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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Jul 2018, 1:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 10, 2018
Soccer Sorcery!
Lessons From
World Cup 
Football, Part 1
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us

Have you caught football fever yet? Well, I must admit that once the quadrennial football fever contagion "breaks out" once every four years, consider me gladly "infected." I can assure you of the fact that one can never truly "get sick" of the "kick" of football's "sorcery." (The only beneficial kind of sorcery!) Amongst other things, have you ever wondered what makes the game of football so special? Unlike other games, like tennis, cricket, and hockey; which require their players to use and wear special equipment, the game of football simply requires just one air-filled leather ball to dance along with your juggling feet. Captivating chemistry, eh? 

While football can fascinate and entertain us for a brief season, God's word enchants and enriches us for all eternity. "It is sweeter than honey," declared the Psalmist (119:103). Oh, it is such a wonderous joy to read and absorb the Scriptural truths! In this four-part series, I will be drawing from a number of spiritual lessons from scripture and will reflect them onto the vast and exciting world of football. 

Emigration...

Have you ever heard of Luis Monti? Well if not, he has the rare distinction of being the only player to have ever played in two World Cup finals for two different teams! In 1930, Luis was a player on the losing Argentine side during that year's finals, four years later, after he had immigrated to Italy and their team, he played a pivotal role in achieving victory during the 1934 World Cup. 

In a way, every Christian can, more or less, identify with Luis Monti's circumstances. For starters, we all lived within a "country of sin;" playing on the losing side of Satan (Eph 2:1). Our lives were encompassed by one big spiritual defeat, as the following Scripture portion so amply testifies: "Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient; we were misled by others and became slaves to many evil pleasures and wicked desires. Our lives were full of resentment and envy. We hated others and they hated us..." (Titus 3:3 TLB)

However, thanks to the Good News with a capital "G" and His everlasting mercy and grace, those of us who have accepted him into our lives have, in a sense, "emigrated" to God's Kingdom, and are now playing on a new and victorious team. 

"But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved us--not because we were good enough to be saved but because of his kindness and pity--by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit..." (Titus 3:4-5 TLB)

Hey, we are on the winning side! But then again, what about the author of this epistle, from which these Scripture portions have been excerpt from? When Saul of Tarsus set out to Damascus to persecute and kill the Christians who were living there, he was unknowingly playing for Satan's team. But thanks to God's everlasting grace, he was "wrung out" of the Devil's player roster and was then "grafted" onto the winning side of Christ (Acts 9:1-20) as an apostle. Take a look at his touching testimony in regard to his transformation.

"For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace." (I Corinthians 15:9-10) 

By the way, do you truly know "whose team" you are playing for? In the spiritual realm, one cannot be neutral. If you are not for the "Calvary cavaliers" (Jesus' team), remember that either willingly or unwillingly, you are playing for the "Hell dwellers" (Satan's team)!

Is your conscience troubling you with the sins of past, whether committed publicly or secretly, during your time on "Satan's team"? Do not stand silently hanging your head in shame. Christ is willing to accept you into his team as you are. Just as he forgave a repentant Saul of Tarsus, giving him a new start (Acts 9:1-20), he would forgive you too. Say this prayer:" Heavenly Father, I accept I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. I accept that Jesus died an atoning death for me on the Cross as per the scriptures and rose again. Cleanse me with his blood and grant me a new life, a new heart, and a new start. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen."  Even as his divine joy and peace fill your heart this very moment (which is proof of his forgiveness), start attending a church near your home to further strengthen your new-found faith in Christ, or you can contact me at this number: 984-900-9104 (India) for further guidance.

If you have had this "emigration experience", you will better appreciate and take more out of what follows in this series...

Prayer: Father, I praise and thank thee for making me a "heavenly citizen". I pray that you would inspire all those who are reading this devotional to surrender their lives into your hands to experience the "ethereal emigration". In Jesus' name.

Suresh Manoharan
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
Announcement:
Do you have "World Cup" fever? Join us on Thursday for other important lessons we may learn from the World Cup: "Soccer Sorcery! Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 2"!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
 

Welcome to the Nugget
July 12, 2018
Soccer Sorcery! 
Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 2

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   Coming to the second part of our "Soccer Sorcery" series, let us focus on the "Manager's role" in the game of Football.

 Instruction ...

Unlike Cricket, where the captain is the one in charge of the team, the field manager, or "coach," is essentially the life essence of the football team. It is he who spends countless hours moulding his team into a winning formation. From training, to strategizing, to even the final team selection, a manager sheds his own "blood and sweat" so that his team and its supporters may taste "sweet success." Even though he resides on the side line during the actual game, his involvement is substantial! When the TV cameras zoom in, do we not see the vast array of emotions emitting from the coach? Going from agony to ecstasy to anxiety to relief during key moments in the match? 

Could there have ever been a greater manager than Christ? Even though many of his disciples came from dramatically different backgrounds, he fashioned them into a winning unit, who would now play with a single goal in mind. Nehemiah may have made men of different professions work side-by-side (a goldsmith and a perfume maker -- See Nehemiah 3:8), but what Christ achieved is far greater, as he accomplished the much more difficult task of taking men of "totally different ideologies" and have them work in tandem with each other. Imagine a Taliban terrorist and a US marine settling their differences for a common cause and playing in the same team in a football field in Kabul! Preposterous? Well, that is exactly the picture which comes to mind when we see Matthew (a pro-Roman government tax collector before becoming a disciple -- See Matt 9:9-13) and Simon the Zealot (violently opposed to Roman government -- See Mark 3:18) together putting their shoulders to the "Gospel wheel", as it were.

How could Christ do it? By his own exemplary uncompromising lifestyle, which was all about being willing to lay "everything" at the altar for the glory of the Father. This would, of course, also include casting aside petty ideological differences and disagreements. Consider this verse: "...In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach..." (Acts 1:1). Look at the sequencing of the words, "do" precedes "teach". Right? He would not ask his men to do anything, which he himself would not do before (from the foreword "They call me coach" ... thanks Bill Walton)! 

Christ also trained up his mostly unschooled disciples in a way that the religious leaders of his day simply marvelled at.

"When the Council saw the boldness of Peter and John and could see that that they were obviously uneducated non-professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them" (Acts 4:13 TLB).  

Just as the Coach guides his team members in several matters, from the point of regeneration (getting a new life from the Almighty), the Spirit of God's Son indwells every child of God, and guides him/her in all matters of life (Rom 8:12-16/Gal 4:6).What a privilege we are blessed with to have the wisest mind, and the most loving heart, and the strongest pair of hands guiding us!

A further look at Christ's strategies would convince us that he put the right men in the "right position". While on this subject, have you ever pondered on why out of all the apostles, Jesus chose "doubting Thomas," a person whose name is dubiously synonymous with cynicism, to minister for him in India? Only a rationalist like Thomas could have logically expounded the sound Biblical precepts to men who were well founded in matters of religion (Indians, as always, were quite religious in the first century AD). Their tradition states that having studied the Vedas and seen the Brahmins speaking about the "coming Lamb of God". So, like a true rationalist, Thomas pointed to all the Vedic proofs relating to Christ with conviction to the religious men of his day. Because of this, the very first people Thomas baptized in his India ministry were in fact the orthodox namboodhiri Brahmins in Palayur, Kerala! For more information on the Vedic Christ-related proofs, click here.  

Finally, consider the unwitting compliment that the enemies (I repeat, enemies; not friends) of Christ's disciples paid to them: "these men have turned the world upside down"  (Acts 17:6), and thus, the picture of history's greatest coach fully emerges with no shades of grey in sight! Christ enabling his disciples' accomplishments was not merely about winning the World Cup, but rather the world itself for the master!

By the way, Christian leader, are you faithfully following your master's footsteps in being an example to people around you (See Titus 2:7)? 

Prayer: Father, what a blessing and a privilege it is to always be led in all matters of our lives by the Holy Spirit. Grant us a submissive heart to listen to the promptings of Thy Spirit at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Do you have "World Cup" fever? Join us on Saturday for other important lessons we may learn from the World Cup in "Soccer Sorcery! Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 3"!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jul 2018, 2:54 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 5, 2018

How Long will God Take to Answer my Prayer?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us We pray, we ask and we beg, but still no answer. Have you ever wondered, "Is God there? If He is, why doesn't He answer my prayer? How long, Lord?"

We're not alone; the Israelites join us in that grumbling.

"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!'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 14:10-14 NIV)

Have you ever complained like that? I have. And that's because we're 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 for God's answer, a clear path, a solution; we look to be rescued now.

But no one is there. And we have our own Egyptians called stress and anxiety that chase us, threatening to ruin our day.

But if Moses were alive today, he might post a message to all of us, "Do not fret, God will fight your battles. His answer is already here. You need only to be still."

That's because it's in the still of His presence that His peace can fill our nights. In the still of our heart is when His whisper brushes through. And in the still of the moment is when we see His promises come alive.

Father, calm my heart, whisper your answer into my longing. Silence the distractions so I can see your answer to my prayer. In Jesus name. Amen.

