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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Feb 2019, 12:28 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 5, 2019

Cooking a Young Goat in its Mother's Milk
 

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

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

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

We pay attention to it, because of 2 Tim. 3:16: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives." (NLT). This means that everything in the Bible, including these references from the Mosaic law, is beneficial.

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

But what?

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

This all makes me think about my tongue...

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

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

What harm can mere words bring?

Here are a few of the thousands of examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 9:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Questions about parenting? Wondering whether you've made the right decision with your kids? Thinking about discipline? Why not check out "Bringing up Kids God's Way"! 
 
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 1:09 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 29, 2019

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

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

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

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

Ps. 130 gives us the answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

January 26, 2019

Locked Down! Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 4
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

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

Welcome to the Nugget

January 24, 2019

Staying Small

By Answers2Prayer 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

January 22, 2019

How to Overcome Depression

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who has the answer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Eckles

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

Welcome to the Nugget

January 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

How does this particular tree get its nutrients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 17 Jan 2019, 5:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 17, 2019

Quick Charge
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy 
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Looking for PEACE in a world that seems devoid of it?
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We just need to accept it! We need to NOT give it away!
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PEACE...from God's Word...  
Looking for PEACE in a world that seems devoid of it? 
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 7:24 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 15, 2019

Cleaned Up
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JJ Ollerenshaw 
Announcement:
Welcome to new Nugget author, JJ Ollerenshaw. Thank you, JJ for the excellent word.

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

Welcome to the Nugget

January 10, 2019

Exemplary Exemplar, Part 2
 

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


Proclamation...

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

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

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

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

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

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


Passion...

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

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

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

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

So why did He continue to hang on the Cross?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.... (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: ...For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.... (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 10:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 3, 2019

Praise and Thanksgiving
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget
January 1, 2019

Power of Praise: A New Year's Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Won't you join me?

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

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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A Happy New Year to all of you. May this year bring abundant blessings to you as you continue to grow to know Him more and more!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Dec 2018, 6:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 29, 2018

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

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

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

Just what does it mean when something endures forever?

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

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

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

Wow!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally,

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn


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

Welcome to the Nugget

December 27, 2018

Be the Light
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Dec 2018, 12:42 am

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
December 25, 2018

The Best Christmas Gift Ever
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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
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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!
 
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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? 
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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 
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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 
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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. 
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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.
 
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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. 
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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. 
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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 
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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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