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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Apr 2019, 5:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 13, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Continuing our focus on the theme of "Turning of the Tables", we come to two more instances in the Scriptures, where we see distinctly how the good Lord "turned the tables" on seemingly adverse situations.

Tongue...
The farewell message of Moses: the children of Israel reaching the threshold of the Promised Land is what the Book of Deuteronomy is all about. The amazing aspect of Moses's moving speech does not lie in his ability to take a lengthy inventory of his followers' obedience graph in the last 40 years, nor does it lie in his frequent and fervent pleas to the people of Israel to walk in the "straight and narrow". While they do punctuate the passionate content of Moses's speech, the most amazing thing about that parting speech is who is actually telling the speech itself! Many years ago, Moses cited his "stammering" disability as a disqualification for taking up any leadership role (Exodus 4:10). But here we see the same Moses, "the stammerer", giving the longest recorded speech in the Bible! We see Moses speaking through 33 of the 34 chapters in Deuteronomy with eloquence, which was at once unmistakable! Now if this does not leave one speechless, then what would?

The words of scripture tell us that God transforms the weakness of His faithful ones into their strength (Heb 11:34). This notion never rings more true than in the case of a man with a speech impairment giving the longest recorded speech in the Bible after being divinely strengthened! In God's service, it is the availability, more than the ability, which counts. Once we give ourselves to Him, with all our innate frailties, His strength will flow through us in overflowing measure for the world to marvel at (2 Cor 12:8-10)!

Thorn...
Bearing the pain of a prickly thorn in the flesh constantly (akin to a "painful situation like being a victim of injustice" - 2 Cor 12:7-12) becomes possible only when one clasps the liberating truth (John 8:32) that these "thorns in my flesh" are actually helping me spiritually, rather than harming me.

Apostle Paul turned the tables on an adverse situation in his life by looking at it from the Lord's wise perspective that the "thorn in his flesh" is actually keeping him humbly dependent on the Lord, instead of hindering him.

"Cross bears those who bear the Cross" observed the wise Sadhu Sundar Singh, and why not? For we cling to the indwelling, joyous Holy Spirit for sustenance in the wake of purifying painful experiences coming our way! (ah, the Holy Spirit comes into the picture now... He has to come into the picture at some stage or the other when we are speaking about the Christian life...without Him, there is no Christian life in the first place-Rom 8:9).

Where there is the presence of the Lord, there is an indescribable joy. Where that heavenly joy is, there is the strength of the Lord to reinforce our inner self to carry our own crosses to bear (Psalm 16:11, Nehemiah 8:10, I Peter 1:7-8, Romans 15:13, Eph 3:16, 2 Cor 12:7-12).

It would make sense only to the faithful Christians who have also faithfully carried the cross for many years, when I see that Christian character (Romans 5:3-4/2 Cor 3:18) getting built only in the rarefied atmosphere, as it were, of "pressure outside and pleasure inside".

Sadly, some of us attribute power of God to merely just awe-inspiring miracles, like parting of the Red sea, or raising of the dead, without realizing that it is that same power which is equipping us to also bear the "thorn in our flesh" faithfully.

It is not out of place to quote the following scripture portions verbatim, to underscore the point that the words "God's grace and His power" have also been used interchangeably in the Bible...

"And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:33, ESV)

"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9b, NIV)

Joni Earekson Tada, a quadriplegic (paralyzed neck downwards and confined to a wheelchair now for 50 years) and a "great" Servant of God, preaches about "turning the tables" on the "thorns" in her life very effectively, not only through lip but also through her life itself.

"He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace!!! My wheelchair was the key to seeing all this happen--especially since God's power always shows up best in weakness...."

Prayer: Father, You know what adverse situations are buffeting us. Grant us your wisdom to turn the tables for your Glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 10:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 30, 2019

Of Black Flies and Bug Repellant...Lessons From Cape Breton Part 9
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned have been outlined in this series that will has been appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

When it comes to bugs, I'm not the most squeamish female in the world. I recognize that they are God's creation, put here for a purpose, and I try to leave them alone and preserve them in their natural habitat. That, of course, means, "outdoors", and especially, "not in my trailer"! Sometimes it even means, "Not on my trail!" The problem is that "my" trail passes through "their" forest, and as such, I try to respect them.

But why can't they respect me?

You see, many of these bugs bite. I'm allergic to some of them, and even worse, some of them carry disease.

It's true that most of the usual biting bugs actually tend to leave me alone. Mosquitoes will only go after me if their favorite meal (read "my husband") is not available, and though the deer flies do like to buzz around my head, they will usually choose my son's delicious flesh over my own. Black flies, on the other hand, are a totally different story. They regard me as an ice cream Sunday with fudge sauce, whip cream and a cherry on top, and to get to my delicious blood, they work their way up my sleeves and pant legs and even under the rim of my hat; and they seem to prefer the flesh of my scalp.

With our trip to Cape Breton taking place in the fall, I wasn't overly worried about black flies, for they are primarily a nuisance of the spring. I would learn, however, that while the Cape Breton black flies do die off in the summertime, they re-emerge, hungrier than ever, in the fall. This meant that every time we would stop for breath on the many beautiful trails, the black flies would swarm me incessantly. It got so bad on our first day of hiking that whenever my husband stopped for a breather, I paced circles around him just to get away from my menace. I probably put in twice the number of kilometers, and while he got back to the car without a single bite, I looked more like a pin cushion. How I wished I had taken the bug repellant with me!

In my "hike" through life, I am also bothered by certain "biting bugs". These are better known as temptations.

Just like I am not particularly bothered by mosquitoes or deer flies, there are many temptations that don't entice me in the least. I do have, however, my own little set of "black fly" temptations that get me every time. They come, seemingly out of nowhere, and there seems to be nothing I can do to deter them. Time and time again I stumble and fall into the exact same traps. Oh, God, I need "sin repellant"!

Fortunately, such a thing DOES exist. God promises His own help in overcoming temptation: "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." (1 Cor. 10:13 NLT).

In other words, when we rely solely on God, He will help us overcome those pesky--and dangerous!--"temptation bugs": "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9 NLT).

Just what does God's "sin repellant" look like?

The first "sin repellant" is humility: "...humble yourselves before God." (James 4:7a NLT). We need to humbly admit to God that we need help, that we can't fight temptation alone.

The second "sin repellant" is prayer. We need to ask God to give us a way out of temptation: "And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." (Matt. 7:13 NLT)

The next "Sin repellant" is to resist: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7b NLT).

How do we resist?

This is the final layer of "sin repellant". We need to fight the devil with Scripture: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11 NLT). Let's remember that Jesus Himself resisted temptation by quoting scripture (See Matt. 4, Luke 4). But in order to have that "word in my heart", I need to be diligent in studying God's Word: "Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide." (Psalm 119:97–98 NLT).

The best news is that this "sin repellant" can't be forgotten at home. It is available to all of us at all times, as long as we:

• Humble ourselves and admit we have weaknesses and need God's strength;
• Pray and ask God's help in overcoming;
• Stay ever on the alert for temptation; and
• Diligently study God's Word.

Anyone want some repellant against black flies? I have a good brand; but God's brand of "sin repellant" works even better!

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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EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE ...
Curious about the strange temple described in intricate detail in the last 9 chapters of Ezekiel? Check out the "Lessons From Ezekiel's Temple" series, recently published in The Nugget by clicking here.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 11:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 28, 2019

Delighting in the Law of God...

Lessons From the Book of Psalms,
Part 7: Psalms 1
 bible
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us    In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

An interesting fact about the book of Psalms is that it is actually a compilation of various songs. Though we always refer to them as the Psalms of David, they were, in actuality, penned by many different authors over a span of many years.

Over the past seven months, we have looked at seven individual Psalms and how these powerful songs can empower us, rendering our prayer life stronger and increasing our faith. Today's lesson comes from Psalms 1, a Psalm of David, which teaches us some important facts about relationship with God:

"Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand arhound with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night." (vs. 1-2 NLT)

I don't know about you, but on first glance, it would seem to me that this is in opposition of the teachings of the New Testament which tell us that in the New Covenant, we are no longer under the law and it will not save us (See Acts 15:10, Rom. 3:20, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:20, 2 Cor. 3:7-15, Gal. 2:16-21, Gal. 3:1-23, etc). How then can delighting in God's law bring us bles sings?

When you do a close examination of these first two verses of Psalms 1, however, you see something powerful: "...they delight in the law of the Lord..."

