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Post  Admin on Mon 16 Feb 2015, 10:39 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 14, 2015 
Building Solomon's Temple, Part 2: Assembling the Materials

By Answers2Prayer 
 Last week, in Building Solomon's Temple, Part 1, we discovered the importance of the preparations we do for building our heart-temples. But just how can we prepare to build something as abstract as a "heart-temple?" 

We look to David and Solomon for the answers:

"With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God..." (1 Chron 29:2) 

The temple was so important to David that he gave of his own resources for its construction: "I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God..." (1Chr 29:3, NIV2)

Herein lies the first important lesson for us in the preparation for our heart temples. The presence of God in our lives needs to be our number one priority, so important to us that, "With all resources [we provide] for the temple..." 

But wait. Our heart-temples are not made of wood and stone, and they are not lined with gold and silver. Nor do most of us have gold and silver laying around. What can this mean to us?

In preparation for our heart temples, the things that we have that are precious to us need to be yielded to God. Whether child or spouse, job, favorite activity or possession, these need to be set aside for the building of our heart-temples. Why? Because God cannot have first place in our lives if we hold on to something else over and above Him.

David gives us a clue about how we can set aside "gold and silver" in preparation for the building of our heart-temples: "The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb." (Ps 19:7-10, NIV2) 

Closer inspection of the text reveals that God's law is: perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure and firm, and that same law refreshes, makes wise, gives light, and endures. Thus, when we keep His law, when we value trustworthiness and pure living, we prepare a heart that will welcome our Lord and Savior. 

What is this "Law of the Lord?" Jesus summed it up in two simple commands: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt 22:37-40, NIV2)

It sounds easy enough to love God, but who is this "neighbor" I am supposed to love? 

When asked this question, Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan. A man is beaten, robbed and left to die. Three men find him. Two of them, high officials in the church, pass by on the other side of the road. Only the third, an outsider, stops to help. (See Luke 10:29-37) 

Thus, we see that a neighbor is someone who shows mercy to those in need. When we want to prepare for the building of our heart-temples, we can do so by truly loving God, and by caring for the poor in the world.

Another time Jesus was approached by a rich man who asked what he had to do to prepare for God's kingdom. Jesus' response is poignant: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matt 19:21, NIV2) 

Friends, it is when we follow this very profound instruction that we make the preparations for the building of our heart-temples. It is when we give all that we have, all that is precious to us, to the Lord by giving it to the poor, and then by coming and following Jesus. 

But what about the actual temple construction?

Please join us next week for "Building Solomon's Temple," Part 3: Of Location and Foundation. 
In His love,
Lyn

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

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©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 13 Feb 2015, 10:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 12, 2015
Your ID Please, Part 2

By Answers2Prayer
 
In the second part of the Series on John the Son of Zebedee and brother of James having the unique ID of being the "Disciple whom Jesus loved", let's today focus on other weighty privileges which came John's way courtesy his unique ID...
Redemption...

As John alone of all the disciples was beside the Redeemer in his last hours, he alone had the privilege of seeing the Divine redemption work completed (Jesus' atoning sacrifice for sinful mankind). Is it not only in John's Gospel, we see triumphant cry of Jesus on the Cross (the Sixth utterance) recorded "It is finished" (John 19:30). 

In essence, the difference between Saving Christian faith and others is this..."While others call for several good works to obtain salvation, Christianity calls simply for acceptance in faith of the work already finished (Romans 10:9-10).

Resurrection...

Lo and behold, after being the first hand witness of the completion of the Redemption work who other than John should have the privilege of being the first witness amongst the disciples to the resurrection of his beloved Master.

"So Peter and the other disciple (John) started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." (John 20:3-8)

Oh how to be loved by the Lord!!! Privileges chase and overtake you...

Prayer: Father, once again we adore you for the infinite love which you pour upon us your children, irrespective of our many frailties. Enable us always to live lives worthy of our high calling. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 

Suresh Manoharan
An Unprofitable Servant
J and SM Ministries
 
Announcement:

What lessons can we learn from the building of Solomon's temple? Join us on Saturdays in February for "Building Solomon's Temple," a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Feb 2015, 10:07 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 10, 2015
When Winter Seems to Never End...

By Answers2Prayer 
Even in the frozen northlands of Canada, winter does not last forever. 

I know this is true, I have experienced 30 years of the changing Canadian seasons, yet somehow, last year, I didn't believe it. While most of the northern hemisphere basked in unseasonably warm temperatures, North America got slammed with one of the three coldest winters in 25 years. 

It wasn't really the temperatures, or even the excessive snow, that have bothered me, however. I could deal with those. You just put on more clothing. As my dear friend from Alaska says, "It's not bad weather, it's improper gear!" What really bothered me was that in mid-March, with Spring officially 7 days away, we were slammed with the worst storm of the year. And even worse, they were calling for winter-like weather to extend well into April. Would it ever end?

It's true that we had some Spring-like days. Rob and I had taken a trip to Erie Pennsylvania just the weekend before this storm, and our first day out it was 10 degrees C (50 F). As we walked along the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, with our jackets open and our ears and fingers uncovered, I couldn't help but smile. It was true that the trees hadn't yet begun to bud out with new leaves, and the dunes were still covered with ice in many places, but Spring was truly in the air. It made it seem all the more cruel when we woke up to snow the next morning. 

It makes me think of the valleys we must all walk in life. Some of you may be walking the valley of financial difficulties, loss of job, or even the loss of your home. Others may be walking the valley of illness--your own, or those of friends or loved ones. You may be walking the valley of cancer, stroke, heart problems, or a myriad of other debilitating health problems. Still others may be dealing with the loss of a loved one or a dear friend. Or perhaps your valley is labeled, 
"relationship problems." Whatever the valley of your life is right now, it must seem like this long, cold Canadian winter that didn't seem to ever want to end. 

As you go through these valleys, sometimes you receive some good news. Your estranged husband calls to say he wants to see you. You have a good day, even after Chemotherapy. You receive a surprise check in the mail for 100$. Or, better yet, the trial seems to be behind you. But just like this winter has thrown us these little teases of Spring, only to be followed by more snow, your estranged husband only wants to give you less money; your second day post-chemo is awful; you receive an unexpected bill in the mail for 500$; and just when you think you're through the problems, new, larger ones arise. 

Like this past winter, reality is cruel. Why give us a "tease" of better times, only to "slam" us again with insurmountable problems?

I was contemplating this as we walked the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, for I already know that the Weather Network was calling for snow the next day. But as I looked around me at the melting snow and ice, as I looked into the black, bare forests, I realized one thing: This Spring-like day meant only one thing: Spring would come! This winter would not last forever! This Spring-like day wasn't a tease at all; it was a promise that the world would once again come back to life, the trees would bud, and the birds, along with warmer temperatures, would, indeed, return.

The same is true of the valleys of our lives. They are also not unending. It doesn't matter how bleak it looks in the midst of one, there is a Spring that will come. There will be better times. 

Let's hold on to that hope: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Heb 10:23, NKJV). 

Your Spring WILL come!

In His love,
Lyn

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

Join us on Thursdays in February for "Your ID Please", a mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan, to discover the weighty privileges that come from being loved by Jesus!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 08 Feb 2015, 9:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 7, 2015 
Building Solomon's Temple, Part 1: The Preparation

By Answers2Prayer 

  Throughout the fall of 2013, the Nugget featured a series that looked in depth at the instructions given to Moses in the wilderness for the construction of the tabernacle. We came to understand through this study that each instruction speaks to us of our heart-temples, and each part points to the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest Sacrifice ever given. (Click here to access the series)

There are also other references to temple building in the Bible. One such set of instructions is given in the book of Ezekiel, where elaborate detail is given for a temple that has, to date, not been constructed. This set of temple instructions was the subject of a series published in the Nugget a few years ago, and you can access it by clicking here: Lessons From Ezekiel's Temple. 

After the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness, the next set of instructions for temple building was for the construction of Solomon's temple. This current 4-part study will look directly at the lessons that can be learned from Solomon and his temple construction, and what they mean for our heart-temples today. 

Solomon's temple was the glory of Israel. The Bible dedicates 5 chapters to its construction: 1 Kings 5,6, and 2 Chron 2-4. However, any good discussion of the building of Solomon's temple must begin a little earlier in history, for although Solomon did a few things to prepare for its construction, the majority of the preparation work was actually done by his father, David. 

