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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Dec 2018, 12:42 am

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
December 25, 2018

The Best Christmas Gift Ever
 bible
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

Christmas Eve was a special time for our family, a night of good food, family and a real Christmas tree that towered over brightly coloured packages of all sizes and shapes. There was even a gift for our dog, usually a rubber ball which he always seemed to find, unwrap and chew up before morning. At eleven PM, my family and I would attend a special candlelight church service. I loved watching the sanctuary fill with light as people lit their candles one by one down each row of pews. I remember looking up at my older brother, sister, mom and dad, their faces lit by the warm glow of candlelight.

As a youngster, it was also the one night of the year that was nearly impossible to survive. With snow gently falling outside my bedroom window, I'd feverishly try to fall asleep in the hope that dawn would miraculously break so the gift opening festivities could begin. I can scarcely remember a more wonderful time to be a kid. Christmas was truly magical and though gifts were a wonderful addition to the celebration, my parents always ensured we understood the real reason for the season.

When Christmas morning finally arrived, my dad performed his usual tortuous routine! He would be the first downstairs to turn on the tree lights and check to see what gifts had arrived. My siblings and I were not allowed to follow until he gave us the green light. We'd hear him muttering loudly, "Well would you look at the size of this present!" or "that sure wasn't here when I went to bed last night!" This would go on for a minute or two, leaving us pulling our hair out in wild expectation! Finally he'd give us the all clear and faster than a streak of lightening, we were down the stairs with mom close behind. And I'll confess here and now that I carried forward this fatherly shenanigan with my own three children!

Recounting my youthful Christmas experiences stir my soul to think of Jesus. Gifts under our tree cost money and eventually broke or wore out. Whether clothing, toys, games or whatever; they didn't last. Nothing material on this earth does. But we have a soul that is eternal, and thanks to God's incredible and unconditional love for us in the form of baby Jesus on Christmas morning, we already have the most precious gift of all time! "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son does not have life." (1 John 5: 11, 12 NIV)
 
I'm glad that God doesn't make us wait at the top of heaven's staircase while He turns on the lights and checks things over before we receive our present. As you prepare for Christmas, be sure to focus your eyes on the stable in Bethlehem, wherein lays a holy infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a gift to us that outlasts and outshines all others and guarantees eternal life when we put our faith in Jesus the Messiah.
 
Halleluiah and Merry Christmas!

Paul Smyth
Announcement:
My wish for everyone this Christmas is that each of us not only accept but unwrap and use the fullness of Jesus' Christmas gift to us this year: Salvation, Wisdom, Guidance, Peace, Joy, Love, Freedom and Deliverance! Merry CHRISTmas to each of you!
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 23 Dec 2018, 1:44 am

Welcome to the Nugget

December 22, 2018

Lights for Christ
 

     By Answers2Prayer      Subscribe      Unsubscribe      Devotionals      Contact us     One of the many things I love about the Christmas season is the lights. Seeing these beautiful, colourful illuminations fills me with joy, excitement and anticipation, even on the gloomiest of days and in the gloomiest of times.

As Christians, we are called "the light of the world": "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matt. 5:14-16 NLT)

In other words, each one of us is a light. In the same way that a house all decked out in light strings, tree wraps, icicles, nets, garlands and projectors stands out at night as a beacon of colour, we are to shine in our witness for Christ. And just as people don't go to all the trouble to put up Christmas lights on the back of the house, but rather, on the front where they give light to the entire neighbourhood, we are told to let our witness shine as lights before all mankind...Why? So that they can see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven!

The one frustrating thing in putting up Christmas lights is that for most light-strings, if one bulb isn't working, an entire section won't light up. In order to make the lights work properly, each individual bulb must then be inspected to ensure the glass is unbroken, the light is properly inserted into its socket, and the filaments are still intact.

In the same way, there are things that cause our witness to stop shining forth as lights. Sometimes this is because we've been broken down by trials, illness, life circumstances. Sometimes it's because we aren't properly "connected" with the rest of the light string, our fellow Christians. Sometimes it's because of something internal, such as we have allowed doubt to creep in and our faith has become weak. But what does it matter? There are so many other lights around us. Who cares if we aren't shining brightly?

Remember that when even one bulb isn't working on a light-string, it is noticed. It is the same with our witness. We make a difference on an individual level!

But wait. Am I being too harsh? After all, who among us would "choose" to not shine for any of the above reasons? I mean, we haven't exactly "selected" cancer or any other illness. It is never our "desire" to have all these financial or family problems. We certainly would never have "chosen" for a loved one to pass away. Nonetheless, life happens. Troubles come. This is where we find ourselves. As our attention shifts to the problems at hand, we stop focusing on Jesus, our ultimate "light source", and our lights stop shining. We become disconnected, broken apart. Is it any wonder that when we don't see immediate answers to our prayers, our faith weakens?

But do these things have to disconnect us? Is it truly because of the troubles that our faith weakens?

The answer is "no". It is perhaps not our choice to go through trials, but it is our choice to "become disconnected" by shifting our attention away from God. It is our choice to focus on the circumstances, on the seemingly unanswered prayers, and when we do, this results in the "broken filaments" of weakened faith. It is our choice whether or not we allow these things to break us.

How much better would it be in the face of our trials to focus completely and totally on God? To accept His will, to allow Him to carry us through the valleys, to focus on His miracles of the past? To firmly believe that no matter what, God's purpose will be accomplished, and we truly don't want any other outcome?

I recognize that this is all harder than the simplistic view I've just described. Nonetheless, the choice is ours: Do we focus on the problems? Or do we focus on the God of the universe? Is it for naught that we are told, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" (Phil. 4:8 NLT)?

When we decide to focus on Him, then despite our circumstances, our witness will continue to shine brightly. No matter what you are going through right now, think about this the next time you see a house all lit up for Christmas!

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. 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Concerned about getting away from the Santas and reindeer?
Trying to avoid the secularism that enshrouds the Christmas season?
Interested in refocusing on the "Reason for the Season"?
Desiring to truly celebrate the greatest birth in history?
Concerned about getting away from the Santas and reindeer?
Trying to avoid the secularism that  enshrouds the Christmas season? 
Interested in refocusing on the "Reason for the Season"? 
Desiring to truly celebrate the greatest birth in history? 
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Check out:The Nativity!
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Dec 2018, 5:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 20, 2018

Why the Phenomenal Advent? Part 2
 
By Answers2Prayer 
  Coming to the concluding part of the Series titled "Why the Phenomenal Advent", today let's focus on two more aspects related to our Lord's miraculous birth...


Priestly Antecedents... 

If Christ is called both a king and a priest, "...forever after the order of Melchizedek..." (Ps. 110:4 ESV -- See also Gen 14:18/Zech 6:12/Heb 7), then firstly both His royal and priesthood origins have to be clearly established. While His spiritual royalty emerges from the fact that He is the Son of the King of the Universe, born by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), the roots of His earthly kinghood can traced to King David through comprehensive the genealogical accounts of both Matthew's (Matt 1:6-16) and the L uke's (Luke 3:23-32) Gospels, with the former enlisting the ancestry of Joseph, the earthly guardian of Christ, and the latter enlisting that of Mary. Interestingly, this is double proof, if one was needed, that Jesus was a royal descendant of the greatest king of Israel, King David, on botht he sides of His earthly father and His mother.

So do these gospels with the elaborate Davidic genealogies authenticating His Royal antecedents close all routes on mapping Jesus' ancestry to the Levitical Tribe, which is needed to establish His Priestly antecedents? NAY! Praise God for the good Doctor Luke, "who having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, decided to write a careful account of the Jesus story" (Luke 1:3 ESV), began some a very important history...oh boy...oh boy...the account of the Priestly family of Zacharias and Elizabeth, who was a direct descendant of Aaron. Now who was Elizabeth? OK, mother of John the Baptist, yes, but is that all? As we "dig through the tunnels of Luke's Gospel", surprise of surprises, we discover that she was a relative of Mary: "And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son..." (Luke 1:36 ESV)! Agreed, we need "double witness" in line with the Scri ptural instructions (See John 8:17/Deut. 19:15) to substantiate a fact? So let's visit another Scripture some portions besides the afore-referred one where Mary and Elizabeth are seen together, Luke 1:40-45 to be more precise:

"A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, 'God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.'" (ESV). 