When you delight in something, it is because that something is extremely pleasing to you. For example, I delight in my children. But wait: How can a list of rules be pleasing to us?

It is only by being in love with the rule giver than any list of rules can be 'pleasing'. When we love someone with all of our hearts, we want to please them, and we take delight in doing the things that please them. There's no way we can delight in a set of rules unless we truly love the rule giver; therefore, delighting in God's laws requires that we be fully and completely in love with God, the Rule-Giver!

Of course there are benefits to loving God enough to want to keep His laws. Psalm 1 tells us that God will pour blessings out upon us when we delight in His laws:

"They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do." (vs. 3-4 NLT)

Unfortunately, when we look at these verses, we often see them as a 'recipe' for prosperity: If I keep the Lord's laws, I will prosper! And so we work hard to keep those rules, but the desired prosperity never comes.

I think the problem is that we forget that little word delight. We forget that it's not just keeping the rules that God requires of us, it is in taking pleasure in those rules. While we think the 'recipe' for prosperity lies in keeping the rules, in all reality, the 'recipe' for prosperity lies in being so in love with the Rule-Giver that we delight in His laws! When this is the case, our focus will be on being with God and loving Him, and not on trying to earn His favour. It is only when our priorities are properly aligned that we can delight in the law and receive the promised blessings.

Psalms 1 goes on to explain that though there are many benefits to delighting in God's laws, there are also consequences for not delighting in His laws:

"But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction." (vs. 5-6 NLT)

Isn't it interesting that the "wicked" are defined as those who do not delight in God's laws, and conversely, those who do delight in God's laws are called "the godly"?

Let's keep in mind as we read this Psalm that it isn't about wanting to receive the blessing; it's about wanting that relationship with the Law-Giver for the sole purpose of loving Him and pleasing Him. The given benefits to those who love God enough to delight in His law are just icing on the cake!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 1:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 26, 2019

How do I Calm my Heartache?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Stop crying. That's enough! It wasn't that bad. Stop it now.
These are words others used to calm my little granddaughter's cries after a scraped knee.

Being the wise grandma I try to be, I have a different approach. I scoop her up in my arms. Hold her tight, and keep her close. Without saying a word, I rock her gently back and forth. I don't let her go. Her sobs subside. I still hold her tight, while back and forth I rock her. Her body relaxes and she settles in my arms, content as can be.
How do I know that approach works?

God did the same with me. When an unthinkable tragedy broke my heart and shook my world, He held me close. He didn't give instructions. He just held me close. He didn't command I stop my cries. He just held me close. Soon, His promises swept over me like a wave of warm water in a cold day.

Should more scrapes to my heart occur, I know to be still and let Him hold me because "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18, NLT).

Prayer: Father, how loving of you to care for us in such a tender way. Your comfort has no match. And your power to heal holds no conditions. When heartache invades my life, knowing You're ready to hold me tight shines reassurance in me. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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God Calling    by Two Listeners

March 25 - Follow Your Guide

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 32:8

I am with you to guide you and help you. Unseen forces are controlling your destiny. Your petty fears are groundless.

What of a man walking through a glorious glade who fretted because ahead there lay a river and he might not be able to cross it, when all the time, that river was spanned by a bridge? And what if that man had a friend who knew the way – had planned it – and assured him that at no part of the journey would any unforeseen contingency arise, and that all was well?

So leave your foolish fears, and follow Me, your Guide, and determinedly refuse to consider the problems of tomorrow. My message to you is, trust, and wait.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.    Amen.    Jude 1:24-25

Copyright ©️ 2019 Two Listeners, All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Mar 2019, 8:58 pm

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March 23, 2019

One Man's Junk...
Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Last Thursday we discovered through my 17-year-overdue basement-cleaning process that what is junk in our own eyes is nothing but a diamond-in-the-rough from God's perspective. He doesn't see us as junk; rather, He sees us for what we can become, and He cleanses us of our unrighteousness, freeing us to become that "treasure" in His eyes.

There was, however, one other vital lesson that my basement cleaning process taught me...

You see, when we moved into this house, it was beautiful. Everything had its place, and there was no junk in the hidden recesses of our home. So when I took a critical look at the house after living here for 17 years, I had to scratch my head and say, "Where did all this junk come from? I never wanted to fill my house with junk!"

In the same way, when we fall in love with Jesus, we understand that our slates have been wiped clean (see Ps. 103:12), and we love Him so much that we desire to keep them that way. However, a few hours into our love-walk with Jesus, and we begin to see a build-up of sinful "junk" returning to our lives! We have addictions. We have pet sins. We have a human nature. We have sinful habitual patterns.

Just where does all this "junk" come from?

Unlike me having to pay for the city to come and remove my junk, however, I don't have to pay for Jesus to remove my addictions, my human nature, my pet sins, my habitual patterns, for "...if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (John 8:36 NLT), and "...now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1 NLT).

This doesn't mean, however, that I don't have a role to play. Just like I had a lot of sorting and hauling to do to get the junk out of my house and onto the street, we all have a part to play in the process of keeping our spiritual "junk" at bay. Here are a few examples:

1. "If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9 NLT).

The first step to "junk cleaning" has to do with confession. We need to acknowledge the areas of our lives that God needs to cleanse.

2. "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

We need to ever be on the alert for attacks of the devil. This means we need to be aware of our weaknesses and with God's help, take steps to prevent ourselves from once again falling into temptation.

3. "...Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." (Eph. 6:10-11 NLT)

This means that we need to fully understand who we are in Christ (See "God's Armour" for some clues on how to do this).

4. "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." (Eph. 6:18 NLT)

We cannot underestimate the power of prayer, and we should not only pray for ourselves, but for each other. Everyone is struggling, and sometimes it is our prayers that help prevent others from falling back into the "junk collectors" we all tend to be!

Friends, let's give our "junk" to God. Let's let Him cleanse us from all unrighteousness and remove from us our dross. But let's do our part in keeping a "clean house" by confessing our sins, by staying alert for the devil's traps, by knowing who we are in Christ, and by praying without ceasing! For when we do, that "basement" and "garage" will not re-accumulate its junk!

House full of junk? Give it to God!

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 21 Mar 2019, 9:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 21, 2019

One Man's Junk...
Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Or so they say, and as we began to try and dispose of the 17-years of accumulated junk from our basement, closets, cupboards and garage, this old adage became our reality.

It all started the day we purchased a 20$ "refrigerant" ticket in order for the city to pick up our broken-down dehumidifier. The clerk suggested we not put the ticket on the item until the morning of our garbage pick-up, and she told us to keep our receipt, promising to buy the ticket back from us if someone took the dehumidifier off the street before the garbage truck came.

I was pretty skeptical, but why not try? Upon reaching home, we put the dehumidifier, along with a broken-down basketball net, on the side of the road. Imagine out surprise...and delight!...when they were both gone by morning. We were able to return our ticket and pocket the 20$.

This gave us an idea. You see, I'm not totally for filling land-fill sites with my rejected junk, so we began putting other items that were destined for the garbage pick-up onto the side of the road.

The old, dilapidated tractor trailer was gone before we had even returned to the house, and someone stopped by for the rusted-out, rotten park benches before we could get them to the street. The old pots and pans went, as did the box of old CDs, the old toy box and the old child's bed. Even the port-a-potty and camp chairs were gone by morning. Who would have thought? When the city garbage truck finally comes, there won't be anything left for them to haul off!

My neighbour, who actually took many of our items, helped me to understand how this could happen. He explained that he didn't see the park benches as rusted and rotten, he saw them as items in need of a few new planks and a good cleaning. The old pots and pans were just the thing for his bachelor grandson who was setting up housekeeping, and instead of seeing the old trailer in its dilapidated state, he saw it as beautiful pieces of scrap metal that he could harvest for a toy-hauler he is building...

Wow! Talk about one man's junk becoming another man's treasure!

This turned out to be a vital, two-fold lesson for me.

First of all, we are all sinners ("For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Rom. 3:23 NLT), and as a result, most of us see ourselves as nothing better than a dirty beggar on the street, hoping that God will come along and take pity on us. We don't see any value in what we can do, we don't like ourselves, we don't like what we see. In our own eyes, we are worthless junk, and nothing we do ever changes this fact.

But God doesn't see us this way. The Bible says, "On that day the LORD their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown." (Zech 9:16 NLT) Where we see nothing but garbage, He sees opportunity. He knows that we are all fine jewels, in need of a good cleaning and refining, and He has even supplied the "cleansing" fluid: "...and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7b NLT).