Can you tell me, in the midst of your hectic life, what keeps you from being still enough to hear His answer?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.
Announcement:
It is never easy to do what is right, but it is always the right thing to do. But what if doing what is right gets you into trouble? What then? Check out "Yes Boss!!!" a mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan, designed to help us understand the importance of doing the right thing, as well as the ultimate blessings that will result!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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Post  Admin on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 8:51 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 30, 2018

Home

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Traveling is fun. You get to see beautiful things and meet wonderful people, and you are able to relax, to exercise and eat good food; all without the normal stresses of being at home and running a household and family and job. Traveling provides a nice little "vacation" from life. 

I don't know about you, however, but as much as I like to travel, I'm always happy to get back home. There is truly nothing like my own bed, and as much as I get tired of doing my own cooking, eating out everyday really does get old over time. 

This reminds me of Israel's story. They, too, went on a trip. Theirs, however, was not really a "vacation"; rather they were forced to leave their homes and flee to Egypt in order to survive. 

And survive they did. Though there was severe famine in the land, God had prepared everything in advance for them. He had forewarned Pharaoh in a dream, He had placed Joseph in Egypt to prepare for the upcoming seven years of famine, and when the time was right, Joseph extended an invitation to his entire family to move to Egypt where they would be cared for. Despite the severity of the famine going on around them, the Bible records: "Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number" (Gen. 47:27 NIV). In fact, Israel became so content in Egypt that upon their deliverarnce, they often begged to go back, lamenting about the luxurious life they had left behind (See Ex. 16:3, 17:3, Num. 14:4, 20:5, etc)--despite the cruelty they had known as Egypt's slaves! 

But wait. Egypt wasn't their home. Did they forget that they truly belonged in the land of Canaan?

This reminds me of yet another journey we are all undertaking...the journey through life on Earth. There are many troubled times, yes; but there is also much beauty around us along the way, and for most, it's a pleasant life. But let's remember Eccl. 3: "He has also set eternity in the human heart..." (Eccl. 3:11a NIV). We weren't created for the life we have here. We were created for eternity. Like Israel of old, are we in danger of forgetting where we truly belong? 

Although his family quickly settled into their lives in the Land of Goshen, Jacob never forgot that Egypt was not his home: "When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, 'If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried." (Gen. 47:28-31 NIV). 

In the same way, we must also remember that this world is not our home. Is it for naught that we are advised to, "...set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:1-2 NIV)? Just like Israel in Egypt, we can enjoy the blessings God has given us here; however, we must never forget: "...our citizenship is in heaven..." (Phil. 3:20 NIV); and "...this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." (Heb. 13:14-27 NLT).

Jesus tells us, "...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..." (Matt. 6:33a NIV). When we follow His excellent advice, not only will: "...all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:33b NIV), but we will be ensuring that we, "...set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (Col. 3:1 NIV).

If it feels so right to return home from vacation, imagine what it will be like to go to our Heavenly home after our little "trip" on Earth?

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 24 Jun 2018, 10:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 19, 2018

All I am is in Your Hands


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. And it's during those moments of uncertainty that I wonder if God knows what he's doing. As I've discovered and maybe you have too, life as a believer in Jesus Christ does not grant us a divine prescription for a trouble free existence. In fact I sometimes find myself getting angry at God for not providing me and my family with the gold plan protection package. But there is a verse in the bible where Jesus tells us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV) Yes life can be full of trouble, and yes, I'm grateful that despite its difficulties, I don't have to traverse the narrow mountain roads alone.

When we're blindsided by stressful situations, it's sometimes easy to feel trapped and without hope for the future. We may question God's plan and wonder if He is hands off to the trials we face. Let's face it, challenges occur in each of our lives and some of them are far from a bowl of cherries jubilee. 

Have you ever had days where you glance over your shoulder waiting for the next shoe to drop? (And with the size of my wife's shoe collection, there are plenty to drop!) Just when the dust settles from one debacle, another seems to bubble forth to knock you flat on your face once again. It's at those uncertain times when we're left to wonder if the grass will ever be free of weeds.

The word 'trapped' can mean different things to different people. For some, it may be unresolved health issues or daily chronic pain. Like me, you may have found yourself suddenly unemployed by no fault of your own. Or perhaps creditors are knocking on your door demanding payments you can't afford. 

Whatever it is you're facing, the common denominator in feeling trapped is the panicky notion that there is no way out. You're stuck in a titanium cage and its tamper-proof locks are preventing you from feeling that you'll ever break free. Have you ever felt that way? I can assuredly tell you that I have and far too many times for my liking! But it's during those moments of despair that God reminds me I'm securely in the palms of His hands even when it may seem otherwise.

Despite the storms of life, I've discovered one thing. God provides a plethora of coping mechanisms and a generous set of keys to help facilitate my escape. These tidbits of hope may come through a friend's council or prayer, or as I discovered just yesterday while walking with my wife, a chance meeting of people on the street who just happened to be Christians. Their timely wisdom and words of encouragement spoke to our hearts and reminded us that God is quietly working everything for good. God says, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5 NIV) Amen to that!

I recently received an email from my sister and she said this, "Don't ever forget that God understands each and every feeling and emotion you have and He is walking beside you on this journey." That's what I like to call a 'God-wink.' It's a tidbit of heavenly solace when it's needed the most. You won't see them coming, but I guarantee that when you're in God's hands, He has unique ways of making you know it and that His love for you is wide and far reaching.

Most importantly though, the key to escaping the cage you may find yourself in comes from God's word. Its power can shatter the nastiest of locks and help set you back on the road to peace and recovery. One of my all-time favorites is this, "'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) This verse has sustained me through plenty of life's challenges when I felt ensnared and gripped with fear.

I'd like to assure you that God sees the whole picture of your life, that when all you see are obstacles across your path and a cage up ahead with your name on it, our Lord is acutely aware of your circumstances. King David said, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life." (Psalm 138:7 NIV).

Feeling trapped in your circumstances can be difficult, especially when the road in front of your tires is riddled with potholes and roadblocks. But we can derive comfort from knowing that God is the potter and we are the clay. That with all the scenes of life playing out in what may feel like random chaos, we can say this with confidence, "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right." (Jeremiah 26:14 NIV)

The future can appear ominous at times, but with God covering our bases, I have every hope in the world that we can move from feelings of entrapment to the joys of unbridled freedom. God loves you so much and wants only for you to grab hold the keys He gives you and wait patiently for each lock to trip. 

The detainment is worth it in the end.

Paul Smyth
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jun 2018, 1:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 21, 2018

Alone in the Valley


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18 NIV)

Let's face it. There are times, when we walk through situations and seasons in our lives, when we are lonely. We even feel very much alone. No one is exempt. It's just part of life.

I recall walking through one of these valleys. That 'alone' feeling would quietly creep up and unexpectedly pounce, sometimes seemingly from out of nowhere, sort of like being slammed by a wave.

I would rather be on a mountain top experience; I love those seasons. Yet I've learned most of life is lived somewhere in-between. And I've learned it's all good. And, it's all a gift. 

All the years my dad lived alone, after mom died, I would often say to him, "I don't like you being alone on Sundays (or a holiday, or birthday)" and he would always say, "I'm not alone! Jesus is right here with me." He said it so often, that the reality of that finally began to sink in.

In every way, Jesus was his companion, there at the house, right there with him. As I've thought about this, the beautiful beloved 23rd Psalm came to mind, where David says: "Even though I walk through the valley...You are with me." (Ps. 23:4 NASB). 

We all have been, or will be, in a valley season during our life journeys. It is beautiful beyond belief, and peaceful beyond our finite mind's comprehension, to know and sense the truth of the words in the Bible that bring comfort and healing.

In the valley I may feel lonely, but am I alone? Not really; Jesus is with me. He's right here with me.

That's good news.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy  
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jun 2018, 12:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 14, 2018

ABBA, Father! Part 2


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   Continuing to focus on the Divine Father-Child relationship, today in the penultimate part of our series we shall cast the spotlight on some more aspects concerning the said subject...


Prop...

Good and responsible children never take undue advantage of their earthly father's overflowing love. Likewise the best prop in our spiritual life would be of maintaining proper balance between "intimacy" and "intimidation" in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Rather than being "intimidated" like a slave in the Master's presence, a Christian ought to come into the presence of the Heavenly Father joyously calling Him "Abba" (Aramaic equivalent of Daddy). By the same token, the reverential fear of the Lord never ought to take the backseat in our lives, lest we slip into a perilous zone fitting the phrase, "familiarity breeds contempt" (Heb. 10:31). The wonderful balance between "intimidation" and "intimacy" is best illustrated in Acts 9:31 which reads thus... 

"...The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit." (TLB) 

Amazing is the related fact that it is the indwelling Holy Spirit who is the source behind both the comfort and reverential fear of the Lord ("And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." Is. 11:2 NLT). Hallelujah!!! 


Prototype...