1 Chron. 28 tells us that the preparation for Solomon's temple was so important to David that he called on a large assembly to announce his plans: "Daivd summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem..." (1 Chron 28:1a NIV). If you read on through the verse, you come to understand that there was actually quite an assembly that gathered, and by reading through actual announcement given by David, we catch a glimpse of just how important this temple was to him: 

"Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasures for the dedicated things...'all this,' David said, 'I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and He gave me understanding in all the details of the plan!'" (1 Chron 28: 11-12, 19)

Why would David do this? Why would he spend time preparing for a temple at all, especially when God wouldn't let him build it? Why did Solomon also spend so much time in preparation as well? Why does the Bible go into such detail?

The answer to these questions is simple: It is because the preparation for building Solomon's temple was important. The plans David made were perhaps seen by him as his most important accomplishment. 

Isn't it true that everything we do in life requires some preparation? That the bigger the event, the more elaborate the plans? Just think about the preparation that goes into a move, a wedding, a family gathering, even a trip or a backyard barbeque. The list could go on, but the point is, the important things we do in life require preparation. 

It's true that other than Ezekiel's temple, which has not yet been built, God has given us no recent temple-building instructions. This is because God's presence now resides in our hearts: "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22 NIV); but just because God is now interested in spiritual temples, or what I have coined, "heart-temples," this doesn't mean that the preparation is any less important. Just as David, and later Solomon, spent years preparing plans and gathering materials for the building of Solomon's temple, we, too, must prepare for the building of our heart-temples. 

How? 

Join us next week to find out: Building Solomon's Temple, Part 2: Assembling the Materials.

In His love,
Lyn

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

Announcement:

Join us on Thursdays in February for "Your ID Please", a mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan, to discover the weighty privileges that come from being loved by Jesus!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 06 Feb 2015, 11:32 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 5, 2015
Your ID Please, Part 1
By Answers2Prayer 
 
It's quiz time folks. Not a tough (for regular Bible reader's) question comes your way. Name the disciple whom Jesus loved. If your answer is John, Son of Zebedee, brother of James, pat yourself on the back. Light-hearted introduction apart, if we look at the implications of the John's unique ID "Disciple, Jesus loved", there are some serious lessons to be gleaned. Of course, Jesus loved other disciples too, but if Scripture says that the Sovereign Lord loved John more, it is in perfect consonance with the teaching in other parts of the Scripture such as Exodus 33:19 and Romans 9:15.

Hey, some weighty privileges are bound to come visiting if you are loved by Jesus...John's life and Ministry is a classic case in point. In this series of three parts, I would like to take the Nugget readership on a tour of privileges which "chased" John the Beloved...


Reformation...


Mind you, originally John and James (both brothers) were named by Jesus himself considering their hot temper as "Sons of Thunder". One needn't go beyond their fiery reaction to Samaritans inhospitality (Luke 9:51-54) to substantiate the truth about their short fuse. While James was martyred early in his ministry, John actually outlived other apostles mellowing all along with age. The Master sculptor (2 Cor 3:18) had fashioned John into a Masterpiece-fleshing out Jesus' love-by the time his earthly sojourn ended.

There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!" After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," was His reply (John 13:34-35). "And if this alone be done, it is enough!" Difficult to believe isn't it, that this once easily excitable "Son of thunder"--all fire and brimstone in his younger years--could now be so warm-hearted personifying the Lord's command? It was effect of love (another name for Jesus -- 1 John 4:8) that John was eating, drinking, and breathing the topic of love not only in his preaching but also in his writing. His three epistles written presumably in his old age exude love. How true, we love because Jesus first loves us (1 John 4:19)...His love in our hearts (Romans 5:5) translates into reverence for God and compassion for fellow beings.

Say Reader, have you trusted Jesus to "metamorphose" (read reform you)? All of us by birth are sinners selfish to the core. All of us need a "born-again experience", which only faith in Jesus can bring about (John 1:12/Galatians 3:26) liberating us from our selfishness. It is not your fault that you are born a sinner but it would be your fault if you die as one, without "allowing" Jesus to bring about a reformation in your life by His mighty power.


Responsibility...

What is the proof that you have reciprocated to the person who has loved you with agape love? Answer: You are bound to remain with him in his moment of crisis. Is it any wonder then, John alone of all the disciples was beside Jesus at the Cross, when the Saviour was spending his last hours in excruciating agony? To whom should Jesus the eldest son of Mary, entrust the responsibility of taking care of his mother's welfare other than to the Disciple whom he loved (John 19:26-27). Say Brother, is Jesus entrusting you with more responsibilities in your ministry for His glory? Rejoice for it is a vindication of his love (basis for trust) for you. Didn't somebody say love and trust are bedfellows!!!

Prayer: Father what greater privilege can there be there than to be known as a person loved by You. Help all of those of us, who have tasted Your love to live lives worthy of our calling. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Suresh Manoharan
An Unprofitable Servant
J and SM Ministries
 
Announcement:

SUBMISSIONS WELCOMED!!!

Has God given you a special message? Why not share it with The Nugget and its subscribers? The Nugget welcomes any and all Bible-based devotional submissions under 1000 words. Please include at least ONE BIBLE TEXT in your submission, and send it here! 
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Feb 2015, 11:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 3, 2015
When We See God Smile

By Answers2Prayer 
I'm dancing in my blindness and rejoicing in my disability.

Crazy statement, isn't it? But I think you'll agree with the reason I have joy dancing in my soul.
First, my friend, who has been there for me for years, always answers, "No problem...that was easy," each of the dozen times I ask her to format documents, to post these blogs or research for me.

Then, I have a friend who barely makes ends meet and she emails me: "Go outside your front door and find the holder for your bird feeder." She knew the one we have is no good. So she surprised me with a new one which she purchased with a certificate she received after donating platelets.

My friend who drives nearly an hour to visit. She puts in my hands two beautiful scarves and a purse to match. "Here, I need to keep you in style."

And my dear friend who wrote "Go ahead and sign up for the writer's conference; I took care of the registration fee."

These are only some examples of what I call God's smiles. And with gratitude overflowing, I sit in the still of the night and wonder for a long, long time. I ask myself if I would or could be a smile to someone else.

What delight it would be to do something so that, like me, they would see God's smile that says: "I'm here with you. I know your needs. I see your wants and know very well each of your desires."

How beautifully Psalm 121:1-2 echoes my heart. "I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth." And how sweetly His help trickles down through friends' gestures, through their kind surprises, and their unconditional support.

Father, show me how to be your smile to someone else. Open opportunities for me to be the vessel of your loving winks to those who need a warm encouragement, a kind note or a timely inspiration. In Jesus' name, amen.

* Have you seen God's smiles through someone else lately?

* Have you been a smile to someone else?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
 
Announcement:

What lessons can we learn from the building of Solomon's temple? Join us on Saturdays in February for "Building Solomon's Temple," a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Feb 2015, 9:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 31, 2015
My Big Fat Purple Toe

By Answers2Prayer 
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (Jas 1:2-4, NKJV) 

I sprained my big toe last Sunday morning. I was rushing to get ready for Choir practice, but when I noticed that I had about 30 extra minutes, I realized I had just enough time to do an arm workout. 

My son has set up a little "gym" in our basement, complete with a benchpress, a bar for weight lifting, and of course, dumbbells. Ever since finishing physiotherapy for my torn rotator cuff last year, I have been working out regularly with the hope that a strong back, chest and core will help prevent similar injuries in the future. It's kind of like my own version of physiotherapy! 

As I hurried downstairs that morning, however, I was struck with the idea that I shouldn't try to squeeze the workout in, that instead, I should spend my extra time with God. 

I didn't listen.

The second exercise on the list was called "dumbbell press." Not wanting to lay on the bare floor, I took the bar off the bench press and put it on the floor, and I proceeded to use the bench to do my presses. This particular workout requires using increasingly-heavy weights, and I got up to get heavier dumbbells. The only problem was, with my mind so taken up with getting through the workout before church, I forgot I had left the bar in the middle of the floor! You guessed it: down I went. 

I immediately noticed the dull ache in my big toe, but I decided to ignore it, and my good intentions took me into the next exercise. That's when the throb in my toe turned into a sharp pain, and tearing off my sock I realized the truth: My big toe was twice its normal size, and such a beautiful shade of purple! By the end of the day, I could barely hobble along. So much for my workout routine. Hey, forget the workout routine, so much for doing anything, including the walking I am required to do at work!