One man's junk is another man's treasure? How about, each man's "junk" is "treasure" in God's eyes!

There is one more vital lesson to be learned from my junk-to-treasure basement-cleaning experience. Join us on Tuesday for "One Man's Junk, 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 Sat 16 Mar 2019, 2:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 16, 2019

A Good Thing? Part 3: Of Jammed Locks and Ruined Birthdays...Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 8c
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

Over the past two lessons from our Cape Breton trip, we've seen that good always comes out of bad situations, for: "...God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Rom. 8:28 NLT). I firmly believe this, and sometimes I'm known as the "eternal optimist" because I am always looking for the "silver lining" that God has placed in the "black cloud". Sometimes, however, that optimistic attitude does run out...

It was my birthday, and we were officially on our way home from Cape Breton. We were camped outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and I was told it would be a "short" drive to Edmonston, New Brunswick, where we would spend the next two days. That meant there would be plenty of time before breaking camp to visit the many things in Antigonish that we had missed the previous day, and we would be in Edmonston early enough to be able to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday...

We'll just say the day didn't go quite as planned. The road to Edmonston turned out to be 150 kilometers farther than we had originally anticipated, but we wouldn't learn this until AFTER we had spent the morning in Antigonish. As a result, we didn't get to our campsite, which was still a 30 minute drive from Edmonston, until well after 7. As it was nearly dark, I knew that by the time we got our trailer set up, it would be far too late to drive to Edmonston and go out to dinner...

I had anticipated this the moment I learned that Edmonston was farther away than we had thought, and this realization soured the entire afternoon. The kicker, however, came as we were trying to set up camp in the last of the natural light. The lock on the outside storage bin door, the one where we stored the tools required to set up the trailer, was jammed. We couldn't even unhitch without that tool box, and the only way to get to it was to set up the trailer, completely tear out the bed--quite a feat in a 12 foot trailer!--rescue the box, fold the trailer down again, unhitch, level the trailer, and then set it back up properly. Oh, and then of course I would have to completely reassemble the bed...

It all seems pretty trite now, but at the time it was the last straw. There was no silver-lining that day, and I was certain this was the worst birthday ever. Why did all the bad stuff have to happen on my special day? Why couldn't it have happened the day before or the day after? Hey! Why did it have to happen at all?

Isn't that how it seems to go in life? One bad thing piles upon another, and although sometimes we can see the good that is brought out of the bad situations (see Parts 1 and 2), other times we are left to wonder "why"!

But wait. Perhaps this is part of God's ultimate plan after all. When we don't see the answers to our "why" question, we have but two choices: We can convince ourselves that God doesn't care, or we can choose to believe in God's promises, even when we can't "see" any reason or solution.

The first option, unfortunately, leaves us void of hope, cut off from any potential comfort. It leaves us feeling as if we have no choice but to fend for ourselves, producing even more stress at every corner.

The second option, albeit the harder one to grasp, leads to the building of patience, strength, character, faith: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." (Rom. 5:3-4 NLT).

It actually doesn't take much faith to believe God will come through when we see all the answers; but it takes an enormous amount when no reason or solution can be seen. Remember that: "Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see." (Heb. 11:1 NLT). It is through this belief in what we cannot see that we are rewarded: "Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." (Heb. 11:2 NLT).

I believe that though we may not always see the "why", our faith in God's promise that He, "...causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God..." (Rom. 8:28 NLT), will ensure that one day we will see the same trials and circumstances from God's perspective, and we will see how that particular hard time actually works itself into the beautiful fabric of God's plan.

Troubles upon you and no "why" in sight? No matter how hard you search you can't find the "silver lining"? Choose to believe in God's goodness and mercy, and especially in His promise that all things work together for good.

Oh, and don't worry if birthday plans don't go the way you anticipate them to go...There's always tomorrow!
           
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 19 Feb 2019, 9:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 19, 2019

Start the Car!
 
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Imagine for a moment that you've just stepped into the most amazing store ever. It could be electronics, clothing, shoes, home furnishing, or whatever peaks your interest. Then picture yourself finding the most incredible piece of retail bliss you could fathom. I'll start this off by placing a stunning new car in front of my eyes; let's say a bright yellow fully loaded Corvette! Then out of wistful curiosity you ask the sales person how much? They straighten their shoulders, smile proudly and announce in a loud voice for all to hear, "It's totally free, no strings attached!"

You promptly laugh at what is most assuredly a cruel joke and then walk away disgustedly. Suddenly the manager strolls over, "Please wait a moment, it's no joke. It's yours right now for the taking! No gimmicks, no tricks, no expense to you!" He slaps you gleefully on the back and says, "Congratulations!"

For me and I'm sure you, there would be a moment of absolute disbelief followed by waves of cautious euphoria at your good fortune. But until the car keys were securely in my hands, I'd remain skeptical. We all would. But whatever your stupendously imaginary freebie might be, I'm guessing you'd be tempted to use the retail shoppers 'best deal ever' expression, "Start the car!"

Is this scenario too good to be true? Perhaps in earthly terms yes. But the coolest gift we can ever receive is just that...FREE!!! There isn't a thing you can do to earn it, not a penny you'll spend towards it or the even the slightest bit of price haggling on your part to secure it. You simply have to open your heart and receive it...

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Ephesians 2: 8-9 NLT)

There is no better gift you can receive than that of God's salvation! You won't get there by leading a good life or by being kind to others or by going to church. While those things are important as believers, we are saved by God's grace through our faith in Jesus and nothing more. And did I mention your ticket to eternity is FREE?!!!

My dear friend, we live in a world where everything has a price attached to it. But Jesus paid the ultimate price for our transgressions by dying on the cross so we could claim the best deal of all time! He took our sin upon himself so that we might have eternal life and be cleared of all the messy things we get ourselves into. Need proof? Check this out! "He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:2 NLT)

If you've never taken that step of faith, I implore you to do so. Admit that you're a sinner and that you need God's help to change. Believe that Jesus died for you and arose from the dead, and then ask Him into your heart and into your life to become your personal Lord and Saviour. I can guarantee you that this side of heaven you'll never negotiate a better transaction! Please don't wait!

God loves you and wants you for his own! He comes to you and makes His gift easy to receive, "For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13 NLT) Then as you pray, read your bible and seek God's will for your life, you might just find yourself shouting from the loftiest rooftop...

"START THE CAR!" 

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Feb 2019, 12:29 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 16, 2019

Bugs in the Bathroom. Lessons from Cape Breton Part 6
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

Our 12-foot fold-down trailer has a small sink and some running water, but this is as close as it comes to having the amenities of home. As a result, we must frequent the camp bathrooms when we travel. This translates to having to deal with bugs, for there are always bugs in camp bathhouses...

Take the ladies' room, for example, at the RV Park where we stayed near Inverness, Nova Scotia. It was literally overrun with crane flies--that huge bug that looks like a monstrous mosquito.

Fortunately, I'm not particularly squeamish when it comes to bugs in a public bath facility, for I've learned that if I leave them alone, they will reciprocate the kindness. I tend to have a completely different attitude, however, when they enter my living quarters, and when a stray crane fly managed to make its way into my trailer, it was all out war.

Isn't it funny how my mind differentiates between public bathhouses and my personal living quarters...

As I think about this, it occurs to me that this is a great example of how we, as Christians, should live our lives. We are in the world, we are surrounded by the fruit of the devil's work; yet we are told: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Rom. 12:2 NLT).

In other words, in the same way I don't tolerate bugs in my trailer, we are not to let the "bugs" of sin--worldly customs, temptation, addiction, etc.--into our lives. Rather, we are to let God transform us--change the way we think--so that our lives are free of the devil's "bugs".

This doesn't mean that we must isolate ourselves from the world. Just like I had no choice but to share my bathroom stall with a couple of crane flies, we do live in the world, and we need to accept those we live among for who and what they are. What we must guard against is letting that worldliness creep into our own hearts.

I am not saying we don't have a responsibility to the world. Jesus' last great commission is to take the freedom of Salvation to all people in the world (See Matt. 28:18-20). What I am saying is that we must not become like the world. We are called to love and support those who are of the world, and to do that, we must do whatever we can to introduce them to "the exterminator", Jesus Christ; but we are called to: "Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." (Phil. 2:15 NLT).

What does this mean?

