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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Post  Admin Yesterday at 6:40 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 21, 2020

Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 4
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Today in the concluding part of our series focusing on the similarities of the Church of the bygone Covenant (Acts 7:38) and the One of the Present Covenant, we shall train the spotlight on the following sub-topics...

Draw...

Having compared ourselves to our Old Testament counterparts all along, how about now hitting a related loop line of "methodology" to win our Jewish "friends" to the Lord? In a way, don't we owe our salvation to them ("for salvation comes through the Jews..." John 4:22-23)? And the best way to say "thanks" would be to lead them to a "Messiah-oriented" Salvation!

One way to draw them to Christ through an exercise born out of love and respect that causes them to become "plain jealous". Seem confusing? Let me explain: In our interactions, we need to let them notice the "X" factor (the perpetual joy and peace of the indwelling Holy Spirit) which distinguishes us from them. Don't the Scriptures even say that our Heavenly Father will use the "jealousy" factor to draw them to their Messiah? "Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves." (Rom 11:11 NLT). Whilst for them the "Kingdom of God" is an "expectation" (which the Messiah would usher in one day), we need to prayerfully tell them with love, both through our lip and our lives, that for us it is already an "experience" courtesy of the s ame Messiah who has placed His Spirit within us (Rom 14:17). Then we need to commit them to prayer that God's Spirit will help them to see and understand truth.


Delight...

Dear friends, In conclusion, all I would like to say is that we should always delight in the Lord: "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires." (Ps. 37:4 NLT), even while preserving with perseverance our right relationship with the One who loves us the most: "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Phil. 2:12-13 NLT). Nothing quite like being the Jews during King David's reign! Besides constituting the "Golden age" of Jewish spiritual history, this was also a pointer to the coming Millennial age, when David's son, the Messiah, will rule on Planet Earth, and "God's will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" for most of the time. The Christian equivalent of David's reign would be the "ideal settings" that could b e seen in the Early Jerusalem Church (See Acts 2:37 - Acts 5), or the one in Antioch (Acts 11:19-30/Acts 13:1-3/Acts 14:24-27/Acts 15:22-35), which were also pointers to the near-perfect conditions that would prevail during the Millennial age (See Rev. 20:1-6). Even in 2019, let's endeavour to be in those conditions, "in spirit". There is nothing quite like spiritual travel "back in time" for the better!

Prayer: Father, strengthen us with thy indwelling Spirit even as we wait with eager anticipation for the time when Your will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

The is the last part of the mini-series, "Similarities...ALL the Way!", showing us how the old and new covenants complement each other. If you have missed any of the lessons, you are invited to access them here; or if you do not have access to the internet, please email me and I will send them to you. God bless you as you continue to know Him more and more! 
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Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jan 2020, 12:37 am

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
January 18, 2020

Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 3
 bible
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 

Today in the penultimate, while focusing on the similarities between the church of the erstwhile Covenant (Acts 7:38) and the one of the prevalent Covenant, we train the spotlight on the following sub-topics...


Discipline...

Any Christian worth his honesty salt would testify that whenever he went astray, the concerned Heavenly Father would discipline him by using his "hostile" immediate next door "neighbors" (any 1 of the 5 categories mentioned last time, including unsaved neighbours, unsaved government, unsaved bosses, unsaved family members and unsaved former friends). In retrospect, a Christian would always thank the Lord for the "benefits of chastening": "My child, don't make light of the LORD's discipline, and don't give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." (Heb. 12 5b, 6a NLT; see also Heb. 12:5-11)!

What about our Jewish counterparts? Was anything different? No way. The Book of Judges bears witness to the fact as to how the good Lord would use the "antagonistic neigbours" umpteen times to put the errant Jews back on the "right track" (See Judges 2:11-18/Ps. 119:71-72).

It would also serve us well to note at this juncture that there has always been an escalating order in punishments reserved for the Jews and Christians. Jews, despite being chastened by the good Lord (by using the adverse neighbours), would not lose out on their Promised Land. The highest punishment (again aimed at their spiritual benefit) of losing the "Promised Land" itself would come eventually only on they continued exhibiting stubbornness to remain in sin. Ditto with the Christians. The eventual punishment of losing out on the "joyous presence of the Holy Spirit" is reserved only for those who become insensitive to "smaller punishments".


Desert...

The Jewish "Church" (see Acts 7:38), when despite warnings from diligent prophets it kept plunging headlong into sin, was finally handed over to the very hands it was liberated from...Satanic agents (liberated from World super power Egypt). Continual disobedience resulted in these painful consequences...

a) Israel (comprising 10 ten tribes) being handed over into the hands of super power Assyrians (Satanic agent See Rev. 13:1) in 722 BC (see 2 Kings 17:4-7); and then

b) Judah (comprising 2 tribes) being handed over into the hands of the world ruler...the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (at least initially a Satanic agent till his great reformation — See Dan 4) in 586 BC (See 2 Chron. 36:12-15).

When a Christian plunges headlong into sin, having lost his "first-love" for the Lord, the final terrible punishment (albeit administered with an aim directed at his eventual spiritual recovery -- see Mal. 3:3), as he becomes insensitive to "smaller punishments", would well be around the corner...of being handed over into the very evil hands from which he was rescued (see 1 Cor. 5:5/1 Tim. 1:18-20). Without an ounce of the Holy Spirit, it would be a horrific, excruciating experience of spiritual agony with the "leanness of the soul" (See Ps. 106:15), adding to the virtual "hell-like" spiritual condit ion. It is in these exacerbating conditions on realizing the value of "virtual Heaven on Earth", wrought by the presence of the Holy Spirit, that his love for the Lord would be rekindled and his life would turn the corner for good (See 2 Cor. 2:6-8).

Having gone through it once in my life, ideally I wouldn't want even my worst enemies to go through the same. In retrospect, however, I must be admitted that a Christian at the end of it all emerges out of it as a more "well-rounded" one...of being more empathetic to other Christians going through the desert experience!!!

Prayer: Father, we simply are awed by the infinite wisdom and patience You exhibit in leading us in our Heaven-bound journey. Enable us to trust Thee in all kinds of circumstances. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
Announcement:
Join us next Tuesday to learn how both covenants draw us in and bring us delight in "Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 4".
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 17 Jan 2020, 12:29 am

Welcome to the Nugget

January 16, 2020

Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Continuing to focus on the similarities of the Church of the Bygone Covenant (Acts 7:38) and the One of the existing Covenant, today we come to the following sub-topics...


Depth...

The depth of relationship of Almighty God had with the Jews in the Old dispensation and we Christians have with Christ in the New One can best be envisaged by pondering on the following Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, respectively...

"...for he who harms you sticks his finger in Jehovah's eye!" (Zech. 2:8 TLB)

"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4 NLT)

Anyone fiddling with God's covenanted people would be fiddling with the Almighty Himself (See also: Deut. 32:10/Ps. 17:8/Esther 6:13). For Christ, as "...the head of the church, which is his body..." (Col. 1:18 NLT), would feel both the joys and pain brought forth upon His "body" by ones outside that "body".


Destination...

"Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain -- a land that the LORD your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!" (Deut. 11:11-12 NLT; See also John 7:37-38)

The people of Israel would be settled in the "Promised Land", which was virtually a foretaste of Heaven (See Deut 11:11-12 above). In due time, through their anointed Servants of God, they would come to know that there is a better "permanent Heavenly home" awaiting the righteous (See Psalm 23:6/Eccl. 12:7, 14/Daniel 12:2). They would learnthat their physical "Promised Land" is not be viewed as the "be all and end all" of their "spiritual walk with God". The Blessed land of "milk and honey" for the Jews would in a way only foreshadow the glorious Heavenly Home.

By the time of Jesus' birth, there was a zealous religious sect, namely the Pharisees, who would subscribe to the "Doctrine of After-life" as their key supportive scriptural declaration for their spiritual ideological stand about being "...gathered to his people..." (Genesis 25:8; See also Genesis 35:29/Judges 2:10). Though by and large, many of this ilk had become hypocritical during Jesus' Ministry, several, including one gent named Saul (sic), would later on become Christians (See Acts 6:7, Acts 15:5, Acts 23:6).

Ditto with the Christians! Though we may not physically see the future Heavenly home, the "mini-heaven" the good Lord has placed in our hearts (ie: the perpetual peace and joy of the Holy Spirit and the needed strength to overcome trials -- See Romans 14:7, Eph. 1:13-14, John 7:37-38, 1 Peter 1:6-8) foreshadows the "real heaven" that we would enjoy one day (See Romans 8:18-25).


Difficulties next door...

A careful scrutiny of the first epistle of the Apostle Peter would reveal that our Heavenly Father, in His Sovereign wisdom, permits "prickly neighbourhood" of 5 categories in the lives Christians. Besetting difficulties in the form of unsaved neighbours, unsaved government, unsaved boss, unsaved family members and unsaved former friends always surround us (See 1 Peter 2:12-23/1 Peter 3:1-5/1 Peter 4:4). This is in order that we might live a greater God-dependent life, drawing from His infinite spiritual strength, even whilst being transformed into a Christ-like image (See Romans 5:3-4/James 1:2-3/2 Cor 3:18). Enduring those "thorny" conditions is what cross-bearing (being at the receiving end of injustice and lies) is all about. Perceiving the utility of these conditions, Sadhu Sundar Singh wisely observed "Cross bears those who bear the Cross".

And our Old Testament counterparts? Well, they could "count" on their difficult neighbours (Philistines, surviving Canaanites...and hmmmm...even their hostile "cousins" across River Jordan)to make them  live a more God-dependent life (See Judges 2:21-23)! While on the paramount subject of "God-dependence", let it be said that this is -- and will always be -- the original purpose of God-man relationship. Adam was created for it but he "declared" his independence and paid a heavy price (See Genesis 3).

At this point, it would serve us well to distinguish the pain wrought by tribulation (suffering being righteous) and retribution (read punishment-suffering being a sinner). While both kinds of pain have a common refining effect ("He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord." Mal. 3:3 NLT), we ought to prefer only the one associated with tribulation, for cross-bearing is indispensable in a Christian's life (See Rom 5:3-4).

