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NUGGET Today's Devotional Empty Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 17 Oct 2020, 9:18 pm

I have a landscaping plan. I want to put patio stone around the base of my circular clothesline, I want to build a planter box between the patio stone and the house, and I want to fill that planter with irises. Not the ordinary blue kind that bloom in the spring and then are done for the year; but the tall, bearded kind that bloom more than once a year and have unique colours.

I keep receiving "deals" for beautiful irises in my inbox. How I'd love to snatch up these beautiful bulbs! And of course, the fall is the time to plant them....

The problem is, new patio stone is extremely expensive, and the plan cannot be put into action until the patio stone is in place. I've been watching the local adds, and some good deals on patio stone have come up. Unfortunately, the seller has always given them to someone else before I could get there to pick them up.

I don't get it. Why am I continually being "teased" with good deals on the tall, bearded irises, but the things I need to capitalize on these deals doesn't materialize? Doesn't God give us the desires of our hearts?

I don't know the answer to this question. Nor do I know why whatever it is you are going through isn't just "going away" so that you can capitalize on something that you long to do or be.

For example, you need a place to live. Rent is outrageously expensive, and a beautiful home for purchase comes on the market, just in the right location and listed at an affordable price that is under market-value. The only problem is, with rent bleeding you dry, you don't have the down payment.

Or perhaps you have really been wanting to visit your kids out west. You haven't seen them in years, and an opportunity comes up for you to be able to fly out at half-price. The only problem is, you're not allowed to take the time off work!

I could give plenty of other examples, but I think you get the point. You are no doubt in a similar situation at the moment. And if you are human, you are more than likely asking why you are being "teased" with something you really want, when what you need to capitalize on it doesn't materialize. And if you are human, then more than likely the question has come to your mind: Doesn't God give us the desires of our hearts?

The Bible says He does: "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires." (Ps. 37:4 NLT). And since the Bible is God's inerrant Word, this would lead me to question whether or not I truly know what my heart desires!

Asaph, the one who wrote many of the Psalms, is quoted as saying: "But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do." (Ps. 73:28 NLT).

Skip back a few Psalms to Psalm 16: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Vs. 11 NIV). In other words, it is the presence of the Lord that gives us our joy and our pleasures. But not just our pleasures, our eternal pleasures!

Could it be that while I'm begging God to fulfill His promise of giving me my heart's desire to have a bed of tall, bearded Irises, God is smiling that all-knowing smile and saying, "Lyn, I know you think that tall, bearded irises are what your heart desires; but I made all the delicate, inner parts of your body and knit you together in your mother's womb. I made you wonderfully complex. My workmanship is marvelous--how well you know it. I watched you as you were being formed in utter seclusion, as you were woven together in the dark of the womb. I saw you before you were born. Every day of your life was recorded in my book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Paraphrased from Ps. 139:13-16, NLT). I know you, child, I know the true desire of your heart, and that is to ... be with Me! I am the One who fills you with joy. The true desire of your heart is to be near Me!"

You know, just writing this down on paper makes me see how silly I've been acting because I haven't yet been able to get my tall, bearded irises. I think I'll spend some time in God's presence today. Not to beg for tall, bearded irises, but to simply rejoice in His presence. And I'm going to meditate on the fact that when God doesn't give me the desires that I think are of my heart, He is busy giving me the real desires of my heart!

What about you? Will you put aside your disappointments and join me in God's presence?

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, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Oct 2020, 10:35 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional 19204310

"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:6 NIV. See also Ps. 118:6).

Whenever the struggles of life come our way, God is there to help us, and He speaks to us through His word. And yes, you had better believe God defends us, just like He did with Moses when the people complained in the wilderness; just like He did when Jesus was tempted on top of the temple in the wilderness. Our number one focus must be to rely on God's promises given to us in His word. Truth can be difficult to uncover in this world, but God's promises are always true. This we know and depend on, for are we not children of God?