From the visible blessed warmth in the interaction of these two blessed Biblical mothers, do you get a picture of two strangers meeting? Or two close relatives greeting one another? The answer is obvious, isn't not? While Mary's father was a Judean, Mary's mother could have been a Levite and a sister of Elizabeth, say the Biblical scholars like Adam Clarke and JFB. A precedent of Judeans and Levites intermarrying is very much there in the Scriptures (2 Chronicles 22:11)! While the Scripture involving Elizabeth and Mary is quite familiar, it is the angle from which we perceive the well-known account that makes the whole story revelatory. Thank you, Holy Spirit, there is no teacher greater than You (John 14:26/1 John 2:27)!

So minus the role of Mary, the relative of Aaronic descendent Elizabeth in the Christmas narrative, the High Priest's antecedents would go missing from our Great Redeemer's matchless CV!


Physician's Account...

Ever wondered, why the good Lord got the Christmas narrative written down from exclusively Mary's perspective (especially her apprehensions on conceiving whilst still being a virgin) in Luke's Gospel only? For instance in other Gospels, like the Gospel of Matthew, we get to view the Christmas story entirely through the "eyes of Joseph", so to say and not that of Mary. If at all there could have been any person who could have logically objected to a virgin birth, it would have been a doctor, and who was Mr. Luke? A Doctor (Col 4:13) Ladies and Gentlemen!!! Anyone still around, like Thomas of yore, doubting the miraculous virgin conception and birth?

Prayer: Father, once we praise and thank Thee for the miraculous virgin birth of Your Son and for making a Doctor of all persons document the same for the World to read and believe in this awesome miracle. We glorify Thee once again in Jesus' Name. Amen


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please check out: Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness! 
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Dec 2018, 11:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 18, 2018

Why the Phenomenal Advent? Part 1


By Answers2Prayer 
     "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14 ESV -- a prophecy given roughly about 750 years before the birth of the Christ-child)

In this Series of 2 Parts, I will aim to glean some lessons from the phenomenal advent of Christ. None before Him were born to a Virgin and none after. So why did Christ come into this World in such a miraculous way? Firstly...


Pure atonement...

Our Heavenly Father, who completely unveiled the Blessed Redemption plan on Good Friday (Hey, meditation on Christmas without bringing Good Friday into the picture is like trying to ride a bicycle on a single tire!) was communicating through various symbolic means (See Lev 1:3-4) and also distinct prophecies, such as Isa 53:6) about what would eventually transpire on the Cross of Calvary one day.

One symbolic act was the instruction given time and time again in the Pentateuch concerning the sacrifice of a blemish-less animal--I reiterate, a blemish-less animal! "You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God." (Deut. 17:1 ESV, See also Lev. 1:3-4, Lev. 8:22)--for the atonement of sins. As divinely foreordained spotless, sinless atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Rev 13:8/ 1 Peter 1:19), Jesus had to be sinless right from His conception onwards . Hence the Virgin birth!


Perfect Arbitrator... 

"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." (1 Tim 2:5 ESV)

One basic requirement for being an arbitrator is that he should be acceptable to both disputing parties. The "dispute" between the Almighty and menkind began as it were from "the Fall" in the Garden of Eden (See Gen 3). Enter the Arbitrator on that first Christmas, who would commence that work whilst still donning the human vesture (See John 17).

Being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit as a Holy Son of the Holy God, He would represent the interests, so to speak of God before men. By the same token, being born through Mary as a Son of Man, He would be the empathetic representative of fallible and fragile man before God: "For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Heb 2:18 ESV).

No virgin birth, and it follows that there would be no role for the Saviour to play as the perfect arbitrator. Boy...It is a scary proposition!
 
Yet another amazing aspect of the our Saviour's miraculous birth is that it, in a way, is a precedent to the miraculous spiritual re-birth of all God's children when they accept God's Son as their Saviour. Consider this amazing Scripture portion: "...to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13ESV).

Prayer: Father, we in awe glorify Your Holy Name for the miraculous birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. We praise and thank Thee that because of that miraculous birth, we who believe in Him are also miraculously reborn. Amen and Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.... (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: ...For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.... (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Sat 15 Dec 2018, 8:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 15, 2018

How to Erase Loneliness During Christmas

By Answers2Prayer 
    In the midst of crowds and Christmas celebrations, our hearts can be lonely until we trust in Christ alone.

Recently at a gathering, a friend shared these episodes of reality.

The bush that Moses encountered was just an ordinary bush until it burned without consuming it. The staff was just a staff until it turned into a snake. The rock was one of many, until Moses struck and water gushed out. The Red Sea was just a body of water until God parted it for His people to cross on dry land. David's rocks were simple stones, until he used one to defeat Goliath. Mary was a humble peasant girl, until God touched her with a miracle.

See, that's how it works. Our life may be mundane, until we encounter the wonder of God's love. Our future might be a series of tomorrows, until the horizon of His riches appears. Our dreams might be elusive, until we believe God's power at work.

And when it comes to loneliness, it might be a dark emotion, until you lift our eyes to Jesus and grab His hand.

That's why His birth might be just an event, until we understand the reason. "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
So why is it, anyway, that Jesus needed to be born of a virgin? Please join us next week for "Why the Phenomenal Advent?" A mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Dec 2018, 8:24 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 13, 2018

Gifts Fit for a King!
Jesus' Birthday: A Call for Celebration, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer 
    Last Tuesday we saw that we should celebrate Christ's birthday every day by spending special time with Him, by listening for His voice, by loving one another and by trusting Him. But all birthday celebrations include the giving of gifts. What kind of gifts can we give Jesus daily that would show our appreciation for His ultimate gift to us?

The world's wisest man suggests just what kind of a gift would be most appreciated by the King of Kings: "O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways." (Prov. 23:26 NLT). The present Jesus wants the most is our hearts. After all, if you give up your life for someone, wouldn't accepting your gift make you the most happy?

We get another clue as to what kinds of gifts are fit for a King from the birthday gifts that Jesus actually received: "They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matt. 2:11 NIV).

In those days, gold was considered a gift for a king. Perhaps we don't have any gold hanging around to give to Jesus, but when we allow Him to be the King of our hearts, we are giving a beautiful gift, a gift of gold, to our King of Kings.

Frankincense is used throughout the Bible as a symbol of the priestly role, and in giving Jesus Frankincense, the Wisemen were treating the Christ child like the High Priest that He would become. When we allow Jesus to be our priest, to intercede before the Father on our behalf, to carry our petitions before the Holy God, we are giving a beautiful gift, a gift of Frankincense, to our ultimate High Priest.

Myrrh is used throughout Biblical times as an embalming spice. By giving Jesus the gift of myrrh, the Wisemen were prefiguring His death. When we accept the sin offering made available to us through Jesus death, we are giving the most beautiful of gifts, the gift of Myrrh, to our ultimate Saviour.

A final clue about what kind of a gift is fit for the King of Kings actually comes to us from the traditional family dinner that has become an important part of every Christmas celebration. With us spending hours making a wonderful meal to feed our families and friends, wouldn't it also make Jesus happy if we would be so conscientious about feeding His family?

This "feeding" can be physical food. It would make Jesus so happy if we would give the homeless and hungry of this world food and water in His name: "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?...And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" (Matt. 25:37-40 NLT).

This "feeding" can also be of a spiritual nature. Jesus told Peter--three times!--that he should feed God's lambs: "'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter replied, 'you know I love you.' 'Then feed my lambs,' Jesus told him." (John 21:15 NLT).

Thus, when we feed one another both physically and spiritually, we are giving a Kingly gift to our King of Kings in celebration of all that He has done for us.

Friends, let's not get hung up in the discussion of whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas. Instead, let's ensure that we celebrate Jesus' birth every day of the year by giving Him our hearts, by allowing Him to be our King, our High Priest and our Saviour, by spending time with Him daily, by trusting Him and obeying His commands, by loving God and loving each other, by following in His ways and by feeding His sheep!

