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Post  Admin on Wed 29 Aug 2018, 8:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 28, 2018

Of Scars: Scary and Not-So-Scary!!! Part 1
By Answers2Prayer 

Well, let me begin with an interesting boxing-related episode. Larry Holmes, the undisputed World Heavy Weight boxing champion from 1978 to 1983, was in his younger days a sparring partner of the most popular of all heavy weight champs in boxing history...the one and only Mohammed Ali. 

Some wouldn't believe that the upcoming and not-so-famous (at that time) Holmes was indeed Ali's training partner when he raved about it in his neighborhood. "I had to pull out pictures of me with him to prove it," wrote Holmes in his biography. Finally one day the "blessed moment" arrived, despite all the protective gear during the training sessions, one punch of Ali landed square on Holmes right eye giving him instantly the "Black eye" and what was Holmes' reaction to it? Let's hear it straight from Horse's (Uh...Holmes) mouth: "I wouldn't put ice on it. I wouldn't put dark glasses on. I went around telling people, 'Ali gave me this black eye.'" Boy was he mighty proud about the fact that he bore on his body the mark that marked him as Ali's training partner!

Ditto with Apostle Paul who spake proudly thus: "...I carry on my body the scars of the whippings and wounds from Jesus' enemies that mark me as his slave." (Gal 6:17 TLB). In this Series, yours truly has endeavored to present before the readership the significance of some Biblical scars...some scary and some not-so-scary. Well, firstly the not-so-scary ones...

Skin and Spirit...

On fulfillment of certain conditions, Exodus 21:6 outlines the "not-so-scary" procedure that would produce a scar in the skin of a Jewish slave (to be precise on his ear), which would mark him as a permanent slave to his master. Otherwise, this master would have no power to enslave him beyond a 6 year span (prescribed span in the Law -- See Exo 21:1-5).

As Christians, we may not at the beginning of our Christian journey bear any physical marks of our life-long subjection and commitment to Christ, but in our spirits there would be that indelible mark of the Cross, which would make us more and more Heaven-inclined and less and less Earth-oriented by the day (See Gal 6:14).

While on the subject of slavery, it is simply remarkable to note how brothers (or should we say half-brothers -- See Matt 13:55) of our Lord Jesus, namely James and Jude, address themselves in their respective Epistles. Post-resurrection of Jesus, so transformed were these erstwhile mockers of their "Elder Brother" (see John 7:3-5) that far from addressing themselves as "Brothers of Jesus", they amazingly stoop down to level of a "bond-servant" (Greek Doulos). 

Bible students familiar with the Greek language and culture of the First Century would know that they were two types of slaves at that time. Firstly "Andropodon", the one bought in the market. This one had some "rights", and on fulfilling some "conditions", could walk away free from his master. A "Doulos" slave, on the other hand, was one who was born in his master's household (his parents would have been slaves at the time of his birth), and was thus consigned to a life of life-long slavery from birth. It is a measure of James' and Jude's humility, plus their commitment to their Master (with "a scar" of the Cross in their hearts), that from the time of their "second birth" they called themselves slaves, not of the "Andropodon" category, but of the "Doulos" genre.

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for putting the mark of the Cross in our hearts which binds us to our Saviour Jesus Christ. We praise and thank Thee for this inexpressible privilege. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
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 to prayerrequest@answers2prayer.org 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 Sun 19 Aug 2018, 9:17 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 18, 2018

Only What's Done for God...
By Answers2Prayer 
  It has been nearly a year since I took the final leap...After 30 years of work as a Speech-Language Therapist/Pathologist, I finally did it: I took my retirement.

I spent the last few days leading up to my retirement cleaning out my office. It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over the years. Mostly it was just clearing out papers that I should have never hung on to in the first place, but every once in a while, I came across something of sentimental value. 

First there were my diplomas, those little pieces of paper representing my educational accomplishments and my certification in the field of Speech-Language Pathology/Therapy. All important papers if I wanted to continue to practice...

There were also certificates for things I had supposedly excelled at, courses I had taken, even a plaque that was presented to me and my team a few years back for our professionalism and our transdisciplinary approach to treatment. 

In another file were the notes from the many presentations I had made over the years: The courses I had taught, the inservices I had conducted, etc.