It means that when we see a few of the devil's "crane flies" in the people of the world around us, we must love and support them, and above all, we must try to point them to the great "crane fly exterminator". Whatever we do, however, we are not to let those same "crane flies" of sin and worldliness into our own hearts.

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 12 Feb 2019, 8:05 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 12, 2019

Love's Inclusiveness
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     
The world tells me I must love myself. It tells me to surround myself with people who nurture my love for me. Therefore, I can love myself so long as everyone around me makes me feel good.

It stands to reason then, that if something feels right and gets me what I want, it is love.

The criminal's code of silence for the sake of unity is labelled love; the tyrant's control 'for the common good' is called love.

Are you as confused as I have been? You might as well tell me a cow is love because it provides milk.

I have spent years trying to figure out the true definition of love and then one day I came across it. There are several pieces to fit together so please bear with me. I found nine pieces that form love, and none of them equates with what the world believes love to be. Listen to the definition of love that I found:
          1)   Love is patience. Have you ever seen a patient mother -- human or otherwise? Patience is love and impatience is, therefore, reproach.
          2)  Kindness is love. The kindness of birds feeding their young, the sheep calling her lamb at feeding time, the debt you 'forgot' to collect, the gossip you buried, the hurt you ignored -- these are kindnesses and kindness is love.
          3)  Love is not being conceited because love is inclusive. It does not look at itself, it looks at others.
          4)  Rudeness puts someone else down, so not being rude is love.
          5)  Selfishness excludes others from your enjoyment so being unselfish is love.
          6)  Shattering another's dreams is conceited, rude and selfish, so protecting another's dreams is love.
          7)  Love is not taking offence and does not nurture hurt feelings. It kills the gossip that enjoys somebody else's downfall.
          8)  Love endures the ugly and outlives outrage.
          9)  Love never comes to an end. 'Prophecies will cease; tongues of ecstasy will fall silent; knowledge will vanish.' This is the wonderful definition of love in 1st Corinthians 13:4-6.

Remember, this describes God's love towards us and please know, as Jesus said in John 15:12, 'This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.' We are to love with God's love!

Phew! Tall order indeed! But it is what Jesus commanded, because God requires it. This love is as sifted gold-dust so give it gently or it will blow away.

Finally there is one love that is harshly dangerous. It is this: 'For the love of money is the root of all evil,' (1st Timothy 6:10 KJV).

So go with love but of all loves, choose the one Jesus commanded us to abide in. And you will need help to do so, so please go with prayer.

Elizabeth Price 
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Post  Admin on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 12:42 am

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February 9, 2019

Plan "A"...or Plan "G"?
 bible
By Answers2Prayer   As many of you who have been reading this post for a few months can probably already guess, I am a type "A" personality. I prefer to be a well-organized, I like to make plans well in advance, and because I am well aware of the fact that things don't always go as planned, I usually have a "Plan 'A'" as well as a "Plan 'B'". And sometimes I even have a "Plan 'C'"! You never can be too careful, you know, and it's important to try to plan for all possible scenarios...

Of course, my "plans" all have timelines attached, and nothing stresses me more than to be "off-schedule", even in the least, and the day it rained on our hiking plans, I wasn't very happy.

The longer I live with this particular "Type A" personality trait, the more I realize how much stress I create for myself. Wouldn't life be simpler if I were to simply let things play out and come up with my plans as the need arises?

This is, actually, a Biblical concept: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'--yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring...Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'" (James 4:13-15 ESV)

In other words, when we spend our time making our "Plan 'A'"s and "Plan 'B'"s, we are basically wasting our time, because, "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." (Ps. 127:1 ESV); and "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." (Prov. 19:21 ESV)

So am I supposed to just stop making plans altogether?

I have to admit that there is some stress-relief in the mere thought. But there is also stress in the thought, for one of my ways of dealing with anticipated stress is to put together my plans!

But how good are my plans, anyway? The Bible says, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Is. 55:9 ESV). This means that no matter how carefully I plan, God's plan is always better.

So what do I do that will relieve stress instead of increasing it?

The Bible gives us clear guidance for this: "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." (Prov. 16:3 ESV)

Wait. "...your plans will be established..." Doesn't that mean that I will have plans after all? If I simply commit myself to God, submitting to His will no matter what that may turn out to be, if I simply leave myself open to His working in my life, then I will have that plan that my sense of order and control so crave?

The truth is, we can make all the plans we like, but it is God who sees the end from the beginning. It is God who establishes what we do and don't do: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Prov. 16:9 ESV)

Okay, I'm still having some problems with this. I've spent far too much of my life with my precious "Plan 'A'"s to "Plan 'C'"s. I know myself, I know my personality, I know how important those plans are to my stress management. Can I really trust God to know--better than I do?

The answer, a resounding "Yes!", comes to us from Jeremiah: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11 ESV).

But isn't it my right to direct my own steps? Consider the following: "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23 ESV). In other words, it isn't even my place to try to direct my steps. When I make my precious "Plan 'A'"s to "Plan 'C'"s, I am, in essence, taking on one of God's jobs...

I don't know about you, but I think maybe I will try to dispose of my precious "Plan 'A'"s to "Plan 'C'"s. Or maybe better yet, I will try to not make them in the first place. Instead, I will replace them with a "Plan 'G'"--God's plan--the plan I don't have to stress about making, for it takes care of all the details that tend to cause me so much stress, and I can rest assured it is the best plan out there.

And if He hasn't revealed to me yet what that "Plan 'G'" is, then perhaps I should simply: "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" (Ps. 27:14 ESV)...

What about it? Shall it be "Plan 'A'" or "Plan 'G'"?

Oh, and that day when it rained on my hiking plans? "Plan 'G'" included a rare sighting (for me!) of a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers dancing around a tree not 10 metres from where I sat...

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 05 Feb 2019, 12:28 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 5, 2019

Cooking a Young Goat in its Mother's Milk
 

By Answers2Prayer 
     I came across an interesting text in the Bible yesterday: "As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the LORD your God. You must not cook a young goat in its mother's milk." (Ex. 23:19 NLT).

Because this section of Exodus speaks of bringing the first fruits of your labours to the Lord, this admonition to not cook a baby goat in its mother's milk seems to be completely out of context. It's enough to make you scratch your head and go, "What???"

Of course this entire section in Exodus 23 outlines parts of the Mosaic law, which we know was done away with at the cross (See 2 Cor. 3). Paul teaches us that under the New Covenant, everything is permitted (though perhaps not always beneficial...See 1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23). So why should we pay attention to this text at all?

We pay attention to it, because of 2 Tim. 3:16: "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." (NLT). This means that everything in the Bible, including these references from the Mosaic law, is beneficial.

We also see that the now-non-applicable Mosaic laws are often used in the New Testament as illustrations to teach very applicable concepts. We see Jesus doing so in His Sermon on the Mount (See Matt. 5), and when Paul is teaching that those who work for the Lord should be paid, he references another interesting law from Deut. 25:4: "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain." (See Paul's statement in 2 Timothy 5:18). Therefore, this verse that prohibits cooking a young goat in its mother's milk must have meaning for us today.

But what?

Let's remember that a mother's milk is something that is meant to make a baby grow and prosper, and when the kid is boiled in its mother's milk, it is, in essence, being destroyed by something that was meant to give it life and make it prosper...

This all makes me think about my tongue...

I can do so much good with my tongue. I can build people up, I can praise God, I can lead others to Christ, I can encourage and bless...But instead, I so often use my tongue to tear people down, to nag, to fuss, to complain, to gossip...

The Apostle James speaks to us about this concept: "People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" (James 3:7-10 NLT).

What harm can mere words bring?

Here are a few of the thousands of examples:

I can think of so many times when I've used my words to praise and encourage; but then I've said one negative thing, and the person I'm speaking to just crumbles.

I may be feeling happy and positive, but when I'm around someone who complains, it doesn't take long for their depressive spirit to completely overtake my joy.

My husband may be happily helping me, say for example, with the dishes or the house cleaning; but the minute I start pointing out the things he isn't cleaning well enough, he tends to become depressed, he stops trying as hard, and he is even tempted to stop helping me altogether.

I may have nothing but good to say about someone; then someone else begins to gossip about that person, and it doesn't take long for me to begin to see the bad in that same person whose praise I was singing only moments earlier.

Or if tell someone something judgmental about someone else, even if what I said is completely true (which it may not be, for I may not have heard/understood it right), the person I am talking to begins to have negative feelings towards the one I gossiped about.