Our earthly fathers crave the love of their offspring. Our Heavenly Father also craves for our love. In fact, He wants us to grow into the image of His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has loved Him immeasurably right from Eternity. Christ's love for the Father was best manifested in the matter of his implicit obedience, even if it meant taking indescribable suffering in stride (See John 14:30-31). With the same Spirit of Christ indwelling us ("And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls "Abba! Father!" Gal, 4:6 NET), it wouldn't be beyond us to replicate the Saviour's deeds, especially in the realm of loving obedience to our Heavenly Father (Heb 5:8), come what may!


Progression...

While many of the wise earthly fathers rear their children while keeping the long-term, permanent benefits of their children in perspective, some myopic ones pamper their children to the point that they "harm" them in the process. Our infinitely wise Heavenly Father, who always keeps our long-term benefits in view, brings us up suitably...Even if it means giving an occasional timely "rap on the knuckles", as it were, when His children are not doing what they ought to do: "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts." (Heb. 12:6 NET. See also Heb. 12:5-11). Oh yes, He also doesn't shun from periodically exposing His children to some hardships, whereby they keep "growing" that Christ-like character in the process (see Romans 5:3-4/James 1:2-4). Hmmmm...no pain...no gain!

Prayer: Father, we submit ourselves to Thy leading at all times, for we know whatever You do in our lives is for our benefit. Grant us wisdom to be submissive always to Thy directives. In Jesus' Name, amen.


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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June 16, 2018

ABBA, Father! Part 3


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   In the concluding part of the Series focusing on the Divine Father-Child relationship, we shall today reflect on two more aspects of the concerned subject...


Promise...

If all good earthly fathers promise to give a rosy future to their children and work sincerely towards the same, then what about our Heavenly Father? Let Scripture take over at this stage... 

"And now that we are Christ's we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God's promises to him belong to us" (Gal. 3:29 NLT) 

Did the Lord fulfil all His promises given to Father Abraham and his descendents in the past? Let the Scripture answer... 

"So in this way the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had promised to their ancestors, and they went in and conquered it and lived there. And the Lord gave them peace, just as he had promised, and no one could stand against them; the Lord helped them destroy all their enemies. Every good thing the Lord had promised them came true." (Joshua 21:43-45 NLT) 

Wouldn't our unchanging Heavenly Father (See Psalm 102:27) keep all His promises to us Christians, the spiritual descendents of Father Abraham, including the one about ushering us into the Heavenly City with its ethereal mansions (See John 14:2-3)? He would! Hallelujah and Amen (See 1 Cor. 2:9/Heb 11:10)! What a Heavenly Father, we have. What a wonderful Heavenly Father, we have! Amen and Amen. 


Propel...

In conclusion, many are propelled to do their very best for our Heavenly Father by the prospect of owning the Heavenly property, which will be given to us by as per His promise. Aspiring for this Heavenly home is not wrong in and of itself (See Romans 8:18); however, the thing that should propel us to give our very best in terms of implicit, loving obedience at all times, is His infinite goodness.

God is good all the time. All the time He is good, for He always has our best interest at heart (See Ex. 33:19). Never forget that from our side, love and obedience are synonymous -- See 2 John 1:6), and that our love for Him should stem from the fact that He loved us first (see John 4:19), even while we were His enemies (See Rom. 5:8-10). Boy, the Gospel is the only story where the hero dies for the villain in order to guarantee that villain a glorious future!  

By the way, have you ever thanked and praised Your Heavenly Father for the earthly father that He, in His Sovereign wisdom, selected for you (See 1 Thess. 5:18)? Hey, none of us can select our earthly dads! 

Hallelujah! 

Prayer: Father, You accept us at all times despite all our limitations. Not only that, despite our, many annoying frailties, You are leading us to an indescribably glorious place because Thou art good, seeking our best at all times. Once again, we glorify Thee in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jun 2018, 11:39 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 12, 2018

ABBA, Father! Part 1


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Just as Miss Anna Jarvis is credited for giving "birth" to "Mothers Day", Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited for triggering an action that led to Father's Day becoming a U.S. national holiday.

Her story began as she sat listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Mrs. Dodd thought that it might be nice to honor fathers as well. Her father, William Smart, had raised his six children alone on his farm in Washington after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Mrs. Dodd proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA that they celebrate a "Father's day." She chose the 5th of June because it was her father's birthday. The idea received strong support, but the good ministers of Spokane asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of fathers.

The first Father's Day in Spokane, Washington, was observed on June 19, 1910 (the third Sunday in June), and became an annual, albeit not "official" event there. After many twists and turns, "Father's Day" finally got its official seal of approval in 1972 (when President Richard Nixon was president).

On careful scrutiny of the Scriptures, a discerning Bible student would discover that not until Jesus the Saviour started addressing the Almighty as the Heavenly Father in New Testament was the word "Father" used so extensively in connection with the Almighty-Devotee relationship. In fact, the Greek word "Pater", meaning Father, is repeated about 200 times in the New Testament. Meanwhile, in all of the Old Testament, the word "Father" is only used a few times, 15 according to Bibilcal scholars, to describe God. At this point, it would be no exaggeration to say that the Saviour, by His advent, virtually redefined the God-Man relationship.

With the World bracing itself to celebrate Father's day on the 17th of June, yours truly is inspired to write this series of 3 parts to bring out the similarities between our Heavenly Father and our wonderful earthly fathers, while ever focusing on our response to their great love.


Procreation...

In the same way our earthly fathers play a role in bringing us to life, our Heavenly Father, through His revitalizing Spirit, also gives us supernaturally a brand new life (see John 1:12-13), happening the moment we place our trust in the redemption work of the cross that was completed by the Saviour to save us from our sins. In fact, in the matter of a Christian's ''sonship" and his new-found inclination towards "holiness", the Greek word used for "seed" in 1 John 3:9 ("No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. NIV) is "sperma", the root word for "sperm" in English.


Proof...

An earthly father's features (facial and emotional) are bound to be reflected in his offspring (eg...Adam and Seth- Gen 5:3). Ditto with a new Christian. If holiness is intrinsic to our Heavenly Father, His children, too, will reflect holiness ("Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." Eph 5:1 NLT), which is all about being "separate" from the World (2 Cor 6:17-18). Here "separation" doesn't mean "isolation" in the manner of Saffron-clad Sadhus confining themselves to snow-clad Himalayas. Rather, it is all about not being tainted by the carnal world despite the fact that we live in it: "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27 NLT)



Protection...

No earthly father would allow any danger to befall his beloved children. Our Heavenly Father would also guard us under His protective wings (John 6:39/ John 10:28-29) whatever be the enticement of the flesh, the world or the Devil. Power is always granted from within to triumph over the inevitable spiritual dangers without ("But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." 1 John 4:4 NLT). 


Provision...

Which Earthly Father doesn't delight in giving the best of the materially useful things to his children? Our Heavenly Father doesn't retract from giving His best to us either, in order for us to have a perfectly fulfilling life (Matt 6:33, Matt 7:11/ 1 Tim 6:17). With the perpetual joy of the Holy Spirit, which He places us in our heart at the point of regeneration, every human activity, even the mundane ones, would now seem enjoyable. Yes, thanks to Jesus' redemptive work on the cross, God's children today enjoy an "abundant life" ("The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." John 10:10 NLT)! 

Prayer: Father, first of all we are full of gratitude to address You thus because of the Redemptive work completed by Your Son on the Cross. Enable us to live a life worthy of our Sonship. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Fri 20 Apr 2018, 8:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 19, 2018

Exult In God's Kindness


By Answers2Prayer 
  The Apostle Paul wrote: "You, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap of the olive root..." (Romans 11:17 NIV)

Oh, my apple trees! Their delicate pink and white, curled-up, wee buds are opening in the sunshine.

These new, little trees thrill me! At a horticulture workshop a few years ago, I was shown how to graft eating-apple stem pieces onto hardy Siberian roots, and two of my grafts produced trees.

Though there have been a few flowers other springs, and last year, one lonely apple, the number of blossoms this year suggests a fair crop of fruit. Even now as the branches dance in the breeze, I can almost taste the apples as I plan to share them with my neighbours.

I may delight in my fruit trees, but I must not boast of them, for I was given the pieces and shown how to secure the grafts. And of course, God gave the soil and the rain to nourish their growth.

We read in the Bible that the Apostle Paul, a Jewish Christian, used grafted olive tree parts to explain to new Gentile Christians their spiritual relationship with Jews, and to urge these Gentiles to be humble and steadfast. His words in Romans 11:17-21 could be paraphrased like this: "If some of the Jewish branches have been broken off, and you Gentiles, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the Jews, and now share in the nourishing sap from Jesus, the olive root, do not boast over those Jewish branches by saying, 'Jewish branches were broken off so that I, a Gentile, could be grafted in.' Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural Jewish branches, he will not spare you Gentiles either."

Paul urges Gentile Christians to consider God's kindness and continue in it; otherwise they also will be cut off. And he tells them that if the Jewish people do not persist in their unbelief, they, natural branches, will quite readily be grafted back into their own olive tree. Paul states, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:12-13 NIV).

Jews and Gentiles, and persons of all nations under the sun, can exult together in God's Word of assurance, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

What is more, those of us who live in communities filling with immigrants of other nationalities, races, and religions, should realize that a challenge to be loving and humble outreaching Christians has come to our doorsteps.