If you've missed any of the "Christ's Birth, a Call for Celebration" mini-series, please click here, or email me and I'll send them to you. May God bless each of you as you celebrate Christ's birthday...every day of the year!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
With the Christmas season well upon us, it becomes more and more difficult to find Christ in Christmas. Why not join us on Saturday and next week to meet our gentle Shepherd, Jesus Christ the reason for Christmas in "Know the Shepherd", a three-part mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Dec 2018, 12:36 am

Welcome to the Nugget

December 6, 2018

Today's Christmas
 

By Answers2Prayer 
 More Illustrations Contact us  The wise men from the east celebrated the birth of Jesus and for more than two thousand years we have marvelled that a child born in a stable could bring us eternal peace with God. He came to prepare the greatest gift ever given but we have not yet received the gift in all its reality.

Jesus is coming again to personally deliver the gift he prepared. Did you get it? Jesus is coming again to personally deliver the gift he has prepared!

He explained it to his disciples after his death and resurrection. At the Mount of Olives his disciples asked him privately, "what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3b KJV)

Jesus said "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:27 KJV). Meanwhile He said "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2d,3 KJV)

He was going to prepare a place for His people, and when He comes, He comes with power and great glory to take them home to it.

The gift He prepared at the first Christmas is historical. It is to be opened to us at the second Christmas: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:12 KJV).

So instead of looking backward for two thousand years, we should be looking forward to opening the gift of eternity with Jesus.

Rejoice!

Elizabeth Price  
Announcement:
With all the commercialism, materialism and paganism surrounding the traditional celebration of Christmas, just how should Christians celebrate the birth of Christ? Join us on Saturday and on Tuesday and Thursday of next week for "Celebration of Jesus' Birth", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."


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December 4, 2018

No Good Deed
 bible
By Answers2Prayer 
  
"For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do." (Heb. 6:10 NLT)

Someone online sold my mailing address so now instead of just getting letters from the few charities I can afford to support, I am also getting letters from a dozen other charities asking for my help. One of my more cynical friends spouted the old adage, "No good deed ever goes  unpunished." I just smiled and didn't argue knowing it wouldn't change his mind. My own mind, however, was remembering another moment from many years ago...

It was a windy, snowy day in December. I was a young Dad who had saved just enough cash to buy my children a few presents for Christmas. As I walked to the store I saw the Salvation Army kettle with a man ringing a bell standing beside it. Next to him was his daughter, a little girl no more than three feet tall, bundled up against the biting cold. I took a dollar bill out of my wallet and dropped it into the kettle. As the man was thanking me, though, I felt a pressure on my legs. I looked down and saw that the little girl was giving me her own thank you hug. I smiled down at her, bent down and hugged her back. Then I went inside feeling a warmth that no winter wind could ever take away.

Thinking back on that moment in time reminded me that no good deed ever goes unrewarded. We may not always get an instantaneous, heart-felt hug but in time every act of giving, every act of goodness, and every act of love that we make flows from heart to heart and soul to soul, around the world and back to us again.

No good deed is ever wasted. Every good deed brings a little bit of Heaven here to Earth. Don't let this sometimes cynical world get you down then. Don't let the problems and pains of life pull you from your purpose. Share your love today! Give from your heart. Fill your life with acts of kindness. Let God's light shine through everything you say and everything you do.

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 1:25 am

Welcome to the Nugget

December 1, 2018

Christmas Peace


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     The season known in North America for being one of the most stressful times of the year is upon us: Christmas! In the rehab hospital where I worked, we would always get a spike in numbers of stroke survivors following Christmas. In addition, more people fall and break bones around Christmas time, more people have heart attacks, and it is becoming uncommon to meet someone who has not lost a loved one during previous Christmas seasons.

Wait! Isn't Christmas supposed to be a celebration of the birth of the One who brings stress-relief?

Isn't this what was prophesied about Him? "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6 ESV).

Wasn't the fact that Jesus is our peace even declared by the angels to the Shepherds in the fields on the night Jesus was born? "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'" (Luke 2:8-14 ESV).

If Jesus came to this earth to be our peace, then why has the season where we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the "Prince of Peace" become known as one of the most stressful times of the year?

Perhaps it is because we've taken Christ out of Christmas. Or maybe it is because we've allowed paganism to cloud our minds. Or it might even be related to the fact that we've fallen into the blinding traps of materialism and commercialism.

I would have to say there is significant supporting evidence that despite the best efforts to keep Jesus at the centre of Christmas, even the most ardent followers of Christ are often guilty of falling into these dangerous traps. But are these the real reasons the Christmas season has become so stressful?

We could go into a deep discussion at this point about whether or not Christians should be celebrating Christmas, but be it right or wrong, is the celebration of Christmas truly the root issue at hand?

You see, although paganism, materialism and commercialism are critically dangerous traps that Christians do fall into, I'm wondering if these are but mere symptoms of a far deeper problem: Although we know Jesus is our Prince of Peace, we don't tend to allow Him to be our peace; not just at Christmastime, but at any time of the year!

In His great pastoral prayer, Jesus declares that He has left us His peace: "Peace I leave with you..." (John 14:27a ESV). He says He has given it to us: "...my peace I give to you." (John 14:27b ESV).

Thus, we already have Jesus' peace; but does this mean we have taken it as our own?

It is so much the human tendency to not use the things we've been given. So often I have bought things for my kids that I know they need; but when I go into their rooms months later, I see my unopened gifts on the shelf. They simply do not always see the importance of using it, or sometimes they just forget it is there. It is no different with Jesus' gift of peace. We cannot benefit from it if we do not use it.

In the wording of His next words to His disciples, Jesus indicates that peace is a choice: "...Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27d ESV). The use of "let not" would indicate that we have the choice to either be stressed out or to accept the peace Jesus has already left for us.

I would suggest that the celebration of Christ's birth has become one of the most stressful times of year because we have chosen to let our hearts be troubled and afraid by not accepting Jesus' peace--not just with the busyness associated with Christmas, but all the time! I propose that if we were in the habit of accepting Jesus' peace during all of our troubled situations, then it wouldn't matter what stress comes up in our lives, we would simply accept Jesus' invitation to give Him our burdens and experience His rest: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 ESV). We would choose to follow Paul's excellent advice: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil. 4:6 ESV).

Let's make Jesus happy by accepting His gift of peace, by making it a habit of giving Him our burdens and of attacking stressful times with prayer and thanksgiving--at ALL times! When we do, we will truly be embracing this vitally important gift of peace that Jesus came to this earth to leave with us.

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:
Needing some help focusing on the true meaning of Christmas? You're not in that boat alone, for with all the Santas and Sleighs, it's a wonder the world even remembers this is supposed to be a celebration of Christ's birth. The Nugget invites you to join us through the month of December as we explore how to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the Reason for the Season! 
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 10 Nov 2018, 7:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 10, 2018

Clearing out the House...The Junk, Part 1
 
By Answers2Prayer 
     One of the major projects I tackled as soon as I retired was clearing out over 18 years of accumulated junk from our home. Everything had to be gone through in order to determine if we would keep it or not.

Although this took time, the real work actually was in the disposal of all of the "rejected" items. These first had to be sorted into two piles: Still usable? Or Junk? The "still usable" items were sold on-line, and the "junk" items had to be further sorted into one of the following categories: electronics; hazardous waste; recyclables; or garbage. You can imagine how full the garage soon became!

It doesn't do any good to simple clear out junk only to store it in the garage, so my next job was to find an appropriate home for each of those piles of junk. I would discover that I could leave the electronics and hazardous waste items at special receptacles of the local dump. The recyclables could be sorted into their proper categories and put on the street on my local garbage day. Finally, the actual "garbage" could also go out with the garbage on our local garbage day, but only after buying "extra garbage" tags for the items that would fit in garbage bags, buying a "permit" for the items with refrigerants in them, and registering all of the oversized items with the city at least two business days prior to pick up.

Whew! What a job! But you can believe me when I say it felt good to be done with all of that garbage! Now I hope I will be able to keep the house junk-free, or in the very least, do another thorough cleaning next year!