I could go on, but the point is, when we tear someone apart with our harsh words, we are using something meant for good against them. We are, in essence, cooking "the young goat in its mother's milk".

Let's not "cook a young goat in its mother's milk" by tearing them down with our words. Instead, join me in my heartfelt prayer:

Father, help me to "not cook a young goat in its mother's milk" by tearing people apart with my tongue. Help me, instead, to use my words to build people up, to bless and encourage, so that those around me may grow and blossom, and that Your name may be glorified. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 

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 Sat 02 Feb 2019, 9:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 2, 2019

The Walking Stick: Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 5
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 
(In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

While hiking the many trails of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, my husband and I learned something highly valuable: It is easier to hike with a walking stick!

The advantages of the walking stick were first discovered (by us!) on the Coastal Trail, a 9 kilometer trail that skirts the Atlantic coast of the national park. We found that the walking stick helps us in just about every aspect of hiking, including:

1. Climbing: Provides leverage and support so that the legs don't need to do all the work.
2. Descending: Provides stability during slippery descents.
3. Tripping: Catches you and keeps you from falling.
4. Crossing rocky trails: Gives you added footage.
5. Boulder Hopping: Provides stability for slippery surfaces as well as security for making long jumps from one boulder to another.
6. Traversing heavily-forested trails: When held out in front, breaks down cobwebs across the trail.
7. Avoiding poisonous plants: Pushes poison ivy aside.
8. Resting: Provides something to lean on while catching your breath.
9. Protecting: Helps to ward off potentially dangerous wild animals along the trail.

Life sometimes takes us over smooth, level trails. Much more frequently, however, it takes us over rough, steep paths where we are left fearing for our footing, wondering if we will have the strength to arrive at the end, and afraid of the consequences we might find along the way. There is little scarier than the diagnosis of cancer or heart problems, for example; and when we lose our beloved spouse to death, or even to divorce, we are left feeling as if our feet will slip off the designated trail. Is there a "walking stick" for the paths life dictates that we walk?

Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 ESV). Wait a minute. Didn't the walking stick provide moments of rest, brief breaks for catching our breath?

Jesus said He, "...will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber." (Ps. 121:3 ESV). Isn't that what the walking stick was good for on the rocks and rough trail?

Jesus said, "It is the LORD who goes before you." (Deut. 31:8 ESV). Isn't that how the walking stick helped us with those cobwebs and Poison Ivy?

Jesus said, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 ESV). Isn't this how the walking stick could have helped us against the wild animals? Isn't this how it helped us over the slippery rocks and steep descents?

It's true that we did not always fully appreciate our walking sticks. Because we weren't used to carrying them, we sometimes forgot them in the car. There were other times when we chose to leave them behind. After all, they kind of got in the way of taking pictures; and when the trail was level and smooth, the stick was just added weight...

In the same way, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have access to all the advantages of the "walking stick" for our walk through life. We so often, however, tend to "leave it in the car", so to speak. Even though He is there, we don't ask Him to help us. Or we ask, but we continue to worry and fret. We refuse to lean upon Him for our rest. We try to carry it all ourselves. Just like the walking stick did us no good when we left it in the car, in order to safely traverse the trials of life, we need to use our spiritual "walking stick": we need to learn to rely on Jesus in all situations.

As we hike through the trials life has placed in front of us, let's remember that in the same way the walking stick is a priceless piece of hiking equipment, Jesus Christ is our ultimate in help. Let's don't leave Him "in the car". Let's allow Him to help us make it through.

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 1:09 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 29, 2019

From the Depths of Despair...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 5: Ps. 130
By Answers2Prayer 
  
Today's lesson from the Psalms is taken from Ps. 130:

"From the depths of despair, O Lord..." (vs. 1a NLT)

Do you feel as if you are in the depths of despair? Maybe the promised--and counted upon--raise didn't come through. Or perhaps you have just learned that your son and his family are moving 16000 km away. Or possibly, the report from your last blood work isn't quite what you had hoped for, or your daughter's fiancé and the love of her life just broke off their engagement. The river you live beside has perchance overflown its banks and your house now stands in 1 metre of water. Or maybe you have done something that is very wrong, and now you have gotten yourself into a mess there is truly no way out of...

The list could go on, but you get the picture. You've been there. We've all been there. Maybe that's where you are right now. What do you do?

Ps. 130 gives us the answer:

"From the depths of despair,
   O Lord, I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
   Pay attention to my prayer." (Vs 1-2 NLT)

Calling out to God in our trouble isn't a new theme in the Psalms (See Ps. 43:5, 71:5-6, 10:17, 18:2, 61:2-3, 62:2, etc.). Ps. 130 goes on, however, to tell us why  we can count on God, why we can give Him our troubles:

"Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
   who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
   that we might learn to fear you." (vs. 3-4 NLT)

The reason we can count on God in times of distress is that He has already made a way for Salvation. As a result of Jesus' gift on the cross, there is no record of sin ("And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." Heb. 8:12 NLT), for His forgiveness abounds ("Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." Is. 55:7 NIV).

God's part is the forgiveness and removal of our sins that separates us from Him (See Is. 59:2); but Ps. 130 also reminds us that we have a role to play as well:

"I am counting on the Lord;
   yes, I am counting on him.
   I have put my hope in his word." (vs. 5 NLT)

In addition to coming to the Lord in our times of trouble, we must also count on Him and put our hope iin His Word! In other words, we need to believe in the many promises of His Word that He will come through for us (See Ex. 14:4, Is. 40:29-31, Is. 41:10-13, Is. 53:2; Is 54:10, 2 Chron. 7:14, etc.). When we put our Hope in those promises, we are truly counting on the Lord!

In our quest to receive help from God in our times of need, there is one more thing that is our responsibility:

"I long for the Lord 
   more than sentries long for the dawn,
   yes, more than sentries long for the dawn." (Vs. 6 NLT)

In other words, we can't just say, "God help me!" and expect that our problems will lift and our lives will be returned to normal. We need to believe that He will help us, and we need to long for Him. Like a deer panting for water, so our souls should long for Him (See Ps. 42:1)!

Think about it: If you ask a total stranger for assistance, how much faith do you have in his/her ability to assist you? But if you spend time with that person and you come to understand that the person is someone who is worthy of your trust, then it will be much easier to believe in his/her ability to help you. It is no different with God. When we long for the Lord, we will get to know Him, we will spend time with Him, we will learn that He is, indeed, trustworthy!

But the Psalm doesn't leave us there. It goes on to give us a promise:

"O Israel, hope in the Lord;
   for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
   His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
   from every kind of sin." (Vs. 7-8 NLT)

When we go to God in our times of trouble, when we long for Him, when we put our trust in Him, we aren't putting our trust in an unknown, untested entity. We're putting our trust and hope in His unfailing love, the same love that was already proven to us at the cross: "God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him." (1 John 4:9 NLT)!

Because of the cross, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt God's unfailing love or His desire to help us. Because of the cross, we can truly come to Him when we are in the depths of despair. We can truly trust in Him, for He has already proven His unending love to the World!

In the depths of despair? Come to the One who has already redeemed us from every kind of sin!

In His love,
Lyn
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.  
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 26 Jan 2019, 11:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 26, 2019

Locked Down! Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 4
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

On our way home from Cape Breton, we stopped for an unforgettable 2-day visit to the Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire. Although the park is, in general, unforgettably beautiful, the RV park where we stayed could also be classified as "unforgettable", but for less magnanimous reasons. You see, this RV park was lacking in certain things that we have come to expect in an RV park; things like bathrooms, for example. And showers and garbage cans. There wasn't even a campground host, and the park's only view was the view of--a busy parking lot!

The "no garbage can" issue seemed to be one of the easier ones to resolve. We would simply take our trash to a garbage dumpster at one of the nearby attraction. But wait. There didn't appear to be any dumpsters at any of the attractions! In fact, there was a sign that read, "This is a 'Carry in Carry out' park"!

Now I didn't particularly want to hang on to my garbage for another two days, so I searched the parking area at the biggest park attraction once again. Wait. Was that a dumpster at the far end of the lowest parking lot?

Image my astonishment when the dumpster was locked down with four padlocks! It seemed we would have to hang on to our garbage after all...

The lack of bathrooms in the camp meant that the port-a-potty we keep on our tiny trailer for emergencies got a bit more use. This necessitated, of course, that it be dumped before we left the campground; and this RV park actually did have was a dumping station!

Once again, however, I was doomed for disappointment. The dumping station was...locked down with a padlock!