Prayer: Lord, help us to exult in your kindness together with all your people of the earth. Thank you that you, God, have made all nations of the earth to share one flesh and to be one nation in faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your acceptance of us all who believe. Help us to work together, guided by your Spirit so that we will enable many persons to come to you and exult together in your kindness. Amen.


By Isabel Allison, Roland Manitoba, Canada     
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Apr 2018, 10:07 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 17, 2018

Say Yes

By Answers2Prayer 
 "Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field." (James 4:8 MSG)

I can remember my Mom telling me once that after I learned to say, "Mama" and "Dada" my third word was "No!" Sadly, I used that word much too often as a boy. I didn't want to eat my vegetables. I didn't want to go to bed on time. I didn't want to work in the garden. I didn't want to stay in the yard when I played. I would much rather read books than help my Mom and Nana with the household chores. In other words, I was a bit of a brat. Being the youngest of three sons and the "baby" of the family, I probably got away with saying "No" a lot more than I should have. I was slightly spoiled to say the least.

At some point in my childhood, though, I began to say "Yes!" a lot more and "No!" a lot less. I can remember carrying heavy pails of slop to feed the pigs we raised for meat and being proud that I was able to do so. I can remember carrying wood for our stove and fresh spring water for us to drink and being happy knowing that I was helping out my Mom and Dad. I can remember studying hard to get good grades in school and the pride in my parents eyes when I got into college. I can remember learning that saying "Yes" could bring more joy into my life than saying "No" ever did.

At some point in my life too, I also began to say "Yes!" to God. I began to ask for His guidance and accept His love. I began to try and be the person He meant for me to be and live the life that He meant for me to live. I began to love myself and others as myself.

I am still learning how to say "Yes". I still selfishly say "No" far too often. But I know that God is patient with me and is not done with me yet. My only advice to you then is not to wait as long as I did. Say "Yes" to God. Say "Yes" to life. Say "Yes" to love. Say "Yes" to helping others and making this world a better place. Yes may only be a word, but it can change your life.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Apr 2018, 11:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 14, 2018

Jonamiah


By Answers2Prayer 
  "You know old Jonamiah up there on the hill? I hear tell he's going to give everything away and go into one of those retirement places, some really up-market place."

"Yeah? Really? He's loaded. What's he going to do with everything?"

"Give it away, I hear. He's got three Rolls cars and a mansion full of antiques, they say. His mates will get it all I 'spose. That's if he's got any mates."

"'Spose so. You and I -- well we never did have much to do with him. Still ..., I mean if he's giving it away ... Perhaps we could go up and do a bit for him. You never know."

"Yeah, you're right. You never know."

So up they went, lawn mowers, hedge clippers, outdoor brooms and a sack of good intentions in hand.

Old Jonamiah welcomed them warmly, and they were a bit put off with his enthusiasm. He seemed a bit over the moon that they even bothered to call, they thought, he made such a thing of it, inviting them to stay and have a sandwich with him, or tea, or cool drinks. He even asked if they would come for a drive in the Rolls to look at the new place he was going to!

"Lawns, hedges, sweeping, yes, they need doing. But please, just sit here on the veranda and spend some time with me. I'd so much like to talk ... Tell me what you would most like out of life ... Tell me what you think the future holds... Tell me what you most seek and desire ...
No time? Pity. So much I wanted you to tell me about yourselves. Sorry you have to go. Sorry..., so sorry."

And the two got on with all the chores. They did a good job, felt pleased with themselves, caused no bother to the old chap, and just hoped he would notice how much they had done. Because, of course, you just never know what he might do to return the favour ...

But old Jonamiah turned away and went indoors, feeling in his pocket for his handkie. "I loved them so much," he thought. "I just wanted to give them everything, even take them with me to where I am going. I couldn't get it through to them that they never could get it all by what they did for me. They must believe that God: 'is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' And 'seek' is the key word. If they worked for me for a hundred years they couldn't even earn a down-payment on what I wanted to give them."

Then something like anger welled up in his heart. His frame shook, his great heart burst and he thundered out loud so that the universe was agitated and his roar split the sky: "I hate their goodnesses. All their righteousnesses are as filthy rags!" he stormed, and his storm circled the globe, blotting out the sun. The earth fell silent. Then it shuddered and died and Jonamiah wept. "I just wanted their companionship," he sobbed, "'For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived, by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.' But they just didn't have time for me." (See Hebrews 11:6, Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 64:4) 

Elizabeth Price  
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Apr 2018, 10:31 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 12, 2018

Friday the 13th

By Answers2Prayer 
 I'm not superstitious. Friday the 13th means absolutely nothing to me, and if it weren't for the people surrounding me at work, it would likely go by without me even thinking about it. In fact, some years ago I wrote a piece entitled "Thursday the 12th" in which I outlined how everything bad happened on Thursday the 12th, and nothing at all happened on Friday the 13th! And since that time, whenever someone begins anticipating the potential horrors for an upcoming Friday the 13th, I jokingly tell them that it's Thursday the 12th I worry about. 

I didn't even realize we were going to have a Friday the 13th last year until Wednesday morning when an accident on the highway I take to get to work put me an hour behind. Even then I wouldn't have thought anything of it until someone at work commented that my "Friday the 13th" had started early. Wait...It was, after all, Wednesday the 11th...Wednesday the 11th...Thursday the 12th...Friday the 13th...Was there a pattern emerging here?

I pushed it aside. Surely there really wasn't anything to this. However, when we awoke that Friday morning to a flooded basement, guess what thought immediately entered my mind...Oh no! Friday the 13th has begun! 

The troubles didn't stop with the flooded basement, either. I got to work to find that one of my favorite patients was not expected to live through the weekend. A ridiculous set of circumstances then dictated I would be over 2 hours late getting home from work, and when I finally got home, my washer overflowed and flooded my laundry room. By the time I got it all cleaned up, it was nearly 10:00 pm. It certainly sounded like Friday the 13th horrors to me!

But wait. My basement had also flooded on Christmas Eve of that year. That wasn't a Friday, and it certainly wasn't the 13th; and working at a hospital whose mandate is, in part, palliative care, there are many days during the year when one of my "favorite" patients begins to fail. By no means are those all on Friday the 13th. And yes, it also isn't the first time my laundry room has flooded, nor the first time I'd been unable to get home from work on time, and those incidences had never before happened on Friday the 13th. And not on Thursday the 12th or Wednesday the 11th either! In fact, if I were to scrutinize every day, I would see that there are many, many days each month that seem to specialize in being 'problem' days. The day of the week doesn't dictate the kind of day we will have, and neither does the date on the calendar. Annoyances happen! The cycle of life ends! Problems arise! Things come our way! 

There is something that will make all the difference in the world, however, and the effectiveness of this "fix" isn't limited to Wednesday the 11th, Thursday the 12th, OR Friday the 13th...

"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation." (Ps. 100:1-5 NLT) 

Did you get that? We are advised to give God praise, to enter His gates with thanksgiving, to worship Him with gladness, to come to Him with songs of joy.

When? 

The Psalm doesn't specify that this is only for the good times. In fact, it doesn't give us any specific time. That is because it is for all times, the good and the bad.

Am I stretching these verses, trying to make them "fit" my theology? 

Not according to the rest of the Bible: 

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials..." (Rom 5:3a NLT) 

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy..." (James 1:2 NLT)

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus..." (1 Thess. 5:18 NLT)

God whispered this thought into my head as I was still scrubbing my laundry room floor at 9:00 on the night of that Friday the 13th. I immediately pushed aside the complaints I had been contemplating and began to praise Him. I was then reminded of all the good things that had also happened that day, and as I thanked God for each one, I began to thank Him for the bad things as well. After all, that laundry room floor really did need to be scrubbed, and the new sump pump we needed to buy will give us peace of mind the next time we are away on a trip. Finally, God had given me the energy that got me through that long, tedious day, and despite the annoyances of being a home owner, I have a warm house to live in, my family is safe, healthy and doing well in all areas, and...well, the list could go on, but you get the point: I am indeed very, very blessed!

It's funny how the day no longer seemed like Friday the 13th...

We don't need to fear superstition--hey, we don't need to fear troubles of any kind! God is with us, and we can rely on Him at all times! The next time your circumstances appear to be overwhelming you, remember Psalms 100 and spend some time giving God praise. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. 

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 10 Apr 2018, 10:52 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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April 10, 2018

Three Reasons why you Can't let Go
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
Hubby and I agreed to get a brief video done. So I reached for my purse. "Wait a minute," I said, "let me put on some lipstick before you begin.

Why can't I toss vanity out the window? But dare I say that we all have a trace of that from time to time.

Some of us are way too appearance-conscious. We dress well to look sharp, wear black to look thin, fix the hair so we look young, and dress down to look cool.

And beyond how we look, we strive to do what might be impressive. We try hard to reach the top, we get busy to do good stuff or even go places to rave about what we did.

Those efforts aren't bad, unless they rule our lives. Or unless they stir electric signals to the brain, keeping it awake when it should be resting.