In 2008-2009, due to lay offs from work, my husband was forced to foreclose on two properties. In April, 2017, my family again faced foreclosure. We didn't have enough money to live on, and neither my husband nor I had a job. The stress caused arguments between us. My husband tried to ask his relatives to help, even offering to repay the loan with interest. I told my husband, "I didn't pray for more debts! Don't be disappointed if they answered 'no' to you". At one point during this time, I remember that God opened my mouth to say to him: "Is the Lord's arm too short for you?"  I didn't know at the time that this was a direct quote from the Word of God. It wasn't until he came home from work in the bakery on March 28, 2018, at 2 am, and read to me from Numbers 11:23 that I realized it was scripture: "The Lord answered Moses, 'Is the Lord's arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.'" (NIV)

It was during this time that God reached out to us through a prayer warrior. Her prayer gave us so much comfort and peace: "Heavenly Father, I come to you and I lift up Sophie to you. Lord I ask that you touch her and give her joy and happiness. I ask that you touch every area of her life and restore all that has been taken. I ask that you touch her finances and provide for all her needs, wants and desires. I ask that you touch her today Lord and give her the joy and contentment that can only come from you. I ask that you restore to her all the things the evil one has taken from her 100 fold. I thank you Father and I give you all the glory. In Jesus name I ask all things, Amen."

Praise God, our hardship was God's glory. Our house was saved from the auction. At the last hour, as my husband and I were praying together, I cried out to God with tears in my eyes. Afterward, while my husband was praising God with his guitar, he heard God speak to him: "Ask E Vansonne, she will help". We did, and she was willing to loan us the money. Through her, God provided the money to repay our other debts through a loan without interest, and then God not only provided the money to repay the loan from E Vansonne in just two months, but He also provided for us to pay off one of the houses where we now live. God glory story is endless in each chapter of our lives.

It must be first and foremost in our thoughts to remember that God is bigger than anything that comes our way. To praise him for who He is, that is my heart's desire. Will you join me?

Below are a few Bible texts to read when we need to remember that God is bigger than anything. They will encourage your heart and soul. I encourage you to read them, to mediate upon them, to recite them back to God in your prayers: Ps. 46:10; Is. 46:4; Heb. 13:5; Eph. 1; Heb. 13:6; Ps. 118:6; Deut. 3:22; 1 John 4:18; 1 Cor. 15:10. Oh how He loves to be reminded of our devotion to Him!

Here are a few examples of how God has used His Word to bring me comfort and strength:

1. I remember in the midst of the storm over the foreclosure of our home in 2017, I opened my Bible one time, and Rom. 10:11 just popped up to my eyes: "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 10:11 NIV)

2. I remember the day in 2013. I was so sick with an ovarian cysts. God gave me: "Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:4 HCSB)

3. When my aunt passed away, God brought this text to my mind: "The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death." (Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV)

4. When my daughter was giving us trouble in her teenage years, God gave me this text: "He heals the brokenhearted binds up their wounds." (Psalms 147:3 NIV); He also gave me John 10:10: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (NIV)

The Lord is truly my helper. He is my ever present help in time of need, and His Word, the living Sword of the Spirit, is always there to give us the comfort and wisdom we need.

Sophie Chun Ngeth

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Post  Admin on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 10:56 pm

In the concluding part of our series on the Biblical equivalent of the Nobel Prizes story - The Parable of the Talents, today we shall focus on the final two lessons derived from said Parable...
"No" Balance...

"...the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.' His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" (Matt. 25:19-21 NIV)

"The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'" (Luke 19:16-17 NIV)

Boom! At this stage, if I were to coin a phrase and say that our God is a "God of Imbalance", would it not be revolting, seemingly at direct odds not only with the tone and tenor of the essay so far, but also with that of the Scriptures, which have always portrayed Him as a balanced and an orderly God (See 1 Cor. 14:33)? Oh there are umpteen instances of His balance borne out of infinite wisdom exhibited in several spheres such as:

a) the "reverse breathing mechanism" He has established, balancing plant life with animal life;
b) being balanced in taking care of both the spiritual and bodily needs of His followers (See Mark 6:30-44);
c) suggesting a perfect balance in discharge of financial responsibilities towards God and the Government (See Matt. 22:15-22).