Right at the start, people began praying for my toe, and I was sure God would heal it. After all, He had preformed a similar miracle on a broken toe 15 years earlier. But He didn't this time. You see, my broken toe years ago was injured in an honest accident, not while doing something that God had told me not to do. Could it be that God had a lesson for me to learn through this current injury? Could it be that God wanted me to understand that I need to listen to His voice of wisdom? That when I don't, I open the door for accidents to happen? 

Would I have ever learned those lessons if God had just healed my toe?

The answer is "no," and I thank God for my big, fat, purple toe.

That's when God began pouring His grace out upon me. My track record with such injuries dictates that sprained toes take at least 2-3 weeks to heal enough for me to be able to walk. Imagine my delight when I realized that my toe was on an accelerated healing track, when by mid-week, as long as I wore supporting shoes, I could start up my walking program again. Perhaps even more importantly, I could do the walking required of me at work!

God's grace is unending. He allows us to go through certain things to teach us lessons, but He is still there to pour out His grace upon the repentant heart. Let's not wish away God's lessons. Instead, let's embrace them and thank Him for them, ever submitting ourselves to the lessons He has for us to learn through them. 

Then let's sit back and watch the grace of God at work!

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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What lessons can we learn from the apostle John's unique ID of "Disciple Jesus loved"? Join us on Thursdays in February for "Your ID Please," a mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Jan 2015, 11:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 29, 2015
The Secret to Overcoming Discouragement

By Answers2Prayer 
A patient of mine was discouraged yesterday, and as I tried to pour out comforting words, I couldn't help thinking, "poor guy!" You see, I knew his medical history. I knew there weren't many silver linings to his clouds, many bright spots to focus on. 

Later that evening, someone sent me an email wondering why it was that she never received encouragement, despite the fact that the Bible tells us to: "...comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1Thess 5:11, NKJV).

It all made me think, for I, too, often battle discouragement. Now, in my case, it's true that I am very blessed to be the recipient of much encouragement. God always sends me encouragement the moment I need it, and He often uses you, the Nugget readership, to do so, and I thank you for that!

But do I actually receive that encouragement?

I must admit that I am often so wrapped up in whatever is discouraging me that I often don't. When I received the email from the person asking why she never received encouragement even though we are told to encourage one another, I have to admit that I spent a few moments thinking, "It's because most Christians don't follow this command!" 

My spirit wasn't happy with this explanation, however, and as the verse played itself out again in my mind, "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1Thess 5:11, NKJV), it occurred to me that it isn't speaking of receiving encouragement at all, but rather, of giving it out! However, instead of following the command of this verse--to encourage others--I generally seek to be the recipient of that comfort. 

Could it be that I am so focused on my own problems and my own need of encouragement that I am blinded to the thousands of encouraging words and actions that come my way on a daily basis? 

Yet the Bible is clear: "...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35, NKJV)

I am sure we have all experienced times when we, despite the fact that we are facing our own problems, make the effort to do something for someone else: A little word of encouragement here, lending a helping hand there, a smile...

May I ask you, how do those little acts of kindness make you feel?

If you're anything like me, they make you feel very, very good. In fact, they make you forget your own problems...

Could this be why we are not told to look to receive encouragement, but rather, to give it out? Because when we encourage others, it makes our own problems seem small indeed?

Recently someone connected with this ministry wrote in with a testimony. While facing insurmountable problems on all sides, he decided that he would focus on praying for the needs of others. He said that he often felt funny praying for what seemed like such minor things for other people in the face of his own huge problems, but he continued on for several months. Then, he began noticing that one by one and little by little, God was solving each and every one of his own problems...

That is the beauty of it! When we make the encouragement of others to be our priority, not only do our own problems begin to diminish in our own eyes, not only does our own discouragement begin to flee, but God will resolve our own problems as well!

That is the secret to battling discouragement, my friends: Focus on encouraging and comforting others. Why not try it today?

"...comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1 Thess 5:11)

In His love,
Lyn


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

Announcement:

Curious about what we can learn today from the construction of Solomon's Temple? Join us on Saturdays in February for "Solomon's Temple," a mini-series by Lyn Chaffart.
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jan 2015, 4:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 27, 2015
The First Day of the First Month, Part 5

By Answers2Prayer 
Today, we come to the concluding part of our series titled "First day of the First month." Let's focus on the final "C"...

Crown 

"...in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth:" (Genesis 8:13)

Welcome once again to one of the soul-stirring accounts in the Scripture...Noah's Ark. Ever wondered what would have been the financial condition of good Ol' Noah when he entered the Ark finally (Genesis 7:13) after showing complete obedience to God in all matters before the Flood? Remember, he had used all of his time, treasures and talents in building the Ark. Dear Friends, we would do well to reflect that he may have entered the Ark in poverty, but when he came out of the Ark after the onset of a New Year, he was the God-ordained King of the Earth. Any competition for him? Not at all...

In 2015, be encouraged to give yourselves more to prayer, Bible reading, Church-fellowshipping and witnessing. Dwelling on witnessing, note that Jesus did not want all His followers to be preachers but all to be faithful witnesses (Acts 1:8). Witnessing is simply telling others (known ones, and sometimes even strangers during journey time) at every given opportunity (Col 4:5-TLB) with the power He supplies (Zech 4:6) what a difference Jesus has wrought in your life through life and lip to known ones (unsaved friends/relatives, office colleagues, business partners, co-students) and lip to strangers (during the journey time). One needn't go all the way to the empty tomb in Jerusalem to believe in the Resurrection power of our Lord, for they would witness the same in our zealous witnessing for Him (Acts 4:33). Dear Christian be a faithful witness for the Lord for"

"Nothing you would do for the Lord would ever be in vain." (See 1 COR 15:58)

Happy New Year of witnessing for the Lord!

Prayer: Father, how comforted we are by the fact that nothing we would attempt to do for Your glory would ever be in vain. Make us bold and loving witnesses for Your Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries


Announcement:
You don't care for punishment?  What if you knew it was for your own good?  Join us on Tuesday for "No Pain No Gain", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only permitted but encouraged! 
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jan 2015, 12:04 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 27, 2015
The First Day of the First Month, Part 5

By Answers2Prayer 
 Today, we come to the concluding part of our series titled "First day of the First month." Let's focus on the final "C"...

Crown 

"...in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth:" (Genesis 8:13)

Welcome once again to one of the soul-stirring accounts in the Scripture...Noah's Ark. Ever wondered what would have been the financial condition of good Ol' Noah when he entered the Ark finally (Genesis 7:13) after showing complete obedience to God in all matters before the Flood? Remember, he had used all of his time, treasures and talents in building the Ark. Dear Friends, we would do well to reflect that he may have entered the Ark in poverty, but when he came out of the Ark after the onset of a New Year, he was the God-ordained King of the Earth. Any competition for him? Not at all...

In 2015, be encouraged to give yourselves more to prayer, Bible reading, Church-fellowshipping and witnessing. Dwelling on witnessing, note that Jesus did not want all His followers to be preachers but all to be faithful witnesses (Acts 1:8). Witnessing is simply telling others (known ones, and sometimes even strangers during journey time) at every given opportunity (Col 4:5-TLB) with the power He supplies (Zech 4:6) what a difference Jesus has wrought in your life through life and lip to known ones (unsaved friends/relatives, office colleagues, business partners, co-students) and lip to strangers (during the journey time). One needn't go all the way to the empty tomb in Jerusalem to believe in the Resurrection power of our Lord, for they would witness the same in our zealous witnessing for Him (Acts 4:33). Dear Christian be a faithful witness for the Lord for"

"Nothing you would do for the Lord would ever be in vain." (See 1 COR 15:58)

Happy New Year of witnessing for the Lord!

Prayer: Father, how comforted we are by the fact that nothing we would attempt to do for Your glory would ever be in vain. Make us bold and loving witnesses for Your Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries
 
Announcement:

You don't care for punishment?  What if you knew it was for your own good?  Join us on Tuesday for "No Pain No Gain", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only permitted but encouraged! 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Jan 2015, 11:40 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 24, 2015
Blind Eyes, Part 2: Men Walking Like Trees...
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
The book of Mark records the story of an interesting miracle. A blind man is brought and Jesus is asked to restore his sight. Jesus complies, but unlike the other recorded miracles of healing, it takes two times for the man to be completely healed: "So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, 'I see men like trees, walking.' Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly." (Mark 8:22-25, NKJV)

Every time I read this story, I ask myself the same question: Why didn't Jesus heal the man's sight completely the first time? Why did this particular blind man require two miracles of Jesus to regain his sight?

