least occasionally and to one degree or another, in the position where people look to us seeking advice or acceptance. How should we act in those situations? Should we place ourselves above others, looking down on them because we know something better than they do? Or should we act, like my patient's son, as if there is nothing different about us at all?

Jesus, our perfect example, gives us faultless advice: "So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him." (John 13:4-5 NLT). Jesus, the only One who totally and completely deserved our reverence, got up and performed the job of a servant!

This shouldn't surprise us, however. His entire time here on Earth was spent performing the job of a servant, and this role took Him even to the cross: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed..." (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

Famous people walk among us daily. In fact, to others, each one of us is in a position of authority from time to time. Our job is to follow Jesus' example of humility and treat everyone equally, as Jesus did. When we do, then learning that a particular stroke survivor's son is famous will not affect our behaviour in the least, for we will have always treated that particular patient and his son, and the countless others along the way as well, in the manner merited by royalty.

It certainly gave me food for thought throughout the rest of my career...

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:
What lessons do the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation have to teach us?  Check out the recently-published mini-series: Studies on the Seven Churches of Revelation!  
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 10:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 6, 2019

Dixie
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:11-12, NLT)

On a cold, snowy day in March my cat, Dixie died. I walked into the bathroom to find her lying motionless. I stroked her head, and gently held her in my arms. Then I carried her to the woods behind my house to bury her. I tried not to cry as I walked. She had lived sixteen years, after all. I knew her health was fading too. Always a skinny cat she had been eating less and less lately until I could feel her bones through her gray fur when I petted her. Still, the tears fell.

Dixie like most cats was quite a personality. She enjoyed napping in the sunshine on top of my desk by the window and after I would make dinner I would often find her sneaking a snooze on the still warm kitchen stove. She loved attention but only on her own terms. She didn't like to be picked up but would climb on my chest when I was in bed, curl into a ball, and fall asleep. She would walk off if I tried to pet her but would later curl into the crook of my arm and purr while I read in the evenings. She would never meow unless she could get food out of it and sometimes she would sneak in like a panther on the prowl and steal the food right off our plates. She disliked our house full of dogs and spent her time either irritating them or hiding from them. Yet, she will always have her own special place in my heart and I know I am going to miss her.

I have lost so many dogs and cats in my half-century of living. It is one of life's cruel ironies that we get to live so many years and they get to live so few. In spite of the loss, hurt, heart-break and tears, however, I couldn't imagine myself living without them. They have taught me again and again that you have to live this life with an open heart. You have to love and keep loving even when it hurts and even when you lose the ones you love. You have to know that the love and joy are worth the pain. That may be one of the greatest lessons that God has for us to learn here. I am just glad He gave us dogs and cats to help us learn it. Keep loving then, always!

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sat 01 Jun 2019, 9:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 1, 2019

The Home Mini, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     
Last Thursday I discribed the Google Home Mini my son gave me for an early Mother's Day. I outlined how I had initially been quite disappointed with the machine due to its lack of ability to do the things I was asking it to do. I was sorely tempted to put the thing back in its box; but I didn't. Instead, I allowed my son to set it up on the counter, and I began learning what it is good for. In so doing, I learned a powerful lesson: We cannot simply write people off because they can't do what we want them to do. Instead, we need to accept them for who they are and appreciate about them the things they can do.

It would seem, however, that there was another lesson my Home Mini had to teach me...

You see, when I came so close to throwing the thing out the nearest window, I was passing judgment on the machine. I was declaring it totally worthless, when in reality, it is actually quite useful for the things it is programmed to do. Especially when I lose my phone!

Am I guilty of judging people as harshly as I was judging that little machine?

You know what I mean. That lady really did drive me off the road. She completely doesn't know how to drive! How can the province of Ontario allow her to have a drivers' license at all?

My mom's neighbour really did call the police on my mom for feeding peanuts to the squirrels. Have you ever heard of anything as hateful, controlling, un-neighbourly?

And my workplace did really cut funding to the excellent, necessary programs I initiated and ran for over 15 years. They are certainly and completely without heart!

But wait. Do we truly see the "big" picture?

One of the things that frustrated me about my little Home Mini was its inability to control my lights, thermostat and alarm clock. After all, it was able to do that at my son's house! What I didn't realize was that my son had some additional equipment required to interface his lights, furnace, etc., with his Home Mini. I do not have that equipment at my house, and in essence, I was accusing my Home Mini of not being able to do something I simply didn't have the proper equipment for it to do. I was judging the machine without all the facts.

And if I think about it, when I judge others, I am doing exactly the same thing...

Take, for example, that woman who nearly drove me off the road. What I didn't know was that this mother's vision was completely clouded by tears as she drove to the hospital to identify the body of her only son. She simply didn't see me. Perhaps it really wasn't safe for her to drive in that state of mind; however, the offense hardly dictated that she have her drivers' license revoked. It certainly didn't merit the judgment I passed on her...