Prayer: Father, once again we praise and thank Thee for Thy wisdom in leading us in the straight and narrow path. Make us trust thee at all times through thick and thin. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Join us next Saturday to learn what "discipline" and the "desert experience" can teach us about the similarities between the two covenants in "Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 3".
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jan 2020, 11:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 11, 2020

Perspectives...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Phil. 4:8 NLT)

Last night I went to sleep praising God for the many answered prayers of the day. Medical tests had come back normal; the government-funded home care agency was doubling the amount of help they were willing to give my mother; and perhaps the biggest "Praise God" was that my son, a first year PhD student in Canada, who has spent the first month of his university program living in a 12-foot, non-winterized fold-up trailer, finally found a suitable apartment for the remainder of his program. Yes. All major answers to prayer, and I was singing God's praises. I was on a "high" for sure.

I slept well until about 3:00 am. From then on, I tossed and turned and fretted.

Oh, I remembered the apartment all right. I remembered that moving his things from our home to his new apartment would put plenty of stress on our time and finances, and I remembered that it meant my final child was officially "leaving the nest"...

And yes, I remembered the normal medical test results. I remembered that this meant we still didn't know what was behind the odd symptoms, and I went on to remember all the possible bad scenarios those symptoms could lead to...

And yes, I remembered my mother's extra assistance. I remembered that it was her deteriorating health that made this necessary...

I could go on, but needless to say, it wasn't long before I was in the depths of depression.

Why? The negative things were all there when I spent the evening praising God, and the positive things were still there even though I was so depressed!

The answer is simply this: My perspective changed, and that change in perspective was enough to drive me down from a "mountain-top high" into the lowest of lows.

This isn't the first time this has happened, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Something was different this time, though. This time God reminded me of my happiness the previous evening. He reminded me that I didn't have to succumb to the depression. He planted the thought in my head that if dwelling on the negative side (and any situation has a negative side!) drove me from sublime happiness to the depths of depression, then perhaps things could be reversed by dwelling on God's blessings instead of on the negative...

Would it work?

I decided to put it to test. I began to thank God once again for the miracles of the previous day. It wasn't even 5 minutes before I was back on my spiritual high.

The world's wisest man tells us: "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22). I believe I experienced that this morning...

But wait. Isn't this just some kind of a mind game? You know, if you think positive you will feel better? But thinking positive doesn't make the negative stuff go away!

True enough; but by focusing on the miracles instead of on the negative, I was able to remember that the God who worked these miracles in the first place is big enough to help me (us!) through the rest!

God gives us a powerful and interesting prophecy through the prophet Jeremiah: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'" (Jer. 29:11 ESV). In other words, it doesn't matter what kind of negative circumstances may abound; God has plans for our welfare, to bring us hope! Focussing on the negative circumstances will only make us forget this Truth; but when we focus instead on the miracles and blessings of God, it all comes back into sharp focus: Whatever it is we're up again, God has got this!

In his letter to Rome, Paul gave us some very wise words: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom. 12:2 ESV). By focusing on God and His blessings, our minds are renewed. We become better able to hear God's voice. We don't need to be pulled down the paths of worry and depression and fear. Our God will bring us through, no matter what. By focusing on Him, this Truth changes our mindset, allowing joy to return, and perhaps most importantly, allowing us to be renewed and better able to hear God's voice.

Does perspective matter?

You bet it does! Especially when it is God's perspective!

What are you in the midst of at the moment? What is pulling you down? Instead of focusing on the very real negative circumstances, why not spend some time focusing on the miracles and blessings of God in your life? I can guarantee that this change in perspective will bring you out of the pit of depression. Why not try it today?

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Retired Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two young adults, 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, The Illustrator, a 4-times per week internet Newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. 
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It's the middle of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when words like "Thermostats" and "Thermometers" become so important...What is the difference in these two tools, you ask? Just this: One measures temperature, while the other changes it. Join us next week for "Of Thermometers and Thermostats", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan, to learn how to become "spiritual thermostats" instead of simple "spiritual thermometers"!
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jan 2020, 8:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 9, 2020

Does God Answer Prayers Today?
 
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "It was a devastating car accident," a member of the Bible study said. "The healing was miraculous. I had broken bones. They healed with no need for casts. I had cuts on my face. They healed with no scars. And doctors said I would lose my teeth as they had turned gray and they began to die due to the severe impact. But God healed them as they turned white before my eyes, leaving the doctors stunned."

We all listened in awe. Yet when we hear of these miracles, we can't help but wonder why our own prayers aren't answered and why miracles seem to pass us by...

I imagine Joni Erickson might have wondered the same from time to time while spending her life paralyzed in a wheel chair.

But even when we question, God still insists we bring our requests before Him: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV). And when we do, here are five steps to make sure He will answer them:

5 Steps to Answered Prayer

1. Readjust our priorities. If our # 1 priority is to seek answers rather than seeking God Himself, God will be patient until we reprioritize by seeking Him ahead of seeking answers: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

2. Resist the temptation to recite memorized, perfect prayers, with lovely words and deep insight. God simply wants the genuine expression of our heart: "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lordlooks at the heart.'" (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

3. Recognize that sometimes we don't know how to pray or what our requests should be. So, we can freely ask for Him to show us what to pray for: "Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts." (Psalm 139:23 NIV).

4. Remember that His answer is always in His timing, not ours because a thousand years in God's sight are like a day that has just gone by: "A thousand years in your sight like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4 NIV).

5. Relish in the fact that while we wait, He's working in us, in our heart, in our situation. He has the answered already prepared: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

And here's the reason we follow these steps: Because "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).

While we pray, we're certain that in His timing and ways, we have what we ask. We receive what He offers. We expect what He promises. And while we wait, we take our eyes away from the circumstance and fix them on Christ instead.

Let's Pray: Father, how often I have cried out to you, searching for words that are perfectly expressing my needs. But You already know them and You already know the painful details too. From now on, I will give you thanks for what You're already doing and how You're bringing Your promises to be. In Jesus' name, amen.

How deep is your belief in God's ability to hear you?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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We are working on a new template for The Nugget, which will be mobile-friendly. This should be launching over the course of the next few weeks. We recognize that it is difficult to work out all the bugs in a new format without sending it out to multiple people. We are looking for a few temporary volunteers who are willing to receive their Nugget newsletters in the new format during this de-bugging phase. We would ask you to simply let us know if there are any problems with how the page looks on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If you would like to volunteer, please email me! And thank you in advance for your help in improving the Nugget!

His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jan 2020, 8:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 2, 2020

Five Ways to Face Tragedy
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Tears flowed.

The eulogy for this young man evoked sobs that echoed throughout the room. When a young man dies unexpectedly, shock brings unspeakable sorrow.

He and my son Joe grew up together and remained close friends. My Joe has been in the glory of heaven since 2002, and now his close friend joins him to share in the unimaginable paradise. They both played football, they both did mischievous things, they both had a contagious passion for life. And they both guaranteed their life eternal as they each invited Christ to be their Savior. Although as I write this, they are both in heaven with joy overflowing, the family still on earth wonders what to do with the tragedy that barged in.

And that's understandable. All crises rattle our senses. All unexpected heartache changes the course of life. But all crises don't need to be tragedies. Here are five insights that prevent crises from turning to tragedy:

1. Triumph comes when we choose to be victors rather than victims.
2. Blame gives power to pain.
3. Resentment repeats the aching of the wound.
4. Unforgiveness is the chain that keeps us bound.
5. Forgiveness is the choice that sets us free.

I embraced these insights in 2002 when my youngest son was murdered. The act was senseless. The heartache deep. The change unbearable. But the freedom real. The freedom that filled that first Christmas after losing our son came in a gift box called -- forgiveness!

My husband I made that decision. What prompted us was an honest desire to obey God. This passage in Matthew 18 spoke to us personally:

"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarius. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were grea tly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. That is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matt. 18:23-35 NIV)

Let's Pray: Father, I need the wisdom to keep forgiving. To keep remembering what you first forgave in me. To keep receiving your grace to forgive the unforgivable. In Jesus' name, amen.

- What wound or heartache have you suffered?
- How will you resolve the pride that keeps you from forgiving?
- Are you living in the freedom of forgiveness?

Janet P. Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Thu 19 Dec 2019, 11:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
December 19, 2019

Not-so-Joyous Christmas?
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By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 

As I sit here thinking about the upcoming Christmas season, I remember other Christmas seasons that have passed in my long life.

I remember all our family gathering at Gramps' and Grams' house. All the uncles and aunts, my parents and, of course, Gramps and Grams would gather around the tree. The lovely colored lights on the trees and bushes outside, the holly tree with the red berries, the gifts under the tree -- a lot of them for me! I also remember the cookies, the punch...Oh so many lovely things to remember. And always, our family celebrated Christmas as the time of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Time passed, and there came the Christmas when my dad was in Germany, serving in the U. S. Army. He didn't forget his little girl, and the gifts he sent were very special. The best Christmas present for me, however, was that God was keeping him safe during the war.

More time passed. My husband and I were now the parents ourselves, and we were teaching our own children that Christmas isn't just about gifts; but that the best gift of all was the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

More years passed and the grandchildren were the ones getting the gifts and being taught about the birth of Jesus. Then came the sadness of losing my Mother, just after Christmas; and then the loss of my best friend on this earth -- my husband, just before the very next Christmas; then seven years later, the sadness included the loss of my youngest son, also just before Christmas...

As a result, I found I was no longer looking at Christmas as a special day anymore...nor was I giving much thought to the birth of my Saviour. To me, the season had become one of sadness and loss.

One day, as I was thinking -- again -- about my losses and dreading the return of another Christmas, a voice inside said to me: "It isn't about you". Just those 4 words! But suddenly I knew my attitude about the Christmas season needed to change. Christmas isn't about me, Christmas isn't about us, and it never was. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given..." (Is. 9:6a NKJV). True we don't know when he was born, but we do know He was born in Bethlehem, in a manger, with Holy Angles surrounding Him and telling the world of His birth. The Shepherds came to visit and later the Magi and...well, you know the story, and if you don't, I invite you to read it in Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2...
 