To answer this question, let's look at the context. This story is sandwiched in the middle of three interesting stories...

The first story appears immediately after the story of the healing of the blind man. Jesus and His disciples are in Caesarea Philippi, and Jesus asked His disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). They answered honestly enough: "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." (Mark 8:28). Then Jesus asked the key question: "But who do you say that I am?" to which Peter responded: "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:29, NKJV)

From this story, we see that most people did not know who Jesus really was, calling Him John the Baptist or Elijah, but the eyes of the disciples had been spiritually opened enough that they recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. 

But did the disciples truly have a clear understanding of who Jesus was?

Not at all, for immediately after this story, we find another. Jesus had been teaching the disciples of His upcoming suffering and death, and upon hearing these words, Peter began to rebuke Jesus (see Mark 8:33a). Jesus' response? "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." (Mark 8:33b, NKJV)!

Immediately preceding the story of the healing of the blind man, we find yet another interesting encounter with the disciples. While in a boat, Jesus says to His followers: "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." (Mark 8:15). 

Unfortunately, the disciples didn't understand what Jesus is saying: "And they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'It is because we have no bread.'" (Mark 8:16). Jesus immediately rebuked them, saying: "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?" (Mark 8:15-18, NKJV)

Thus, though the disciples had more spiritual "sight" than the general public, their eyes were not completely opened to Truth. Could it be said that they "saw men walking like trees?" Is it possible that Jesus purposefully did not completely heal the blind man the first time to teach us a spiritual lesson? To help us to understand that spiritual sight can come in gradation? 

I believe the answer is "yes!" 

We need to be aware that although we may have been granted an element of spiritual sight into a specific situation, our eyes may still be partially blinded. We may still: "...see in a mirror, dimly..." (1 Cor 13:12a). We may not yet have the full picture. 

Friends, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk, I urge you to continue to seek healing for spiritual blindness. Don't go through your spiritual life seeing "men walking as trees." Seek God's completely and total healing of your spiritual sight, and always be aware that your sight may not yet be 100% clear! 

In His love,
Lyn

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

Please join us next Tuesday for the last part of the "First Day of the First Month", series, to learn about the significance of the Old Testament "First day of the first month"! 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 12:33 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 22, 2015
The Best Meal I Ever Had

By Answers2Prayer
"What was the most delicious meal you ever had?" That was the question in an online survey that popped up on my screen the other day. I moved my mouse over and clicked out of the survey, but the question stayed with me. As I thought about it only one answer came to my mind: Ramen noodles.

It happened years ago during Hurricane Sandy when 3 feet of wet, heavy snow hit the mountains of my home. Trees were snapped, power lines were down, and my children and I were stuck in the house bundled up in coats and shivering in the cold. We had no heat, no lights, no television, no telephone, and no internet. The meat in the freezer had already gone bad and any food that wasn't spoiled had already been eaten. All the stores were closed due to the storm too. I felt shaky from not eating and when I looked in my youngest son's eyes I could see how hungry he was as well.

Thankfully, though, I still had several bags of Ramen noodles. Taking them and an old pot I walked over to my Dad's house. He had lost power too but still had his propane grill to cook with. I set the noodles simmering on the eye of it and watched them slowly boil. Trudging back through the snow I held the pot gingerly. Then I poured myself, daughter and sons each a big bowl of them. They were so delicious. We ate and ate until our hunger faded and then sat around the table and smiled at each other. It was the best meal I ever had. We all felt so happy at that moment and our joy only grew greater when the power came back on later that night.

I learned something special too from that meal. I learned that the greatest happiness comes from a grateful heart. Since then I have been more and more thankful to God for every blessing in my life. I thank Him for every sunny day, every meal, every smile, and every bird singing in the trees. I thank Him for my heat, lights, and all the modern conveniences we too often take for granted. I thank Him for each new day he gives me here to live, to learn, and to love. I thank Him for His love. And I thank Him too for every adversity and challenge that comes my way, because I have learned to use them as well to grow stronger, better, and kinder.

May your best meal always be the one you are eating right now. May the best you always be the person you are right now. And may you always live with a grateful heart full of love, joy, and God.

"...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph 5:20)

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
Announcement:

Just how does the Bible suggest that we manage argument?  Check out Managing Argument and discover some practical tips from the book of Job!   
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:42 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 20, 2015
The First Day of the First Month, Part 4
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
In the fourth part of the series beginning with "C" subtitles we come today to two more subjects...

Coming

"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In the first month on the first day you are to take a young bull without defect and purify the sanctuary." (Ezekiel 45:18) 

Praise God, in the soon to come dispensation (Millennium -- See Rev 20) when the massive "Ezekiel" temple (Ezekiel 40-48) would be built in Jerusalem, there would still be the Lunar Calendar, which the Jews go by presently. But resumption of animal sacrifices? Boy, while Jewish sacrifices were continual, was not Christ's sacrifice conclusive (Heb 10:12,14) as the Epistle of Hebrews bears out? Yes! Then why sacrifices in the Millennium? For the Redeemed of Jewish background to remember what it cost their Saviour to procure their Salvation, just as we of the existing dispensation participate in the Lord's Table (1 Cor 11:23-32) to remember His indescribable atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

Cherished

"In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month on the first day, the word of the LORD came to me:" (Ezekiel 29:17) 

One of the most comforting promises of the Bible is that the Lord delights in us (Zeph 3:17/Eph 1:11 TLB). So would He hide any of His plans from those He cherishes (Genesis 18:17)? No way, as these scripture portions underscore the age-old Truth... 

"'Should I hide my plan from Abraham?' God asked." (Genesis 18:17) 

"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) 

Is it any wonder then that a "New Year Gift" was given to faithful Prophet Ezekiel by way of revelation on the "gift" the Lord was planning to give to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon for his tireless "ministry" of 13 years in Tyre (Ezekiel 29:20 TLB)? In this era of Grace, when He wants all of His cherished children to be Prophets (1 Cor 14:1-2), He is bound to give visions to us in order  that we prophesy (Joel 2:28-29). When I say, "Prophesy," I am not only speaking about foretelling, but also forthtelling with conviction laced with tender love. 

Let's all of us, His cherished ones, resolve to "ask, seek and knock" (increasing order of intensity of prayers) for more prophecies in line with His Sovereign Will in order that we may edify our brethren (1 Cor 14:4 TLB) and even win souls (1 Cor 14:24-25 TLB) for His Kingdom.

Prayer: Father, how grateful we are that You are willing that all of us ought to be Your Prophets. We praise Thee once again in Jesus' Name. 

Suresh Manoharan
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:

The gospel message is the best message ever preached. Why is it that it isn't readily embraced by the world? Join us on Saturday for the conclusion of "Blind Eyes", a Mini-Series by Lyn Chaffart.
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Post  Admin on Sun 18 Jan 2015, 6:54 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 17, 2015
Blind Eyes, Part 1: Whose Eyes are Blinded...
By Answers2Prayer 
The gospel message is so fantastic. Why is it that the world isn't running to embrace the gospel? 

The answer is actually quite simple: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded..." (2Cor 4:3 NKJV).

The world doesn't embrace the gospel because they have been blinded by the devil. 

But why would God allow the devil to blind their eyes? 

We get a bit more insight into the blinding of eyes in the book of Psalms. Consider the following text: "Their idols...have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear...Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them." (Ps 115:4-8, NKJV)

When we put our trust in idols, we become like those idols: blind, deaf, and void of all senses. The devil, then, doesn't specifically "blind" our eyes; instead he lures us into trusting idols, fully knowing that this will dull all of our senses.

To illustrate this, please consider my loyal, loving and obedient dog. She only has one irritating trait: Whenever her nose is engaged, her ears become blocked. Her attention becomes so completely taken up by whatever odor she is sniffing that there is no concentration left over to even recognize that someone is calling her. 

In much the same way, when we put our trust in idols, our attention becomes so completely taken up with the idol that there is no room left over to hear God's voice, let alone recognize Truth. 

But wait. We don't worship idols in our day and age...