At an Access Life event for folks and their families living with disabilities, a sort of strange animal taught me a big lesson about total trust and rest.

A friend put a "turken" in my hands. No misspelling there. This sort of weird little creature is half turkey and half chicken. The body of a chicken, the neck of a turkey and the head of a chicken. Since I'm not able to "see" it, I imagine it to be a sort of ugly creature.

But does it even show concern about its looks? You tell me. As I held it, it fell asleep. It had no clue a blind woman was holding it. It didn't care how it looked, what appearance it displayed or even care about who took its picture. It showed no worry about others staring at her.

Why can't we be like that? Why can't we rest in peace just the way we are--with failures that might be known. With flaws that stand out. With weaknesses that are evident, or things left undone? And in face of it all, we, dare to live in complete trust. In total peace. And undisturbed confidence, the kind of confidence that we too fall asleep in God's arms.

But we can. And here are three steps to enjoy sweet sleep in those long nights:

Smile at the image in the mirror. Admire God's creation and repeat: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14) If He made us wonderfully, why fret about our body?

No matter what happens, what doesn't happen, we rest, fully and completely because of where we are: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (Psalm 91:1-2) With Him as our fortress and refuge, worry and tension can't exist.

Let go what is yet undone. The work God is doing in us is not completed. The plans He has for us are still in action because God's Word says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) If God prepared the work, He's mighty enough to show us the way to accomplish it.

Father, when restlessness robs our sleep, may we recognize that your kindness, your nurturing and protection is enough to grant the calmness of our thoughts, the peace in our heart and the serenity for our days. We will claim full rest each night, in Jesus name, we declare. Amen.

What keeps you awake at night?
Do your thoughts align with God's Word?
How do you find restful sleep?

Janet Eckles

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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Apr 2018, 3:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
April 7, 2018
Feeling Overwhelmed?

By Answers2Prayer 
  Are you feeling overwhelmed today? 

David knew what that felt like. He lived much of his life in hiding, even going to live with the enemy because of fear of what Saul would do to him, and in the Psalms, we see him even admitting this: "...when my heart is overwhelmed..." (Ps. 61:2 NKJV)

So what did David suggest? "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." (Ps. 61:2c-4 NKJV)

There is nothing better than going to the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ: "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Ps. 18:2 NKJV)

This is beautiful imagery, but just how does one "go" to the "Rock"?

The first clue comes from Ps. 61:2. Here David says, "Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (NKJV)

In David's words, he is crying out to God, praying for God to attend to his prayer, and interestingly, he is asking God to lead him to the rock. In other words, we can't get there on our own, we need to be led!

I doubt this is surprising to you. When you are in the midst of whatever overwhelming circumstances encircle you today, it seems so impossible to just "dump" it all in Jesus' lap. In order to do so, we must do something: We must cry out to the Lord, we must ask Him to lead us to the rock! 

But leading would indicate that we must also follow; and this is still all so abstract. When we are surrounded with the darkness and fear that accompany our deep circumstances, it is difficult to follow where God will lead. Here is a little exercise that I find helpful. As you go through it, you will experience how focusing on the bigness and vastness of God will cause our own problems to diminish in our sight, thus making it easy to allow God to lead us to the rock.

Step one: Pray and ask God to help you focus on His Word.

Step two: Prayerfully read the following words line by line. Meditate upon them, see them in your mind's eye and contemplate the visual images they conjure up: 

"The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.

He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, 'Glory!'" (Ps. 29:3-9 NKJV)

Step three: Ask yourself the following question: The Lord, the Almighty God, full of strength and power and glory, the One who can do all this, is He too small to handle your circumstance? 

Step four: Believe that no matter what it may seem, God is truly in the midst of your circumstances. Read verse 10:

"The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever." (Ps. 29:10 NKJV)

This tells us that the same all powerful God sits "enthroned at the Flood" as "King forever"! The Lord Almighty is already sitting in the midst of your circumstances!

Step five: Meditate on the final verse of Ps. 29: 

"The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace." (Ps. 29:11 NKJV)

Remember: The God who can do all of the above, the Lord who is sitting in the midst of your circumstances, "will give strength to His people...will bless His people with peace"! 

Are you feeling a bit less overwhelmed? It is because God just led you to the rock that is higher than your circumstnces! 

Remember this little exercise the next time you are feeling overwhelmed. That Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, is always there, always sitting in the middle of our circumstances, always wanting to give us strength and peace! 

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Apr 2018, 11:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 5, 2018

The Comfort of Love


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18 NIV)

Our old couch had seen better days. The fabric of its cushions was ripped and torn in places. I had covered the spots in duct tape but foam was still leaking out of them. The springs inside of it were broken. The sheet we covered it with was torn, sewn, and torn again. The right front leg had worked loose and fell off whenever we sat down on it. All in all our couch had become beaten, battered, and very uncomfortable.

For several months then I saved what money I could in order to buy a new one. Finally, I had enough and got a new, slightly smaller sofa that I hoped would last for years to come. We carried it up the steps and got it in place. While the delivery men hauled off the old one I looked over our new addition. It was strong and straight and soft and sturdy. With the day's work done I looked forward to having a seat on it. I made myself a tall glass of iced tea and walked into the living room. I stopped short and stared. There on my new couch were my dogs curled up contentedly for a nap.

I smiled and didn't shoo them off of it. Instead I sat down in my computer chair and watched them peacefully sleep for awhile. I didn't mind sharing my comfortable new couch with them. After all, they had for years blessed me with the comfort of their love. 

Love truly is the most comforting thing in this entire world. Nothing comforts us like knowing that God loves us. Nothing comforts us like knowing that we are here to love as well. Nothing comforts us like sharing our love with God, people, animals, and the world around us. " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (1 Cor. 1:3-4 NIV)

Carry your love with you always then. Let it be your cozy chair and comfy couch. Let it give rest to your heart and revitalize your soul. Let it comfort you on Earth and carry you to Heaven.

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Apr 2018, 10:59 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 3, 2018

 The Other Road 


By Answers2Prayer 
 "The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow." (Isaiah 48:17)

The guide book said it was an easy hike around the lake, where the flat path hugged the water's edge. It was going to take longer this day, because I had to stop every few feet, it seemed, for another breathtaking view in the late afternoon light.

Rounding a bend, the path began to lean upward. Within minutes the fork in the road became visible. The low road, the known path, the easier one? Or the high road, the unknown. I found myself humming an old ballad, "Oh! Ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland afore ye". Hmmm, had to make the decision, or go back.

I thought about forks in the road, spiritually-speaking. The Bible advises us to set our thoughts on things above, not below (Colossians 3:2). It's good to set our goals high and be challenged. Why settle for the same old, same old, or go backwards into the past way?

We always have a choice. Seek the face of God, who gives us strength for the journey. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chron 16:11). Don't run with the crowd. Take the high road. Choose to forgive. Go the extra mile, make the call, send the email, venture a random act of kindness, forgive the offense or the slight.

So, when there's an opportunity, choose the other road, the one less traveled, the high road.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy  
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Mar 2018, 9:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 31, 2018

Because He Lives

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us As the sun began to send forth its pink and orange tendrils that Easter morning, I found myself being drawn outside for a walk in the sunrise. It was a glorious morning. There was just enough wind to stir the air. The birds raised their voices in songs of praise as they flitted about, hunting for worms and dancing in the sky. The trees and bushes were in full bud, and the bulbs brightened the world with their vibrant colours.

In all, it was pretty hard to believe that there was so much sorrow and suffering, not only in the world at large, and also at our own backdoors. Yet we all know there is... Oh God, with all the pain, how can it be such a glorious morning? How can life just go on? How can...we...go on?

As I contemplated this, the words to a long-forgotten song, written by Gloria and William J. Gaither, came vividly to my mind:

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know, Who holds tomorrow, this life is worth a living just because He lives!" (See full lyrics below)

Because He lives. Isn't that what we were about to celebrate on that bright and beautiful Resurrection morning? I can go on because He lives! I can face "tomorrow" because:

a. He conquered sin: "'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:55-57 NIV);

b. He reconciled us to the Father: "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18-19 NIV); and

c. He rose from the dead: "In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!'" (Luke 24:5,6a NIV).

But how can we face tomorrow when tomorrow holds so much pain?

We can face tomorrow because:

a. The Lord is our helper: "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:6 NIV. See also Ps. 118:6);

b. The Lord has promised to fight for us: "Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you." (Deut. 3:22 NIV);

c. There is no room for fear with a God who loves us so perfectly: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." (1 John 4:18a NIV);

d. God holds the future in His hands: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" (Is. 46:10 NIV)!

It doesn't matter whether we are being held in the grasp of cancer. It doesn't matter that the marriage is over. It doesn't matter that the basement is flooded or there are serious heart problems. Not only can we can face tomorrow, but this life is worth the living, and all -- because He lives!

In the face of your circumstances this Easter season, I urge each of you to do the following:

1. Take a few moments to contemplate what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection;
2. Take another moment to listen to the birds and look at the budding trees and the brilliant bulbs; and then
3. Walk forward in confidence that because He lives, you can face tomorrow!