My human resources file contained my resume and all the accomplishments I had done in my career. It also had my performance appraisals, and hidden beneath it all was a letter I had received from the CEO of our hospital, passing on words of personal thanks for having represented the hospital well. 

Tucked away in the back of the filing drawer were a stash of thank you cards, given to me by patients I had helped and by students I had mentored over the years...

The list could go on and on, but the question at hand was this: What to do with them?

As I thought about the different things that were stashed away in my office, I began to realize something vitally important: Most of these things were of no value to me whatsoever! 

Oh, it was nice to have had the acclaim of receiving awards and plaques; but who cared about this in the long run? I mean, the hospital where I worked had shut down the program I had built and run for over 20 years, and no one even remembered it had ever been a vital part of the rehabilitation program... 

And the master files on all the workshops and inservices I had presented at over the years...so many hours had gone into those presentations; yet no one even remembered I had even done them.

It was the same with the master binder of materials and the CD, and it was also the same with the Human Resources file. I could find absolutely nothing in any of these that mattered any more.

I took all these things and put them in a towering stack on my worktable. I would throw them out later that day. 

The stash of thank you cards was somehow different. Some were from patients who I know I had helped to communicate better. I was smiling as I placed these in a different stack: "Keepers"!

Then there were the thank you cards from former student interns I had mentored. As I reread each of these, I felt happy, for they represented that I hadn't just taught them skills in Speech-Language Pathology/Therapy, but I had succeeded in instilling in them a sense of self-worth, confidence in their abilities, and new-found faith in God. I added them to the "Keepers" stack.

Then I turned to the memory book I had been given by my staff, and as I read through the notes, tears began to stream down my face. Especially the ones thanking me for my prayers and words of encouragement in the difficult times of their lives. Yup, that was definitely a "keeper" as well...

That's when I realized something vitally important: The things I had done that had resulted in personal accomplishments and gain meant nothing to me. It was only the things I had done under the guidance of God's Spirit, the things that had touched lives and shown a tiny picture of God, it was only these things that meant anything at all to me...

At the end of his life, the world's wisest man said, "'Everything is meaningless,' says the Teacher, 'completely meaningless.'" (Eccl. 12:8). 

So true. And in the end of time, we are told: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared." (Rev. 21:1 NLT). Everything. All of our human accomplishments. All gone. No one remembers them. All the old has disappeared. 

Is it for nothing that Solomon finished the book of Ecclesiastes with these words: "That's the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty." (Eccl. 12:13 NLT)? 

The apostle Paul also had some pearls of wisdom to shed on this subject: "So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him...Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others." (2 Cor. 5:9,11 NLT

Oh God, why is the stack of "keepers" so much smaller than the stack to be thrown out? 

It's this lesson I plan on carrying into my retirement: Only what's done for God will last!

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 16 Aug 2018, 9:15 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 16, 2018

The Eternal Necklace
By Answers2Prayer
 Many years ago, an elderly lady went back to an area she and her family had once owned. On this final visit, she called on a young family whose parents she had been friendly with. She left the mother a package of old jewelry pieces, saying, "These are for your little girl to play with." The little girl was too young then to even remember the elderly lady and eventually, all the bits and pieces were used on dolls and toys and were finally lost.

Except one piece. 

It was a necklace, completely whole and unbroken. Somehow, the little girl kept it and when she herself was old, she took it out of her box of treasures and began to wear it. She said it held memories of three people, the elderly lady she did not remember, her own mother and now, her own life. Whenever she puts it on, she said, it is as though she binds the three together in a loving embrace.

Even more significantly, she said it reminds her of the love her Lord pours out to her because God Himself has a necklace.  He pours out his love through it to everybody in the whole world, and He tells us about it in the first book of the Bible. Whenever He brings His necklace out to share it with us, He binds it around us to hold us and our world to Himself.

It will not wear out, or get lost, or even get damaged through careless use, nor can we discard it because it is no longer in fashion.  It belongs entirely to God.

It is the rainbow.

He put it up in the sky after Noah came out of the ark, and He promised Noah that the rainbow was a sign to Him and all who followed, that He, God, would never again cover the world with a flood. But it has another deep significance.