Or do we?

"So is everyone who trusts in them." (Ps 115:8, NKJV). This would suggest that anything we put our trust in can become an idol. 

Most of us have many things in our lives that we trust. We trust people, our churches, our pastors, we trust our jobs, our cars, our neighbors, we trust our own intuition and logic, and mostly, we trust ourselves and our own ability to handle things. 

It is no different for those who do not know the gospel message. They have put their trust in these "false gods" for so long that their eyes have become blinded to the Truth, but this message isn't only for the unsaved world. May I ask you why most Christians have so many problems resting in Jesus? 

Simply put, it is because we have put our trust in other things for so long that our eyes have become blinded to the Truth that Jesus is our rest!

And why is it so difficult for many to hear God's voice? 

Once again, it is because we've trusted in our own "intuition," our own "logic" for so long that we've become deafened to the voice of God.

There is only one way for me to ensure that my dog will always pay attention: I must ensure there are no odors to sniff (which, incidentally, isn't possible...). The good news is that we can ensure that our attention is not taken up with idols. All we have to do is put our trust in God for all things. We need to lay aside logic. We need to stop trusting in our jobs for our incomes. We need to stop trusting that our churches feed us Truth. Instead, we need to put our trust in God and Him alone. Only then will we be able to hear His voice and see where He is at work around us.

Prayer: Father, reveal to us where we have made something of this world into an idol. Help us to stop trusting in anything other than You, for in so doing, You will open our blind eyes and unstop our deafened ears!

But are there gradations of the miracle of restored sight? Join us next Saturday for Blind Eyes, Part 2: Men Walking Like Trees. 

In His love,
Lyn

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

The book of John is packed full of life-giving nuggets of Truth. We invite you to read previously-published devotionals from the Book of John by clicking here. Beginning next week, a new mini-series based on another of Jesus' famous discourses recorded in John, will be appearing in the Saturday editions of The Nugget. Please join us then for Studies from the Book of John, Study 4: The Bread of Life: A Study on True Christianity!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 16 Jan 2015, 4:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 15, 2015
Warm on the Inside

By Answers2Prayer 
It was the latest of a series of arctic blasts that had made for a brutal Winter here in the mountains of my home. I woke up shivering and shook my head as I saw the frozen ice patterns on the inside of my windows. After a hot breakfast I bundled up to go down and warm up my car before driving out. The house door opened with a loud crack as the ice broke on the door knob.
 
I stepped out into the deathly quiet of the bitter, morning air. Almost instantly I could feel the hairs in my nose freeze. As I walked down to my car the wind started to blow and I braced myself against it. It felt like being hit. The pain from the wind chill was incredible. My bones ached from it. I wiggled my toes to keep the feeling in them. Even breathing in the crushingly cold air made my lungs hurt. I turned on my car and the thermostat inside it read eleven degrees below zero. I started scraping the ice and snow off the car windows and wondered again how long it would be until Spring arrived. Finally, I climbed into the car and looked at my frosty mustache in the mirror. It looked so ridiculous that I laughed out loud. "Well, at least I am not cold on the inside," I said to myself.

You see, over the years I had learned that there are a lot worse things than being cold on the outside. Being cold in your heart, frozen in your soul, and isolated from God and love were far worse than having chattering teeth on a January morning. I thanked Heaven again that I had finally learned to invite God's love into my heart. I knew that no matter how cold this world could be at times that I could always count on that love to keep me warm.

May your own heart always burn bright with the fire of God's love. May your spirit shine with its light. May you share your love too with everyone around you. And may you always make this world a warmer place just by being in it.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 8:39 NET)

By: Joseph J. Mazzella  
Announcement:

Please join us on Tuesdays for the month of January to learn about the significance of the Old Testament "first day of the first month"!
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Jan 2015, 11:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 13, 2015
The First Day of the First Month, Part 3

By Answers2Prayer 
In the third part of the New year series titled "First day of the first month," we come to the following Cs... 

"He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." (Ezra 7:9-10) 

This one is one for those on the road of ministry already. Go no further than the great Jewish reformer Ezra...if you are looking for inspiration to take a New Year resolution on adding some badly-needed punch to your sermons. 

Not only is Bible inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16), the order in it is also God-inspired. It's "study" should be followed by "living" in accordance with it, before "teaching" of the same to others, takes place. Say Fellow-servant in God's vineyard, is your life a "pattern" of God's word, even before its "proclamation." Wanna be a powerful Cannon in preaching Canon, then practice it first before proclaiming it. What about our Saviour Jesus? Let the Scripture take over... 

"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach." (Acts 1:1) 

Notice how "do" comes before "teach." No wonder, at his baptism, even before he had preached a single sermon or performed a single miracle, there was a heavenly commendation: "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" 

No wonder again, there was so much of power and authority in His sermons, as the ever-truthful Scripture underscores... 

"When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching for he taught with real authority -- quite unlike their teachers of religious law." (Matt 7:28-29) 

Chance

"and by the first day of the first month they finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women." (Ezra 10:17) 

Make note, fellow servants of God what price powerful preaching, if it doesn't lead to "alteration of situation" for good. Ezra brought about a reformation in the Jewish society "infected" as it was in his times of Jewish men marrying ungodly wives (a sure recipe for disaster...remember King Solomon's fall from Grace -- See 1 Kings 11:1-4), thanks to his New Year resolution of sincere "study," "observance" and "teaching" of God's Word. 

Fast forward to 16th Century AD and what have you, a careful study of Scripture (Romans 1:17 to be more precise) by one man -- Martin Luther -- leads to Reformation of the Church bringing it out of the clutches of Dark ages, when Papacy reigned in false pomp and glory. 

What I am saying here applies to all Christians both Clergy and Laity. Are you keen to discern who is an apostle and who is an apostate? Then be well-grounded in Canon (synonym of it is a ruler which helps you draw a straight line)!!! You can immediately identify a false teacher, because his teachings will not be in sync with the inerrant Scripture. No wonder a Biblical Scholar remarked, "If you do not know how a straight line looks, how would you identify a crooked line." 

If you are aspiring to be the one, who accurately divides the Word of God (1 Tim 2:15), claim this promise...

"'As for me, this is my covenant with them,' says the LORD. 'My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants--from this time on and forever,' says the LORD." (Isaiah 59:21) 

God's Word and God's Spirit are like two conjoined blades of a Scissor, helping our mind, soul and spirit to "cut" (remove) unbiblical claims and "retain" the unalloyed truth of the Scriptures. 

Prayer: Father, what wonderful resources, You in Your infinite love and grace have given to Your Children --Your Word and Spirit -- to help us walk uprightly in the path which You set before us. We magnify You once again in Jesus' Name.

Suresh Manoharan
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries

Announcement:

The gospel message is the best message ever preached. Why is it that it isn't readily embraced by the world? Join us on Saturdays in January for "Blind Eyes", a Mini-Series by Lyn Chaffart.
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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Jan 2015, 12:01 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 10, 2015
The Snow Drift

By Answers2Prayer 
It snowed only a little this past Friday. In fact, when we awoke Saturday morning, there was only a narrow drift of snow about half-way down the driveway, and the rest was bare. There was far too little snow to warrant getting out the snow blower...

Unfortunately, that narrow drift was high, and when my husband tried to back out of the garage, he got stuck. 

When it comes to an individual's view of their own sin, I find there are two classes of people in this world: there are those who are keenly aware of their sin, are upset by it and even depressed, some to the point of suicide; and those who don't think about their sin, or if they do, they are quick to say, "I'm a good person, I'm not as bad as____," and the blank is filled in with the name of someone who has committed some heinous crime. 

There is only one problem with both of these seemingly-opposite views. Sin is like the snow on our driveway. It didn't matter that most of the driveway was clear, that one drift was enough to keep my husband from being able to get to his appointment. In much the same way, it doesn't matter how much sin a person has in their lives. Any at all acts as that narrow (but deep!) snow drift, it serves to separate us from God: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." (Isa 59:2, NKJV)

The book of Exodus gives an interesting command to Israel: "When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD...This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs)...The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel..." (Exod 30:12-15, NKJV).

Why did God give such a command? Wouldn't half a shekel be much more than the poor would be able to pay, while it would be an easy thing for the rich? Why wouldn't God, like for other types of offerings, allow them to give according to their means?