In all, it makes me think of another type of "cleaning" that we each should participate in—not once every 18 years, but rather, we should participate in this particular type of cleaning on a continual basis. I am speaking of the cleansing of our thoughts: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV).

Every thought needs to pass through the filter of "appropriate" versus "inappropriate". Why? Because the battlefield for our souls is in the mind: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12 NIV); because, "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6 NIV)!

Just like cleaning out my basement left me with a large pile of stuff to be done away with, when we cleanse our thoughts we are also left with a pretty big pile of junk. The Bible defines this junk as "acts of the flesh", and describes it as: "...sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." (Gal. 5:19-21 NIV). In the same way I needed to not just clear out my house, but I also needed to get rid of the junk, we need to also get rid of these "acts of the flesh". The good news is, we don't need to work at further sorting and bagging up our spiritual junk. All we need to do is bring it under the blood of Jesus. Consider the following passage from Hebrews 9:

"For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. 9:24-26 NIV)

The good news, friends, is this: We can plead the merits of Jesus' blood over our "heart junk", and it will be taken care of, forever! Jesus has washed it away! No more guilt, no more shame, no more condemnation: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death...And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Rom. 8:1,3-4 NIV)! If you have never had Jesus cleanse you of your "heart junk", why not answer the Savior's Call today? 

Unfortunately, just because my house is clean doesn't mean I can't go out and accumulate more junk. In the same way, we are told that the devil: "...prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8b NIV). Join us on Tuesday for some ideas at how to keep the junk from coming back in: "Keeping the Junk at Bay...The 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. 
Announcement:
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:32 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 8, 2018

Typing
 

By Answers2Prayer 
     "'I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.'" (Matt. 25:25-28 ESV)

"Hands on home keys. Eyes on book. Ready. Type." It was 1980. I was a 14-year-old high school freshman and I was struggling to type a letter on an electric typewriter without looking at the keys. Most of the other people in the class were juniors and seniors. I had decided to take the class early to get out of taking a foreign language. I had enough trouble with English and learning French or Spanish seemed a lot scarier than learning to type. I was regretting my decision, though, as I struggled to touch type without looking at the keys. I didn't really see myself ever using a typewriter again after the term was over.

Fast forward 20 years. My wife and I had bought our first computer with a word processor program. I had been writing my stories by hand for a long time but decided I would try to type one out instead. Amazingly, my hands went automatically to the home keys and I began to write.

Like riding a bike my body remembered after all of these years how to type. Soon I was not only writing stories on my computer but sending them out on the internet as well. Where once I had been able to touch hundreds of readers of our local paper now I was able to touch thousands of readers all over the world. It was such a blessing and I thanked God for it.

Now here is the question. What part of me knew all of those years ago that one day I would need to know how to type? I had no desire to be a writer at that time. I had nothing to share and nothing to write. Yet, somehow a part of my soul decided that I should take that typing class and learn a skill that I would need 20 years later.

It seems that even if we don't know what we will need in this life, God does. God sees our eternal past and future. God sees the interconnectedness of us all. God loves us and guides us and helps us to use our talents and love to help each other. All we need to do is trust Him. All we need to do is listen to the deepest parts of our souls.

Life is a long journey full of loving, learning, and helping. You never know what you will need along the way either. Trust in God then. Use every talent He gives you to make this world a better and more beautiful place. Use every choice He gives you to type out a life of love here.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
Announcement:
What? My basement can teach me about...Freedom in Christ? Freedom from temptation? Salvation? Join us on Saturday for "The Junk", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
November 6, 2018

By Answers2Prayer 
   "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things..." (Revelation 4:11 NIV)

What a great summer day it had been. An extraordinarily clear and deep blue sky, backlit with blindingly bright sunshine; the perfect combo to get some great pics.

Everywhere we turned color blazed. Intense fuchsia, scarlet, and varied hues of green and gold... so gorgeous. I couldn't help but think, color is such a wonderful gift. When God made the world and all things in it, He gave us an extra special present in full color.

Instead of fruits and veggies in a jillion shades of gray, they come in a breathtaking array of colors. The Lord created luscious red tomatoes, forest green broccoli, buttercup yellow lemons, purple cabbages, neon oranges.

We have gorgeous wildflowers; even most weeds are pretty. We have towering trees of every shade of green. When in Ireland, we discovered the truth behind the country being "forty shades of green."

These are tangible examples of color. Does love have a color and a substance? Can you see it, the way we can see the color of flowers, grass, a blue sky? How about small, pudgy fingers holding up a freshly picked bouquet? Or tears you wipe away as you put a bandage on a fresh wound? What about a husband of sixty years reaching for his wife's rickety hand to steady her? And how about a puppy wagging its tail nearly ff when you open the door? How about a cross?

Surely there is substance and color to love. We are totally surrounded with it. It gives me pause to think about who our God is and not just what He does. All glory is due His name.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our full color world.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy 
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Post  Admin on Sun 04 Nov 2018, 8:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 3, 2018

The Pumpkins
 

By Answers2Prayer 

     The 12 year-old girl who lives next door grew an abundant crop of pumpkins this year.

Now this particular girl is quite kindhearted, and she wishes to share them--for free! It was with this spirit that she offered me--someone who has done nothing to deserve such a gift--two pumpkins back in early September. The problem was, we were leaving on a 3-week trip in just a few days, and there wasn't any way we could use two pumpkins before our departure. I was forced to turn down her kind offer, but the look of disappointment on her face touched my heart.

"You can freeze them, then they will keep," she suggested, and I almost hated myself for my next words: "But I don't have time to process them for freezing."

She left then, but you can imagine my surprise when she returned an hour later with two pumpkins'-worth of pumpkin flesh in one bag, and their seeds in another! I accepted her gift with a smile and a huge "thank you"!

As I think about this kind deed of the neighbour girl, I realize how important it is to her to share her pumpkins. It is, in fact, so important to her that she is willing to sacrifice of her time for someone who is undeserving of her kind gift. It makes me think about another "kind deed" that has been bestowed, not just upon me and my immediate neighbours, but to all of mankind: Jesus' loving sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus' gift was at extensive personal cost. He gave up Heaven and the presence of His Father to live on this earth, surrounded by sin, unappreciated, unloved, unaccepted, resigned to endure extensive physical suffering: "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." (Phil. 2:6-8 NLT).

Why did He do this? It was all in the name of love: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NLT).

In order for me to have those beautiful pumpkins grown by my neighbour's daughter, I had to accept her gift. In the same way, all we have to do to access forgiveness from sin is to accept Jesus' Sacrifice: "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12 NLT).

The problem is, just like I didn't immediately accept the pumpkins, we don't tend to readily accept Jesus' Salvation. Oh, I did have a good reason for not immediately taking the pumpkins, and we think we have a good reason for not accepting Jesus as well. The one I hear most often is this: "I'm not worthy of such a wonderful gift. I'm too big of a sinner!"...Yet the Bible says: "For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people." (Titus 2:11 NLT).

Although we know cognitively that Salvation is for everyone, it is so hard for us to understand how the Almighty, perfect God can love sinners like us, people who have so little faith.

Think about it however: It was the desire of my neighbour's daughter to give me a gift of her pumpkins. In fact, she was willing to sacrifice of her time and effort to cut up two of them so that I could have her pumpkins despite my trip. How sad she would have been if, after all that effort, I had continued to refuse them.

And if I do something for someone that results in personal cost, how could I possibly want to withhold that gift from them, even if they are undeserving?

Jesus' sacrifice was the ultimate in personal loss, and He gave it out of love so that we can be saved. How could He possibly withhold that gift for any reason?

If you feel unworthy of Jesus' sacrifice, you are in good company. We are all unworthy, for the Bible teaches that it was while we were all still God's enemies that Jesus died for us: "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son." (Romans 5:10 NLT).

Remember that I was also unworthy of my neighbour girl's sacrifice when she prepared the pumpkin for the freezer for me; nonetheless, she did it because she wanted to share her pumpkins.

In a much greater way, Jesus wants to share His sacrifice with us, no matter how bad we have been, for: "...He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." (2 Peter 3:9 NLT).