After his conversation with Noah, God looked at the rainbow and God said, "I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Genesis 9:16)  His everlasting covenant is in Genesis, chapter 1, where He created us in his own image to have 'dominion over' a perfect world and now the rainbow is His symbol that His word is still true. 

God, who has deepest compassion on all that He created, looks at the rainbow spread across a world that is today full of violence and corruption, and it reminds Himself of His own everlasting covenant. So, in response to the disaster of sin, and planted in the first book of the Bible, He places His rainbow necklace around us to bind us to Himself and to remind Himself in a way that is visible to us, of His eternal covenant. Then in the last book of the Bible, "...a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne...and there was a rainbow round about the throne." (Revelation 4:2-4)  

So next time you see a rainbow, remember it is the most expensive piece of jewelry ever designed. It was handcrafted personally by our God, and it is the symbol of the eternal covenant.

Elizabeth Price
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Aug 2018, 7:05 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 14, 2018

How to Turn our Ugly Past into a Beautiful Future...

By Answers2Prayer 
Why do we look behind and long for what we had yesterday to come back? We wish we could roll back time and go back to days where life was easier. Have you done that? God knows we all do at times.

"Okay, here's another box full of VHS tapes," Jessica said. She's my teenage friend who comes to help out as she's earning funds for a mission trip.

"Can you read the label on some of the?" I asked.

As she read the content of those tapes, my mind went back to that time when my two younger sons were in diapers, and I was living a "normal" life. I had eyesight back then. And with not a care in the world, I'd pack all three of them in the back of the car and zip to the store or appointments, or to the park.

What a long road it had been as I transitioned from full sight, living a full life to being blind, completely blind and terrified.

But before my physical darkness turned to emotional darkness, this verse came alive in me: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

How beautifully He had brought streams of hope in the wasteland of my blindness. When I cried to understand why, instead of an answer, He gave me peace, sweet peace.

When I grumbled with frustration after burning my finger when cooking, God soothed my pain when my boys asked for seconds.

I also brought back memories of the times when hubby and I would go out to dinner and he didn't have to lead me by the hand, but what joy when God took me by the hand and led me to the banquet He had prepared for me.

And what a privilege to be able to write these lines and remind you to look at the present and gaze at God's power that's making a way in your desert and creating streams of hope in your wasteland.

Father, help me to focus on the good of the present, on the blessing of the moment. On the new things you're still doing. On the gift of your provision as my eyes read this. In Jesus' name, amen.

How will you overcome the past to see the new beginning?

Janet Eckles
If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Aug 2018, 6:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 11, 2018

Miracles Through Trials


By Answers2Prayer
My faith had once again been put to the test.

With only half our staff left at work, we received a record number of new referrals.

To make things worse, our internet stopped working for weather-related reasons. Then, just at bed time, my sump pump gave up the ghost, and by the time we discovered this fact, the back-up, battery-operated pump had already used all its auxiliary power. All we could do, for the third time since Christmas, was stand by and watch the basement fill with water. We didn't even have internet to look up a plumber who would do 24 hour service calls...

As I sat down with the Lord the next morning, I couldn't stop myself from complaining: "God, You promised to bring me through, but You allowed all this to happen. Where were You?"

The sun was just rising at that moment, but it was so bright that it hurt my eyes, and I had to look away. The story of Israel then came to my mind. The development of the nation depended upon an heir, yet Abraham's wife was infertile (See Gen. 16:1). Meanwhile, Abraham had another child by his concubine Hagar (See Genesis 16), and through this child, Ishmael, he easily produced multiple nations (See Gen. 21:13,18/25:12-18). Isaac was eventually born, but of Rebecca, Isaac's wife, it is said: "Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children." (Gen. 25:21a NLT). God answered Isaac's prayer, and she gave birth to twins (See Gen. 25:21-26); but although Esau, the older twin, went on to easily produce a massive nation (See Gen. 36), one of Jacob's wives, Rachel, was also infertile (See Gen. 29:31)...

And as we look through the entire history of Israel, we see that they faced trial after trial...

Why so many problems? Hadn't God promised that Israel would be His people ("For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God...the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure." Deut. 7:6 NLT)? Hadn't He said to them, "...the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you" (Deut. 31:6 NLT)?