The answer to this question lies in what the offering was for: "...Every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD...The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves." (Exod 30:12-15, NKJV)

The purpose of this offering was one of atonement for sin, and the fact that everyone had to give the same amount teaches us two very important lessons: 

1) We've all sinned: "There is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Rom 3:23); and 

2) God doesn't gradate sin. One person's sin is no worse than another's, it all requires atonement. This means that no matter how innocent or how heinous, the sins we have done have caused us to get stuck in the snow drift -- to "...fall short of the glory of God...!"

So for both classes of people, those who dwell on their sin until they become depressed, and those who never think about their sin or feel that they aren't as "bad" as others, there is an important lesson to be learned: Our sin, no matter how big or small, separates us from God. But just as there was the need of only one sacrifice in the wilderness, one half a shekel, to atone for sin, there is the need of only one sacrifice for us today. Fortunately for us, that sacrifice has already been paid: "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Heb 10:10, NKJV)

Praise God! 

Oh, and God sent our neighbor with his tractor to clear the snow off the driveway...

In His love,
Lyn

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

Please join us on Tuesdays for the month of January to learn about the significance of the Old Testament "first day of the first month"!
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Jan 2015, 11:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

bible
January 8, 2015
Begging for Supper
bible
By Answers2Prayer
"'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.'" (Jer 29:11, NIV2)

A man, a beggar, sat at the temple gate, begging for money. He had been lame his entire life, and his sole income was the few pennies thrown to him by kind-hearted temple-goers. This was his world, the only thing he knew. 

There were days when the temple-goers were generous, days when the beggar went home to feast. How he praised God for those days. There were also days when the temple-goers were stingy. It was on those days that the lame beggar went to bed hungry. I.m sure that his prayer every morning went something like this: "Oh God, send big-hearted temple-goers today! I am so hungry!"

This particular day, however, it didn't appear that God was answering his morning prayer. No one was giving anything. But wait. Weren't those rough-looking men followers of the One called Yeshua, the Messiah? Hadn't Jesus always been kind to the poor? Surely they would give him something!

Peter's words, however, were not welcome ones: "Silver and gold I do not have..." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)

The beggar's hopes dropped. Even the Nazarene's followers didn't care. His stomach must have growled as he squeezed back bitter tears: He would go to bed hungry. Again. Why God? Can't You see I need to eat tonight?

Can you relate to this beggar? We know what it is we need, and we do everything in our power to get it. But sometimes it just doesn't happen. "Why God? Can't You see I need _____?" 

The beggar's story doesn't end here, does it? And neither does ours. You see, Peter wasn't finished speaking: "...but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)

You probably know the end of the story. Peter reached down his hand and raised the lame beggar to his feet. The man's feet instantly became strong, and: "...he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God." (Acts 3:8, NKJV)

What happened here? 

The man asked God for one thing, what he thought he needed, and he didn't get it. Instead, he got something much, much better.

As we walk through the various valleys of life that we each find ourselves in, let's remember this story. We may think we know what we need, and we may get frustrated when we don't get it. But Truth is, sometimes God withholds what we think we need so that He can give us a far greater blessing: "'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.'" (Jer 29:11, NIV2)

Let's surrender all of our desires and disappointments into His hands, ever believing that in the end, what God does give us will be as much or more better than what we asked for as the man's healing was better than money for supper!

In His love,
Lyn


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

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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 10:34 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 6, 2015
The First Day of the First Month, Part 2
bible
By Answers2Prayer
Today we come to the Second part of the New Year series focusing on Biblical events occurring on "First day of the First month"...

Comeback

"They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the LORD. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the LORD itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month." (2 Chronicles 29:17 NIV) 

Hey, why do we need to reflect so often on the History of the Nation of Israel in our spiritual walk with our Lord? Let the Scripture itself give the answer: 

"All these things happened to them as examples--as object lessons to us--to warn us against doing the same things; they were written down so that we could read about them and learn from them in these last days as the world nears its end." (1 Cor 10:11 TLB) 

As we have an unchanging God (Psalm 102:27/Heb 13:8), it pays to give careful attention to what pleases Him and what doesn't. 

In the captioned Scripture portion, we have (at this time of the year) Good News with Capital G for backsliders. When I say backsliders, I mean not only those who have flagrantly, willfully disobeyed God, but even those who have secretly comprised (maybe even unwittingly) with some hidden sins like laziness, gluttony, envy, anger, unwillingness to forgive and of course, pride. 

Hezekiah the King, a devout son of idolatrous King Ahaz, was serious about setting right the covenant relationship of his Nation with the Lord, which had reached its nadir during the reign of wicked King Ahaz. So he first began cleaning the neglected Temple, which in shambles resembled the God/Judah relationship for the sixteen years the wicked predecessor of Hezekiah ruled. Once the Temple had been cleaned of all is filth, a mighty revival ensued, evidenced in 2 Chron 30-31. Talk of "Prodigal Progeny" (read Judah) of Old Testament times once again turning back to its "Father," who was waiting all the time for it to come to its senses... 

Dear Friends, make no mistake, the Christian life, too, begins with repentance, and is sustained by repentance. Say Brother/Sister, have you defiled His temple (your body -- 1 Cor 3:16) and are reaping "bitter fruits thereof of your wayward actions?" In your painful situation, be encouraged, get out of the mire...repent and set right your relationship with the One who has purchased every cell in your body with His precious blood. There have been many who have traversed your path before and bounced back after a fall...make Psalm 130 your own...(Not sure what you wanted to go here, Brother Suresh!)

"O Lord, from the depths of despair I cry for your help: 'Hear me! Answer! Help me!' 

Lord, if you keep in mind our sins, then who can ever get an answer to his prayers? But you forgive! What an awesome thing this is! ! That is why I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised. I long for him more than sentinels long for the dawn. 

O Israel, hope in the Lord; for he is loving and kind and comes to us with armloads of salvation. He himself shall ransom Israel from her slavery to sin. (Psalm 130)

Claim this promise, too, reverentially... 

"...if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins." (1 John 1:9) 

A note of warning here...never take his love for granted as though it were a license for licentious living...be resolute in staying far away from "all that" which caused you so much pain.

Prayer: Father, we sometimes learn our lessons the hard way however we extremely grateful for the forgiveness You extend to us whenever we repent of our sins. We glorify Thee with all our hearts for Your awesome trait of forgiveness. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
Announcement:

Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please check out: Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness! 
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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 12:06 am

Welcome to the Nugget
January 3, 2015
An "Enveloping" Truth

By Answers2Prayer 
  "And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us--bodies that will never be sick again and will never die."  (Romans 8:23)

Let's face it! Life is indeed difficult in this sin accursed Planet. However good News, with a Capital G, is the Lord who knows our feeble frame, knows how much "load" we can bear...

"You can trust God to keep the temptation (read difficulty) from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation's power so that you can bear up patiently against it." (1 Cor 10:13)

Take the life of David...from time of being low-profile Shepherd in Bethlehem pastures to taking on giant Goliath in a mortal combat, facing from thereon severe problems from within (envious King Saul was out to snuff out his life), without (constant wars with Philistines, Amalekites), ...later after being crowned King...falling prey to temptations of the flesh and reaping bitter fruit thereof (Psalms 38-39), swallowing the bitter pill of death of three sons, being at the receiving end of just Divine wrath for indiscretion (1 Chronicles 21)...every single time "this man of God's own heart" bounced back...from adversity and even...shackles of sin...so much so at the end of his life (which ended in an exemplary manner, see 1 Chronicles 29)...he resembled a tattered, mangled envelope...with the precious "letter inside" (read the immortal soul) safely reaching the Heavenly shores.

Make no mistake, the "all enveloping truth" is...the path of straight and narrow is no easy bed of roses...but what matters at the end is...whether our "letter" buoyed by the joyous indwelling of His Presence at all times (1 Peter 1:8) inside a "tattered envelope" is safely reaching the hands of the Master.

Come 2015...claim this Promise...setting your sights on things above (Col 3:1)

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6)

Prayer: Father, in Thy immeasurable Grace, you have accepted us "warts and all" and You are patiently moulding us into the image of Your Son...our Lord Jesus Christ. Master by Thy infinite power, let our Spirit reach Thee finally to be in Your presence for Eternity. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:

Did you know there are actually 7 events that are staged as "At the first day of the first month"? Join us on Tuesdays through the month of January for The First Day of the First Month, a mini-series, to see what lessons can be gleaned from these events.
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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Jan 2015, 11:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 1, 2015
The Secret to Unlimited Happiness
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
Happy New Year!