That day I became much more fully aware of the real reason we should celebrate Christmas: It is the day that God sent His Son to earth to live a sinless life; to be ill-used and finally hung on that awful cross; to die, for me and you. That is the real Joy of Christmas.

And so, friends, as this next Christmas season arrives and you find that the joy of the season is absent, as I used to, just remember: "It isn't about you!" Rather, it's about rejoicing and celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. What better gift can we receive -- or share with others --- than Salvation and the love of our Heavenly Father through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Wynona Gordon

The Joy of Jesus ... Can we believe this is real? Is there Biblical evidence that it is real? Join us on Saturday for Part 1 of "Lessons from the Christ Child" to find out.
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I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas,
you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas...
The dark and ugly side of Christmas is sin!
The heart of Christmas is this:
Christ came into the world to save sinners.
And the real beauty of Christmas is to understand the ugliness that it cures.
If there were no sin, there would need to be no Christmas. -- John MacArthur


Want to experience joy this Christmas? Make room for Jesus! If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, why wait? You can do so now by clicking here. 
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Dec 2019, 10:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 17, 2019

Joy: To be Received...To be Given!
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    The focus of this December's devotionals has been on joy. Joy! That emotion that seems so elusive, so fleeting....

"Hey, could you guys pray for us? We just had a hard night. Had to deal with a suicidal kid...."

As I read this text just two weeks before Christmas, my heart went out to my son and daughter-in-law, youth pastors in Western Canada. My heart also went out to my older son, a PhD student in Ontario who had also been working with at least two suicidal people over the past week. Mostly, however, my heart went out to the unnamed suicidal people...

What's wrong with this picture? It's Christmas, after all! Christmas is the celebration of the greatest birth on Earth, the birth of the One who brings -- Joy to the World! In His birth and subsequent death on the cross, Jesus opened the gates of Heaven so that we can be reconciled with God, the source of joy! Why is it, then, that so many people everywhere, Christians included, are seeking Christmas joy without ever finding it? Why is it that no matter how hard we try, this joy we seek continually eludes us?

Could it be that we are looking to receive joy, when in reality, joy comes in the giving?

I recently heard it said that if we want to truly experience Jesus' joy, we must do what He did: We must give of our time, our talents, our resources; we must feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty; we must bring comfort and encouragement to the sick and the poor; we must pray for the lost and unselfishly give of ourselves to a lost and lonely world; we must be Jesus' hands and feet on earth. When we do, we will be amazed at how we become filled with Jesus' joy, the joy of Christmas.

But wait. We all know we can't earn any gift of God. Where, then, lies the secret to this illusive joy of Christmas?

"Joy to the World", a famous Christmas carol written by E.F. Handel and Isaac Watts, gives us the answer:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room

In order to experience the joy Jesus already came to give us, we must receive Him as our King. We must prepare room for Him in our hearts, especially when life is so hectic!

Is this the problem? We don't prepare room for Him?

The song goes on:

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

When we prepare room for Jesus in our hearts, His joy will be the subject of our songs--even at the busiest times of the year! In fact, all of nature will echo our praise!

What does it entail to prepare room for Jesus in our hearts?

Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus knew: "Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught...But the Lord said...'...There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it...'" (Luke 10:39-41 NLT)

Preparing room for Jesus in our hearts requires sitting in His presence and submitting ourselves to His Kingship. When we do, there will be an amazing transformation. Remember that God gives us gifts so that we can share them with others, and it is in the sharing of those gifts that we can more fully appreciate them ourselves: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4 NIV). As we spend time in Jesus' presence, we will be filled with the desire to share our Jesus' joy with others. We will truly want to be Jesus' hands and feet on earth, and in so doing, that Jesus joy will mushroom in our hearts.

While standing in line at the local grocery store this past Christmas season, our pastor struck up a conversation with the man behind him. The man was completely without joy, and he let it be known. When it came time for our pastor to pay the cashier, he told her to ring in the items of the man behind him as well. He then proceeded to pay for his own items as well as for the joyless man's items. The result? It worked a total transformation. The joyless man experienced Jesus' Joy, yes, but in addition, our pastor's heart was filled with unspeakable joy!

Want to experience Jesus Joy this Christmas? The secret lies in opening our hearts and preparing room for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we do, we will not only be filled with His joy, but we will also be filled with the desire to share His joy with those around us. As a result, they will experience Jesus' joy as well! Yes, when you reach out in love and touch someone's life, even those who are suicidal, it will empower them to be able to experience His joy as well. And in sharing that joy, you will be brought to an even higher level of joy!

This Christmas, may you experience Jesus' joy.... Not just today, but all year long; and may that joy be so profound that you will reach out and bring that joy to others, for in so doing, you will experience even more joy!

May Jesus' Joy be with each of you throughout the upcoming year!

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:
Each of us is an
Innkeeper
who decies if there is room for
Jesus! -- Neil A. Maxwell

Want to experience joy this Christmas? Make room for Jesus! If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, why wait? You can do so now by clicking here.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Dec 2019, 11:42 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 14, 2019

Where is YOUR Joy?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us     I'll cut right to the chase. What in your life brings you joy?

If I were to ask you this question, I might expect these typical responses; family, a wonderful vacation, a comfortable bank account, a delicious meal. Or perhaps it's a new car in the driveway or a walk in the park with songbirds flitting about. Maybe it's a fresh cup of coffee in the morning and a fiery orange sunrise to welcome a new day.

Whatever joy is to you, I'd like to encourage you this Christmas season to seek out joy that is not temporal like many of the worldly things we try to find joy in. The joy I'm speaking of will satisfy your heart and soul like no other. This joy has no end and will not fade in time. This joy comes in the form of a tiny baby in a manger! A savior born unto us whose joy is eternal! How do I know this? Because God says so, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son." (1 John 5:11 NIV)

There is no greater joy this side of heaven than the bliss that comes from placing your life, your heart and your trust in baby Jesus, God's only begotten son, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2 10:11 NIV)

This kind of joy is limitless. It's not tied to possessions or to money. It's not linked to our social status or the number of followers we have. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not downplaying the joy God provides in this life through creation and all that exists within. Life without joyful moments is no life at all. We need to find joy to counter all the trials we face from day to day.

This Christmas, take a moment to step away from all the worldly clutter that over shadows the real reason for the season. As we celebrate Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and tap into that never-ending source of joy, the bonus for us is receiving God's free gift of eternal life through our Lord and Savior!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

This is God's Christmas gift to us, and that my friend is a joy that has no boundary.

If you haven't already asked Jesus into your heart, to forgive your sins and guide your life, to wash you whiter than snow as you trust him as your Savior, please take that step this Christmas. You can answer the Savior's call by clicking here. Don't put it off any longer! I can't guarantee your life will suddenly become a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow; but I can promise you that joy will infiltrate your heart as you turn your life over to a Baby in a manger.

Joy is in life are a blessing. Eternal joy through Jesus is priceless.

Paul Smyth  
Announcement:
The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is FAR too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart. (Author unknown)
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 13 Dec 2019, 12:31 am

Welcome to the Nugget

December 12, 2019

Afraid to Sing
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us     "Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation." (Ps. 95:1 NLT)

It was the day after Thanksgiving. I wanted to take it easy and nap off the extra turkey I had eaten the day before, but my son wanted to put up the Christmas tree. To him the day after Thanksgiving always meant the beginning of Christmas. He had struggled with Autism all of his life and having a set schedule always made him feel more comfortable. I agreed then to get our tree and decorations out while he put on some of my Mom's old Christmas records.

While the music played on our old record player I set up the tree and started to hang the ornaments on it. I hummed along to the songs as well but didn't sing too loudly. I have always loved to sing but I don't really have the voice for it. My singing always comes out soft, scratchy, raspy, and croaky so I am a bit afraid to sing around others. I usually limit my singing to when I am alone in the shower or driving in my car. When "Joy to the World" started to play, however, I couldn't help myself. I joined in at full volume. I felt the power, beauty, love, and joy in that song and added my own voice to it the best I could. Suddenly, I could hear another voice joining in as well. It was my son singing along with the most peaceful and beautiful smile on his face. In that moment I felt the true spirit of Christmas flowing through the room. It was unbridled joy, unconditional love, and wonderful oneness with the Divine. I felt so happy that I made a vow then and there to never again be afraid to sing.

In this world our life is our song and we should never be afraid to sing. We should never be afraid to give our love. We should never be afraid to share our joy. We should never be afraid to live each day like it was Christmas. May the beauty of your soul always shine through your song then. May the love of your spirit always live through your life. May all of your days here be a gift of joy to God and to everyone you meet.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
Announcement:
Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts: The gift of God to man--His separable gift of His Son; and the gift of man to God--when we present our bodies a living sacrifice.
 
~ Vance Havner ~

Would you like to do more than just "observe" Christ's birthday? Would you like give Him a gift as well? The gift of your heart? Click here to answer the Saviour's Call....
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 11:02 am

Welcome to the Nugget

December 10, 2019

Receiving Joy...

Jesus Joy! Restoring
the Joy of the Christ
child--All Year Long!
Part 3
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Saturday, we discovered that Jesus' Joy, the Joy of the Christ Child, is available simply by believing in Jesus, and that we access it by being in His presence, by allowing Him to console us, and by making God's precepts our number one priority. The problem is, the moments we feel the least joyous are usually when God seems so far away; when we either don't have the time to spend with Him or are too upset to even pray. What then?

The first key to receiving Jesus' Joy is to understand that it is a fruit of the Spirit: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Gal. 5:22-23 NLT)

So this seemingly elusive joy is a product of having God's Spirit residing in us, which we actually receive the moment we are saved: "And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy spirit, whom he promised long ago." (Eph. 1:13b NLT)

In order for us to grow the fruit of joy, however, we must remain connected to Jesus. This doesn't mean that when you are in trouble and you need joy, you run to Him. It means that we make a habit of spending time with Him, getting to know Him more; and as we do, our spiritual Fruit will multiply and mature: "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." (2 Cor. 3:18 NLT).