I don't know the answers to these question, but I do know that what God has blessed is open target for the enemy who wants nothing more than to thwart God's Master plan. I also know that as a result of the problems, it can honestly be said that Israel was not born or raised up in a i way. Rather, the nation was birthed and raised up solely by the miracles of God. And despite all the hard times faced by the nation at its birth and throughout history, it has not only survived, but it has flourished. Not because it was shielded from trouble, but because the hand of God was upon it.

I looked back out the window at that point, but instead of looking into the painfully bright light, I began to see the beauty that was brought about by the rising sun, that same sun that moments before had blinded me...Could it be that my "bad week" seemed so stressful because I was allowing my eyes to go to the source of the pain instead of seeing God's hand in the week? Did that "source" so blind me that I couldn't see the beauty it brought about?

As I contemplated this, I realized God had, indeed, shielded us from so much. Many of the new patients admitted did not need speech therapy, and God allowed the week to happen while we had a student who was able to take care of a lot of the extra work.

Then my mind went to the flood. Earlier that year, God had pushed us to get a water alarm. When the water first started to rise, we were alerted. This allowed us to pick the things off the floor of the basement before it was too late. My son was able to get internet through his phone, and he gladly stayed up to wait for the emergency plumbing service; then the plumber didn't charge us extra because it was the middle of the night. The list could go on and on, but the point is, God hadn't abandoned us to our troubles; rather, there were many little miracles sent our way to make the stressful times bearable.

Just like the rising sun brought so much beauty, just like the nation of Israel was birthed and raised upon miracles, was there something beautiful God was trying to create in our lives through these problems?

Absolutely; but in order to see the beauty of God's miraculous hand in our lives, I had to look away from the problems...

Your stress is likely more serious than my "bad week". Nonetheless, don't forget: When we look only to the source of the pain, we fail to see the beauty that it can create. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the problem solver, the All-powerful God who was able to raise up a mighty nation despite infertility in the first three generations. This all-powerful God cannot be stopped by a few problems, and He has promised that: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Is. 43:2 NIV)

Think about it!

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 09 Aug 2018, 10:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 9, 2018

Why Wait?


By Answers2Prayer
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Heb. 10:24-25 NLT)

When I was in college I had big dreams. I was going to be a psychologist, then a teacher, then a world renown speaker, and then a best selling author. I couldn't make up my mind. Each dream seemed better than the last. Amongst them all, though, was my burning desire to make things better. In my young heart and naive mind I felt like I could change the world all by myself. And I couldn't wait to get out of college and get started.

Of course, God had other plans and I still had a lot of learning and growing to do. I never became a psychologist. I was only a teacher for a short while. I never went on a speaking tour. I wrote many things that touched many people over the years, but I was never a best selling author either. Instead, God let me be the father to three wonderful children. God let me be a friend to many people. God helped me to love and care and work and share. God helped me to shine His light and to brighten my own light as well.

I learned too that I didn't need to be famous or have a certain job to make things better. I saw that while I can't change the world all by myself, I can help to change my own small part of it. Most of all I realized that I didn't have to wait to get started changing this world. I saw that every single thing I did changed this world in some small way. I learned that these lives we live are far more interconnected than we could ever know and that God is guiding us all to do what we need to do here.

Anne Frank wrote, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Why wait then? Start improving the world around you today. Share your love, laugher, and smile. Spread your joy and kindness. Make the world a little bit brighter by shining your light in it. Let God guide you in this life and into the next.

Joseph J. Mazzella
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Post  Admin on Tue 07 Aug 2018, 1:42 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 7, 2018

Amaziah's Mistake...And Mine too! Part 2

By Answers2Prayer
Last Saturday, in Amaziah's Mistake Part 1, we saw how relying on ourselves causes heartache and pain; but when we rely completely on God, He comes through for us.

As a result of this lesson, I had resolved in my heart that I would rely on Him through my upcoming out-of-control work day. And I did.

The results?

I came home in the most cheerful, happy mood my family had seen in months. I had arrived at work a little late, I had taken a lunch break, and I had left on time; yet despite this, my work had been completed. God had come through, and all I could do was praise Him.

Since I knew how I had almost ruined everyone's evening the night before with my stressed-out behaviour, I decided to share with my family the entire story: of Amaziah, of my own struggle with self-reliance, and of the victory God had given me that day.