This common greeting so often heard this time of year is meant for one purpose: To wish us all unending happiness through the upcoming year. 

This is my wish and prayer for each of you in 2015 as well. In our own experiences, however, we know that this is little more than a pipe dream. We spend our lives seeking this unending happiness, but we never find it. Why is this? I mean, isn't this what Jesus promises when He said He came to give us life more abundantly (See John 10:10)? Why is it that happiness continue to elude us, no matter what we do?

One of the sons of Korah (Ps. 84) gives us the formula for true happiness: 

1. To long for God's dwelling places: "HOW lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Ps 84:1-2, NKJV);

How many of us truly long to spend time with God? Can we truly say that a single day in God's presence is better than a thousand (Ps. 84:10)? Do we really mean it when we say we'd rather be a lowly doorkeeper in the house of the Lord then to have the riches of the world (Ps 84:10)?

2. To rest at God's altar: "Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young– Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God." (Ps 84:3, NKJV)

In our day and age, the symbol of the altar is a bit foreign. Let's remember that the altar was a central part of the worship in the day when this Psalm was written, and it was, as it were, that Jesus lay down His life at the altar as a sacrifice for our sins. Thus, when we think of having the altar as our resting place, we realize that we are placing our rest in the work that Jesus has already done for us; we are resting in His Salvation!

3. To live in God's house: "Blessed are those who dwell in Your house..." (Ps 84:4a, NKJV)

I have 4 people who dwell in my house. We all go out to work and to buy groceries and to socialize. At the end of the day, however, we all come back home. Why? Because home is our shelter, our resting place, the place where we sleep and eat and share fellowship with one another. This is what it means to "dwell in God's house." It means that this is our place of spiritual food and water. This is our source of love, our shelter from the storm. 

4. Never cease to praise God: "...They will still be praising You. Selah" (Ps 84:4b, NKJV) 

We are told to count it all as "joy" when we experience troubles and trials of any kind (James 1:2), because when we praise God, all our problems lose their importance! Remember that Paul and Silas sang hymns after having been beaten and thrown in a cold jail with stocks on their feet (See Acts 16:25)! 

5. Look to God for strength: "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage." (Ps 84:5, NKJV)

God is our strength, our ever present help in time of trouble. When we think about our own inadequacies, we find ourselves completely without strength. However, when we look to God for our strength, we find an unlimited source. 

6. The final secret to unending happiness is to put your trust in God alone: "O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!" (Ps 84:12, NKJV)

In summary, the secret to unending happiness boils down to this: Making God the focus of our lives. When we do, we will find that abundant life, that unending joy, that ceaseless happiness.

What about it, friends? Would you join me in seeking this unending joy and happiness in 2015? 

In His love,
Lyn


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

Do you find yourself far away from home?  Do you even know where home is?  Join us on Thursdays through August and September for "Homeward Bound", a mini-series by Elizabeth Price.
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Post  Admin on Wed 31 Dec 2014, 9:55 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 30, 2014
The First Day of the First Month, Part 1

By Answers2Prayer 
 First things first. What is the chief and highest end of man? Let the revered Christian Book namely the Westminster catechism give the answer. Man's chief and highest end is to glorify (worship) God, and fully to enjoy him forever. When it comes to glorifying Him and fully enjoying Him, let it be said that the entire exercise ought to be "absolutely genuine emanating right from the innermost core of one's being (read spirit)." This would lead to the next question: How could the process of glorifying Him originate right from the depths of one's heart? It is only possible, when a person is truly fascinated by His unique traits. Remember, worshipping God for what He is, is the highest form of worship, standing head and shoulders above other forms of worship, which come with strings attached, such as worshipping Him for the blessings He showers upon us. While on the subject, at this stage, it would serve us well to look at the synonym of the word "Glorify," which is "Magnify." When, one magnifies Him, that is to say, when one keenly observes His Divine nature with a magnifying glass as it were, the "spiritual explorer" (if you permit me to use this expression) in you is bound to come across several unique attributes of the Almighty, which would at once evoke awe, and in turn lead to spontaneous, heart-felt worship and praise. 

At the onset of New Year (time-related subject), the order of Creation...of first putting the "stage" in place and then bringing the "actors" onto it...stirs up impromptu adoration! Before the Almighty's most "Prized" Creation (read Man created in God's own image arrived -- See Genesis 1:26-27) arrived, the "stage" was set-up as it were...for amongst other things...Sun and Moon were created and put in their places in vast space (Genesis 1:14) to mark "days, months and years." Imagine the utter chaos, which would prevail in our society, without the orderliness the good Lord put in place by creating the sun and the moon in infinite space. For instance, economy as we know it would simply cease to exist...Boy how would the Employer-Employee relationship "survive" without the periodical payments for the service rendered...how would we plan and organize our "business activities"...how would Banks calculate the interest to be paid on the deposits...the list can go on and on. 

Coming to my message "First day of the first month" (New year in Biblical parlance), a careful study of the Scriptures would reveal 7 events occurring "at that time"...all loaded with lessons waiting to be gleaned. Now what are they?
Here goes...

Compliance

"Moses did everything just as the LORD commanded him. So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year."  (Exodus 40:16-17)

If there is one thing that proves that we reverentially fear and love the Lord, it is our implicit obedience to His instructions, even the discerning World with its plethora of rationalists, agnostics would not be able to deny the "cost" we pay to obey. Our Heavenly Father delights in our obedience, just as a Doting Dad would on seeing his growing child take his words seriously. Moses, as the captioned Scripture bears out, not only accomplished the mission of setting up the "First Temple" (movable and quite unlike the Fixed One Solomon would construct nearly 500 years later), he also did it exactly as per the Lord's instructions (Exodus 25:8/Heb 8:5). The result of it all? 

"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." (Exodus 40:34) 

Our Heavenly approved of the complete compliance of Moses in setting up the Tabernacle exactly in accordance with His instructions, by filling it with His Glory. 

The ever-truthful Scripture, without glossing over the cases of disobedience of God's chosen People (Jews in the dispensation of Law) gives the other side of the coin too, so to speak, faithfully of when God's glory left them at the time of their disobedience as this Scripture portion illustrates... 

"She named the boy Ichabod, saying, 'The Glory has departed from Israel'--because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, 'The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.'" (1 Samuel 4:21-22)

Now who is this "She" in the captioned Scripture portion? The perceptive daughter-in-law of callous High Priest cum Judge Eli (1 Sam 4:18) and wife of dismally disobedient Phinehas, Eli's son (1 Samuel 3:11-14) at that "trough time" in Israel's historical obedience graph when "everybody did what seemed right in his eyes" (the time when Judges ruled before the advent of that wondrous leader Samuel -- See Judges 21:25). 

In this dispensation of Salvation through the Cross, as His sons led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14), let us resolve to always be sensitive and obedient to the leading of the indwelling Spirit in all areas of our lives, in order for His glorious Presence to always abides with us, for where would we be if His presence (God-forbid) were to depart from us even for a second...nay a nanosecond?

Prayer: Father, without Thee, we cannot and even do not want to live for a single second. Grant us obedient hearts so that we would always please Thee and revel in Thy Presence. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 28 Dec 2014, 9:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 27, 2014
God's Train
By Answers2Prayer 
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28)

I learned an important lesson last week.

Two years ago, I got aboard God's train. My path had led me down into the valley of cancer, and I knew there was no way in the world I would ever come out on my own. God gave me the analogy of His train then, and I came aboard, giving Him every piece of the journey. Is anyone surprised that He brought me through whole, healthy, happy, and even more in love with Him than ever?

Over the past two years, I have remembered God's train and have tried to stay aboard; but it isn't a habit for me. I'm far too used to being in control. Besides, wouldn't such a wonderful thing only be available for big, life-threatening things like cancer? Do I really need to bother God with my surcharged caseload at work? With my sleeping problems? With my...sore shoulder???

I struggled with this as I made the journey to find a good orthopaedic surgeon, I struggled through my first visit, through the cortisone injections, and especially as my surgery date approached. I even considered canceling the surgery, because I wasn't sure I could do it alone, and I wasn't sure I should "bother" God with it. 