And my mom's neighbour? What I didn't know is that her daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts. The squirrels left traces of my mom's peanuts on her porch, the little girl got into them and nearly died. The neighbour's reaction, as harsh as it may have seemed, was simply a "knee-jerk" reaction resulting from the motherly instinct to protect her child. Sure, sending in the police instead of making an effort to talk to my mom may seem unneighbourly, but it certainly didn't merit the judgment I passed on her...

Then there was my place of work. What I didn't know was that if they hadn't found ways to save money, hundreds of their employees, including, perhaps, myself, would have soon found themselves without a job. Yes, the decision closed the door to helping some of the people in the community; but it ensured that a vast number of others would continue to receive the help they needed. Did they merit the judgment I passed on them? Probably not... 

The point is, when we judge, we usually do so without seeing the full picture. Just like I judged my little Home Mini as "useless" when I actually didn't have the equipment it required to do what I was asking, we condemn people without knowing where they are coming from. Perhaps it is time to try to see thing from their perspective. Perhaps we need to forgive them, even when we don't understand their actions. Perhaps we need to love them, even when they do wrong. In so doing, we just may learn to see the good in people, even in those who hurt us. Is it for naught that the Scriptures teach us:

1. To not judge? "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged." (Matt. 7:1 NLT).

2. To forgive? "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Col 3:13 NLT).|

3. And to love our enemies? "You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:43-45 NLT)?

Hey, I think I found another excellent use for my Home Mini. It makes a great object lesson about passing judgement...

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 28 May 2019, 4:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 28, 2019

Seven Truths to Hold onto when You Feel Attacked

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     When evil attacks, our soul wants to shrink in pain, our heart shatters and our mind fills with gloom. Unless we run to God's promises for refuge.

We need His protection because often as unexpected as rain on a sunny day, adversity pours. And when it does, we're stunned at the reason why. Why us? Why now?

I asked those questions years ago. When my boys were small, I had wiped the kitchen counter and mopped the floor for the umpteenth time. I folded laundry, fixed meals, calmed cries, changed diapers and picked up toys off the floor as I did every day. The routine, the monotony and the endless chores sometimes pushed me on the couch, wanting to scream, "I need a break."

That break came when in a matter of 18 months, a retinal disease robbed my sight completely. And facing the horror, the sorrow and the desperation, I sat on that same couch, wishing, oh wishing so badly that those "monotonous" days could come back.

Have you done that? Complained and ranted about how life is, hard, routine and so difficult? Then, suddenly a wave of bad news crashes your life. And pain enters your world. Then those days of routine, mundane and filled with tasks are ones you wish to come back. In fact, you'd do anything to go back to what you had before. Anything to be relieved from the current pain.

And to make it worse, we're attacked by regret, sorrow and anguish.

But God knows. He has the protection from those attacks. He has the shield from the arrows that pierce our peace. And He has the promises, the specific instructions, the powerful path for us to follow all outlined in Chapter 54 of the book of Isaiah.

1. When life's unfairness flogs our heart, we're tempted to give up. "'...but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,' says the LORD your Redeemer." (Isaiah 54:8b, NIV)

2. When you wonder if He's the same as He was long ago. He says, "'To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.'" (Isaiah 54:9, NIV)

3. When you question the power of His love, He assures "'...Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.'" (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)

4. When you wonder what will your future look like. What will the new chapter hold? He states, "'Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.'" (Isaiah 54:11-12, NIV)

5. And when you wonder what will your legacy hold? He gives the answer: "'All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.'" (Isaiah 54:13, NIV)

6. When you question what will be next, what you can expect, He addresses that too: "'In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.'" (Isaiah 54:14, NIV)

7. When you ask for constant security. He says, "'If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.'" (Isaiah 54:15, NIV)

Though blindness has been part of my life for over 30 years, these promises shined a constant light of beautiful hope. And they will for you too. If storms crash your life and bring rain of heartache, know that these same promises prevail over the winds of fear. His Word hushes the thunder of sorrow. And as you wait patiently, His voice speaks to turn your adversity to joy.

Which promise speaks to you in the storm? I'd love to hear your answer.

Thank You, Lord, for your great comfort that surround us continually, even when heartache and turbulence enter our lives. May we be ever mindful of Your promises to turn our adversity to joy. And trust in Your great faithfulness as we wait on You to fulfill those promises. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 25 May 2019, 10:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
May 25, 2019

The Right Kind of Praise...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 9:
Psalms 100
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.


This month's Lesson from the Psalms comes from Psalm 100. But first:


Interesting facts From the Book of Psalms:

Today's interesting fact from the book of Psalms is that in Judaism, the book is traditionally broken up into 5 different sub-books and is known as the "five books of David". We still see this division in many of our current Bibles.