As I finished the story, my son look over at me and said, "Mom, I know why you needed to tell that story!" He then proceeded to tell about something that had happened to his graduate school application that day and how God had spoken to him through my story, telling him to not worry, but to trust in God instead of trying to find his own solutions.

You see, when his job search over the past 6 months had failed to produce fruit, God provided him with the opportunity of finishing his Master's degree in Chemical engineering in just 2 semesters. God provided the university acceptance, the tuition, and my son had been told that the money for room and board could be provided through a TA position at the university. The problem he had just learned about that day was that the TA positions for the upcoming semester had already been filled long before my son knew he would be applying for graduate school...How would he be able to pay his room and board now?

Without even considering the lessons God had taught me earlier that same day about not "hiring Israeli fighters", my mind immediately jumped to the first logical conclusion. The university is only a 2 hour drive from our home. Why not live at home and just drive back and forth on the 3 days a week he had classes?

It sounded like a good idea to me, but unfortunately, my husband was less-then-impressed with the concept. You see, what I failed to mention was the upcoming semester was in the winter, and the university is located in an area considered to be a "snow belt"...Our rather lengthy discussion ended with all parties agreeing to pray about it and let God guide.

It didn't take God long to speak. As we continued our walk, I began to understand that my "grand" idea was in the same class as Amaziah's hire of 100,000 Israeli troops! It was a "man-made" solution, relying on self rather than on God; and I knew then that the whole incident at work, as well as the timeliness of God's lesson from Amaziah's story, were not by chance: God was warning against living at home and driving back and forth. He was not with that plan, and He would not bless it.

But how would he pay his room and board?

Immediately I remembered that after Amaziah sent away the Israeli troops, he proceeded to soundly defeat Edom. I also remembered that after resolving to not work overtime but trust in God to get the work done, I had just completed a fantastic day. God was using these stories to reassure us that He would provide for my son's room and board, and we didn't need to worry. The three of us completed our walk with peace in our hearts.

And that peace lasted until morning...

I have to admit that God must so often shake His head towards me and say, "Oh you of little faith"! By morning, I found myself doubting, and I asked God to please verify through the Bible that my son was doing the right thing. I was immediately impressed to go to John 6:18-21. The disciples were in a boat rowing to the other side when, "...a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, 'Don’️t be afraid. I am here!' Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!" (NLT)

With that, I knew beyond a doubt that just as Jesus had instructed the disciples to row to the other side, God has instructed my son to go to grad school. And just like the "gale" that "swept down upon them", my son was also experiencing very rough waters with the loss of the opportunity to become a TA; and just like the disciples had to row 3 or 4 miles before Jesus showed up, my son might have to weather the storm for a bit as well. But just like Jesus did show up, and when He got into the boat they were immediately at their destination, Jesus would show up and provide my son with the money he needed for room and board as well!

No matter what the problem is that you are facing today, remember Amaziah's mistake--and mine as well: Don't take things into your own hands. Stop relying on your own solutions. Turn to God and trust in Him instead. Then you will be able to sit back and watch for where He will come to you out of nowhere and help you 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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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 2:37 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 4, 2018

Amaziah's Mistake...And Mine too! Part 1


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us Amaziah, son of Joash, king of Israel.

His story is not so illustrious. In fact, the Bible records the following of him: "Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight, but not wholeheartedly." (2 Chron. 25:2 NLT). Nonetheless, part of Amaziah's story weighed heavily on my heart this morning...

Amaziah was preparing the people to go to war against Edom (See 2 Chron. 25:5-12). He assembled his army of 300,000 troops from the people of Judah and Benjamin, but when this didn't seem like enough to him, he went out and paid 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 Israeli troops, experienced fighting men from the northern kingdom. Incidentally, these men were also longstanding enemies of Judah...

As I read this, I was reminded of my longstanding difficulties with becoming overwhelmed in times of high stress. Yes, I could relate to Amaziah. So often I "hire Israelis" -- in the form of working through my lunch hour, going to work early, refusing relaxation time with my family, etc. In fact, I had done that just the day before God gave me this message. What could be the harm?

It seemed that God wasn't pleased with this hire of Israeli troops. Amaziah received a visitor, an unnamed "man of God", with a message: "Your Majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim! If you let them go with your troops into battle, you will be defeated by the enemy no matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up." (2 Chron. 25:7-8 NLT).