Does this seem a bit abstract?

Jesus knew it would, and He gave us another beautiful illustration as to how to grow the fruit of joy: "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit." (John 15:4-5 NLT). Once again, this doesn't mean we come to Him only when we need joy; but rather, that we remain connected to Him, and when we do, will bear the fruit of joy.

In summary then, the first step to accessing Jesus' Joy is to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. When we do, we are filled with God's Spirit with the capability of producing the fruit of joy. The next step is to keep our eyes on Him, for when we remain in Him, when we spend time in His presence, we begin to look more and more like Him. The "soil" of our hearts is cultivated to grow the fruit of joy, and as we remain in Him, we will produce that fruit. It will come bubbling up from the inside, filling us like a spring gushing forward from its source, hidden deep in the depths of the rocks.

This is, however, one more thing to consider. Although Jesus' Joy is ours, it is part of Jesus' marvelous gift to us, the gift of His own life; although it will grow in our hearts all the time as we remain connected to him and we always have access to it, just like the fruit of any tree, we have to choose to pick the fruit of joy, to utilize it, to accept it as our own. This is why we are admonished in the New Testament to, "Always be joyful." (1 Thess. 5:16 NLT). We must choose that joy.

There are times when our happiness is rightfully taken away from us. Things that do not bring us happiness happen in and around us all the time, and as a result, we don't feel joyful. This doesn't mean we don't have joy in our hearts; it simply means we don't feel it. Something is standing in the way. 

Habakuk faced this difficulty. Yet in the midst of the worst trial Israel and Judah had ever faced, he chose joy. By doing so he proves to God's people through all generations that no matter what we are up against, we can also choose joy:

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

This means that even in the midst of the worst trials possible, we can still choose to rejoice in the Lord. We can still enter into His presence, and there, in the shelter of His almighty wings, we are reassured of His love. Our faith is strengthened in His presence, and we can again access the fruit of joy that is growing in our hearts.

As you enter into this busy season of the year--this season that is so overwritten with Santas, Christmas trees, reindeer, snowmen and sleighs that we often can't even seem to remember that is supposed to be a celebration of the greatest birth ever--Remember that one of the gifts Jesus came to give us is His joy, Jesus' Joy, the Joy of the Christ Child. It is available to you now--and all year long--by entering into His presence, by contemplating His love and resting under His wing, and it will grow as you spend more and more time there. All we have to do is choose to accept it.

Why not make Jesus extra happy this year by accessing the Jesus' Joy He came to give you? If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you can do so now by clicking here. If you already know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, then spend time with Him, allow His Spirit to grow the fruit of joy in your heart, and then choose to accept it as your own.

This is the final part of "JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child--all Year Long! mini-series. If you have missed any parts of this series, you can access the entire series by clicking here. Or if you do not have access to the internet, email me and I will be happy to forward the series on to you.

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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You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up
into the Father's face and tell Him
you have received His Christmas gift.
-John R. Rice

Why not receive His Christmas gift today?
Click here to answer the Saviour's Call...
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 08 Dec 2019, 12:49 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

 
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 

Is That All There Is?


The nine-year-old sat with his substantial pile of opened Christmas presents, gazed up at the adults around him, and asked, "Is that all there is?"

That's also the title of a song by the same name. The verses tell of a house fire, a visit to a circus, and lost love. At the end of each verse comes the chorus asking the same question: Is that all there is?

When is enough, enough? When are we satisfied? Can we possibly eat enough chocolate to content our greed? Or drive a big enough car? Or have the fanciest house, the happiest marriage, the best job? What in the world will ever bring us contentment? Biblical examples abound.

Certainly, the disciples thought that they couldn't get enough bread in such a remote place to feed a crowd of four thousand.

The five virgins who had enough oil weren't willing to share with the other five who had none, in case there wasn't enough for both groups.

The rich man had a full barn, but he wanted to store more.

In contrast, the Bible says:

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

This Christmas season, as we send our thoughts in the direction of more and more, when we are asking ourselves, Is that all there is? Will we choose the only correct answer to that question? Jesus is all there is, and Jesus is enough.

"Therefore let the whole house of Israel recognize beyond all doubt and acknowledge assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ (the Messiah) this Jesus Whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36 AMP)

Prayer: Lord, forgive us for our greedy ways and our continual asking the question, "Is that all there is?" For Christ's sake, we pray. Amen.

Brenda Wood,
Sandycove Acres, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
 
Announcement:
May we be content with just Jesus. He is our everything.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Dec 2019, 11:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 7, 2019

Accessing Joy...

Jesus Joy! Restoring the
Joy of the Christ Child
--All Year Long! Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Thursday we saw that the difference between joy and its emotional cousin, happiness, is that while happiness may fade away when its source is removed; but joy lasts forever, for it is rooted in God's eternal love, grace and faithfulness! This is JESUS JOY, the Joy of the Christ Child, the Joy that Jesus came to this earth as a tiny baby to give us.

And this is also the joy that we are admonished to be full of: "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT). Again, in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, he says: "Always be joyful." (1 Thess. 1:16 NLT). But wait. We would all love to follow that admonition. We would love to always be joyful and to be full of joy. We would love to be able to rejoice continually. But what do we do when the joy seems to be on the other side of a pane of glass? How can we act joyful when we don't feel joyous?

We can't. Oh, we could put on a "joyous act", paint a smile on our faces, etc., but trying to be something we are not is hypocritical and people see right through it. How then, in the midst of the problems of this world, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmastime, how can we succeed in always being joyful?

The Bible has some excellent suggestions:

"When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy." (Ps. 94:19 NIV). In other words, when God consoles us, even in the midst of our worst fears, it brings us true joy!

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Ps. 16:11 NIV). Here we see that true joy--and eternal pleasures too!--come from being in the presence of God!

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV). Peter us telling us here that joy is ours when we simply believe in Jesus!

"Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (John 16:24 NIV). We understand with this that simply approaching the throne of God and making requests in Jesus' name brings us joy!

"Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart." (Ps. 119:111 NIV). David is helping us understand that simply making God's law our first priority will bring us joy!

In summary then, Scripture tells us that Jesus' Joy, the joy of the Christ Child, is a gift of God, one that we will find when we are in the presence of the Lord; one that is ours when we take our consolation in the Lord; one that comes from believing in Jesus, approaching the throne room of God and asking God for what we need in the name of Jesus; and one that comes from making God and His laws our first priority.

What does this all mean?

It means that Jesus' Joy, the joy of the Christ Child, is ours at any time of the year, including this busy time; but it also means that we must access it by believing, by trusting, by being in the presence of the Lord and by making obedience our first priority.

That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? It does, however, require that we set aside time from our busy schedules to enter into the presence of the Lord.

But wait. The moments I feel the least joyous are usually the times when God seems far away and I either don't have the time to spend with Him or I am too upset to even pray. What then? How can I access this eternal joy that Jesus came to give us?

Join us on Tuesday for the conclusion of JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas, Part 3: How to Receive Joy from the Presence of the Lord...     


In His love,
Lyn


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

Would you like to do more than just "observe" Christ's birthday? Would you like observe His precepts as well? Click here to answer the Saviour's Call...
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 6:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 5, 2019

What IS Joy, anyway?

JESUS JOY!
Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child--All Year Long!
Part 1
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The Bible speaks of everlasting joy that will never fail. Why is it, then, that the joy we experience on earth never seems to last? Is it possible that we do not truly understand what joy is?

In our search for a definition of joy, perhaps it would be easiest to start with what joy is not: Joy is not the same as happiness!

Oh, the two concepts are related, but they are on-so-different in very important ways.

We all know that happiness is an emotion that comes and goes. We find happiness in in our jobs, our families, our relationships, our pets, our retirement, and our health, to name just a few...

But the company we work for can close its doors. Death may rob you of your wonderful spouse, your loving mom, even your wonderful child. Your girlfriend or fiance may break up with you, or even worse, your spouse may decide it's time to move on to greener pastures. Your pets may run away--or pass away--or turn mean. Your retirement plans may be foiled by health concerns or needs of extended family. That good health you've always experienced may simply turn and wave good-bye...

In other words, our happiness is rooted in things that can be taken away! Joy, on the other hand, is rooted in things that cannot be taken away.

Here are a few examples of the root of joy:
* God's Love:
        -- "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone
            who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NLT)
        -- "Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!" (Psalm 63:3 NLT)
        -- "No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation
            will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God that is revealed in
            Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:39 NLT)
        -- "Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will
            become useless. But love will lst forever!" (1 Cor. 13:8 NLT)

* God's Grace: Remember that the definition of Grace is: Unmerited favour!
        -- Creation itself is an act of God's limited grace: "The LORD is good to everyone.
            He showers compassion on all his creation." (Ps. 145:9 NLT)
        -- The ultimate measure of God's grace is at the cross: "For God saved us
            and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it,
            but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time--
            to show us His grace through Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 1:9 NLT)
        -- "Yes, by God's grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone." (Heb. 2:9 NLT)

* God's faithfulness:
        -- "Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the
            faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and
            lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his
            commands..." (Deut. 7:9 NLT)
        -- "Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness
            reaches beyond the clouds." (Ps. 36:5 NLT)
        -- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised
            is faithful." (Heb. 10:23 NIV)

* God keeps ALL His promises:
        -- "Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed." (Joshua 23:14b NIV)
        -- "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who
            for a thousand generations keeps his promises and constantly loves those
            who love him and who obey his commands." (Deut. 7:9 TLB)

In summary, then:

* Happiness comes from what we have; joy is something that we have;
* Happiness focuses on what we have; Joy focuses on our blessings;
* Happiness comes from being filled with ourselves, joy is a result of being filled with God's grace and strength;
* Happiness can be taken away, joy cannot.

What this translates to, friends, is that we can have joy in the midst of our unhappiness!