Today's Psalm:

Today's lesson from the Psalms focuses on Psalm 100, a Psalm that provides a formula for praise.

As an introduction, please go back in time with me about 10 years, to a time when my family had been instructed to pray about which high school our oldest son, "D" would attend. There were three candidates, one of which was the local public high school, Centennial high. Join our family around the breakfast table one Saturday morning...

Mom: "So did you all pray about the high school?"

Younger brother shrugs...

Dad starts to answer but is cut off...

D: (Jumping in) "Yup! God gave me Psalms 100!"

Rest of family, staring blankly for a full minute, then finally, as one: "And? What does Psalms 100 say?"

D: "uh...I didn't read it..."

Mom, speaking forth what the looks of puzzlement around the table are all trying to communicate: "How do you know that God spoke to you through Psalms 100 if you didn't even read it?"

D: (Grinning) "Don't you get it? Psalms 100? What's the French word for 100? 'Cent', right? God was telling me I should go to 'Cent'ennial High!"

It's an amusing story, one that illustrates how God can speak to us in different ways; but when I went back to actually read Psalm 100, I realized something powerful about motivation for prayer, something that might have helped us in our dilemma about the high school, had we made the effort to follow the guidance of Psalm 100...

First of all, Psalm 100 is an outline for how we are to praise God. It says:
 
1. "Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!" (vs. 1 NLT);
2. "Worship the Lord with gladness." (vs. 2a NLT);
3. "singing with joy." (vs. 2b NLT);
4. "Acknowledge that the Lord is God!" (vs. 3 NLT);
5. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving..." (vs. 4a NLT);
6. "...praise His name." (vs. 4b NLT).

Most of us don't get quite this "into" our worship. We may sing, but do we shout? Do we sing for joy? Do we acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord? Do we have thanksgiving on our lips? Do we sing our praises because of His glorious name? Or do we praise God as an adjunct to our list of prayer requests?

I don't know about you, but my tendency is the later...

The Psalm goes on to tell us who should praise Him: "...all the earth." (vs. 1 NLT). Notice that it doesn't specify that only those with answered prayers should praise Him. It tells us that we all must praise Him, no matter what our circumstances!

The Psalm then tells us where to praise Him:
1. "Come before Him..." (vs. 2b NLT);
2. "Enter His gates..." (vs. 5a NLT);
3. "go into His courts..." (vs. 5b).

We may not have a physical temple with gates and courts anymore, but we are the temple of God, for His Spirit dwells in us (See 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:17-18, etc.). When we go to the Lord in our quiet place for prayer, for meditation and reflection, to simply sit at Jesus' feet, we are, in essence, entering "...His gates..." and going "...into His courts...".

Finally, the Psalm also tells us why we should praise God...
1. "He made us..." (vs. 2a NLT);
2. "...and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture." (vs. 3 NLT);
3. "For the Lord is good..." (vs. 5a NLT);
4. "His unfailing love continues forever..." (vs. 5b NLT)
5. "...His faithfulness continues to each generation." (vs. 5c NLT)

Of especially special note is that the primary reason most of us praise God is not listed in Psalm 100: It does not tell us to praise God because we want something from Him or that He has just answered some prayer. In fact, unlike many of the Psalms, there are absolutely no reference to prayer requests in this Psalm whatsoever!

It all made me think...Does praise even get 50% of my prayer time? I seriously doubt it...

I believe the vital lesson to be learned from the lack of "requesting" and the total focus on praise in Psalm 100 is that when we praise God, we should be doing it out of love and adoration, because of His goodness and mercy. We are to praise Him, as stated in the Psalm, for His goodness and love and faithfulness, not because we are trying to turn His hand.

This is what I realized when God spoke to my son through the Psalm title. We are to go before the Lord in thanksgiving and praise--without any other agenda. Perhaps if we had all not been so busy seeking God's guidance, we might have been more inclined to spend time praising God for Who He is. Then we would have been open to His voice speaking His wisdom to us. Fortunately, there was someone in our family that day who had this insight...

Friends, stop seeking God with to-do lists. Instead, put aside for a bit your own concerns and seek Him in the Psalms 100 way: With nothing but praise and thanksgiving on your agendas! I guarantee you will be blessed beyond imagination.

And--quite probably--you will also receive the guidance and blessings you seek...

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:
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Post  Admin on Sat 04 May 2019, 9:52 am

Welcome to the Nugget

May 4, 2019

Covered Bridges:
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 13
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     There is something powerfully nostalgic about a covered bridge. Being one of the few remaining windows into our past, the structures were not only romantic and beautiful, but useful as well. They spanned the world's waterways, completed roads and provided shelter from the elements for passers-by. They kept water out of the wooden joints where it might freeze during winter or cause rotting during the summer, they kept the bridge from drying out in very hot weather, and they kept the snow off the road. And finally, since the horse, the primary means of transportation in the covered bridge era, didn't particularly like crossing rushing rivers, the cover gave the bridge enough of a "barn" appearance that the animals were more likely to enter calmly and volitionally.