If Jesus wants to give us this gift so very badly, let's not disappoint Him. Our worthiness is completely irrelevant to this picture, for our worthiness wasn't in His equation when He gave Himself as the supreme sacrifice for our sin. So whether we feel worthy or not, let's reach out to Him, let's accept His gift. It will make Him so happy.

I'm really enjoying the frozen pumpkin. It is so convenient to throw into muffin and dessert recipes! In a much more important way, you will never regret your decision to accept His unconditional gift. Why not accept Him today? You can do so by clicking here. 

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
John the Baptist said, "The time has come...The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15). But what exactly is the Kingdom of God? Check out "Basics of Basileia", a four-part mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan designed to help us have a better understand of God's Kingdom!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Oct 2018, 8:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 30, 2018

Standing Your Ground

By Answers2Prayer    
 
When troubles press in upon you from all sides, are you able to stand your ground? We all experience days where we feel deflated and just plain worn out. Our faith may wane and we become desperate for God to step in and provide a means of rescue. Let's face it, it's not always easy to hunker down and wait for the storms to pass. But it's during those times we need to hold fast to our faith.

The other day when I was standing on my deck, a sudden commotion of birds in the neighbor's yard caught my attention. A flurry of crows, magpies and blue jays all began to squawk incessantly while perched in a large Russian olive tree. Their agitated calls were obviously directed at something, but the question was what? So being a man of innate curiosity, I grabbed a patio chair to elevate my eye line over the back fence. It was then I nearly fell off my own perch!

The object of feathery discontent was a huge great horned owl! This beautiful bird of prey had for what-ever reason decided to roost himself and rest his weary wings despite an army of noisy neighborhood birds all intent on convincing him otherwise. But this owl stood his ground despite the bevy of trouble around him. In fact he remained in that tree for hours until the other birds finally gave up and I went to bed.

Watching the owl withstand harassment and jeering from his unhappy peers, and then remaining perfectly stoic reminded me that when life's unpleasant issues press into life, we have a powerful source of strength to tap into and that we need not fear. It's comforting to know that, "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Did you notice it doesn't say that God is sometimes ready, or if he feels like it, or when he gets back from vacation? No! God is ALWAYS ready to help in our times of trouble. Our job is to hold our ground, lift our hands and pray. And we can also be assured that our prayers are heard. Why? Because it says so in Psalm 4:3: "The Lord will answer when I call to him." (NLT) I love those types of promises! Short and very concise! I draw comfort in knowing that I can drop to my knees at any time and seek shelter under God's wings.
 
I don't know what sort of things you're dealing with right now, but I can tell you that my own life is full of issues I'd rather not be faced with. But I've learned that when you have Jesus in your court, it's easier to stand your ground when the waters rise and winds blow. We have a Savior who lets us come as we are and where every day we can place our heavyhearted baggage at His feet. "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

And then just like the owl standing his ground when all around him was chaos, we can rest assured that God will see us through when all we need is a solid branch, shelter and some much needed rest.

Paul Smyth  
Announcement:
Feeling the need for comfort and strength? Why not turn to the scriptures? Check out the video below...
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Oct 2018, 7:39 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 16, 2018

A Boost for NOT Boasting...Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Probably you have heard this story before but here it goes again: A tale involving a frog prone to self-boasting, and his two crane friends. These three planned to "live happily together ever after" in their pond that overflowed with rich flora and fauna. But this was sadly not to be (sic). In due course, on account of a severe drought, the pond was on the verge of drying up. This left the three friends with no option but to migrate to a different place. But herein lie the problem. While it would be easy for the feathery duo to happily fly away to "greener pastures" so to speak, it would be improbable for their hopper friend to cover the miles required to reach the same "safer zone". Now, as the inseparable friends pooled their minds together on how to ensure all three arrived safely at another pond, hey presto...one of the webbed footed ones weaved together a brainy plan: The cranes would carry a stick in their beaks whilst flying, and Mr. Br illiant would latch onto the stick with his "big" mouth.

So on the appointed day, the trio took off. All was going well until they flew past a nearby drought-hit village. The people, upon seeing this strange sight, wondered aloud as to who was the "Mastermind" behind this "Great Escape" plan. There are no prizes for guessing what happened.... Mindlessly, the "high-flying" boastful hero opened his mouth to become...to put it mildly...a big zero thereafter.

Even as we smile at this story, doesn't honesty compel us to admit that we, too, are prone to blowing our own trumpets at times? In this series of 3 parts, yours truly will endeavor to give a boost, as it were, for not boasting unnecessarily, by bringing out the Biblical mandate (through some Biblical illustrations) on what is required before boasting is appropriate. In addition, we will see that there are times when we need to silently be thankful to the Lord, as He, alone, is the source behind every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). Now consider this Scripture...

"This is what the Lord says: 'Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!'" (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT)

Firstly, let's see what we ought not to boast about, and then towards the end, we will look at what we need to be trumpeting about. As ever, the best wine in the spiritual realm always is reserved for the last (John 2:10 TLB)!

Prudence...

Welcome to Mr. Judas of Old Testament times (Psalm 55:12-14). If Judas betrayed the Son of David in New Testament times, who then was his predecessor who betrayed the original David in the Old Testament dispensation? Meet Mr. Ahithophel, who the infallible Scripture says was so wise that he not only occupied the highly responsible post of being one of the Counsellors of King David (1 Chro 27:33), but who would also always speak words that were brimming with the Lord's wisdom (2 Sam 16:23).

If the good Lord can raise and depose Kings depending upon their humble submission to Him (Dan 5:17-28), then by the same token it follows that the good Lord can use a person's wisdom not only to further his career's ambitions, but also to frustrate them. The difference depends upon the concerned individual's humble relationship with Him.

What happened to Ahithopel's famed wisdom when it was used wrongfully in trying to settle scores with the Anointed One-King David? You see Ahithopel was peeved with the David's lamentable affair with his granddaughter Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:3/2 Sam 23:34). As a result, his "wisdom" became "folly" in the eyes of the very one (Absalom) he had joined hands with in rebellion against King David. Why? Because he was now counseling in flagrant violation (2 Sam 17:14) of the Lord's will! I reiterate, going against the anointed ones, even if they are in the wrong, will ensure the Lord's wrath. We need to let the Almighty handle the matter, for He is able to punish them justly (See 1 Sam 24:6/1 Sam 26:9-11/Romans 12:19). And what was the end result of Ahithophel's betrayal of King David by switching sides? Very much like Judas, frustration led to suicide, and there, too, we see a distinct similarity: by hanging (2 Sam 17:23)!

Beware folks. Wisdom minus the right relationship with the Giver of it can lead to one's doom.

Prayer: Father, even as You bless us with Your problem-solving abilities, help us to always remember the fact that we have received the same only from Your gracious Hands. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Oct 2018, 10:31 am

Welcome to the Nugget

October 11, 2018

How can we find the path to Freedom from Worry?

By Answers2Prayer
How can we help but worry? So many tragedies and so much that come at us, so much out of our control. So, how do we find that freedom from worry?

Did you notice that some people who have fame, money, prestige, good looks, and possessions end their lives tragically? Could it be they mistakenly entered through wrong gate?

Hurricane Irma left holes in the screen closure of our swimming pool, a perfect entrance for wild creatures.

It didn't take long before that happened. Our grandchildren squealed with excitement when they saw one of those four-legged creatures few feet away from them. We watched the squirrel go from here to there.

"She doesn't want to play. She wants to get out," my grandkids said.

Her bushy tail followed her as she scurried from corner to corner, trying to find the way out. Hubby opened both screen doors wide to make her exit easier.

But she dashed right by the opened doors until she spotted the same hole she used to come in. Silly squirrel. She missed the wide-open doors.

She must have known if she took the same small opening, the territory would be safe and familiar.

We're the same way, aren't we? We always choose the familiar.

And sadly, rather than finding reassurance, peace and security, we end up scurrying from here to there heading to the familiar worry spot. But pitifully, we miss that gate God had opened for us.

Maybe it's time we begin looking for the correct gate that leads to the no-worry zone, here are three ways to help make the journey easier.