Yes, you may have been given a diagnosis of cancer; but you can be joyful, for your God has promised to carry you through (See Ps. 91:11-12; Isaiah 40:11, 41:13, 63:9, etc)!

True enough, you may have lost your job; but you can be filled with joy because your God has promised to be your provision (See Phil 4:19)!

It may absolutely be true that your spouse left you and your children; but you can still be filled with joy because our God has promised to be a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows (See Ps. 68:5, 146:9, Isaiah 54:4-5)!

You may truly be living the loss of the deaths of three close friends and family; but you can still have joy, for God has promised to turn your mourning into joy (see Ps. 30:11-12) and to wipe the tears from your eyes (see Rev. 21:4, Is. 25:8, Ps. 56:8, etc)!

As we enter this Christmas season, let's remember that the Christ Child came to offer us true joy...not happiness that fades away, but the joy of the Lord, the everlasting love, grace and faithfulness of God Himself. Let's stop confusing joy with happiness. Let's look for it in all the right places: In the Christ Child Himself!

But how can I access this joy? I mean, I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, but I still don't feel the kind of joy that is described here. Where have I gone wrong?

Please join us on Saturday for "Accessing Joy...JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas--All Year Long, Part 2."

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 6:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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December 3, 2019

Great Joy to ALL the People...

JESUS JOY!
Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child--All Year Long!
Intro
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The Christmas season is a season of joy.

Why?

Because Jesus, the Christ Child, came to this earth to bring: "great joy to all the people" (See Luke 2:11)!

It's great news, isn't it?

And Jesus Joy--along with His other Christmas gifts to us (salvation, joy, peace, etc. See Isaiah 9:1-7; Isaiah 11) aren't just for the month of December, either. They are for every day of our lives!

Why then, is it that we lead such joyless lives? Especially around the time of year when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Christ Child? Could it be that we have replaced the Christ Child with santas and reindeer and elves and snowmen? Could it be that are have become so ensnared with our trials and negative circumstances that we can't even see the Christ Child and His gifts anymore? Could it be that we simply do not know the Christ Child? That our relationship with Him has grown cold? Could it be that we've never experienced the Salvation and the joy that the Christ Child brings?

Welcome to JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child--All Year Long!

Over the course of the next three Nuggets, we will be exploring each of these questions and looking for Bible-based answers and solutions. Our goal is for you to become filled with that "great joy for ALL the people", and not just for the upcoming Christmas season, either; but for the New Year, and for the rest of your lives!

But before we go on, perhaps it would be good to define this "great joy" that the angels announced to the shepherds in the fields...

The gospel of Luke records: "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people...'" (Luke 2:10-11 NLT)

This "great joy" they are announcing was this:

"...Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'" (Luke 2:12 NLT)

Jesus, the Messiah, the Lord, born as a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger is our "great joy". In other words, this "great joy" is rooted in none other than Jesus, the Christ Child, whose birth we celebrate this month.

But this isn't a new idea, is it? Going all the way back to the books of Moses, we find: "And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants..." (Deuteronomy 12:12 ESV); "And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in ALL that you undertake." (Deuteronomy 1:18 ESV); and "and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 27:7 ESV)

In other words, we are told throughout Biblical history to rejoice in the presence of the Lord!

King David, 1000 years before the Christ Child was born, took this to an even higher level: "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever." (Ps. 16:11 NLT). David also invites us to: "Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!" (Ps. 34:8 NLT).

Though Jesus hadn't even yet come, David already knew that fullness of Joy comes from being in the presence of the ultimate King and from taking refuge in Him.

Jesus Himself spoke about joy: "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" (John 15:11 NLT); and "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy...I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy." (John 16:20-22 NLT). In His pastoral prayer, Jesus said: "Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy." (John 17:13 NLT)

This joy wasn't just for the disciples of Jesus' time, either. Paul writes: "Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord." (Phil 3:1 NLT). Later in the same book, he writes: "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT); and to us through the book of Romans, he writes: "For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17 NLT).

There are many, many other Biblical references to joy in the Bible, but I believe you get the picture. Jesus' Joy is ours, thanks to the loving sacrifice of the Christ Child!

So if joy is ours and we have access to it, how can we bring the joy back into Christmas? And most importantly, how can we live the joy-filled lives the Bible speaks of--all year long?

Join us on Thursday for What is Joy, Anyway? JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas--All Year Long! Part 1.

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 11:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving...All the Way! Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    English writer and lay theologian G.K. Chesterton once said, "The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank." In relation to our topic of Thanksgiving, allow me to share with you an atheistic tragicomic that greatly reiterates and reinforces Chesterton's fa mous quote.

An atheist was walking through the woods; admiring all the "accidents" that evolution had supposedly created. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 7-foot-tall grizzly bear charging towards him. He ran away as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the grizzly was closing in. Somehow, he found the strength to run even faster than before; so scared, that tears began welling up in his eyes. He looked again, and the bear was even closer now. His heart was pounding, and he tried to run even faster. In his quickened pace, he lost his footing, and abruptly fell to the ground. He frantically rolled over to pick himself up, but the bear was already over him; reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.

At that instant the atheist cried, "Oh God help!" and in that moment, time came to an abrupt and sudden stop. The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river had stopped flowing. A bright light then shone upon the man, and a voice came out of the sky, "You deny My existence for all these years, teach others that I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. However, I am willing to forgive you now and give you a new start. Now Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist, now looking directly into the light, hardened his heart and slyly said "No...no, however, do me just a little favor; perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out. The river flowed once more, and all the sounds of the forest resumed. The bear then dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed its head, and spoke: "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful."
You can probably guess what happened next, so I won't go into detail here.

But while on the topic of thanksgiving, I've been inspired to share a message on the subject using the following Scriptural portions:


Regulation...

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess 5:18 ESV)

It is a Biblical mandate that we ought to have a thankful disposition at all times, even when we are going through adverse circumstances. The Bible tells us that the infinitely wise and Sovereign God would use all circumstances (be they good or bad) for our eventual welfare: "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).

Take, for example, our beloved Saviour. Christ did not become the Saviour of the world by virtue of His extraordinary sermons or miracles--as astounding as they were. Rather, it was by virtue of His God-ordained atoning death on the Cross, entailing maximal suffering borne out of obedience (See Heb. 2:10, 5:8-9). It's amazing to think that our Lord, while breaking the "bread" with his disciples, still saw fit to give thanks, despite knowing that this bread symbolized his own body would be broken beyond recognition. (See Isa 52:14) Being fully aware of God's eternal plan, He knew that His imminent suffering would usher Him into eternal glory (See 1 Cor 11:23-24/Rev 3:21)!

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for Thy redemption plan, which entailed the indescribable suffering of our Saviour. Always enable us to stir-up our gratitude in the same way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
In honor of American Thanksgiving this upcoming Thursday, please join us for "Thanksgiving...ALL the Way! Part 2"...
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 12:35 am

Welcome to the Nugget

November 19, 2019

One Thing you Must do when Looking for Contentment...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Please, please," I pleaded with my father, "don't make me go back there."

But he didn't give in. We had just arrived from Bolivia and unable to speak or understand English, attending school was torture for me.

Back then, there were no ESL classes. There was no dial one for Spanish. There were no teachers who spoke Spanish. Thus, seated at my desk in the back of the classroom, my 12-year-stomach cramped trying to understand the teacher.

Sixth grade girls surrounded my desk, pointed at me, whispering to each other. I did look different, wearing regular clothes from Bolivia rather than the plaid skirts and white blouses they all wore.

They also found my pierced ears to be bizarre. In 1964, pierced ears for young girls was strangely odd.

But to me, everything about our new life in America seemed odd. Once back from school and in our small apartment, I whined about the painful experience. I asked over and over again why we had to leave Bolivia where I had friends, where I was accepted, and invited to join the games at recess.

Eventually, we learned to speak English, made friends and embraced the American culture. And now well-adjusted, you would think as an adult my whining stopped. It didn't. I complained when things went wrong. When my plans fell apart. When my dreams remained as dreams. And when those I loved failed me.

So sad; I was no different than the Israelites when, in the heat of the desert, they growled and shook their sweaty fists at God. With no shame, they had turned into pioneers in the whining department as recorded in the book of Exodus:

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?' It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (Ex. 14:11-12 NIV)

Can you blame them? They were probably exhausted, hungry, tired, and thirsty and discontentment was the topic of conversation around the campfire each night.

We get that way sometimes too, don't we? Deep into our own struggles, we end up terrified like the Israelites. We grumble in the hot desert of frustration. And as we trudge through the dry land of conflict, of uncertainty and nervousness, we desperately look to be rescued.

Though we look around, we can't see God, who's ready to do the rescuing. We're too busy grumbling. And no matter how we try to get away, the Egyptians called stress and anxiety come after us, threatening to ruin our day.

But they ruin nothing because no matter what time or how much we complain, God's mercy shows up like morning dew, with a fresh promise to deliver us.

"Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'" (Exodus 14:13-14 NIV)

God, almighty and faithful, will fight our battles. He will lift up the weapons of His power. Our job is simple: to be still. And in that stillness of God's presence is when our nights know His peace. In the still of our heart is when His whisper brushes through. And in the still of the moment is when contentment walks and settles in for good.

Let's Pray: Father, thank you for the gift of contentment found only in silent, still moments in Your presence. No matter what pursues me or threatens me, I pray contentment is what I'll find in the quiet moments with You. In Jesus' name, amen.

In the midst of your hectic life, what keeps you from being still?

I welcome your comments. They mean so much to me. And if you would share this post, how happy that would make me.

Janet Eckles

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

November 21, 2019

Hey: That's MY Bag...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 15: Psalm 103
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have seen that the book, subdivided into five parts, was thought to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised of Psalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God; the second book, comprised of Psalms 42-72, focussing on God's deliverance; and the third book, comprised of Psalms 73-89, focussing on God's holiness and the necessity of coming into His presence with appropriate reverential fear.