Why are bridges no longer covered?

Because their reasons for being covered are no longer valid. Bridges are no longer made of wood, they are no longer used by horses, etc., and the remaining covered bridges are but a sad reminder of what used to be.

On our way home from Cape Breton, we happened upon the Baker Brook Covered Bridge. Like what has happened to so many, this particular one is closed to motorized traffic and has been replaced by a larger, stronger concrete bridge that is much better suited for the quantity of heavy, fast traffic that now crosses the Baker Brook.

From our vantage point at the southern end, both the old bridge and the new one beside it were clearly visible. As I stared at the two, I couldn't help thinking that the new bridge is nothing but an eyesore. After all, why do we continually have to change things? What's wrong with the way things used to be?

This is a familiar sentiment to me in other parts of my life. Not being someone who deals well with change, the smallest problem or the tiniest interruption to "my" plans is not welcomed in the least. I believe that many of you can sympathize, for when a particular set of bad circumstances makes something that has been important to our lives redundant or perhaps no longer available, we grieve the loss. Maybe it is the child who grows up and moves away; or maybe it is the medical issue requiring that a body part be removed. Perhaps it is when a spouse decides he or she no longer wishes to be part of the family, or perhaps there has been a death in the family. Whatever it may be, just like the covered bridges of the past, the so important part of our lives has somehow been redeemed "redundant" and has been removed.

But let's not forget that when the Baker Brook Covered Bridge was closed, a new bridge was built. These two bridges over the Baker Brook serve to teach us a powerful lesson: When circumstances remove something of vital importance in our lives, we can trust God that our needs will still be met. Hasn't He promised to take care of us? "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 ESV). Even when our car is totaled and we are left without transportation; even when we are fired from our jobs; even when death has taken our loved one: God has promised that He will never forsake us: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deut. 31:6 ESV). Though there may no longer be a "cover" on the "bridge", God is and always will be,
"...my hiding place and my shield..." (Ps. 119:114 ESV).

Hasn't He said that even when we are going through terrible times, He is our shepherd (See Ps. 23)? Doesn't He promise that we will want for nothing (vs. 1)? Doesn't He give us rest? Provide for our needs (vs. 2)? Doesn't He leads us to Salvation and a future with Him (vs. 3)? Doesn't He promise to be with us through the car crash, the bad medical diagnosis, the broken relationships (vs. 4)? Doesn't He promise us comfort and nourishment (vs 4b-5)? That no matter where life leads us, His goodness and mercy will always be there, and at the end, we will dwell with Him forever (vs. 6)?

Will we miss the "covered bridges" of our lives?

Yes, naturally we will.

Do we need to worry about the future without them?

No. God is all we need.

Interestingly, when compared to the old covered one, the new, modern bridge over the Baker Brook is much stronger and much more able to withstand the quantity, speed and weight of modern-day traffic. Is it possible that one of the reasons the "covered bridges" of our lives are being "decommissioned" is to show us that God may have something even better in store for us? Though things will never be the "same" as before, perhaps God is in the business of making things more functional: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28 ESV).

I'm happy that those decommissioned covered bridges still stand, for they are a vivid reminder of past joys; but I thank God that when those "covered bridges" of our lives need to be decommissioned, He provides new and stronger ones for us to use!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the last lesson in the "Lessons From Cape Breton" Mini-series. If you have missed any of the previous lessons, you may access them by clicking here; or if you have no acces to the internet you can email me and I will send them to you.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 May 2019, 6:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 2, 2019

Tell-Tale Signs
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8, NIV)

The children had a great sleepover and I was just getting around to making the bed and cleaning up. I thought I felt a pebbly bump under the sheet. Checking more closely, I found one lone Cheerio lodged about halfway down - a clue that our toddler grandbaby had crawled up in bed with the other kids sometime earlier that morning.

A single tell-tale sign gave away the story of her presence there, just as the rainbow at the beach yesterday told us it was raining back to the east.

There are a myriad of ways to share the gospel, the good news and love of Jesus Christ. Many of those ways have simple, ordinary tell-tale signs such as a smile, a listening ear, ready hands to help, joy. You may have heard the saying, "You may be the only Bible someone reads."

Mother Theresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love". In the early thirteenth century, St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

St. Francis is also quoted as saying, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where ther is sadness, joy."

All tell-tale signs, sharing the Gospel and hope of Jesus. The cross of Christ comes to mind, the tell-tale sign of the immeasurable mercy and grace for all people. What incredible good news.