I have never seen a dumping station locked down before, and as I attempted to process what this meant for our trip home, I noticed the sign: "Dumping hours Friday-Sunday from 9-4; Dumping fee $25.00." Quite naturally, it was Thursday; and besides, would I really want to pay $25.00 to dump that tiny thing?

As we left the RV park, I couldn't get the idea of the locked down dumpster and dumping station out of my mind. I mean, why would we be discouraged from getting rid of our garbage? But wait. Though we aren't all campers, we all have a "garbage" problem, don't we? Life in this sinful world produces garbage in abundance: Addictions. Obsessions. Sins that hurt oneself. Sins that hurt others. Sin against God...

The list could go on, but the point is that just like we produce garbage that needs to be thrown out or dumped in a dumping station when we are camping, the garbage produced by our sinful natures also ultimately needs to be removed.

Fortunately, just like there are (usually!) dumpsters and dump stations for our camping wastes, there is also a way to dispose of our sin garbage. When Jesus died on that cruel cross, He took care of our garbage once and for all, wiping our sin-slates completely clean: "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Ps. 103:12 NLT).

Unfortunately, we tend to think there are "padlocks" on God's "sin-dumpsters". We seem to feel more justified if we have to "pay" to dump our "sin-port-a-potty". But this isn't God's way. It isn't a "carry in, carry out" kind of operation. God's forgiveness is not "locked down". There are no "grace-padlocks" and no "grace-open hours", for: "God saved you by his grace when you believed." (Eph. 2:8a NLT). And perhaps the best news is that there are also no "grace-dumping fees": "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done." (Eph. 2:9a NLT); rather, "...you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God." (Eph. 2:8b NLT).

And it's a good thing, too, because all of our own good deeds could never counter all the sin-garbage we produce on a daily basis. Why? Because our good deeds are: "...nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." (Is. 64:6 NLT).

Instead of seeking the open hours and trying to figure out how to pay the dumping fee, let's, "Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words" (2 Cor. 9:15 NLT)!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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FREEDOM FROM FEAR Fear of heights, fear of being alone, fear of pain, fear of close spaces, fear of death ... This world if riddled with paralyzing fear. This all important series will be tracing fear back to its roots, defining it, and providing tips for complete "Freedom From Fear!" Check it out at by clicking here!
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Jan 2019, 12:48 am

Welcome to the Nugget

January 24, 2019

Staying Small

By Answers2Prayer 

"But Jesus called to them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'" (Luke 18:16-17)

"But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.'" (Matthew 19:14)

Recently I was reading in the Bible where the life and reign of King Hezekiah is described. An incredible miracle happened when the king was sick and about to die. As a sign to him that God would heal him, the Lord made the sundial go back ten numbers, literally stopping time. (2 Kings 20:1-11)

The king was a God-filled and God-focused man, obedient to the Lord. Everything was going along great for him and for his country. Then, the Bible says basically that he became puffed up with pride (See 2 Chronicles 32:24-31). He stopped staying small in his own eyes and began to think all the wonderful things that were happening were his own doing.

It's possible to grow older and not grow up, to maintain a Peter Pan syndrome. It's good to remain enthusiastic, have a zest for living, and keep things simple. It is also good to stay small in our own eyes and let God get the glory and the credit. We are blessed that Holy Spirit helps us to do that very thing. That is good news

Irish Thursday Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy
Copyright ©️ 2017 All rights reserved.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Jan 2019, 11:32 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 22, 2019

How to Overcome Depression

By Answers2Prayer
     Why do folks feel depressed during the holidays? Maybe trying to overcome depression adds to the pressure of life.

My neighbor and I stood in front of the mailboxes near the sidewalk, chatting about life. She sighed. "Things are bad all around. More shootings all the time. I can't seem to get out of debt, and my job is on the line."

"I'm so sorry," I said hoping to give her a bit of comfort. "Life is not up to us...it's up to God. He provides, guides, and comforts all who call to Him."

OOPS...wrong thing to say. She grunted. "Not everybody has the outlook you have," she said.

But was it my outlook or the truth that God repeats over and over again that He never meant us to live a life of pessimism no matter what bad news flash through our mind, through the TV screen or the internet?

Although that is not His plan, we all succumb to the temptation to check out the latest news. And those details mix with personal conflicts that don't seem to stop. No wonder so many are feeling lousy, down, defeated and depressed.

Who has the answer?

Only one person, who's active, caring, aware, and willing to give you the right answer, the reliable promise, and lasting assurance. His first sign was on the cross, His arms open, His heart submitted, and His love abundant.

He said in His action and in His words too: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1 NIV).

How's that for the ultimate reassurance? The profound confidence and the guarantee for a lifetime! He took it all--the pain, the heartache, the loneliness so you wouldn't have to.

Emotions come and go, feelings are deceiving, but His help is ever-present, ever-abundant, and always available.

That's why we don't take on the task to overcome depression. He already has. Jesus, on the cross, already "felt" the pain so we wouldn't have to. He overcame so we wouldn't have to be in the battle. He triumphed so we wouldn't have to do the fighting. And He sang victory so we wouldn't have to seek it on our own.

Pray with me: Father, I'm tired of wrestling with feelings of depression. I ask that you open my eyes to see your hand at work to heal me. And to receive your grace to lift my darkness. In Jesus' name, amen.

When will you give your depression to the One who died to set you free?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Sun 20 Jan 2019, 10:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 19, 2019

Clinging to the Rock...
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

I have long been fascinated by tree roots, and my love of hiking has often brought me to places where I have seen unique root systems. Never, however, had I seen one quite as interesting as the one I was privileged to see along the trail towards Uisge Ban Falls near Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

The tree, for all practical purposes, appeared to be growing right out of the top of that enormous boulder. There is no soil, no ground cover, just bare rock with a tree growing at the top.

How does this particular tree get its nutrients?

Three primary roots are anchored around the boulder, straddling it from three primary supportive angles. With this root system wrapping around that gigantic and solid boulder, that tree has withstood the tests of water, snow, ice, wind and time. Unlike its sister trees of the forest, whose roots are subject to erosion, this particular tree's foundation will never erode, for it is grounded on the solid rock.

This reminds me of a parable Jesus told: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." (Matt. 7:24-27 ESV).

When we build our lives on the "Rock", Jesus Christ ("The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Ps. 18:2), we become like that tree with its root system completely straddling that boulder: We become solidly anchored against the winds of circumstances, the rains of temptation, the ice of addictions, the snows of trials.

What is it you are facing right now? Don't face it with your roots only anchored in the soil of this world. Grow your spiritual roots around the Rock, anchor yourself to Jesus, and you will know the peace and the comfort and the encouragement that Jesus has promised us during the trials and temptations of life.

The important thing to remember, however, is that the tree hadn't just that moment grown that extensive root system; rather it had spent a lifetime anchoring itself to that rock. We, also, must not just turn to Jesus in our time of need; but rather, we need to make a lifetime out of anchoring ourselves to Him, for when we do, we will be prepared to weather whatever storms this life throws our way.

Why not start "anchoring" yourself firmly to Jesus today? If you need help knowing how to do this, please email me for some practical suggestions!

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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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 17 Jan 2019, 5:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 17, 2019

Quick Charge
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6,7 NIV)

I forgot to charge the cell phone. As I grabbed it on my way out the door, I happened to notice the battery was way down. So I went back and plugged it in, hoping for a quick temporary charge planning to fully charge it when I arrived at my office.

I was glad to see it charge quickly, enough for me to use for awhile. Kinda reminded me of days when I either don't have time, or haven't taken the time, to recharge my spiritual battery. Those days I need a stop-gap measure, a quick charge to get me through. Things like, a Christian song playing on my iPod while I'm getting ready to leave the house, especially tunes that include Bible verses. Or a Bible teaching CD in my car on the way to pick up kids. Or a short prayer I send up while I'm on my way to a meeting. Or a calendar in the kitchen with a bible verse for each day of the year.

Just a thought, something of the LORD to focus me on Him- not on me, not on my circumstances; on Him.

It is just that, a quick charge, and it doesn't take the place of one-on-one time with the Lord in prayer and meditation and reading His word. But sometimes it is just what works for the moment, a quick charge.

Thank you, Lord, for quick charges that focus us on You.