The fourth book of the Psalms is comprised of 17 Psalms, 90-106. David only wrote three of these Psalms, 101-103. Moses is thought to have written some of them, but most are "author unknown". This fourth book is felt to parallel the book of Numbers, with its theme being wilderness wanderings, and the ups and down of life. It speaks of coping with loss, and it is felt that Israel's exile in Babylon highly influenced its compilation. The entire book reminds us that God will restore everything the devil has stolen (See Joel 2:25, Jer. 20:17, Is. 61:7, 2 Cor. 5:17, etc.).

In this series, some of the Psalms of this fourth book have already been showcased. Part 1, based on Psalm 104, speaks of God using our troubled times so that His strength can be perfected in our weakness. In Part 3, based on Psalms 92,94 we saw that no matter how much we are under attack, God is our only hope of joy. Finally, from Part 6, based on Psalm 100, we understand that the best thing for us to do in the midst of our difficulties is to go to God with nothing but praise and thanksgiving on our agenda.

Another key example of this theme can be found in Psalm 103, a Psalm of David. Today's devotional has been adapted and republished with permission from a devotional written by author and speaker, Janet P. Eckles entitled, "Hey, that's my bag; where are you going with it?" Enjoy and be blessed:

Where's my bag?

If you're like me, while traveling, your mind wonders with possibilities. Unable to see, I sometimes think about someone walking away with my bag or me grabbing someone else's suitcase. Despite those thoughts flashing through at times, I still travel with no worries.

But, on one trip, that very thing happened. The plane landed, and armed with patience and chatting our time away, my friend and I sat in our seats waiting for other passengers to disembark. Suddenly, my friend calls out, "That's my bag!"

Someone had slipped her bag from the overhead compartment and was pulling it away down the aisle.

Good thing she noticed. In addition to her laptop, she had stored valuable material she worked hours to create.

Sad, isn't it? When we least expect it, we can risk losing something critical, something that belongs to us, something we hold dear, valuable and essential. But in the airport of life, the truly crucial possessions of the soul that no one can take away are outlined in Psalm 103. Let's look:

No one can rob our self-assurance because we always remember all God's benefits:

"Praise the Lord, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases..." (Vs. 1-3 NIV)

No one can rob our hope because He:

"...redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion," (Vs. 4 NIV)

Nothing can snatch our expectation for good things because He:

"...satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Vs. 5 NLT)

No one can steal our strength when facing attacks because:

"The Lord works righteousness
   and justice for all the oppressed." (Vs. 6 NIV)

When feeling guilty or condemned, nothing can rob His love because:

"The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love." (Vs. 8 NIV)

Reassurance for mercy belongs to us because He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever.

"He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever..." (Vs. 9 NIV)

His comfort is ours because:

"...he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him..." (Vs. 10-11 NIV)

Freedom from unforgiveness has our name written on it because:

"...as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him..." (Vs. 12-13 NIV)

Why? Because:

"...he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
   the Lord's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children--
   with those who keep his covenant
   and remember to obey his precepts." (Vs. 14-18 NIV)

How's that for good news? When traveling through life, have you marked all those attributes with your name? They belong to us; God meant for us to engrave them in the label of our heart. And if the enemy is trying to sneak them down the aisle of your life, claim Psalm 103 with all you got!

Let's pray: Father, thank you for your many promises. Thank you that we can use them to defeat the enemy. Thank you for being completely trustworthy, and full of mercy. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet P. Eckles
  
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget is featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. Please join us next month for a final lesson from the Psalms, focusing on a Psalm from book five: Psalm 138.  We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Welcome to the Nugget

November 23, 2019

The Rest of the Story...
Mrs. Loggerhead, Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Saturday, in "Mrs. Loggerhead, Part 1", you were introduced to a female Loggerhead turtle, who, despite her significant handicap, pursued her God-given goals. We learned from Mrs. Loggerhead that we cannot let our physical/mental/spiritual/emotional handicaps stop us from doing our God-given responsibilities either, and that just like the naturalist took over where the damaged she-turtle couldn't, God takes over for us where we cannot.

One of the excuses I often voice and hear others voice about why we don't pursue our God-given responsibilities is that we don't have adequate skills/knowledge/wisdom etc. to adequately reach people. Is this a real concern? Or is it just an excuse?

To answer this, I would like to present the "rest of the story" of Mrs. Loggerhead...

After she left the beach that night, the naturalist guiding our tour removed the eggs from the egg chamber, dug a new egg chamber under a canopy, and re-buried all 113 of her eggs!

Why?

One of the reasons sea turtles in general are considered endangered is because of increasing beach temperatures. Reptiles rely on the temperature of the sand in which the eggs incubate to determine the gender of the hatchling. The cooler eggs lower in the nest will become male, while the eggs in the upper, warmer parts of the nest will become female. Increasing sand temperatures are resulting in more females hatching than males. As a result, when a she-turtle lays her eggs in a spot on the beach at Mon Repos that is known to be too warm, a naturalists will move the eggs to a new egg chamber dug under a canopy. The shade from the shelter shields the nest from the fierce Australian sun. This provides cooler temperatures for the eggs to incubate, thus ensuring a higher percentage of male hatchlings and a more optimal natural balance to the sea turtle population.

Mrs. Loggerhead, along with all the other she-turtles who nest at Mon Repos, have no idea their efforts will not result in a healthy ratio of male vs. female hatchlings. In fact, they didn't even question this. They just do what they are created to do; and unbeknownst to them, where they lack knowledge and wisdom, the naturalists pick up the slack.

How does this apply to fulfilling the Great Commission?

Let's take a careful look at Jesus' final instructions: "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matt. 28:18-20 ESV).

When we read these verses, we do not see any reference to adequate schooling, to formulas, to how-to guides or recipes. In fact, the only "training" that we see is when Jesus says, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." In other words, Jesus is saying to each one of us that it doesn't matter how ignorant or as inept we might be. As long as we go, make disciples and teach them to observe His commands, He promises to be with us! He will take the "seeds" we might drop in the wrong places and put them where they will grow. He will nurture the bad soil. He will shade the "seeds" from danger and cause them to not only "sprout", but to "sprout" in a healthy ratio. He will pick up any slack created by our ignorance.

How does Jesus do this?

The Bible tells us that it is because: "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me..." (Matt. 28:18 ESV).

Jesus has the authority, and He has promised to help. Our only job is to follow the lead of Mrs. Loggerhead, along with all the other she-turtles of Mon Repos.  We are to stop worrying about how adequate or inadequate our efforts will be. Instead we are to just go out and make disciples, teaching them to observe Jesus' commands. Then, just like that naturalist on the beach, we can count on Jesus to do the rest.

Mrs. Loggerhead will never know what her male to female hatchling ratio was. In fact, she will never know how many of her eggs hatched at all. She didn't need to know. She just did what she was programed to do. In the same way, we will likely never know this side of Heaven how many of the "seeds" we plant actually grow to fruition. But just like Mrs. Loggerhead, this isn't something we need to know. We must simply do what we have been commissioned to do. We must: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:19-20a), ever trusting that: "...behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20b ESV).

What is stopping you from accomplishing your God-given purpose?

Whatever it is, take lessons from Mrs. Loggerhead and don't let it stop you. Just...go!

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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This is the last lesson from Mrs. Loggerhead. If you missed the first lesson, we encourage you to access it by clicking here. God bless you as you...GO!!!
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Nov 2019, 3:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 16, 2019

Fighter? Or Defeatist?
Mrs. Loggerhead, Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    During our recent trip to Queensland, Australia, we were privileged to participate in a turtle encounter at Mon Repos, one of the few nesting sites for the Loggerhead Turtle in the south pacific. After hours of waiting, we were blessed with a sighting of a female Loggerhead, coming onto the beach to lay her eggs.

What an important lesson she had to teach us all...

Though sea turtles don't necessarily even move well on land, we could tell by the cumbersome way Mrs. Loggerhead shuffled and lumbered up the sand to choose her nesting spot that something was very wrong with her. The naturalist with our group explained that all four of her flippers had sustained significant damage at some time in her life, and he could only surmise that she had likely gotten tangled up in fishing net. Given the extent of the damage, it was his opinion that this particular she-turtle was lucky to be alive.

Her handicap obviously didn't stop her, however. We could tell by the way she persevered in climbing the sandy beach, in carefully chose her nesting site and beginning to dig her egg chamber that she was a fighter. But being a "fighter" wasn't enough. Given the extent of the damage to her rear flippers, there was no physical way she could dig an adequate egg chamber. It was necessary for the naturalist to creep up behind her and dig the hole in the sand for her.

Somehow she knew when the chamber was big enough, for she stopped digging and began depositing her 113 eggs. Then came the next challenge: How to cover the egg chamber! This required a flailing motion with all four flippers, and though Mrs. Loggerhead tried very hard to thrash and flap those damaged appendages, her efforts pushed only her farther and farther from the eggs. When she finally began the gruesome shuffle back to the ocean, the egg chamber was still completely uncovered, and the naturalist once again had to come to her rescue to care for the eggs.

I was in absolute amazement as I stood watching this significantly handicapped creature continue in the routine of life that God has placed in the instincts of every Loggerhead she-turtle. Even though everything was a struggle, she didn't get discouraged or give up. How many of us would have persevered? Would we, like Mrs. Loggerhead, have done our best to carry on with our God-given tasks in life? Or would we have simply dismissed them? After all, wouldn't God understand our obvious physical/mental/emotional/spiritual limitations? How can we be expected to do something that we are simply not capable of completing?

Herein lies the most valuable lesson I learned from Mrs. Loggerhead that night: It doesn't matter if we are not physically/mentally/emotionally/spiritually capable of completing our God-given responsibilities. Our job is to do everything in our power to carry them out. Then, just as that naturalist was there where her own efforts failed, God is there to pick up the slack, to give us the strength, to "dig" and "cover" when we cannot: "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is perfected in weakness'...For when I am weak, thenI am strong." (2 Cor. 12:9a,10b NKJV)

Mrs. Loggerhead was a survivor. We are so often defeatists. Oh that we would learn from Mrs. Loggerhead! That we would NOT give in to our weaknesses, that we would keep on trying, ever trusting that where we fail, God will pick up the slack! Isn't this what Paul was referring to when he wrote, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake..." (2 Cor. 12:9b-10a NKJV)?