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy 
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Apr 2019, 12:44 pm

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April 30, 2019

The Secret to Spiritual Warfare...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 8:
Psalm 3
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

This month's Lesson from the Psalms comes from Psalm 3. But first:


Interesting facts From the Book of Psalms:

Last month we learned that the book of Psalms is actually a compilation of songs, written by many different authors over many hundreds of years. An interesting fact about the Psalms for this month is this: It is believed the songs were compiled into their existing order during the lifetime of Ezra in the fourth century BC. We do not know why this order was chosen. All we know is that it was not assembled based on author or chronology, for the songs of the different writers are intermixed throughout the entire collection.


Today's Psalm:

Over the past 8 months, we have looked at eight individual Psalms and how these powerful songs can empower us, rendering our prayer life stronger and increasing our faith. Today's lesson comes from Psalms 3, a Psalm of David, from the time period when David fled from his son, Absalom. This Psalm provides us with an excellent model for spiritual warfare:


Step 1: Recognizing the enemy...

"O Lord, I have so many enemies;
   so many are against me.
So many are saying,
   'God will never rescue him!'" (vs. 1-2 NLT)

We've all been there. Perhaps we are there right now.

We need to remember that though our enemies may appear to be either flesh and blood or circumstantial--disease, death, financial difficulties, loss of home or job, etc.--our deadliest enemy is spiritual in nature: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12 NLT). These spiritual forces orchestrate and coordinate the problems and trials of life, using them to weaken us for the full-force attacks of doubt, unforgiveness, discouragement, depression, anxiety, fear, control, etc. Is it any wonder we feel so overwhelmed, so beaten up, so defeated? Is it any wonder we cry out, like David of old, "O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me" (Ps. 3:1 NLT)?

The first powerful lesson is this: We must recognize that the true enemy behind what we are going through is the enemy of our souls (See John 8:44, Matt. 16:23, Rev. 20:1-6, 1 Peter 3:8-9, etc)!


Step 2: Recognizing God's power...

"But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
   you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord,
   and he answered me from his holy mountain." (vs. 3-4 NLT)

Once we have recognized the true nature of our enemy, we need to remember that Christ has already defeated the devil: "For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death." (Heb. 2:14b NLT. See also 1 John 3:8, Col. 1:13, etc). We must remember that in Him, we have access to God's power, for God is our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1-3; Ps. 91:2, Deut. 33:27, etc.). He is our shield (see Ps. 84:9, Ps. 5:12, Ps. 18:2, 2 Sam. 22:3, etc.) He is our glory (see Is. 60:19). When we cry out to Him, He answers us (see Ps. 34:17, 1 John 5:14, Ps. 66:19, John 9:31, 1 Peter 3:12, etc)!

The second powerful lesson about spiritual warfare from these next two verses of Psalms 3 is that in our time of trouble, we need to recognize God's love, power, strength and supremacy!


Part 3: Lesson in trust...

"I lay down and slept,
   yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
   I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
   who surround me on every side." (vs. 5-6 NLT)

After we recognize who the real enemy is and we remind ourselves of God's supremacy and love, the next step is to put our unwavering faith in the Solution-Giver.

It's easy enough to say we trust God, but the real test is this: Will we lay down 'in the back of the boat', so to speak, and 'go to sleep'? Will we have the confidence that we don't need to do anything, for the Lord is watching over us? Will we have that peace that allows us to sleep during spiritual warfare? This is the kind of faith God seeks, and it is the third powerful lesson on spiritual warfare that Psalms 3 has to teach us: Our faith in God should be so unfailing that we can literally sleep in peace knowing that God is watching over us and knowing that there is no need to fear the 10,000s of enemies surrounding us!


Lesson Four: Taking action...

"Arise, O Lord!
   Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
   Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord.
   May you bless your people." (vs. 7-8 NLT)

When we put our unwavering trust in the Solution-Giver, the One who has already defeated the enemy, then we can rise up with confidence, knowing our prayer will be answered. We can in faith call out to God: "Arise...Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked!" for we are assured that, "Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people." 

Whatever it is you're going through right now, why not take these important steps outlined in Psalms 3:

1. Recognize the enemy;
2. Recognize God's love and supremacy;
3. Put your total faith in Him;
4. Rise up in the power of Jesus' name and claim victory.

Next, take a few moments to pray Psalms 3 over your current 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 Mon 29 Apr 2019, 11:10 pm

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April 27, 2019

Behind the Church-Front...Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 12
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

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

It was from the Low Point lighthouse near New Waterford, Nova Scotia, that I first saw it perched atop a hill, about 10 kilometers across the harbour. It looked like a church steeple, and pushing my tiny camera to its maximum zoom, I snapped a picture. "Look!" I said, showing my husband the somewhat grainy picture. "There's an old church of some kind over there."

We left Low Point with the determination that we would try and locate that old church upon the hill, and we did. It was not, however, a church at all. Rather, it was the observation post for the Chapel Point Battery Site...

How could I have confused a battery site with a church?