Now I would have been upset by such a message. When someone tells me something like, "Don't worry about the dishes. There will be plenty of time to do them!" or "The grass will still be there next week. You don't have to stress about cutting it", I tend to snap at that person...something along the lines of, "What? Now the dishes are going to start doing themselves?" or "I suppose the grass will stop growing between now and next week?"

Amaziah was no different from me, for he was also upset. After all, he had just emptied his treasury to hire these troops: "But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?" (vs. 9a NLT). It is God's response to Amaziah that caught and held my attention: "The Lord is able to give you much more than this!" (vs. 9b NLT)

Talk about a Godly rebuke! It was kind of like when Jesus turned to his disciples so many times and said, "Oh you of little faith!" (See Matt. 8:26, 14:31, etc)! And as I thought about working through lunch, staying late and coming in early the next morning, I could hear God saying to me, "What? You don't trust me to provide enough time if you take your lunch? If you go to work on time instead of early? If you spend some quality time with your family? Quality time doing ministry work? Quality time...with...Me? Oh you of little faith!"

Amaziah was obedient at this point. He sent the men of Israel away, and he and his 300,000 Judean troops defeated Edom quite soundly (See 2 Chron. 25:11-12); and I decided that morning that I would be obedient as well. I would go to work on time, I would take a lunch break, I would leave on time, and I would spend some quality time with my family.

The entire incident with the Israeli troops did have its repercussions, however..."Meanwhile, the hired troops that Amaziah had sent home raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder." (vs. 13 NLT).

I know that my own lack of faith in God's provision also has repercussions. After taking things into my own hands the day before, I had come home with a major headache and a less-than-sweet attitude that had come very close to ruining everyone's evening. Fortunately I have a praying family, and their unspoken prayers had raised my spirit and brought me out of the depression and self-pity that had already overtaken me.

Yes, hiring those Israeli troops and skipping lunch are both in the same class: Acts of self-reliance instead of trusting in God. The good news is that when we repent, our loving Father still comes through. Nonetheless, our poor choices have repercussions. How much better for both Amaziah and me to have simply trusted in God in the first place instead of trying to "fix" things on our own.

God loves us. No matter how great or small the things are that we are up against, He will take care of each one. Even when our lack of faith causes us to seek reliance on some other source, He is still there to take care of our problems the moment we repent. How much better, however, it would be to simply trust in Him from the beginning...

But wait. Would my decision to trust in God that day bear fruit? After all, things at work were still out of control...Join us on Tuesday for Amaziah's Mistake, 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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Just what does Jesus have to say about His own divinity? Check out "At the Pool of Bethesda"!
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Jul 2018, 11:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 17, 2018

Soccer Sorcery! 
Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 4


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  With the concluding of the World Cup on the weekend, we've now arrived at the concluding part of the "Soccer Sorcery" series. What further spiritual lessons can we glean from this fascinating game of Football? Let's find out!


Co-ordination... 

Now let's play a defence-splitting pass, splitting Satan's defence that is! What is a football team without teamwork? A big zero, that's what! To be victorious, a team needs to run like a well-oiled machine-- with each part playing its role to perfection. The defenders, the midfielders, the forwards and the goalie in tow, have their own specialized roles to play together in unison with their joint mission to score a goal! 

By the same token, what is a church with several "gifted individuals" without proper co-ordination amongst themselves? Team work in its noblest form is not only about playing with each other but playing for each other. Consider Apostle Paul's wise words here, speaking about the much needed "teamwork" in the Corinthian church.

"There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us, so we can help each other." (I Cor 12:4-7) 

What is the best example of team work? You do not have to look further beyond the Holy Trinity working in unity to procure our salvation. God chose us, the Son shed his blood on the cross as a ransom to purchase us from sin's grasp, and the Holy Spirit convicted us at the right time. It also allowed for us to accept the divine redemption plan and would keep the sanctification process going until we reach the heavenly shores, or the Bridegroom comes first to receive us (See 1 Peter 1:2). Didn't somebody say in this context of Salvation "God thought it, Christ bought it, Holy Spirit wrought it and though devil fought it, praise God, I have got it"! Hallelujah! Also have we ever praised the Trinity for absolute selflessness within themselves? The Son was willing to die an excruciating death on the cross to obey His Father's will (see Luke 22:42) and the Father selflessly exalted the Son's name above all names, including His own names such as Elohim, El-Shaddai, Adonai etc. (See Philippians 2:9/Psa 138:2); and the Holy Spirit when we are worshipping helps us but never calls attention to Himself. Amazing isn't it? The other-centredness in Trinity! If this does not inspire us to play for each other, then nothing else will! 