What is it God is calling you to do?

Perhaps you already know and are doing it to the best of your ability. If so, then perhaps you have already learned Mrs. Loggerhead's lesson.

But perhaps you feel too weak to complete what God has asked of you. You don't believe you have enough time, enough patience, enough faith, enough physical strength and endurance, etc., to do it. If this is you, then you have two choices:

1. You can give in to your weakness and give up; or
2. You can follow Mrs. Loggerhead's example and give it your best shot, ever trusting God to take over when you cannot.

Some of you may not know what God is calling you to do. They say that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so if this is you, I encourage you to put aside your worry over your weakness and limitations and seriously seek God's purpose for your life. Then, no matter how insignificant, incapable or incompetent you find yourself to be, follow Mrs. Loggerhead's excellent example, ever knowing that God's strength will be perfected in your weakness.

Don't ever forget: "I can do everything though Christ, who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:13 NLT)

There was one other lesson I would learn from Mrs. Loggerhead that night. Join us next Saturday for "Mrs Loggerhead", Part 2.

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Join us on Saturday next week for the 2nd important lesson to be learned from Mrs. Loggerhead, the handicapped she-turtle of Mon Repos, in Queensland, Australia.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 11:10 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 14, 2019

When God says to WAIT...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Are you in a holding pattern right now?

Waiting for things can be unpleasant. I dislike waiting in long lines or when the car in front of me isn't paying attention when the advanced green light flashes, or when I order my coffee black and there's cream and sugar in it!. Yes I realize these are small annoyances in the grand scheme of things, but they can add up.

Waiting for large scale life issues to resolve can be agonizing. Perhaps you've been praying for a new job? Maybe you're on your knees daily for healing or relief from financial hardship? It could be that you're begging God to restore your marriage or other close relationship? Whatever it is, have you ever thought it high time that God steps in and brings forth a divinely orchestrated resolution, but on your terms?

It can be arduous to keep at the task of prayer. We pray and sometimes God acts immediately. Whew! At other times, He allows our prayers to simmer on hold for weeks, months or even years. 'Hold mode' can be tough slugging, and as believers in Jesus Christ, we are not exempt from shedding tears of frustration as we await God's deliverance from adversity. I'll admit that waiting is not how I prefer to conduct business with heaven, and sometimes as God's child I feel an entitlement to the front row of the rapid redemption line.

But you know as well as I that it doesn't often play out that way.

Sometimes God has work to achieve in us before we're able to grasp what He has planned for us. Waiting on the Lord allows Him the opportunity to draft up perfect blueprints for our lives and to clear away the logjams we so desperately seek answers for. And even when we don't see God's plan, we can know that waiting is always for our own good.

As I bide my time and hold for God to intervene in my own life, His word reminds me not to lose hope and never stop praying, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) And this from 1 Thessalonians: "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances." (16, 17, 18, NIV)

Even when you feel its crunch time and you're weary of God's delay, I encourage you to remain steadfast in your belief, pray constantly and be patient as you trust! We can take comfort that during those 'hurry up and wait moments' in our lives, the Lord knows exactly what we need and when, bar none, every single time!

Jesus always has our best interests at the centre of His heart and will see to it that our waiting always ends in victory! "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Amen to that!

Paul Smyth  
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Post  Admin on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 1:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
November 12, 2019

Culture in our Hearts
 bible
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 

The Eternal King, as a Family of Three, had a culture by which They lived and They wanted it to continue in all other dominions.

They travelled to an uninhabited place and lingered there. Together, They set out the form of Their culture in this new-to-be-inhabited land and decided to put Their culture into the hearts and minds of all the new inhabitants They would create.

They prepared the land for habitation and then They created the creatures of every possible kind: "God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." (Gen. 1:25 NIV). Finally, they established the family chosen to represent them and installed them in good relationship with all the creatures that had already been settled: "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.' Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food.' And it was so." (Gen. 1:28-30). They even called upon the one who was 'made in our image' to name each of the creatures made from the dust (See Genesis 2:20).

The Eternal King treated the newly settled man - together with his wife - as His son and gave them the rights of royalty over the newly appointed kingdom, even to clothing them with their own glow (See Gen. 2:25). He also gave His new family responsibility for what He had established for them (See Gen. 1:28-30 above).


2. Culture in our Hearts

He walked and talked with them in the place He made for them (See Gen. 3:8), so let us listen in to what may have been the conversation (See Gen. 2:15-16). We will use our imagination and put it together like this: "I want you to take command of all that We have here. I and My family have placed you in control," said the Creator King. "All rights are yours so long as you continue to uphold the culture We have established. We have lived by Our cultural standards through vast challenges and it is in all Our interests for it to continue," He advised.

"Sure Dad, all You taught me is here in my heart," replied the new son. "I will live by what I have learned from You. Then together, we will continue what You have established and keep it to Your standard."
 
"Son, be sure you include all who come after you, and We will keep in regular contact with you. Remember, you have huge responsibilities. And, son," warned the Father gently, "do not change anything I have taught you even if something else appears to be better."

They shook hands and, with a smile, He and His family left.

So dominion was transferred to the son and his wife (See Gen. 1:28-30 above). They were to share duties and to live in harmony with everything around them and with all creatures of land, sea, and air in honour of the commitment given to them.

From their very first moments together, the man and his wife shared ideas and activities. They walked together everywhere, discussing the landscape with its gentle waterways and its vegetation. They admired the tall trees and became particularly conscious of how the creatures reacted to them and how friendly they were.

The creatures in this place had never known the horror of a predator. Nothing had ever threatened them so they were totally at ease with whatever the man and his wife did. They were close to humans and enjoyed their company as only a stress free creature can.

This is exactly what God planned when he created the world and made the man and woman in his image. God knew what could go wrong if any of his directions was ignored and he placed a warning in the hearts of the man and his wife. The warning was that they were to have no other gods. That is, they were not to put any voice above the voice of their Creator.


3. Culture in our Hearts

The Father, the Creator and the Holy Spirit who had made man "in our image, after our likeness," then let them "have dominion" over the earth and everything in it. He explained their mandate, blest them, and told them to multiply (See Genesis 1:26-30).

The Lord of the Universe made provision that nothing need interfere with what he had established, and mankind was totally at peace with all creatures. We still see touches of it all today and our love for earth and its creatures is still visible today.

Devastation and death came later, but -- and this is the vital point -- just as all who choose salvation in Christ will be saved, so will their loved creatures be saved also. The eternal covenant, made only by Father, Creator and Holy Spirit, covered mankind and all creatures (See Genesis 1:25).

Would you please pray that each one of us might gain insight into our Lord's culture so that we might choose to enjoy every evidence we see of it wherever and whenever we can?

Elizabeth Price
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 12:36 am

Welcome to the Nugget

November 9, 2019

Wreck Beach
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    On the southern coast of Victoria, Australia, there is a small beach where the remains of two different shipwrecks can be seen: Wreck Beach.

Wishing to see the wrecks, my husband and I bounced over a very rough, unpaved road for over 6 km and then scooted down a steep, 350-step staircase. Here, however, our quest screeched to a halt. We had been told that the wrecks were on the other side of a rocky projection, and that we would have to walk for about a kilometer to reach them. The problem was, we found ourselves in the middle of long stretch of beach with rocky protrusions both to our left and to our right, and absolutely no sign to tell us where the wrecks could be found! If we turned the wrong way, it would mean many extra kilometers of walking in sand.

There was only one tiny clue: A twin set of footprints leading down the beach to our right, while the sand was completely undisturbed to our left. We turned to the right, and in the end, it was the right decision.

It all made me think...

So often in life we need guidance. We stand, so to speak, at the bottom of those stairs on that open beach, and we don't know whether to go to the right or to the left. There is no sign and no one to ask.

But God has promised to give us the guidance we seek: "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." (James 1:5 NLT). Even if we have sinned against Him, He is still there to teach us: "Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:20-21 NLT).

Just like there were indications on the beach as to which direction we needed to go in order to find the wrecks, God gives us the guidance we require. We have a choice, however. When I saw those footprints leading off to the right, I could have simply ignored them. In the same way, we often ignore the guidance God gives us. We figure it isn't logical, or it isn't in keeping with our own will, and we choose to go the other way. Meanwhile, "right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go.'" (Isaiah 30:21).

Why is it sometimes so hard to hear and follow that voice of guidance?

This Isaiah text goes on to give us a clue: "Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, 'Good riddance!'" (Isaiah 30:22 NLT).

In other words, there was something standing between the people and God. When we are not wholeheartedly following God, we will not hear His voice of guidance. In the same way that I had to seek the signs left on the beach, we also have a role to play in achieving the guidance we require. We must put aside anything that has become our "idol". We need to put aside our own personal ambitions and desires. We need to empty our hearts of our pride and our selfish ambitions. When we do, we will hear God's voice as He says, "This is the way you should go."

One more thought comes from the fact that we chose to follow the footprints left by others. In the same way, we are told to follow in Jesus' footprint: "He is your example, and you must follow in his steps." (1 Pet. 2:21b. See also Eph. 5:1-2). This means that when we are completely stumped, we need to ask ourselves: Which one would lead to unselfish love? We will never go wrong when we choose the path that is following Jesus' example of selflessness and love.

In summary, God's guidance is ours for the taking, but in order to hear His voice of wisdom, we need to empty ourselves of our own ambitions and selfish desires, and we need to choose the path that follows after Jesus' example!

Oh, and the next time you find yourself in Victoria, Australia, standing at the bottom of 350 steep stairs and wondering which direction to go to find the shipwrecks, follow the footprints leading off to the right. You won't go wrong!