Good question; but if you look at my picture from across the bay (see picture at the top of this newsletter), you may understand my confusion, for the battery's observation tower is shaped very much like the bell tower of a church!

Now I don't know why the observation tower was built to resemble a bell tower, but if I had been so sure from across the bay that this was, indeed, a church, how much more like a church must it have appeared from the perspective of the German U-boats on the rocking waters of the open harbour? They would likely have been farther away than I was, and my modern telephoto lens was likely a bit more precise then their periscopes...Were they, like me, also confused? Would it have caused them to approach more closely than they otherwise might have done, and thus, put them at higher risk of personal loss?

It makes you think, doesn't it? Things are certainly not always what they seem, and there are many times in life when something that seems as innocent as the bell tower of a church turns out to be as dangerous as a coastal war battery can be to an enemy submarine. A particular set of circumstances, for example, may seem positive, and this causes us to make very wrong decisions; a particular place, bunch of people or activity may seem innocent enough, but in the end, this very innocent-looking thing could serve to pull us in, entice us, cause us to sin; the words that sound so true, spoken from the mouths of people we trust, may not actually be based in truth at all, and we are drawn to believe gossip. But perhaps the worst is that the doctrine taught from the pulpit may look and sound very good, but if it isn't based 100% on Biblical truth, we can be very easily drawn to false doctrine.

What can we do to protect ourselves from the bell-tower-turned-battery-observation-posts of life?

Fortunately for us, we don't have to rely on apparatuses that consist of tubes, mirrors, prisms or lenses. There is a better way. The Bible calls it "discernment", and it is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:10). It is also a skill that can be cultivated: "Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong." (Heb. 5:14a NLT).

This particular passage of Hebrews 5 is actually a rebuke to Christians of all times: "There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food." (Vs. 11,12 NLT).

Although this already sounds pretty harsh, it gets even harsher: "For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right." (vs. 13 NLT).

Thus, we understand that discernment, these "trainable" powers, are evident in mature Christians, those who are skilled in the basic things about God's Word.

And how do we become skilled in the basic things about God's Word so that we can be mature enough in our Christian walk to have this discernment?

Accepting Jesus as our Saviour is the vital first step that will make us babes in Christ. But just like we must study and learn to become mature adults, we must also study and learn to become mature Christians. This involves spending time daily with God, the Master teacher. It requires learning to hear His voice. It requires allowing Him to fill us with His Spirit, and it requires spending time in God's Word.

My final piece of advice to anyone wishing to cultivate that spirit of discernment is this: Never, ever take anything at face value. Rather, always remember to compare what you are seeing and hearing to the Word of God, ever asking God to confirm your path.

Want to come with me in search of a bell-tower? Better be careful! It just might be the observation post for a WWII battery!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets website, with Answers2Prayer Ministries
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Apr 2019, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 25, 2019

Castles in the Sand


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal...Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:19, 21 NLT)

Before the sun was up too high and it would be hotter than blue blazes, my grandaughter and I ventured down to the beach.

Right away we noticed a beautiful sandcastle! It had survived the night somehow. Even though it was intricate and had obviously taken some time to do, the rising morning tide would surely wash it away.

We can build our lives on many things. Possessions, money, business, identity. They will all one day be gone,washed away. We didn't bring anything into this world, and we can't take anything out of it (1 Timothy 6:7) -- except our relationship with the Lord. That is forever.

I thought about an action Sunday school song the kids used to sing (Luke 6:47-79):

The wise man built his house upon the rock.........
and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down and the floods came up........
and the wise man's house stood firm.

But- the foolish man built his house upon the sand....,
and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down and the floods came ...,
.....and the foolish man's house went SPLAT!!

So -build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.........
and the blessings will come down.
The blessings come down and the prayers go up........
so- build your life on the Lord!

As beautiful as the sandcastles of our lives may be, they are still just that: sandcastles. How awesome we can build our lives on the love and faithfulness of the Lord and the principles of His Word.

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy
Announcement:
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©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Apr 2019, 4:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 23, 2019

The Isthmus
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 11
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     It was a stormy day on the Atlantic. Though the sun was shining, the winds mercilessly pounded and battered the eastern Cape Breton coastline, driving the crashing the waves onto the drenched sand and rocks of the narrow beach.

But that was only on one side of the isthmus. The water on the other side was calm and quiet...

How could it be so calm just a few meters from the crashing storm?

I have seen isthmuses many times in my life, and the one we visited that day in Dominion Provincial Park, just west of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, looked to be a prime example. I know that the isthmus provides shelter to the water on the non-sea side, allowing for ultimate calm even when the waves pound the other side. Nonetheless, each time I experience the phenomenon of stormy waters on one side and calm waters just a few metres away, I am astonished.