Recognize there are always two choices--one that fuels our emotions and one that echoes God's direction.
Store in your heart God's truth that says that you'll never add an hour to your life by worrying.
Listen closely to God's whisper to give you the answer, the path and the destination when trapped by worry.

Christ said: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

Prayer: Father, open gates are all around us, luring us. They beckon us to enter into the world's traps. Teach me to be among those few who trust rather than worry, who believe rather than fear and to seek you rather than end up lost. In Jesus' name, amen.

What gate will you choose to enter today?

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 07 Oct 2018, 10:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 6, 2018

Resetting the Mileage
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I'm having fun with my new (to me!) tow vehicle. It has a feature where I can see exactly what my gas mileage is, both in the moment, and in an accumulative average since the last time it was reset. Because I am environmentally-conscious, I take pleasure in driving in such a way that I can see better gas mileage numbers.

Of course, you cannot expect to get the same mileage when you tow as you would get when you aren't towing; and since this is our tow vehicle, its exceptional mileage does deteriorate somewhat when we tow our small trailer. Especially in the mountains...

We were towing our trailer through the White Mountains in Vermont the last time the average mileage meter was set. By the time we finally reached our campground, our average fuel consumption for the day was 16.9 liters/100 kilometers (13 mpg). Yikes! That's terrible!

Fortunately, that was our worst day for mileage, and with each subsequent day, even though we were continuing to tow, the average mileage improved. It was down to an average of 14.5 l/100 km (16.2 mpg) by the time we reached home and parked the trailer in the driveway. Since that day, we've only driven short distances in town, and every day the average mileage continues to improve. 

It is true that no matter how long I drive without the trailer, my "average" mileage on the meter will never reflect the actual mileage. This is because no matter how "good" I am about getting better mileage, it will never offset the damage done by that day of towing in the White Mountains...

It kind of reminds you of sin, doesn't it? We all have sinned: "We are all infected and impure with sin." (Is. 64:6a NLT), so we try to "off-set" that sin by doing good deeds. The problem is that in the same way my good gas mileage can never completely make up for the really bad day of towing in the mountains, my good deeds, no matter how many I do, will never make up for my sin. Why not? Because, "When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." (Is. 64:6b NLT).

Of course, the average mileage meter on my tow vehicle does have a "reset" button...All I have to do is push it, and all the record of "bad" mileage is completely erased, forgotten, never again to be found. Fortunately for us, our "sin" meter also has a "reset button": "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Ps. 103:12 NLT).

The problem is that just like I have to actually push the reset button on my car to erase the record of poor mileage, we also have to be willing to allow Jesus to "push" that "reset button" that He has given us. We need to:

a. Confess our sin: "But 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);
b. Believe in His power of forgiveness: "So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." (Mark 2:10 NLT);
c. Accept His righteousness as our own: "I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith." (2 Cor. 5:21 NLT); and
d. Accept this in faith: "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God." (Eph. 2:8 NLT)

So why don't I just push the mileage reset button in my car?

Because I am actually kind of having fun with it. There is something rewarding about driving prudently enough to make the average mileage to go down...

In the same way, we sometimes get reward out of trying to "work off" our sin, even when we know it isn't possible; for we know: "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Eph. 2:9 NLT).

Let's stop trying to "work off" our sin! Instead, let's turn to Jesus and have Him "push" the "reset button", wiping the slate forever clean.

Oh, and I think I'll go out and push that mileage reset button on my tow vehicle...

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 04 Oct 2018, 9:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 4, 2018

Ten Inspirations for Grandparents...

By Answers2Prayer 
    Inspiration to be a good grandparent is simple--as long as we have love, we have what it takes.

"C'mon sweet baby," I called to my 2-year-old granddaughter.

With quick steps, she came. And as she stood with her back toward me, I carefully pinned the bells to her blouse, which she told me was pink.

The sound of those bells helped me keep track of her. She might not have understood her Nana was blind. Or maybe she did. What's important is she knew that we don't need eyes to love, to guide and to teach.

Time swept by way too fast. She's 9-years-old now and her brother 7. They both run to me for hugs. But neither needs bells anymore as they answer when I call.

But the call for a grandparent is different. It's to enrich their lives no matter what we have or what we lack.

Here are ten treasured moments that create that special bond:

1. The stories we tell about Jesus equips them to face a cruel world.
2. The embrace we offer carries the warmth of security.
3. The comfort we impart can soothe their soul when disappointment barges in.
4. The wisdom drawn from God's Word fills their mind as they make decisions for life.
5. The example to persevere, to endure and to give teaches them to do the same.
6. The guidance we provide keeps them from the pitfalls of life.
7. The acceptance with love unconditional mends the rejection of the world.
8. The time we spend with them multiplies the love.
9. The patience we display brings security to their soul.
10,The praise we express deepens their confidence and worth.

Grandkids learn from what we do, what we say and how we love.

Appreciate that gray because "gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life." (Proverbs 16:31)

Even if you're not a grandparent, there may be someone in your life who hungers for what you have to offer.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 02 Oct 2018, 4:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 2, 2018

Coffee and Blue Jays

By Answers2Prayer 
    Admittedly, it's not always easy to be thankful when you're in the thick of life's obstacles. There are times when giving thanks is the last thing we feel like doing. But let me suggest to you that it's at those times of intense struggle, nagging worry, crippling fear; that we need to do just that. We need to find a measure of joy amidst the storms of life.

Developing a mindset of thanksgiving takes effort on our part, but it can actually yield peace if we try. And if you're anything like me, I prefer a tranquil spirit when thunderclouds amass or shackles of anxiety threaten to keep me awake at night.

I couldn't help but smile when my wife read this quote to me, "If you want to give the devil a nervous breakdown, get up every day and be as happy as you can possibly be!" The more I thought about it, the more I valued its truth. Do you ever find that when things aren't going your way, it's easy to develop an attitude of complaint towards God? I'll come clean and tell you I sure do, "Why did I lose my job? Why did my car break down and cost a small fortune to repair when money is tight? Why has my wife suffered ill health and can't get back to work? I imagine you have your own cornucopia of stormy weather grievances and questions for God. But have you tried giving thanks through those troubling circumstances?

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I brewed a cup of coffee and sat in the kitchen by my patio door. How grateful I was for that steamy cup of goodness first thing in the morning. Then outside, my little blue friends showed up waiting patiently for their breakfast. So grabbing a handful of peanuts, I opened the door and tossed them onto my deck. As I watched the blue jays scurry for their morning treats, I realized I've not been thanking God for the little things, that my focus is often aimed in the wrong direction. King David had it right, "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High." (Psalm 7:17 NIV).

What I began to do was take stock of all the grace in my life. Simply waking up to a new day is a blessing. Or things like coffee beans and blue jays, sunshine and rain; my hands to type, my eyes to see; my wife to hold, my Lord to praise. You get the idea. Take a moment to look around you and you'll be amazed at all the things you take for granted. Then in that moment, begin to thank God for every blessing you can think of. Even something as simple as warm slippers on a cool morning is a gift!

When you offer thanksgiving to God, you help keep the devil at bay. He hates it when you have a heart of praise and gratitude. Let's make this verse part of our day, "This is the day the Lord has made. We {I} will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24 NIV)

It doesn't take much effort to find something to thank God for. We simply need to open our eyes and commit to thanking Him daily for countless blessings through life's washboard of circumstances. And the best gift of all is that we're saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
And that my friend is reason enough to offer thanks where thanks is due!

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Sep 2018, 9:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 29, 2017

Do Not be Cross About the Cross, Part 4


By Answers2Prayer
Today we come to the concluding part of our series on the study of different aspects of the cross in our lives...


Spurs...
Indescribable Heavenly rewards aside (Rom 8:18/1 Cor 2:9), what finally spurs a Christian as he is bearing the Cross is the unshakeable true belief that His Heavenly Father would not, at any time, allow any unbearable Cross to rest on his shoulders ("No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it." 1 Cor. 10:13 NET). Besides this fact, no particular type of Cross would rest forever on his shoulders during his earthly sojourn.