"God sent his son,
they called him Jesus,
He came to love,
heal and forgive.
He lived and died
to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there
to prove my Savior lives.

"Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives." Gloria and William Gaither

God bless each of you this gloridous resurrection season.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Mar 2018, 11:37 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 29, 2018

People Pleasing


By Answers2Prayer 
Jesus had nothing to hide. He was honest, open, genuine...and as we look through the gospels, we see this same theme throughout. What the people saw is what they got. No hidden agendas, no pretenses, just pure, unadulterated love.

We see this especially during Jesus' arrest and trial. Take John 18:19-24, for example: "While this was happening, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus replied, 'I have spoken publicly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple courts, where all the Jewish people assemble together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said. They know what I said.' When Jesus had said this, one of the high priest's officers who stood nearby struck him on the face and said, 'Is that the way you answer the high priest?' Jesus replied, 'If I have said something wrong, confirm what is wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why strike me?'" (NET)

I don't know about you, but I think if I were on trial for my life, I might try to sugarcoat things a bit. You know, make myself to be seen in a better light, something, but not Jesus. 

What is the difference between Jesus' reaction and my own?

Jesus knew and valued who He was in God. He knew, in any possible situation, that His father loved Him and accepted Him. As a result, He was freed from all worries about what people would think of Him. He was even freed from the fear of death itself. This gave Him the freedom He needed to be able to show true love at all times. 

Am I being too harsh on myself? It's true that I also know who I am in Christ. I know that my Father loves me and accepts me, no matter what; but do I truly value this knowledge the way Jesus did? I mean, I continue to be sensitive to what others think, I am limited by my fear of non-acceptance, I am muzzled by a sense of dread that I might "say the wrong thing". When I look at the life of Jesus, however, I see that He valued what His Father thought of Him more highly than anything else. Maybe I could learn some lessons...

Come on. Surely it can't be so bad to try to please other people. Isn't that part of loving them? 

As we proceed through the story of Jesus' trial, we find Him arriving in the court of Pontius Pilot: "So Pilate came outside to them and said, 'What accusation do you bring against this man?' They replied, 'If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.' Pilate told them, 'Take him yourselves and pass judgment on him according to your own law!' The Jewish leaders replied, 'We cannot legally put anyone to death.'" (John 18:29-31 NET).

Here Pilot finds himself in a hard position. He knows nothing about the situation, yet at his word, this man can either be freed or killed. We see that Pilot wants to save Jesus, and that he tries several different times to change the minds of the Jews concerning Him: "he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, 'I find no basis for an accusation against him.'" (John 18:38 NET; see also John 19:4,12). So why didn't Pilot just say the word and have Jesus' life spared? 

Many reasons, I am sure, but the one that God impressed upon me was this: Pilot was too afraid of the people to stand up for what was right. We know from the Biblical account that Pilot was afraid of the potential consequences of having Jesus crucified: "When Pilate heard what they said, he was more afraid than ever..." (John 19:8 NET); but his fear of the people was greater than his fear of putting an innocent man to death. 

And what was the result of Jesus' and Pilot's decisions? And what was the end of their stories?

Jesus, who loved God and valued His instructions more than He feared what others would think, died a horrible death. Three days later, however, He rose from the grave, and He is now in Heaven and will one day reign as ruler over all nations (see Ps.2:6-8, Isaiah 2:1-4, Jeremiah 23:5, Dan 7:18-27, etc). 

Pilot's ending was a bit different. The Roman historian and Christian polemicist, Eusebius, tells us that Pontius Pilate fell under great misfortune, and that he eventually committed suicide. (Taken from Flavius Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews 18.4.2.)

I don't know about you, but the end of Jesus' story, the One who put His focus on God and Him alone, looks significantly better than the end of Pilot's story. Think about that the next time you are tempted to do (or not do) something because of your fear of what people will think...

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 27 Mar 2018, 7:19 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 27, 2018

Lessons From Palm Sunday, Part 3


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  After gleaning some valuable lessons on Palm Sunday in the previous parts of this Palm Sunday oriented series, today we come to the concluding part of the same. 


Purpose...

Now why did Hosannas rent the air on that First Palm Sunday? 

The word hosanna comes from a Hebrew word meaning "save now" or "save us, we pray." The first word of Psalm 118:25 is howosiah-na, translated "Save us!" From what did the Jews seek deliverance? Obviously from the Roman rule. Jews looked upon Jesus as their Freedom-fighter, the One who would wield a sword and use His miraculous powers to liberate them from the Roman tyranny, but their hopes were dashed as Jesus, without as much as lifting even a little finger against the Romans, focused on His spiritual mission of liberating people from the tyranny of much more dangerous rule...SIN. More than ruling from a throne in Jerusalem, Jesus' first  coming was all about ruling in the hearts of men! No wonder, with their expectations belied, when Jesus' enemies ( jealous and insecure, the religious hierarchy of that time) sought public support for His crucifixion before Pontius Pilate, the very same people who yelled Hosanna now shouted "crucify Him" (Matt. 27:11-23). Talk of U-turns for the worse... 

Pray, tell me, dear reader, why are you following Christ? For earthly gains? Or for eternal benefits? Yes, He will provide for our needs as per His promise in Matt. 6:33, however our primary focus ought to be on "that which is above" (Col. 3:1-2/Phil. 3:20-21). 


Provenance...

Now what propelled Jesus to "cleanse the temple of its crass commerce?" Righteous indignation, which is, incidently, not to be mistaken for crude and rude anger! What then, is the difference between "anger" and "Righteous indignation"? One has to look at its source or origin to discern the truth. While anger is an emotional outburst against injustice meted out to self, righteous indignation is an outrage expressed at those wilfully dishonouring God's Holy Name. 

Jesus wouldn't be provoked to anger when insults were hurled at Him personally in the Cross, but covenanted ones who didn't care a hoot for God's Holy Name bore the brunt of His Holy fury. Do not we see Righteous indignation in three prominent places in the Bible as well? Phinehas (Numbers 25:1-8), Peter (Acts 5:1-11) and Paul (1 Cor. 6:5) for you, ladies and gentlemen! 

As God's covenanted people, while we may not have the full rights to express righteous indignation on "outsiders" on matters of "Holy Living", certainly it is our bounden duty to show righteous indignation to our "brethren" who, with their immoral lifestyles, would be tarnishing the fair reputation of our Redeemer (1 Cor. 5). 


Portend...

Jesus act of "cleansing" the temple also in a way portends His second coming, when He will come, not riding humbly on a donkey, but gloriously on a horse (See Rev 19:11-21) to wage war and cleanse much of the filth of the World created by two of Satans' agents namely the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet. 

Dear Reader on a Palm Sunday -- or any occasion when you read this article -- it would serve you well to pray thus...Come Lord Jesus...firstly into my life, cleanse me of all the moral filth and then rule, unopposed, seated in the throne of my heart... 


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Mar 2018, 11:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 24, 2018
Lessons From Palm Sunday, Part 2

By Answers2Prayer 
  In our ongoing series, on the lessons to be gleaned from "Palm Sunday" we come today to 2 more...

Puzzle...

Tempering Matthew's "puzzling" account of Jesus riding on two donkeys (See Matt. 21:1-10) with the other Gospels, which state that He rode on a single donkey, some of the Bible commentators state with rightful  conviction that while Jesus rode on a donkey's colt into Jerusalem, the "senior" donkey followed riderless right behind. The 'junior' donkey (donkey's colt) is reasoned by the seasoned scholars to represent the church, birthed 1500 years after Judaism was established, which accepts Jesus Christ. The riderless donkey, then, represents Judaism, who has rejected Christ.  

Peace...
Culturally and socially during Biblical times, a king astride a donkey symbolized the "peace mission", whereas a king riding on a horse symbolized "war". The "peace" mission of Christ which would be accomplished four days later on the Cross, would pave the way for a peaceful reconciliation between not only Holy God and unholy man (See 2 Cor. 5:21/1Tim. 2:5), but also between Jews and Gentiles (See Eph. 2:14-19) as well as the physically impaired and the healthy ones who would all be now one in Christ (See Is. 56:3-7/Acts 8:26-40). 

Pitfalls...

Say Preacher, is your popularity soaring? What better time than now to recall the wise words of Sadhu Sundar Singh, especially in the context of all the unexpected popularity that came the way of the unsuspecting "little donkey" on this momentous occasion. I am quoting his words verbatim here below: 

"When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people spread their clothes in the way and strewed branches before Him in order to do Him honour. Jesus rode upon an ass, according to the word of the prophet. His feet did not touch the road which was decorated in His honour. It was the ass which trod upon the garments and the branches. But the ass would have been very foolish to have been uplifted on that account; for the road really was not decked in its honour! It would be just as foolish if those who bear Christ to men were to think anything of themselves because of what men do to them for the sake of Jesus." 