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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There is this other component to receiving God's guidance...We need to recognize His voice. If you are stumped as to how to hear and recognize God's voice, I invite you to click here for previously-published devotionals on the subject, or email me and I'll be happy to give you some ideas.
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 12:24 am

Welcome to the Nugget

November 7, 2019

How to See God's Hand in our Darkness

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Some friends and I sat at a table in a local restaurant. "Hi Amy!" I said looking in the direction of my friend's three-year old little girl. "Did you like your visit to Disney World?"

She didn't answer.

"Honey," her mommy said, "Mrs. Eckles can't see. You have to say yes out loud, not just nod your head."

We chuckled.

"Close your eyes," her mom said. "That's what Mrs. Eckles sees."

We continued our visit, her mom and I chatted about silly stuff during the meal. Then suddenly Amy's mom paused. "I'm sorry Amy; you can open your eyes now. And go ahead and eat your food."

We hadn't realized during the whole time we were talking, she still had them closed, and the plate of food, untouched, sat before her.

Setbacks and Disappointments
That reminded me when the sting of setbacks, the jolt of disappointment closed the eyes of my heart. And in the darkness of my pain, I missed God's banquet set before me.

We all do that sometimes. The rehashing of negative details blocks the view. And dark memories of the wound cover the path to healing.

Blind to all that goodness, we test God's patience. How often must He whisper, Open those eyes and check out the banquet of blessings I placed before you. Look at the possibilities. Take a peek at what I have prepared for you.

It's all for us.
He offers and invites us to see what he designed. He longs to show us His hand at work right now. At this moment. In our current situation. And in the midst of today's heartache.

In each of them, He's preparing something new, something good and beautifully unexpected. He warns not to look back; but focus ahead. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

Our days shine with hope, with fresh beauty, and with delight when we choose to perceive what God is offering.

Let's Pray: Father, open my eyes to see beyond my circumstance, beyond the hurt. And instead, help me to look at the colorful horizon painted by your love for me. In Jesus' name, amen.

What might God want you to see in the midst of your situation?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Would you like to make a difference in the world?  Why not join the Answers2Prayer Ministry team?  We have many volunteer positions.  By joining in, you can help in carrying out the Great Commission: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in Heaven and on Earth have been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matt. 28:18-20 NIV)

The time is right and we are in need of many laborers.  "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord f the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:37-38 NIV

If you feel compelled, let us know by sending us an email.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Nov 2019, 11:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 5, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 4
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    In the concluding part of our Series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and the church, His bride, today we come to four more areas where we find stark similarities...


Transformation...

It is the kind of trials and tribulations which the Bridegroom endured that would eventually shape the bride to be as beautiful as Him. Let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope..." (Romans 5:3-4 ESV).

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing..." (James 1:2-4 ESV).

Not willing to bear the cross is a serious sin, for it would mean not co-operating with the Holy Spirit in the "moulding" process (See 2 Peter 1:5-9).

Hmmm...No pain, no gain!


Resurrection...

Boy...the similarities continue...if Jesus rose from the dead, we would also one day rise from the dead ("But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." 1 Cor 15:20 ESV. See also 1 Thess 4:16) with His resurrection on the first Easter. Notice this is described by Apostle Paul as "First Fruits", thus portending the resurrection of countless Christians in the future.


Ascension...

If Jesus ascended after He was resurrected (Acts 1:9), in our spiritual journey as well, ascension would follow resurrection at the rapture: "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and s o we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:16-17 ESV)!


Adminstration...

If the resurrected, ascended Bridegroom would one day soon come down to the world at His Second Coming and rule both the men of the World and the angels of the spiritual realm, then oh boy the risen and the ascended bride would also come along with the Bridegroom and rule the not only the World but also the angels alongside Him ("The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." Rev 3:21 ESV See also Rev 20:4/1 Cor 6:3).

Mind-boggling indeed are the similarities between the Bridegroom and His bride in many areas of the spiritual realm; but never more so than in the matter of receiving crowns after enduring the cross! So take heart Christians...remember the Pauline declaration: "And if we think that our present service for him is hard, just remember that some day we are going to sit with him and rule with him." (2 Tim 2:12a TLB)

Prayer: Father thanks for initiating the process of moulding us into Your Son's image right from the time, we are "born again". Keeping Eternity in view, enable us to co-operate with You in the moulding process. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.... (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: ...For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.... (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 02 Nov 2019, 10:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 2, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 3
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Coming to the penultimate part of our series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and His bride, the church, today we shall focus on two more areas where we find stark similarities...


Persecution...

If the Bridegroom was subjected to the persecution of rejection (in the "proclamation" stage of His life -- See Mark 6:1-12/John 5:43), then His bride, who He has "called out of the World" is bound to undergo the same painful treatment: "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19 ESV. See also 1 Peter 4:4).

Crucifixion...

Subjugating the cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life was step one in the life of the Son (in the early part of His life) in the matter of enduring sufferings for the Father's glory, and experiencing painful rejection was step two in the said process. In the same way, submitting Himself to the excruciating ordeal (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) of the Cross was the final frontier (allowing Himself who is the Truth to be a victim of lies and injustice) that the Son had to cross before He would be conferred the honor of being the Saviour of this world and its ruler: "For it was fitt ing that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Heb 2:10 ESV. See also Phillippians 2:5-11/Rev 3:21).

In the life of a Christian, there is also three stages. Conquering the first two stages of overcoming temptations and enduring rejection may be comparatively easy, but to be crucified with Christ (to be a silent victim of the injustice and lies to which he is called -- 1 Peter 2:21-23) takes some doing. Without total reliance on the energizing, joyous presence of the Holy Spirit, it wouldn't be possible: "so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..." (1 Peter 1:7-8 ESV). The Saviour, too, through the Eternal Spirit alone, could accomplish the task that was set before Him ("how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Heb 9:14 ESV).

When the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me..." (ESV), the pertinent question to be addressed here is this: which "Christ" is indwelling him? The Christ who triumphed over the temptations of the wilderness? The Christ who took the painful rejection in stride? Or the One who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself on the Cross? The key to unlocking the answer lies in the key-operative words, "crucified with Chr ist". It is that same Christ who endured the Cross through the Eternal Spirit who was living in Paul now, strengthening him from inside, to fight the good fight till the very end (See 2 Tim 4:8). Cheer up Christian, when it comes to the crunch, the Saviour would strengthen you from within to be the overcomer like Him. He supplies the strength even as you supply your will.

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for keeping Your Son's life as a model for all who would follow Him. Enable us to live lives worthy of such high calling at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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October 26, 2019

A Single Day in Your Courts...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 14: Psalm 84
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Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have mentioned that the book, subdivided into five parts, was seen by Israel to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised of Psalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God, and the second book, comprised of Psalms 42-72, focussing on God's deliverance.

The third book is comprised of 17 Psalms, 73-89. David wrote only one of these, Psalm 86. Many these are attributed to Asaph, a descendant of the musical guild in the temple known as the Asaphites, while the rest are attributed to the Korahites, members of the branch of temple singers who were descended from Korah. This third book is thought to parallel the book of Leviticus. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that most of the Psalms were written by Levitical priests to be sung by the temple choirs. The overriding theme of these Psalms is the holiness of God, reminding us that we must remember our place before Him, coming into His presence with reverential fear.

A key example of this theme can be found in Psalm 84. Written for the choir director by descendants of Korah, the introduction states that it is to be accompanied by stringed instruments, giving us the impression that the intent of the writer was for the song to be sung in the temple choirs. The Psalm helps us to understand one important fact: God, in His holiness, needs to be our #1 priority.

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
     O Lord of Heaven's Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
     to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
    I will shout joyfully to the living God." (Vs. 1-2 NLT)

Only when God is #1 in our lives, when He is our first love, should we come into His presence. Only when He holds this place in our hearts will we long to come before Him!

This theme is further revealed in the next few verses:

"Even the sparrow finds a home,
     and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
     O Lord of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!" (Vs. 3-4 NLT)

Coming before God for any other reason than because we desire to be in His presence would be a mockery to Him. He loves us infinitely, enough to die on a cruel cross so that we can be with Him (See Rom. 5:8-10). His ultimate desire is that we long for Him as much as He longs for us (See Is. 30:18).

How can we know if our priorities are aligned properly? Here are some clues:

"What joy for those who can live in your house,
     always singing your praises.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
     who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem." (Vs. 5-6 NLT)

When God is our #1, His praises will be spontaneously on our lips. We will be dependent upon Him for our strength, and our hearts will be set on spending time with Him.

This isn't only for the good times, either:

"When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
     it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
     They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem." (Vs. 6-7 NLT)

These verses help us understand that God's blessings are especially for when we are suffering. It is the autumn rains that will clothe us with blessings, and it is those who are suffering who will grow stronger, and who will be granted the ultimate of blessings: to appear before God!

Another sign that God is our #1 priority is we will want to be with Him:

"A single day in your courts
    is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
    than live the good life in the homes of the wicked." (Vs. 9-10 NLT)

And why shouldn't He be our first priority? Why shouldn't He merit our utmost praise and reverential fear?

"For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
    He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
    from those who do what is right.
O Lord of Heaven's Armies,
    what joy for those who trust in you." (Vs. 11-12 NLT)

There are times in my life when God seems abstract. I've noted however, that these times all have one important thing in common: They always happen when I have allowed something to avert my eyes from Jesus. Maybe some earthly thing has captured my desire, or some bad circumstance seems to be robbing me of my blessing. Or maybe I am simply too busy with the mundane responsibilities of life to even remember there is a God. The point is, whenever we take our eyes off of Him, we risk becoming apathetic, completely blinded to the joy that is ours when we enter into true, reverential worship of our all-powerful, ever-righteous Creator, our all loving, just, Almighty God.

When you find that your heart isn't necessarily yearning for the presence of the Lord, I urge you to meditate upon Psalm 84. I guarantee that you will come away completely changed, with your priorities realigned in the Heavenly direction and with your heart filled with reverential fear of the Lord.

Hey, my priorities may need some realigning at the moment. I am perhaps a bit too focused on an upcoming move. Maybe I will take a few moments and meditate on Psalm 84 as well…

In His love,
Lyn


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