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy 
Announcement:
Looking for PEACE in a world that seems devoid of it?
God's gift of peace is available to all at all times.
We just need to accept it! We need to NOT give it away!
Check out the new video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlohELj8NB0&ab_channel=Answers2Prayer

PEACE...from God's Word...  
Looking for PEACE in a world that seems devoid of it? 
God's peace is available at ALL times. We just need to accept it...and we need to NOT give it away!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 7:24 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 15, 2019

Cleaned Up
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you." (John 15:3 NIV)

As an avid gardener (in season), I enjoy all the Bible references comparing human life to plant form. I can picture God's words as seeds falling amongst stones or weeds and not sprouting. When a seed is fertilised, it grows strong roots and can withstand a storm. When a plant bears fruit, it multiplies. I realise how the Holy Spirit is like sap running inside the branches, necessary for growth.

Are you wondering what this verse has to do with gardening? I discovered the word clean is the same word as prune.

Sometimes when a plant is left to itself it can become a sorry sight. Straggly and half-dead, it requires pruning. We use the term "clean it up". I determinedly cut the old branches down to the ground, thin out the centre to give it some breathing space, and shorten the remaining branches.

Often I discover some particularly robust shoots known as suckers. Hidden, they may give the shrub the appearance of being full and healthy, but they are not useful and will suck the life out of the plant.

The poor thing looks like it's been attacked. But cleaned up, the shrub will soon recover and take on new life. It becomes an attractive, productive plant once again.

When we read God's Word and suddenly remember a sin we committed, the Holy Spirit is cleaning us up. We might look healthy on the outside but close inspection reveals a need to be pruned. We don't like being "cut down", but it's necessary.

Jesus, you are the Master Gardener. Help us to give you control over our life and clean us up. Let us see your Hand at work when Truth reveals what is not attractive to you. Amen.

JJ Ollerenshaw 
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Ever wonder what lessons can be learned from that basement/garage full of junk? Join us on Thursday and Saturday of this week for "One Man's Junk", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:05 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 10, 2019

Exemplary Exemplar, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We come to the concluding part of the series on how our Saviour diligently fulfilled the two commandments in each phase of His life. On Tuesday we focused on the "preparation" phase of His life, and today we come to the last two phases, namely the "proclamation" phase and the "passion" phase...


Proclamation...

Let it be said at this stage as to what prayer really is. Prayer is not about merely bringing a lengthy wish-list before our Heavenly Father. It's more about enjoying a time of deep communion with our Creator, borne out of unalloyed love for Him. When we examine the lives of some spiritual giants like Matin Luther of the Reformation and George Muller of Bristol Orphanage fame, their priorities were well laid out. They would perfectly balance their prayer life with their onerous Ministry responsibilities. The following quotes of these great men of faith bear out this truth:

"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." (Martin Luther)

"I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming." (George Muller)

Well...their inspiration? Their Saviour Himself, who with much to do, all in the span of 24 hours, would begin the day (even before sunrise...say at 5am) with prayer...an expression of deep love for the Father: "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." (Mark 1:35 ESV). In fact, Mark's Gospel is also called the "speed Gospel," for the author uses the word "immediately" not less than 42 times to describe events in Jesus' life. This would give one an idea of Jesus' busyness in His Ministry.

After prayer, when the needy (mind you..."neighbours" is the word Jesus used to describe those in need -- See Luke 10:25-38) would start flocking Him for various reasons, from say, hypothetically speaking, 8 am onwards. He would not give the excuse that He has to "now pray" and be unavailable to them; rather He would readily be available to address their needs. It was not for Christ to give obedience to only the First commandment at the cost of the second one, or vice-versa. He got His priorities right and kept both commands by exercising proper discipline. Period!

Say Christian minister...is your prayer life well-balanced with your ministry...


Passion...

Nowhere in the Scriptures is the Son's love for the Father in the "Passion phase" of His life more clearly manifested than in these words of our Lord, spoken probably less than 12 hours before His ordeal on the Cross...

"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I 'love' the Father..." (John 14:30-31 ESV)

Implicit obedience to the Father's commandments is proof of one's love for Him ("And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments..." (2 John 1:6a ESV).

Now let's shift our focus to Calvary. Even as shouts of mockery of, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross..." (Matt. 27:40b ESV) rent the air whilst Christ hung on the Cross, rubbing as it were salt into his wounds (See Luke 23:35), our Lord consciously chose not to perform the "miracle" of coming down from the Cross. This would not only have shut the mouths of His enemies, but would have also guaranteed immediate replacement of the Crown of thorns with that of Gold, for the people, on seeing this "miracle", would have accepted Him as "King".

So why did He continue to hang on the Cross?

To demonstrate His love for the Father by dying as a ransom for the sins of the world, as per the Almighty's Will (See Rev. 13:8); and also at the same time to demonstrate His love for the "neighbour" (you and me), who needs redemption from sin. And also, was not mankind (the neighbour in this context) in a far worse condition, spiritually-speaking, than the Jew who was attacked and left for dead by the thieves in the Good Samaritan parable (See Luke 10:25-38)?

Oh how great is our precious Saviour! Oh how wonderfully He fulfilled both of the great commandments in all the three phases of His exemplary life.

It is said that unless two blades of scissors are put to use, the scissors would be inoperative. Ditto with a Christian's life. Unless he obeys both the commandments of the New Testiment dispensation, as exemplified by the Master, his life would be aimless: "whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." (I John 2:6 ESV).

Dear Friends, how are we faring in obeying these two commandments which have been labelled quite rightly by the Biblical scholars as "conjoined twins"? We cannot obey one without obeying the other!

Let's bank fully on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who equips us from within with His rich resources (See Rom 5:5/Eph 3:16), to obey these two commandments. Full steam ahead...Fellow sojourner...

Prayer: Father, strengthen my inner man I pray that I fulfil the commands of loving Thee and my neighbour whatever be the cost. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 10:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 3, 2019

Praise and Thanksgiving
 

By Answers2Prayer
     It's not always easy to praise God when our lives are congested with an overabundance of trouble. Perhaps you find it easier to offer praise and thanksgiving when the wheels of your life are gliding over smooth, freshly paved highways and all is well with your soul.

Let's be honest; sometimes in our faith walk we don't always feel like lifting our hands towards heaven in praise and adoration. If God remains quiet or our prayers go unanswered, we may be left to feel that He is uninvolved in our circumstances or simply doesn't care. And that's what the devil wants you to believe. He doesn't want you praising God when your heart is breaking and your faith is wavering. He would prefer you curse God. But dear friend, it's especially during those times of fear, disappointment and uncertainty that we need to praise God and focus our attention on the One who set us free!

I think that sometimes as believers, we take God for granted. As long as He's blessing us, we're content to offer thanksgiving when it suits our schedule. Sometimes we might even forget about God. Simply put, when things are rosy, we don't praise Him as much as He deserves. Conversely, when things go south and life fills with calamity, we tend to think of God more often because we need His help. And during those times, praising His name might be the last thing we feel like doing. The devil loves to sour the heart of a believer so that praise and worship become undesirable. I've been there and I'm guessing you have too.

Remember, "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who's spirits are crushed." (Psalms 34:18 NIV). When God remains quiet, He's still there. He still deserves our adoration, praise, gratitude and worship even when we're down and out. Offering praise and thanksgiving to God amidst our circumstances is what binds the devil and keeps our focus where it should be, on Jesus.

"Praise the Lord, all his works, everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul!" (Psalm 103:22 NIV)

Lately my wife and I have been trying to do just that despite our share of dark valleys past and present. Coming together with hands and hearts as one, we offer praises and thanksgiving to God even when we're feeling spiritually worn out. And the funny thing is that once we start, we soon find there is no shortage to recognizing God's blessings on our lives!

Remember the story of Job in the Bible? He suffered horrible personal adversity, yet still he knew the Lord was in control, that He was good and loving and all-powerful, that He had a plan for Job's life and would save his soul no matter what. Job had every reason to grumble and be bitter towards God, but despite his aching heart, he found reasons to praise his Lord!

Whatever it is you're going through right now, whether calm waters or stormy seas, I encourage you to close your eyes and offer praises to God even when your heart tells you, nothing doing. God loves you! He will never leave you nor forsake you, and when you praise God even when you don't feel like it, you unleash a peace that passes all understanding.

Go ahead and try it. I dare you!
Paul Smyth 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 11:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 1, 2019

Power of Praise: A New Year's Message

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We have often heard it said, preached from the pulpit, sung about, etc., that we are supposed to praise God in the midst of our troubles. After all, isn't it a Biblical concept? "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." (Rom. 5:3 NLT, also James 1:2).