To be perfectly honest, I don't particularly like being in the wind blowing off the sea. The cold, damp air penetrates whatever I'm wearing; my hair becomes hopelessly tangled; and I risk losing any loose articles of clothing, especially my hat. In general, on such days as this, I'd rather just stay indoors!

It all made me think about the storms of life. They batter us mercilessly whenever they arise, and there seems to be nowhere we can go to get out of their cold, powerful current. Sure, we'd like to just avoid the storms, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Wouldn't it be nice to have an "isthmus" during such storms? Wouldn't it be nice, even amidst the worst of our circumstances, to find a spot of "calm waters" in which to ride it all out?

The good news is that we do, indeed, have an isthmus, The Lord Jesus Christ. Here are just a few of the many Bible verses that prove it:

"This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary." (Heb. 6:19 NLT);

"'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them." (Ps. 107:28-31 NLT);

"Jesus responded, 'Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!' Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm." (Matt. 8:26 NLT);

"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you." (Ps. 9:9-10 NLT)

As I stood atop the isthmus that stormy day in Dominion Park, I realized that I had a choice to make: I could either walk on the side of the crashing waves, or I could walk on the side of the calm, clear waters. And even if I decided to walk in the storm, it wouldn't change the fact that just a few feet away, over the top of the isthmus, there was calm waters.

During the storms of life, we also have the same choice to make: Our "Isthmus" is always there. If we choose to live as if He is not, then there is nothing to keep us from the pounding winds and waves of worry, stress and regret. If we choose to let Him carry us and our problems (and I mean all of them, including the impossible consequences!), then in the same way I experienced calm waters with no wind that stormy day in Dominion Provincial Park, we can also experience calm amidst the storms of our lives.

Which side of the "Isthmus" will you walk during your "storm" today?

In His love
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the 12th of a 13 part mini-series based on a fantastic trip that my husband and I made to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia in the Fall of 2017.This 3 week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned have been outlined in this series that has been appearing sporadically through the winter and Spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Apr 2019, 9:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 18, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 4
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Coming to the penultimate part of this series, we now focus on some more instances in the scriptures to see how the good the Lord has brought about amazing turnarounds for his glory.

Treasures...
Before going any further, I would like to draw to your attention to some scripture portions-- notably Exodus chapter 17, Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19, then First Samuel chapter 15. You would observe that the "common factor" in these chapters are the Amalekites, the arch-enemies of the people of Israel! We see how they came to war against the people of Israel when they were on the way from Egypt to Canaan. Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19 sums up their cruelty by mercilessly slaughtering the weak and the feeble amongst the people of Israel. Many years later, God, who had said that vengea nce is mine (Deu 32:35), gives a special task to King Saul, a task which could be labelled as "Operation Amalekite Annihilation"; to finish them off lock, stock and barrel. When we actually consider the extent of the Amalekites' wickedness, the sentence of Almighty God who is fair appears perfectly just (Rev 16:4-7). In this connection, I want to share with you on what I learnt about the Amalekites savagery in my correspondence with the Jewish Rabbis--especially the brutality they exhibited towards the Jews in the Wilderness. Deu 25:17-19 gives us only a faint idea of their wholesome wickedness.

I learnt that when these barbaric Amalekites slaughtered the "feeble and the weak amongst the Israelites"; they were so barbaric, that they cut off their private parts and threw them into the air to mock their Saviour with these taunting words: "If you are really there, protect these Jews!" That is the extent of their wickedness and King Saul was given a special task of annihilating them from under the sky. Now was he obedient? Many of us know the tragic story of how he not only coveted the wealth (read livestock, which was a measure of one's wealth in the Biblical age- Job 1:1-3/1 Sam 15:19) of the Amalekites but he also spared "Mr. Wicked" himself, King Agag (1 Sam 15:33). By the time prophet Samuel came and finished off king Agag, we can be very sure that some of the descendants of that wicked king escaped. After 600 years, do not we see the descendants of Agag raising their wicked head once again like a hooded cobra in the form of Haman the Agagite (the Second in Command to King Ahaseureus the Mighty Medo-Persian Emperor) in the Book of Esther (3:1)?

We see how this Haman the Agagite was planning to exterminate all the Jews on account of one Jew named Mordecai, who was not as servile as his other colleagues and officers in the King's court (Esther 3:6). While a massive Jewish genocide was planned and approval of by the King (Esther 3:7-14) for settling his personal score with Mordecai, however, Haman built gallows for the former. Being the "Blue-eyed boy" of the Persian King at that time, all he had to do was go and make a request to the Persian king to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:9-14); and that would be the end of the "Benjaminite" Mordecai (word "Benjaminite" is being used advisedly).