After prayer and some much-needed advice from my loving husband and - well, just about everyone! - I decided to go ahead. I gave it completely to God, I got onboard God's train for my shoulder, surrendering every part to Him, just like I did with cancer. And He came through. My surgery day last week was filled with peace. My thoughts were open to God, I knew He was there, carrying me through, especially when my normal impatience didn't kick in when my surgery was delayed by 2 hours. I even gave God my fear of anaesthesia and the stomach upset that always accompanies it, and I floated all day on His peace. 

And what did God do? My 2 hour surgery was only 45 minutes, and I awoke without disorientation and absolutely "0" stomach upset. The pain was even minimal, and I didn't need hydromorph in the recovery room. The surgeon said the surgery was a "big success", my arm is not immobilized, and he doesn't want me to go back to work until at least the second week of January. 

So what did I learn? 

Simply this: There is no valley in life that God's train will not go through, even the valleys of elective surgery. My resolve for 2015 is to not just "get" aboard God's train, but to "stay" onboard, no matter what valleys life throws my way. Doesn't Jesus invite us to: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28)?

What does this have to do with each of you? Just this: God's train runs through every valley that life will throw your way. Get on board, not just for your current problems, but for every problem that comes your way this week and into the new year. When you do, your year will be filled with peace, and your trip through life's valleys will be like a drive through the countryside on a balmy summer day. 

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn 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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Good news!

"Aboard God's Train", the personal testimony of my walk with God through the valley of cancer in 2012, has been published and is now available for purchase in North America through Gospel Folio Press and for worldwide sales, through Sable Publishing House. It is also available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk. 

May God bless each of you abundantly as you continue to draw closer to Him through the trials of your life.

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Dec 2014, 1:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 25, 2014
Christmas Rest, Part 2: A Perfect Christmas...

By Answers2Prayer 
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest..." (Heb 4:11, NKJV)

In last Saturday's Nugget, I told the story of how my efforts to keep Christmas restful last year failed miserably. I had tried so hard to keep the celebration simple, to pre-plan everything, to keep the focus on the Reason for the Season, but in the end, everything was ruined. 

Interestingly, the things that ruined our Christmas were things that were completely out of our control. Though I had pre-planned and prepared, not everyone in my family had done the same. And of course, the ice storm and ensuing flooded basement were completely out of our hands, as was the fact that the repairman couldn't come until during our celebration. And it was completely out of our hands that we would have to "buy out" a ruined water heater before having hot water in our home. Oh God, I tried so hard, but everything is going against us! God, don't You want us to keep You in Christmas?

I was in tears as we loaded everyone in the cars to go to church that evening, but I realized then that I had a decision to make: I could either dwell on the "spoiling" of all my Christmas plans, or I could open my heart to see how God was going to pick up the pieces. By the time we arrived at church, I had decided on the later. The decision filled me with peace. I was truly resting in Jesus.

This peace reigned in my heart for about 20 minutes. Until my dear niece had to be rushed out of the service with a medical problem. What about her kids who were in the program? How would they get home?

The turmoil lasted about 10 minutes this time. Then I remembered that we had room in our car to drive her kids home after the service. Why? Because my own son hadn't finished his Christmas shopping and we had been forced to take two cars to church! Beautiful peace reigned once again as I realized the wisdom of God's--and not "my"--plan.

There was another rocky point, however, when the water heater repairman informed us that we were responsible for replacing our rental water heater, and that the new one couldn't be installed for at least three days. Going through Christmas without hot water wasn't exactly in my plan, and neither was buying out a ruined water heater!

When the repairman left, my husband and I looked at each other. We were once again faced with the decision of either dwelling on our "ruined" Christmas, or giving it all to God. We again chose the later.

As the repairman pulled out of the driveway, our kids entered with their wrapped presents. We gathered as a family and spent the next 30 minutes giving glory to God. As we next congregated around the tree and the snacks and presents began to circulate, and I couldn't help but sit back and marvel at the sweet, sweet, Christmas spirit that filled my home. That's when I realized that this was, indeed, the perfect Christmas. 

No, it wasn't the Christmas I had planned, but we learned something very important that night: Keeping Christ in Christmas isn't just about keeping things simple, pre-planning, and seeing the symbols of Christmas as pointers to the Messiah. It is especially about resting in Jesus, no matter what happens. It is, in essence, a decision to surrender all of our plans into His hands; to accept whatever comes along; to give all of our problems to Him and just go along for the ride.

Isn't that what Jesus' birth is all about? To open the way for us to be able to rest in Him about every problem in our lives? To enjoy His Peace--all the time? No matter what comes along?

I challenge you to give this a try this year, friends. Give Christmas, along with all of its challenges, busyness and changed planes, to God. I know that when you do, your Christmas will be the most blessed ever.


In His love,
Lyn

Lyn 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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The book of John takes us through many deep discussions that Jesus gave at various times in His ministry. Please click here for Study #1 -- JESUS AND NICODEMUS; Study #2 -- THE WOMAN AT THE WELL; Study #3 -- AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA; Study #4 -- THE BREAD OF LIFE; Study #5 -- The Shepherd and His Flock; and Study #6: The Vine and the Branches.
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Dec 2014, 9:56 am

Welcome to the NuggetDecember 23, 2014
Christmas Rest, Part 1: A Ruined Christmas

By Answers2Prayer 
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." (Heb 4:11, NKJV)

Resting in Jesus. It is such a beautiful concept! But Christmas rest? Come on, it's an oxymoron! 

Last year at Christmastime, my family and I made a great effort to rest in Jesus throughout the Christmas season.

I firmly believed--and even put it out as a suggestion in a pre-Christmas devotionals--that the secret was keeping Christmas simple, sharing God's love, and seeing Christ in the symbols of Christmas, and I did everything in my power to do just that. 

First of all, I pre-planned time away from work around Christmas. I figured that would give me the time to be able to focus on Christmas without stressing out.

Next I planned a little get together at the end of November with my son and some special friends. They did a beautiful job of decorating my house. I didn't need to worry about a thing.

I had thought about the gifts well in advance. As part of their Christmas, everyone would have a gift given in their name to those who wouldn't have a Christmas otherwise. For example, in the name of my son's special friend whose family has chickens, I sent chickens to a poor family in South America. In the name of my mom, whose broken hip has left her mobility-challenged, I sent a gift of wheelchairs to Africa, and so on. The rest of the gifts were all purchased and wrapped weeks before Christmas. Since my cat likes to unwrap presents, I kept them in a safe place and didn't put them under the tree until the morning of Christmas Eve.

I also found myself scaling down Christmas dinner. Who needs two kinds of potatoes and two desserts, anyway? And two kinds of gravy? Not necessary! I then divided up the cooking responsibilities between myself and my mom, and finally, I accepted the fact well in advance that I would have strangers around my table for Christmas dinner.

Then I carefully planned out the evening in advance, from the menu to the agenda, taking care in everything to ensure that this would be a celebration of Christ's birthday.

But it didn't work. In fact, nothing worked out the way it was supposed to. 

Take, for example, Christmas dinner. In the end, we only had immediate family around the table, and in the days leading up to Christmas, I became obsessed with finding someone to share our Christmas dinner with! Oh God, I'm trying so hard to share Your love at Christmas, but it's just not working!

Then there was the ice storm that happened 3 days before Christmas and the ensuing flood in our basement. How can you stay completely relaxed when you have flood waters to clean up? When you are left totally without hot water, and the repairman can only come between 8 pm and midnight on--Christmas Eve? What do you do when that same repairman informs you right in the middle of your family's Christmas celebration that because the water heater unit is a rental and flooding isn't covered by your rental policy, you are responsible for buying out the ruined water heater? And then he tells you they can't install the new one for another three days?

Of course my Christmas Eve plans were ruined as well. Between our guests taking the wrong road and arriving late, the fact that our son hadn't finished his Christmas shopping before it was time to leave for the Christmas Eve service, and the fact that the water heater repairman would be arriving right in the midst of our planned family celebration, how are we supposed to make this a special celebration of Christ's birthday?

Tears of desperation clouded my eyes as we loaded everyone in the cars for the Christmas Eve service at church. "I've failed You, God," I breathed. "I've tried so hard, to make You the centre of Christmas, but I've failed! Christmas is ruined! Help us..." 

Please join us on Thursday to learn how God answered that plea for help.

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn 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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The ultimate in prayers, changeless throughout history, powerful in simplicity: The Lord's Prayer. Please click here.
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