Historically, it has been proven that if the Church is to take wing...all the wings of the Church must work in harmony. 

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.- Eph 4:11-12 

Remember the good old definition of the word TEAM : Together Everyone Achieves More! Do I need to say MORE? 


Destination...

What is the ultimate goal of any player/team in the World Cup? Winning the cup is all that matters. All the hard work, the buckets of sweat shed in training, the expectations of countless fans, and personal dreams all build up towards that final illustrious moment: when the cup is handed over to the team. The joys of lifting the cup up for the whole world to see! But hey Christian, you are pursuing a far more rewarding goal, aren't you? 

"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:14) 

This heavenly prize (too beautiful to describe), also will never slip away from your hands after say, four years like the earthly World cup does at times (there is no guarantee in Russia WC 2018, Germany would retain the Cup it won in 2014 in Brazil). Our glorious prize is the one for keeps (See 1 Cor 2:9/Rom 8:18)! So, press on, and land the prize, praising him! Hallelujah! 

Prayer: Father, even as indescribable prizes await us in Heaven...always inspire us to labour for Thy glory out of sheer love borne out of gratitude alone. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Congratulations to France, Croatia and Belgium for their World Cup wins. 

This is the last part of the "Soccer Sorcery! Lessons From World Cup Football" mini-series. If you have missed any of the previous lessons, you can access them on the web by clicking here. If you do not have access to the internet, please email me and I will be happy to send them to you. God bless you as you enjoy the final days of the World Cupp!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Jul 2018, 11:51 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 14, 2018

Soccer Sorcery! 
Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 3

By Answers2Prayer 
  Even though "football fever" seems to be an ever-growing contagion, let us take the time to dive right into the penultimate part of this series, and thus, into a few more spiritual lessons we can learn from Soccer!

Capitalization... 

Does the name Gerd Muller ring any bells? With a national record of 68 goals in 62 international appearances, this German footballer was appropriately nicknamed the 'Bomber'. He is one of the very few players of 50 or more caps to score more goals than the games he has played in. What made him so effective? His uncanny ability to capitalize on even a small opportunity and swiftly turn them into goals! 

Now when it comes to "Gospel action". Always be on the lookout for an opportunity to share the Gospel. When a chance does indeed arise, it needs to be grabbed with both feet... er, hands! 

"They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon's Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd." (Acts 3:11-12) 

"...Preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance, in season and out, when it is convenient and when it is not..." (2 Tim 4:2 TLB) 

Didn't somebody once say that if we do not evangelize, we fossilize? If we realize this truth and work sincerely, we get the prize (See 1 Thess 2:19 NKJV)! 

Make winning souls one of your primary goals! Amen.

Protection...

In football, defending your net is just as important of a job as scoring goals is! When old timers discuss up the topic of "world's greatest goalkeeper," you can "bank" on the notion that England's Gordon Banks will be brought up. Old English football commentators often mention his sick leave right before a crucial quarter-final match against their old enemy Germany. England ended up losing the game, despite leading 2-0 at one time. Even in the present, they still claim that Banks' presence could have made all the difference on that day. A good guardian of the goal can indeed spell the difference between the victor and the vanquished in a Football match. This can easily apply to the Church body as well, in that being "good guardians of biblical truths" is critical; or else the apostates and heretics might score a goal on Satan's behalf (See Jude 1:3/1 Thess 5:21). With several erroneous doctrines and deceitful cultists on the prowl, how do we guard ourselves against their subtle machinations? The answer is to be well-grounded in the Scriptures, so we can immediately detect their wrong teachings. 

A banker would say that the best way to detect a counterfeit currency is to know how well the original one looks. That goes the same for the Spiritual realm as well! Didn't somebody once say that "You can recognize a crooked line, only when you know how a straight line looks"? 

Underestimation...