Unfortunately, this is concept is a bit foreign to most of us, even to those who talk, preach and sing about it. I mean, most of us don't feel joyful enough to praise God in the midst of our trials!

I read a very interesting passage from 2 Chron 29 today, from the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). It was the story of Hezekiah, as he was beginning the religious reforms that his reign is famous for. First he had the priests and the Levites clean the temple of all the atrocities of idolatry that his father and other kings before him had placed there. Next he pulled together the "worship team", Levites skilled in the making of music and singing. Then he commanded that the sacrifices begin, and this resulted in so many sacrifices being brought that the priests couldn't keep up with them. Finally, when the sacrifices were finished, Hezekiah called the people to kneel, to worship, to praise: "Then [Hezekiah] the king and the leaders ordered the [Levites] to sing praises to ADONAI, using the words of David and of [Asaph] the seer. They sang praises until they were filled with joy, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves." (2 Chron. 29:30 CJB)

Wait. Did you catch that? This text, translated by a scholar of ancient Hebrew, who is also a Messianic Jew, puts the words in a slightly different order than what we would expect...The record doesn't say the people were so filled with joy that they praised God; it doesn't even say they bowed down and then began worshipping God; rather, it says: "...They sang praises until they were filled with joy..." And it was only after joy overcame over them that, "they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves..."!

I wonder if we have it backwards. Perhaps we shouldn't wait until we feel joyful enough to praise God in the midst of our trials, for this time may never come. Instead, we should sing His praises in the midst of our trials, until we are filled with joy! In dire circumstances, we won't even begin to feel that joy until we start praising God!

It makes sense, doesn't it, for doesn't the Bible teach us that God is the source of joy? "...in your presence is unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight." (Ps. 16:11b CJB)

The New Year begins today. For most of us, our New Year's prayer goes something like this: "Oh God, may this year have a few less problems then the last!" Why not learn from Hezekiah's story and change our prayer for New Year's this year? Why not put things in the "Hezekiah order", the one that says we sing praises until we are filled with joy, until we fall down and worship! I can guarantee you that when we put things in this order, we will never look at problems the same way again.

A friend of mine once told this little story. Although she was between jobs, she was not between bills. Despite her no-income status, she was still required to pay her rent, her utilities, buy her groceries, etc., and with each incoming bill, her discouragement mushroomed. Then one day she put all the bills in a pile on the floor. She then got out her guitar and began praising God. As she sang and praised, her feet began to dance around those bills and she became filled with that immeasurable joy, joy that can only come from the presence of God.

Needless to say, she felt incredibly better, but the story doesn't end there. Over the next few days, money began coming in from unexpected places until my friend's expenses were all paid!

I don't know about you, but I think my New Year's Resolution this year might look a bit different than that of previous years. It might look a bit like this: "I resolve to praise God in the midst of my problems. I resolve to not stop praising Him until I am filled with so much joy that I can do nothing else but bow my head before Him."

Won't you join me?

Oh, and if you are wondering where to start your praise, why not check out "Found in You" by the Paul Baloche? 

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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A Happy New Year to all of you. May this year bring abundant blessings to you as you continue to grow to know Him more and more!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Dec 2018, 6:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 29, 2018

His Love Endures Forever...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 4:
Ps. 136
 
By Answers2Prayer
  Today's lesson from the Psalms is taken from Ps. 136:

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
   His faithful love endures forever." (Ps. 136:1-3 NLT)

It is often said that when God is trying to get our attention, He repeats Himself. He must really be trying to get our attention in Ps. 136, for the phrase, "His faithful love endures forever" appears 26 times in as many verses. In fact, this Truth makes up the second part of every verse! If that doesn't catch our attention, what does?

Just what does it mean when something endures forever?

Here are a few synonyms to help us understand that when God says His love endures forever, He means it is: abiding, ageless, continuing, dateless, eternal, everlasting, immortal, imperishable, lasting, ongoing, perpetual, timeless, undying (Taken from Merriam-Webster Thesaurus).

Let's also remember that besides being continuous, everlasting, imperishable and ongoing, God's love is also a personal love. God loves you, personally with that every enduring love: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved." (Eph. 2:4-5 ESV; See also Rom. 8:37-39, Gal. 2:20, 1 John 3:1, 1 John 4:7-11, Deut. 7:9, Ps. 86:15, Zeph. 3:17, John 15:9-17, John 3:16, etc.).

What this means is that no matter where you are, no matter what you are going through, no matter how distant God may seem in your circumstances, God loves you personally with a love that will never ever fail!

Wow!

As you continue to read through this Psalm, you also see another pattern emerging:

"Give thanks to Him who alone does mighty miracles.
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the heavens so skillfully.
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who placed the earth among the waters.
   His faithful love endures forever." (Ps. 136:4-6 NLT)

While the second line of each verse reminds us of God's timeless love, the first line is, "Give thanks to Him..."! And this line is repeated 12 times in 26 verses!

The problem is that because God's love abounds, it can becomes somewhat commonplace to us. We become used to it, and we are inclined to take it for granted. Then, when troubles come, we are likely to forget about God's undying love altogether. God knew this would be our tendency, and He worked in a safeguard: "Give thanks to Him...". When we give thanks to God, especially in the midst of our troubles, our vision begins to clear and we begin to remember that His love is, indeed, perpetual.

Psalms 136 has one more powerful lesson to be learned. Take a look at the following samples of verses:

"Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights -- 
   His faithful love endures forever." (vs. 7)

"Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.
   His faithful love endures forever." (vs 13)

"Give thanks to him who stuck down mighty kings.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He killed powerful kings -- 
   His faithful love endures forever. 
Sihon king of the Amorites,
   His faithful love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan.
   His faithful love endures forever." (vs. 17-20)

And finally,

"He remembered us in our weakness.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He saved us from our enemies.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He gives food to every living thing.
   His faithful love endures forever." (Vs 23-25)

The examples in these verses remind us of God's goodness through the ages, and they give us powerful guidelines for becoming aware of that abiding love of God. When trouble arises and we begin to feel that God doesn't care, we need to take the time to not only remember to give thanks to God for general things, but especially to recall the specific times when His love has been manifested in and around us. When we do this simple exercise, our minds stop focussing on our problems and begin to focus on the Solution-Giver. When we specifically recall how God has been our "Solution-Giver" in the past, our faith in His unfailing love for the things that presently face us will become rock-solid.

True enough, none of us crossed the Red Sea on dry land, and none of us were even born when the kings, Og and Sihon walked the earth. These are great examples from history, but we can make this an even more powerful exercise by substituting personal examples of God's never-ending love and making this our prayer:

"Give thanks to Him who________________(fill in the blank with a personal example)
   His faithful love endures forever.
He ______________________(fill in the blank)
   His faithful love endures forever."

Try this little exercise. Don't save it for moments when circumstances are pressing in around you, but make a habit of doing it every day. When you do, you'll be able to go into the hard times fully prepared!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 7:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 27, 2018

Be the Light
 

By Answers2Prayer 
    "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)

I was walking my dogs on a dreary, dismal day in November. A cold, misty rain was falling. The colorful leaves of the month before were now on the ground slowly rotting away. The trees looked like brown and gray skeletons in the woods. The grass in the meadow had gone yellow and dormant as well. There wasn't a butterfly or flower to be seen. Overhead the sky was a dozen shades of gray. Being light sensitive I was finding it hard to keep my energy or spirits up as I walked along. The weather forecast had said it might be days before we would see the sun again.

As I tramped along the wet grass, however, I suddenly saw a light. A tiny break in the clouds had appeared and a sunbeam had shot through to the earth right next to me. I walked my dogs over to it and let it fall gently on my face. It was so bright and beautiful. I stood still and let it wash over me. My face felt 10 degrees warmer and I could feel the fire in my own soul being rekindled. It was a wonderful reminder that the sun was still shining bright behind the clouds. 

It was a wonderful reminder that God's love is always with us even on the darkest of days. The break in the clouds lasted only a minute more but the light I took in from it stayed with me for the rest of the day.

Sometimes we all need a little light to keep us going when the world seems dark. Sometimes we all need a little reminder of God's love for us to keep us strong and shining bright. And sometimes we need to be that light ourselves.

The next time then that this world seems dim and gray be the light that makes it bright once again. Share your love, your warmth, and your smile. Give your goodness, your kindness, and your joy. Break through the clouds and let God's light shine through you.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Wait a minute: If God promises abundance, then why do I have all this need? Click here to find out!
 
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