We see that the wicked Haman was on the verge of pulling the trigger, by persuading the King to put Mordecai to death, but at the very beginning of chapter 6, we read amazingly "that night king had trouble sleeping." Praise God there were no TVs or Smart phones in those days; otherwise he would have switched on the TV or SP before trying to go back to sleep. Instead, he wanted to read the Royal Chronicles, and lo and behold; therein he comes across the account of how Mordecai saved his life (Esther 2:21-23/Esther 6:1-2)! Precisely at that time comes Haman with a request to hang Mordecai, and the King asks Haman, innocently keeping Mordecai in mind, "What should I do to honor the man who pleases me?" Haman, ever the egotist, thinks that the King is alluding to him and hence says that he should be given royal treatment, he should be paraded on the royal horse all over the city so on and so forth and then the king orders "go and do this to Mordecai." Dear friends, don't you see the complete turning of the tables, how God intervened to save the life of Mordecai? It is not explicitly stated that God worked, but you can certainly see His hand. You may still be asking "How?" Well, in Esther chapter 6 verse 1, it states: "that night, the king had trouble sleeping." Therein lies the answer. That was the sovereignty of God in action. You can see His hand, and from there on out, we see a chain reaction. It not only saved Mordecai at that time, but it also eventually ensured that Haman "fell into the very grave he dug for Mordecai" (Esther 7:10).

Now who was Mordecai? A Benjaminite, as I stated earlier. And who was King Saul? A Benjaminite as well. We have just witnessed the settling of accounts by God! Providential usage of the Benjaminite Mordecai to complete the work, which the Benjaminite king Saul had left unfinished. It included in its ambit now the one of killing of all the sons of Haman the Amalekite on the very day the Jewish genocide was to take place (Esther 9:1, Esther 7-10). Now brace yourself for the climax of climaxes....the rich Haman (PM of mighty Medo-Persian Empire with ostensibly vast wealth) and his sons were killed but their vast property was not so much as touched by the Jews under Mordecai's leadership. These Jews had learnt the lessons from the past, for the greed for property of Agag the Amalekite had been t he bane of King Saul (Esther 9:10).

Table...
While continuing to ponder on the paramount matter of choosing between greed and generosity, it would serve us, as the present generation, to learn and apply lessons from the past and to be inspired by the total turnarounds that the good Lord brought about in the lives or circumstances of people for His glory (1 Cor 10:11). Those of us who have been struggling with inherent covetousness in our lives for instance, would do well to remember the "turning of the tables" in the life of one who craved for money seated at the tax-collector's table. If greed gave way to generosity in Zaccheaus's life (Luke 19:1-9) courtesy of the transforming power of the Saviour, then why not in our lives too, as we depend more on His indwelling Spirit to bring about the needed victory over sin (Rom 5:5/1 John 4:4). By the way, no Christian official should at any time be linked to any "under the table" (sic) transactions!

Prayer: Father, strengthen us to stay away far from the love of money, whereby we bring glory to Your Holy Name in the marketplace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Important Announcement!
We sincerely apologize for the technical difficulties that resulted in some of you receiving an incomplete Nugget on Tuesday. This problem did not seem to be consistent; but we are aware that many of you were unable to read, "Turning the Tables, Part 3" in its entirety. If you would like to have the complete mailing, please click here. Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience. May God bless you abundantly as you grow to know Him more throughout this passion week.

In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.answers2prayer.org  .   
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Apr 2019, 11:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
April 16, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 3
    By Answers2Prayer

 
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Before coming to the third part of my Series on the theme of "turning of the tables", I would like to step into a world of fizz and tell of a true account about 'ambush marketing' in the Cola world.

Most of the Cricket lovers would know that the second ICC Cricket World cup staged in the subcontinent was in 1996. (The first was in 1987). However, even before the mega event symbolizing 'war' for cricket supremacy commenced, there was a 'war' for corporate cola being fought furiously on the sidelines between two cola giants: Coca Cola, and Pepsi, for the title of the "Official drink of the tournament". Coca Cola, flexing greater financial muscle, outbid Pepsi, and clinched the coveted title. Logically, this win would act as a springboard to enhance Coca Cola's sales volume rapidly during the prestigious tournament. But unfortunately for them, they had underestimated Pepsi's infinite creativity in its advertising department.

Despite losing the 'war' of becoming the 'official' drink, Pepsi turned the tables squarely on Coke, by coming out with what many advertising gurus still reckon as one of the most creative punch lines in the Indian advertising history--especially considering the adverse circumstances during which it was coined. "There is nothing official, about it." This one punch line (still lingering in our memory) turned the Cola war on its head, as everyone simply bought into it excitedly resulting in Pepsi's sales booming during that period like never before. Besides enjoying a bottle of Pepsi, just about everybody started using that punch line with a relish even in normal conversations. This was so much so, that I remember reading in a sports magazine that in an English county game after the WC 1996, the person who stood in for a sick official scorer and compiled the scores in the latter's absence was nicknamed, you guessed it: Pepsi, because there was 'nothing official about him' (sic)
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