We may consider that a goalkeeper is merely just a 'the last line of defence' -- with no hand in the more prestigious role of scoring. Nay! A shrewd guardian of the citadel is, in actuality, the 'firstline of offence' say Sports analysts. A crafty goalie doesn't see a routine goal kick as some aimless punt into the middle of the field, but instead see it as an opportunity to pass the ball to their unguarded teammates to seize an opportunity in that moment.  
 
How very similar to the Christian realm of things! In Christ's kingdom, even though your actions may be unexpectedly used the least towards achieving great 'goals', do not underestimate your own capacity when it comes to be used by the good Lord. For instance, John 4:29 showcases the most unlikely 'woman missionary' in action; so much so, that our Lord remarked in the context of rewards on judgment day that there will be plenty of surprises. 

"But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." (Matt 19:30 NKJV) 

Not in the frontline? Dear brother/sister do not get discouraged. Make taking the 'goal kick' whole-heartedly and meaningfully for the Lord your goal (no pun intended) and if the Lord inspires you to come to the frontline, do it boldly.

Prayer: Father, we are encouraged by Your ordained Scriptures that nothing we do for you would ever be in vain. Inspire us to put our best foot forward in all areas of Christian Ministry, wherever You have put us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Do you have "World Cup" fever? Join us on Tuesday for other important lessons we may learn from the World Cup in the concluding part of "Soccer Sorcery! Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 4"!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Jul 2018, 1:55 pm

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

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

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

Emigration...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is your conscience troubling you with the sins of past, whether committed publicly or secretly, during your time on "Satan's team"? Do not stand silently hanging your head in shame. Christ is willing to accept you into his team as you 
 

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

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

 Instruction ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Do you have "World Cup" fever? Join us on Saturday for other important lessons we may learn from the World Cup in "Soccer Sorcery! Lessons From World Cup Football, Part 3"!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Jul 2018, 1:43 pm

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

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

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

Emigration...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suresh Manoharan
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
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©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
 

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

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

 Instruction ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

July 5, 2018

How Long will God Take to Answer my Prayer?

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

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

"As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, 'Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, "Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?" It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!'Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'" (Exodus 14:10-14 NIV)

Have you ever complained like that? I have. And that's because we're deep into our own struggles. We end up terrified like the Israelites. We grumble in the hot desert of frustration. And as we trudge through the dry land of conflict, of uncertainty and nervousness, we desperately look for God's answer, a clear path, a solution; we look to be rescued now.

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Eckles

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

June 30, 2018

Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

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

Welcome to the Nugget

June 19, 2018

All I am is in Your Hands


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most importantly though, the key to escaping the cage you may find yourself in comes from God's word. Its power can shatter the nastiest of locks and help set you back on the road to peace and recovery. One of my all-time favorites is this, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) This verse has sustained me through plenty of life's challenges when I felt ensnared and gripped with fear.

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

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

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

The detainment is worth it in the end.

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

Welcome to the Nugget

June 21, 2018

Alone in the Valley


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's good news.

Inspirational Messages, Sally I. Kennedy  
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jun 2018, 12:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 14, 2018

ABBA, Father! Part 2


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


Prop...

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

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

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


Prototype...

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


Progression...

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

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


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

ABBA, Father! Part 3


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


Promise...

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

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

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

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

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


Propel...

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

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

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

Hallelujah! 

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

June 12, 2018

ABBA, Father! Part 1


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

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

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

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

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


Procreation...

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


Proof...

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



Protection...

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


Provision...

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

April 19, 2018

Exult In God's Kindness


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Welcome to the Nugget

April 17, 2018

Say Yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

April 14, 2018

Jonamiah


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Nugget

April 12, 2018

Friday the 13th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When? 

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

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

Not according to the rest of the Bible: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Apr 2018, 10:52 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
April 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Eckles

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

Welcome to the Nugget
April 7, 2018
Feeling Overwhelmed?

By Answers2Prayer 
  Are you feeling overwhelmed today? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn


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

Welcome to the Nugget

April 5, 2018

The Comfort of Love


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

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

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

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

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

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

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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John the Baptist said, "The time has come...The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15). But what exactly is the Kingdom of God? Check out "Basics of Basileia", a four-part mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan designed to help us have a better understand of God's Kingdom!
©️Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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