Yes. if we wish to walk humbly and lovingly with our Heavenly Father, cross-bearing is indispensable for us. The type of cross, however, will not be a constant. For instance, the same emotional problem may not buffet us perpetually. In its place may come "a more convenient load" to carry: "And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Pet. 5:10 NET. See also 1 Peter 5:6-10). Minus that "new load", however, whi ch our Heavenly Father in His sovereign, infinite wisdom places on "our shoulders", we would spiritually "collapse".

The Christian life is amazing. While it may seem to us that we are walking with a bent back courtesy the cross, it is actually that cross (in the Lord's sight) that is making us walk "uprightly"...figuratively speaking. A holy irony indeed! Reminds us of an erstwhile "deceiver" Jacob walking "uprightly" in the spiritual realm (post the ethereal wrestling bout), only after starting to limp, "physically" maimed as he was, by the all-knowing good Lord, who desired his spiritual welfare above anything else (Gen 32:22-32)...

So folks, never be cross about the cross in your life!

Prayer: Father, we love You. Make us realize the significance of the different dimensions of the cross and to be also conscious of them at all times. In Jesus' name, Amen

Yours in His service,

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Sep 2018, 6:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 27, 2017

Do Not be Cross About the Cross, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In the penultimate part of our series focusing on different dimensions of the cross, today we come to some more vital functions of the cross in our lives...


Sustains...

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

Mind you, where there is the presence of the Lord, there is that indescribable joy, and where that Heavenly joy is, the kind that is not dependent at all on favourable circumstances, there is that strength of the Lord to strengthen our inner man to carry the Cross (See Psalm 16:11/Nehemiah 8:10/1 Peter 1:7-8/Romans 15:13/Eph 3:16). 

When I observe that Christian character gets built only in the rarefied atmosphere, as it were, of "pressure outside and pleasure inside", this would make sense only to the faithful Christians who have faithfully carried the Cross for many years with the inner strengthening of the Lord. 

Sadly some of us attribute the power of God to awe-inspiring miracles, like the parting of the Red sea or the raising of the dead, without realizing that it is this same power that is equipping us also to faithfully carry the cross. 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. 12:9 ESV)

Says Joni Earekson Tada, a quadriplegic (paralyzed from the neck downwards and confined to a wheelchair for 50 years now) and a "great" Servant of God who preaches 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..." 

Signals...

If there is one word to describe the on-going covenantal relationship between our Heavenly Father and us, it is love. Period! And if there is one activity that silently conveys the message to our Heavenly Father that we deeply love Him, 24/7, then it is consistent cross-bearing without complaining. No, not even praying or Bible reading or fellowshipping, though they are good in themselves and even strengthen us to bear the Cross. However they cannot be carried out 24/7. They can perhaps be "accomplished" even by some determined "Pharisaical Christians" for a period; but Cross-bearing is a different ball game altogether. It is possible only when we love the Lord. 

By the same token, when the Lord places His joyous Holy Spirit in our hearts 24/7 to strengthen us to bear the cross, He also signals to us silently the message: "My Child, I love you" (See 1 John 1:3/1 John 4:16) in unmistakable terms. So you see, if we are bearing the Cross without any bitterness, and our Heavenly Father strengthens us with His ethereal joy, 24/7, the message of "I love you" keeps criss-crossing between t he Father and His children!

Prayer: Father, continue to grant us Thy grace to bear our crosses whereby we are able to demonstrate to everyone concerned, including the watching World around us, "How much we love You". In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Join us on Saturday for the concluding part of "Do Not be Cross About the Cross!"
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 25 Sep 2018, 8:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 25, 2017

Do Not be Cross About the Cross, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Continuing to focus on the different dimensions of the cross, today let's focus on yet another vital function of the cross in our lives...


Shapes...

"...If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23 ESV)

The word "cross", used in this context, is not the "cross of justification" that was our focus last Saturday, but the "Cross" I want to cast my spotlight on is the... "cross of progressive sanctification". Simply put, it is the purifying pain that ensues that we keep God's glory uppermost, even while keeping our own desires, and sometimes even our legitimate rights, aside (like remaining silent in the face of stark injustice -- See 1 Peter 2:18-23). This includes in any area of our lives, be it emotional, financial, physical, social or spiritual. 

Our Heavenly Father desires that all those who enter into a covenantal relationship with Him should mature and go on to become like His Son (our Saviour Christ -- See 2 Cor 3:18/1 Peter 1:5-11/2 Peter 3:18). Doesn't our Heavenly Father eventually want to fill Heaven with Jesus-like people ("the Brothers of the Lord and in the Lord"), who having begun the work of already consistently praising Him on this side of Eternity (Heb 2:11-12/Psa 22:22)? As this ought to continue the same on the other side perpetually? Our permanent, fulfilling activity in Heaven would be that of continually praising our Father who is oh-so-worthy of our praises! 

Now how do we acquire Christ-like qualities? This all-consuming desire to obey the Father, borne out of His love for Him, His meekness, gentleness, perseverance, patience....? Certainly, not by attending a Bible College for a term (though some good does come out of it)! Let the Scripture take over at this stage... 

"...we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope" (Rom. 5:3-4 ESV)

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV) 

So Friends, the Cross not only saves, but also shapes us into a Christ-like image. Realization of the truth that a painful cross is, in the long run, actually spiritually beneficial to you, is in itself a liberating experience (See John 8:32), besides being a mark of spiritual maturity. 

On the flip side, not wanting to bear that cross can lead to seriously painful consequences (See 2 Tim 2:12), akin to being shown the door in a college, if one doesn't submit himself to its course curriculum! Simply put, the Lord would not "carry us", if we do not faithfully carry His cross.

Prayer: Father, we submit to thy Sovereign will in our lives. Acknowledging that Your goodness and wisdom are infinite, we know that whatever You permit in our lives is for our own good. Let Thy will be done in our lives at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Sep 2018, 2:27 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 22, 2017

Do Not be Cross About the Cross, Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer
   It's quiz time folks! Tell me what piece of "furniture" housed in Solomon's temple, of the Mosaic Law dispensation, symbolized the Covenantal relationship between the Almighty and the Jews? Pat yourself on the back if your answer was the "Ark of the Covenant". By the same token (Hey, one more question comes your way), what "furniture" mirrors the Covenantal relationship between us and our Heavenly Father in this Grace age? If your answer is the "Cross" then pat yourself on the back again.

In this series of 4 parts I am inspired to bring before my readership the different dimensions of the significance of the Cross in a Christian's life...


Saves...

"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 6:14 ESV)

There is the apostle Paul in his singular epistle to the Galatian Churches, hell-bent (pardon the expression) upon, not so much on "writing" on the hearts of the Christians as "engraving" upon them that the Cross of Christ alone can atone for the sins of the world. Sadly "some leaven" in those churches was leading them away from the true, "salvation through the Cross" doctrine, towards the false, "Salvation through Jewish circumcision" one (Gal 5:9-10). Come what may, he was typically willing to endure all persecution for taking this stand (Gal 1:10/Gal 5:11).

What is so "great" about salvation through the Cross of Christ? Hey, it's free, fair and does the spiritual work that "weak" folks like us cannot hope to accomplish by ourselves (Romans 3:20-28)! Imagine if entering into a covenantal relationship with our Heavenly Father (which would eventually pave the way for other indescribable blessings) involved great sacrifice of money or energy! The rich and the strong would steal a march on the poor and the weak! (See Heb 2:3 -- Note that when he qualified "Christian salvation" with the word "great", the author of the epistle of Hebrews was also "battling" more or less the same situation the apostle Paul encountered whilst penning Galatians).

There is no work involved so to speak, "in becoming one with our Heavenly Father" (John 17:21 ESV); rather, salvation through Christ entails that we simply accept in faith the "work already finished" on the Cross, albeit with the contrite heart (See John 19:30/Acts 2:37-38/Rom 10:8-10).

Are you caught in the crossroads of life, wavering between holiness and sinfulness? Oh, remember that it is at the Cross that one crosses over from the realm of darkness into the one of light (See 1 Peter 2:9-10). Without delaying, take the way of the Cross! Pray this prayer with a contrite heart: "Lord Jesus, I come to the Cross as a hopeless sinner, who with his own limited strength, cannot live a God-honoring, holy and a pure life. By the blood shed in the Cross, cleanse me of my sins, and with Your power, release me from the grip of my own selfish desires and habits. I believe You died for my sins and rose again from death as per the Scriptures for my sake. Forgive me and fill me with Your Holy Joy. Amen."
 
Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Sep 2018, 10:18 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 11, 2018

Storing up the Plenty: Pharaoh's Dream, Part 2


By Answers2Prayer 

Last Saturday, in "Pharaoh's Dream, Part 1", we saw that one way to ensure our faith is strong enough to get through the times of trouble in our lives is to "store up" faith during times of spiritual "plenty" so that there will be enough for the times of spiritual "famine". In the case of the seven years of plenty to be followed by seven years of famine in Pharaoh's story, it was easy enough to build storehouses to stash away the grain; but just how does one go about "storing up" faith?

The Bible actually gives us some excellent suggestions:

1. "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18 NLT). In other words, we need to give God credit and thanks for EVERY good thing, always recognizing that He is the One who gives us blessing. Giving thanks to Him in everything and seeing each thing as a blessing from God will help to safeguard us from growing apathetic. 

2. "Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly." (Ps. 103:1-6 NLT) What David is saying here, friends is basically this: Count your blessings! It's amazing how much better we feel when we start focusing on our blessings instead of our losses. 

3. "Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness..." (Deut. 8:2 NLT). We need to not only give thanks to God, but we also need to remember what He has done for us in the past. It is by reflecting on God's power, blessings and miracles of the past that our faith in the future grows.

4. "Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut. 6:9 NLT). Though this text is written specific to remembering God's laws, it provides us with an excellent way of also remembering how God has come through for us in the past. Writing things down is a well-established strategy for augmenting functional memory, and though we might not want to literally write God's blessings on our gates and doorposts, writing them down somewhere is a good substitute. This might be in the form of a journal or a blessings jar, or even leaving little post-it notes around the house with God's blessings written on them. Then, in the midst of tough times, we can go to that journal, that blessings jar or those notes around the house as a means of building our faith for the upcoming tough times. 

5. "Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders." (Deut. 6:8 NLT). Again, these instructions were written specifically for encouraging the people to remember God's laws; however, the concept also provides us with an excellent means of triggering our memories. I have a bracelet that I wear when I'm going through some of those "famine" times. I usually wear it on my right wrist; but if I catch myself starting to worry or question whether God is there, I slip it over to my left wrist where it interferes with my wrist watch, thus catching my attention and serving to remind me of God's goodness in the past. 

6. "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (Ps. 119:11 NLT). Throughout the Bible we are admonished to "store up" scripture in our hearts. When we memorize scripture, we are, in essence, putting it inside us, and in the moments when we need it the most, the Holy Spirit can bring those passages to our minds where they "feed" us in the midst of our "famine" times. I remember the time when I was facing surgery for breast cancer. I was alone in a cold room, waiting for some medical test that had to be done prior to the surgery, and I was really feeling at a "low" in my life. It was definitely a "famine" time. Someone had told me that if I was feeling this way, I should meditate upon Ps. 23. As a child, I had "stored up" Ps. 23 in my heart, and in that moment, the Holy Spirit brought those powerful words to my mind. As I meditated on them, peace and comfort filled me, and I was no longer afraid. 

In summary, then, if we make the effort to "store up" God's blessings when things are going well (by giving Him thanks, counting our blessings, remembering what the Lord has done for us in the past, writing down God's blessings, and memorizing scripture), then when we go into the times of "famine", we will have the spiritual nourishment required to get us through.

But what happens if those times of "famine" drag on, seemingly forever? Will we be able to truly "store up" enough to get us through? Join us next Thursday for "Wasting Away Because of the Famine: Pharaoh's Dream, Part 3.

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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Going through a time of spiritual famine? Joseph knew exactly how you feel. Join us on Thursday and Saturday for the concluding parts of "Pharoah's Dream" for practical ideas from Joseph for weathering our times of famine.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Sep 2018, 10:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 8, 2018

Surviving the Famine: 
Pharaoh's Dream, Part 1

By Answers2Prayer 
  Imagine waking up from a dream where seven skinny, dying cows just finished eating...yes, I did say eating!...seven fat, healthy cows! And the seven skinny cows don't look any better at the end! Only to fall asleep again and have a similar dream, this time with seven shriveled heads of grain devouring seven plump, healthy heads of grain and looking none the better for their meal! 

That's what happened to the Pharaoh of Egypt, and at this point, the Bible says He woke up understandably upset: "Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning his mind was troubled..." (Gen. 41:7b-8a NIV)

This was a meaningful dream, and we know that Joseph would later interpreted it: "Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.'" (Gen. 41:25-27 NIV). We also know that this is exactly what came to pass: There were seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine (See Gen. 41:53-54).

In much the same way, we also go through times of "plenty", when things seem to be going well. There are no troubles to speak of, or at least not any big ones; and God's hand is visibly upon us and we hear Him speaking to us. As we all well know, however, we are not always in those times of spiritual "plenty". There are also times of spiritual "famine", in which God seems quite far away. Troubles abound, and we can't sense His presence or hear His voice. What do we do to carry on? How can we...survive?

The clue to this lies in the story of Joseph: "Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine." (Gen. 41:34-36 NIV) 

We know from reading through the next two chapters in Genesis that this is exactly what Pharaoh did. He actually appointed Joseph as the one to oversee the gathering of the harvest (See Gen. 41:41-45). Storehouses were built, and 1/5 of the bounty of the seven years of plenty was put into storage (See Gen. 41:46-49). When the seven-year famine began, the people were ready. They not only had enough grain to get by, but there was also a little extra to sell to outsiders who came to Egypt seeking food: "And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere." (Gen. 41:57 NLT). 

Thus, the solution to surviving the times of famine lies in storing up during the times of plenty.

What does this mean for us during our times of spiritual "famine"? 

Just this: As we go through our times of "plenty", we need to "store up" for the times of spiritual "famine"! 

But wait: How can we "store up" our "plenty" to be used in times of "famine"? Join us next week for "Storing up our Plenty: Pharaoh's Dream, 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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Do you ever wonder why the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove?  Check out the recently published mini-series, "Dovetailing Some Dove Facts", and find out! 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Sep 2018, 8:37 am

Welcome to the Nugget

September 6, 2018

What is the Correct Way to Pray?

By Answers2Prayer 
  Do I pray too quick? Too long? Not enough words? Too many words? Is my heart in it? What is the correct way to pray?

How much we labor in our prayer time has nothing to do with Labor Day. I just heard a pastor teach about this topic. And admittedly, a few of us squirmed because his words stirred a bit of guilt. And, goodness, his message elbowed us out of our comfort zone.

"When we ask God for blessings," he said, "we often repeat mousy petitions."

Mousy petitions? He explained the prayers we blurt out often carry doubt. We lack the reassurance that God will grant what we ask. They repeat the circumstance, not the victory we can count on. They mention the dark side, and fail to declare the victory that comes in His answer.

And when we ask, we forget to give thanks. We forget to anticipate He will answer. We overlook the mighty way He can exercise His power.

So, what's the best way to pray? With boldness, with conviction, with authority, with firmness and with holy audacity.

The number of words we use doesn't matter. Or the flowery expressions either. But, what does matter is the complete faith, the firm authority because of Jesus that makes the difference.

They did for John and Peter. They saw the beggar at the entrance of the temple. "Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God'" (Acts 3:6-8 NIV).

Why did Peter take the man by the hand? Because he was sure he could get up. Because he declared it in the name of Jesus. Because he counted in Jesus' power at work. Because he was confident Jesus was working through him. And because he knew the man's crippled legs were no match to Jesus' healing power.

Father, remove doubt from my prayers. Instead, show me how to pray with conviction, authority, and boldness as I ask in the name of Jesus' amen.

What level of certainty do your prayers have these days?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
Announcement:
Going through a time of spiritual famine? Joseph knew exactly how you feel. Join us on Saturday and next week for "Pharoah's Dream", a 4-part mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart, for practical ideas from Joseph for weathering our times of famine.
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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