Doubtless, these words need to not so much be inked, but rather, be engraved in the hearts and minds of every servant of God. It would serve every servant of the Master well to remember that he/she is being respected, not because of his/her profession, but because of his/her association with the Master's work. Look at the Apostle Paul's self-worded "score-card" of his ministry: "For I am the least of all the apostles...it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace." (1 Cor. 15:9,10 NLT) 

Take heed, messenger of God's word! With popularity can come some pitfalls. The next time people pat you on your back for your "marvellous sermon", praise God for placing the message in your heart and counting you worthy of taking it to the world. Otherwise, you could well end up making a proverbial "ass" of yourself! The words of John the Baptist are so important for us to remember the words quoted from Sadhu Sundar Singh: "'He must increase, I must decrease' (John 3:30 BSB) ought to be the "watchword" for every Servant of God at all times." 

While on the subject, it would not be out of place to muse on yet another simple yet profound truth. Wasn't the Donkey which carried Jesus to Jerusalem first "untied", and then only "used" for His glory? How true in a Christian's life too! First one has to be "set free" from the chains of sin before he/she is put into "service" of being "a carrier" (read witness) to the outside, watching World (See Acts 8:25). 

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for all the lessons, You are teaching us from "Palm Sunday". When it comes to application of these lessons, enable us not to be only "mere listeners" but also "doers". In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
With Palm Sunday upon us, our minds are drawn to the supreme act of selfless love, the death and resurreciton of Jesus Christ for you and for me. Join us on Tuesday for the conclusion of "Lessons From Palm Sunday", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Mar 2018, 11:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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March 22, 2018

Lessons From Palm Sunday, Part 1
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By Answers2Prayer 
As far as the written literature of the Christian world is concerned, somehow there appears to be a disturbing "calm" about "Palm" Sunday, one of the landmark events in our Saviour's life, with not too many articles abounding in relation to the same. It is the same with the Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost. Somehow, in the Contemporary Church, these two momentous events do not seem to be given the due significance attached to other milestone events in our Saviour's life, such as Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. 

In this Series laced with alliteration of sub-headings beginning with the letter "P" for "Palm", yours truly feels challenged to present the significance of Palm Sunday to Nuggets readership through the following sub-headings: 

Period...
Our Lord, who is scripturally known as the Almighty's Pascal Lamb (See 1 Cor. 5:7) had said that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it (See Matt. 5:17). As Jesus had fulfilled the law in every respect, it is not binding on us who follow Him in faith to observe the law in toto (See Acts 15:1-35). 

Now coming back to the Saviour...As per the Jewish Law, the Pascal Lamb, whose blood would save the Lord's chosen ones from His wrath, had to be brought to the Jewish home four days before its eventual slaying (See Exodus 12:1-6). It follows, therefore, that the Divine Pascal Lamb also would enter Jerusalem, the "home" (See Psalm 132:13-14) of it's "Divine Owner", exactly four days before His propitiatory death (See 1 Thess 1:10 TLB). Mind you, this "fourth day" for the Jews would begin precisely at evening on the previous day by our calendars (6pm), and would end at evening of the next day (exactly 24 hours later). So folks, the atoning death of our Lord at 3 pm on "Good Friday" was not on the "fifth" day after entering His Father's Home, but at a time which was very much the part of the "fourth" day (See John 18:28).  

Prophecy...

If milestone events amongst others in our Redeemer's life, such as His virgin birth at Bethlehem, crucifixion on the Cross, resurrection and ascention were all prophesied (See Is. 7:14/Micah 5:2/ Ps. 22 /Ps. 16:10/Ps. 68:18), then what would make us think that the incidents which were central to an event as significant as Palm Sunday, with His arrival into God's home (also City- Psalm 148:1-3) and it's subsequent purification that fuelled by His righteous indignation would not be prophesied? Let the Scripture take over at this stage. Firstly the Prophecy about His arrival... 

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zech. 9:9 ESV)

Then the one on His righteous indignation which propelled Him to undertake impromptu cleansing of the Temple: "For zeal for your house has consumed me..." (Ps. 69:9 ESV) 

While on the subject, we may now take the "loopline" (permit me to use some of the Railways-related terminology) to cast spotlight on the subject, "Why Prophecies". Remember that the very salvation of mankind depended upon His single, singular life. As a result, the Almighty God did not want any rationalist to attribute His unique life, death and resurrection to a mere accident or coincidence. Let me illustrate with a Railways related incident: While hurredly alighting from a train in India, a servant of God forgot one of his suitcases in the compartment. As the train chugged away from the station, a chilling realization hit him that a suitcase now needed to be retrieved from that train. Would he chase the train in a taxi? Considering the traffic on the roads, there was no way he would do that, for by the time he reached the next station, the train would have already departed from there as well. So he frantically prayed that the suitcase containing some very precious items of his would be restored.Tears of joy started flowing from his eyes when lo and behold, he heard the announcement in the station that the train which had departed was returning. The reason? This devout soul would later discover that the train had run short of water in its storage tank, and the passengers were complaining. The driver had no other choice but to bring it back to the station to refill its water tanks. 

While a Christian would attribute the whole experience of this Servant of God to Divine Providence, a rationalist would put it down to mere coincidence. Consider for a moment, however, the following: What if everything about this "lost and found" story had been foretold by way of writing in a certain book? Would a rationalist still put it down to an accident or a coincidence? No way. It is the same about Christ's life. It was not by chance that everything happened the way it did at His first coming. Rather, everything that transpired in His life was the Almighty's will!

Hmmmm...Didn't one wise man affirm "Prophecy is nothing but history written in advance"? 

Prayer: Father, Thou art Sovereign. Everything is in Your hands. We need not worry when a crisis comes calling. We resolve not to worry during our troubled times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries

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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 20, 2018
Where you Grow

By Answers2Prayer 
  "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." (James 1:2-4 NLT)

When I was a boy growing up in my Nana's old house we had 4 huge gardens. Come June my Dad would be working the tiller while my Mom, brothers, and I would be planting the seeds. One garden held enough potatoes to feed us all year round. Others held corn, carrots, cabbages, onions, tomatoes, cantaloups, and watermelons. There were also so many flowers. My Nana had a special love for them and nurtured them. Flowers surrounded her old house and every year she would put down potting soil, plant new ones, and sing while she worked.

One June I can remember helping her go around the house pulling weeds and watering the freshly planted flowers. She was so gentle with them and gave them such love and care. I thought it was no wonder they grew so fast. When we where done I ran to get my bike to ride awhile. As I was getting on it, however, I noticed something. I got back off and knelt down on the concrete walkway that led to our porch. There growing out of a crack in the concrete without water, soil, or love was a single dandelion.

At times in my own life I have felt my growth nurtured, watered, and cared for like Nana's flowers. At other times I have felt like I was that dandelion having to grow through solid concrete. Through it all, though, I never stopped growing. Through it all, I never stopped loving. I realized that it doesn't matter where you grow. It just matters that you grow.

God loves you so much and God wants you to grow in this life. Make the choice to keep growing then no matter what your circumstances. Keep growing in love. Keep growing in goodness. Keep growing in kindness. Keep growing in oneness with God. Keep helping others to grow as well. Always remember that to live is to grow whether it is through the richest soil in the world or through a crack in the concrete.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 10:34 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 17, 2018

When Noah Found Spring
By Answers2Prayer 
  The sun is out, the temperatures have been above 0 for weeks, the grass is growing and the flowers--the ones that didn't come out in February and then get killed by the next snow--are starting to bloom. Everything--even the calendar!--says it's spring. 

As the earth buds with new life and the days get longer and warmer, spring is truly the official sign that the cold days of winter are past. It is a miracle, a sign of God that there are better days ahead.

It is true that winter in the region where I live was completely unimpressive in 2017, when this was written. Although I realize this is a sign of global warming, and although I understand that it may have put the farmers in a bad spot, I, for one, did not complain about the lack of snow. It was nice to be able to wear my light jacket for most of January and February. It was a blessing to not have to clean the driveway. It was such a relief to not have to worry about driving in the wet, slippery stuff. As a result, when thinking back over the winter of 2017, anyone from the region where I live will be scratching their heads about now, saying, "Why all the hype about spring? We didn't really ever have a winter!"

Nonetheless, no matter how warm or cold the winter has been, I am still psyched about spring, for it means that we don't have to worry about the cold weather again for an entire year.

More than likely anyone reading finds themselves right in the middle of winter -- If not a calendar winter, then a winter period of life. And if it is the latter, it has probably lasted more than the three month calendar period, too. In fact, the tell-tale signs of spring that are happening outside our homes right now are likely not visible in the winter period of your life!

You know what I mean. If ever there were a "winter" period of life, the time you spend dealing with cancer meets the criteria. So does that death that is still so raw. And the loss of your job/home/relationship/pet, etc. And more than likely, when you look out the "window" of your life, there are no signs that this will ever go away, that your life will ever return to normal.

I believe Noah knew exactly how you feel. He had been shut up in an ark for months and months. Sure, the ark eventually came to rest on Mount Ararat (after five long months! see Gen. 8:3,4); however, the bible tells us that it was another 2.5--months!--before other mountain peaks even became--visible! 

I don't know about you, but I would say Noah was in the middle of a very long winter with no spring in sight, and I know you can relate.

So what did Noah do?

He sent out a raven and a dove. The Bible says the raven, "flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up" (Gen. 8:7 NLT), but the dove, "could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat..." (Gen. 8:9 NLT). 

Well what good did that do? They were still entrenched in their "winter" with no spring in sight. 

There was, however, a part to the story that Noah couldn't see. God was doing something on a more global scale: "He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth." (Gen. 8:1b-3a NLT). 

Why couldn't Noah see this? 

Because it took time: time for the Earth to dry out; time for the water to recede; time for the plant-life, so vital to sustaining life on Earth, to regrow. 

Was Noah discouraged? 

I would have been. But the Bible records that even after the first dove returned, in fact, just seven days later, Noah again sent out the dove, and this time, "...the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak." (Gen. 8:11 NLT). 

Yes, God was at work resolving Noah's problem, and when the time was right, God sent a ray of hope, a dove carrying an olive leaf. No, Noah still couldn't leave the ark. In fact, he was in the ark for a total of 12.5 months. Nonetheless, in the midst of the despair, Noah sought hope, and God sent it to him.

It doesn't look like your winter is over yet. Those "flood waters" are still very much surrounding everything, and you are still "trapped" in your circumstance. Nonetheless, there is hope. Spring will come, and if you make the effort to seek that hope, if you "send out the dove", so to speak, God will give you the hope that you so desperately need to get through the rest of your "winter". He may not do it at once, but don't despair. Remember that Noah had to send out the dove twice before receiving his hope. Just keep on looking to the One who knows how to dry out the Earth; the One who knows how and when to send the spring; the One who assures you that your Winter will end. Ask Him for confirmation that this will be over, and then watch for His response!

Happy Spring!

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:
The season for the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection is approaching. Please join us next Thursday for "Lessons from Palm Sunday", a Mini-Series by Suresh Manoharan.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 10:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 15, 2018

3 Steps to Getting Your Prayers Answered

By Answers2Prayer
  I really don't want to walk in the rain, I thought.

"C'mon let's go anyway," hubby said as we walked out the front door. 

The wind was blowing and a few sprinkles came down. I hesitated but relinquished to his insistence. 

"The sun will come out; trust me," he said.

I held his hand as we made it to the driveway. "Wait a minute," he said as he opened the car door, "let me grab the umbrella from the trunk, just in case."

Umbrella? I thought he was confident it wouldn't rain. I thought he was acting in faith that the sprinkles would stop. His words said one thing, but his actions said another.

We do that too, don't we? We declare we have faith God will take care of the situation. We just know that our trust is complete. But as we claim to believe God will show up and solve all our needs, our actions tell a different story.

And when we do our best to walk on that faith, something inside whispers doubt. And next, we focus on the circumstances urging us to act contrary to what we said we believe.

But there's help. If you're walking in a downpour of conflict or disappointment, in 1 John 3:14-15 are nestled three powerful ways for you to walk through any circumstance with confidence, secure and firm.

Step 1: "...our trust isn't placed in things of this world, in the situation or in others. Not at all, this is the confidence that we have toward him ..."

Step 2: We know to ask not according to our whims, but according to God's will, "...that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us."

Step 3: Sleep comes easy at night because with renewed confidence, we declare: "And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

Do you believe in this truth...or are you holding onto the umbrella of doubt?
Janet
Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Mar 2018, 8:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 8, 2018

Arm-stretching? Or Reading Glasses? Part 1


By Answers2Prayer 
  "Nothing wrong with my eyes," I joked to my optometrist. "It's my arms. They are getting shorter by the day!"

Her retort was instant: "We do have an arm-stretcher in the basement..."

Unfortunately for me, that solution sounded like something straight from the Middle Ages. As much as I don't particularly like wearing glasses, that particular alternative was far worse!

I was thinking about that as I searched for my glasses this morning. My cell phone was blinking, indicating I had received a message of some kind; but without that all-important pair of lenses balancing atop my nose, there would be no way I could read it. Even with longer arms. I eventually located the missing necessity, and as I poised them over my eyes, the words became crystal clear.

It's true that I've worn glasses for reading for more years than I can remember; yet each time I try to read without them, and then look at the same print with them on, I am truly in awe that something so small, something so simple, can make such a difference. It makes me think. There was a time when my arms were "long enough", and I spent hours of every day devouring written material without glasses. There was this one book, however, that I couldn't read, no matter how hard I tried. Oh, I could see the print clearly, but no matter how much time I spent trying to decipher those words, their meaning eluded me. The title of the book? The Bible. 

I must not have been the only one whose arms were too "short", for there are thousands of volumes written to explain the meaning of its words. In fact, there are so many volumes that I even found the explanations confusing, for they seemed to contradict each other. 

I decided then, that I would only read the volumes written by my own denomination. After all, they proclaimed the same messages taught from the pulpit each week. How could they be "wrong"? As time went on, however, I became a bit curious. What if my church's explanation of the Bible was wrong? What if this elusive book actually taught something different from what my church claimed? Should I blindly take their interpretation? Or should I read it for myself? 

I decided to try again, and since my spiritual vision was still very poor, I "stretched my arms" by disciplining myself to get up early every morning and stay up late every night reading it. I even "stretched my arms" by forcing myself to read it through in a year. Unfortunately, no matter how much my arms "stretched", the results were the same: I still couldn't understand that book! 

One day, someone suggested there was a pair of "spiritual glasses" that would help me understand. To be perfectly honest, I was incensed that this particular person would think I needed "spiritual glasses". After all, there was nothing wrong with my vision. It was just that my "arms" were still "too short"! 

It was true, however, that all of my "arm-stretching" had resulted in nothing but sore shoulders and joints. What if there really were spiritual "reading glasses", something that would help me understand the Bible?

I decided to put God to the test. After all, it is His Word, so I humbled myself before Him and repented of my prideful attempts to understand His book on my own. I then began begging Him to give me those "spiritual glasses"...

Then one day, I received the gift of God's Spirit, and now, every time I open the Bible, its meaning is clear. It teaches me Truth. It speaks directly to my heart, giving me guidance in my day to day life and assistance in my walk with God. What a difference this has made!

Are your spiritual "arms" too "short"? Has your "arm-stretching" to date been painful but non-productive? Are you relying on the interpretation of others? Why not try God's Spiritual glasses? Remember, since God's Spirit inspired the book ("All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Tim. 3:16 NLT), who better to interpret it? The next time you sit down to read your Bible, I encourage you to pray this simple prayer from your heart: 

Dear God, please send your Spirit to unblind my spiritual eyes and unstop my spiritual ears. May Your word be: "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Ps. 119:105 KJV). May Your Word, "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12a ESV), truly pierce "to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow" (Heb. 4:12b ESV). May it discern "the thoughts and intentions of heart." (Heb. 4:12c ESV)

You'll be amazed at the difference.

I must admit, however, that there are times when I put on my glasses and I still can't see...Join us on Saturday for "Arm-Stretching? Or Reading Glasses?" 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 Tue 06 Mar 2018, 6:18 pm

“Welcome to the Nugget

March 6, 2018

The Only Way to Stay Safe from Troubles


By Answers2Prayer
  Why did I give in?

Some years ago, my friends and I walked on the soft sand in the Cabo San Lucas beaches.

She elbowed me. "You're going with us. C'mon, parasailing will be fun."

I frowned. "You're nuts. I'm not doing that," I said. "Going up in the air with nothing underneath me? Ain't happening."

"You'll love it." She shook my arm and her voice grew with excitement. "C'mon where's your sense of adventure?"

My sense of adventure was at home in Orlando, where it belonged--safe and secure.

With her nudging, a little tiny part of me said, "Why not...what could happen?"

I gave a long sigh. "All right, I'll go."

Once I was strapped in, the man placed my hands on the leather bands. "Hold on tight."

Slowly, we were lifted up in the air and the wind lifted my hair. My friend giggled, oohed and aahed. Then she said, "Whatever you do, don't fool with the metal hook."

Ah! The hook. The one latch that connected the seat to the parachute. Should that hook come undone, or should I somehow open it and let the strap loose, I'd plop 30 feet into the Pacific Ocean and turn into an afternoon snack for the sharks below.

Crazy experience. But crazier is the fact that we're also dangling above the tension of life. Almost daily we're threatened by the teeth of anxiety that could devour our peace and bite into our confidence.

Knowing that, we should never, never undo the hook that connects us to the One who keeps us afloat. The One who sustains us above the fangs of adversity. The One who holds us beyond the reach of despair.

And when we're safely connected to His power, we're secure and protected from any and all dangers, threats or evil that hovers about. Nothing can touch us for "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-18 NIV).

In Him all things hold together. What relief, what freedom! Not in our efforts, our performance, our image, or our crazy ways. None of that holds our life together. It's only the connection with Him who has the power to lift us above problems, struggles, and daily battles that can keep us secure and safe.

What are you connected to these days?

Janet
Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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Join us on Thursday and Saturday to see how near-sightedness can teach us important lessons on how to read the Bible: "Arm-Stretching? Or Reading Glasses?" A Mini-Series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart.
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