But give Him a loud hallelujah, for He does indeed become "imbalanced", only and only when our personal benefit is at stake! Take, for instance, "our wages" for sinning: "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities." (Psalm 103:10 NKJV).

At a time when our sins require a severe punishment, He chastises us just enough to bring us back on track, as any loving father would (See Heb. 12:5-11).

Then what about the "rewards being not in proportion to known sources of efforts for Him" (thanks IT Department)? Now coming to our "rewards scene" in the parable of talents.... Pray tell, is there any co-relation (however remote) between minas and cities? For earning merely "10 minas", we are who are faithful are being guaranteed a reward of -- oh boy, oh boy -- ten cities! This scene is the very definition of tilted scales of justice of the positive kind.

Even on this side of eternity, the Lord provides wondrously for us, and in the other side of eternity, boy, the blessings and rewards He has in store for us are simply mind-boggling. No wonder the Prophet Isaiah declares and Apostle Paul reaffirms, bringing to light the true meaning of the Old Testament Prophet's declaration, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9 NKJV. See also Isaiah 64:4)!

Dear Child of God, even as you take inventory of your life so far, is not your experience similar to mine? Is it not both comforting and reassuring to know that we have been punished far less for our sins of commission or omission, and that our meager efforts (relatively speaking) for His Kingdom, have fetched us rewards far beyond our expectations? The Good News to top it all is that the best (far more precious than any Nobel Prize) is yet to come....


"No" Excuse...

"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant!...And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" (Matt 25:24, 30 NIV)

Remember, too: "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." (James 4:17 NIV)

The scene of the Master blasting the lazy, excuse-prone third servant leaves none in doubt that there is no place for sloth in God's scheme of things. Despite seeing the diligent co-workers at work and given the long rope (for the Master came after a long time) to mend his ways, this sluggard had scant regard for the Master's business, and the Master rightly took him to task for ignoring His tasks. That brings us to a subject within a subject. Sins of "commission" and sins of "omission".

Is it not relatively easy to be wary about the sins of "commission"? Although we are careful about not committing murder, theft, adultery, do we not often get tripped up by more subtle sins of omission? God is just as critical of the latter as He is of the former, as the above Scripture portions so amply reveal.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is yet another pointer to God's mind on this theme. Just as Jesus was appreciative of the Good Samaritan, wasn't he critical of the indifferent temple priest and the Levite?

Finally, coming to the 'sheep and goat ' judgment, (See Matt. 25:31-46), which immediately follows the Parable of talents as though to emphasize a point both literally and figuratively, what does Jesus accuse the goats on His left hand of? The sins of "commission"? Murder, theft, adultery? No! Rather, He accuses them of sins of "omission", of acts they they knew they had to do but didn't!

The words of Jesus mentioned there should always ring in our ears: "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me..." (Matt. 25:42-43 NIV)

What about, "I kept sending you Bible-based/spiritual e-mails, but you never even cared to reply to encourage me..." Boom! Now who whispered this into my ear?

Prayer: Father, we eat, breathe and drink for Your glory alone. Inspire us to go about investing Your talents for Your Glory with due diligence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
 
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This is the last part of the series, Biblical Nobel Prizes-Of Patent, Latent and Talent! If you have missed any of these parts, you can access the entire series by clicking here. If you do not have access to the Internet, email me and I'll be happy to forward them to you.

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Oct 2020, 4:38 pm

Hey, it is the time of the year (October) when the Nobel Prize winners names for 2020 are announced.

Now it is time to brace-up for some quiz time, folks, regarding the "dubious" history of the Nobel Prizes!

Who invented dynamite? Do I hear the answer? Alfred Nobel!

Yes, it is him alright. In fact, in 1867, Nobel received U.S. patent number 78317 for his dynamic invention. The fact that the explosive, invented for use in blasting rocks during mining operations, ended up as a destructive weapon used for destroying properties, limb and life, was not this brilliant scientist's fault at all. Yet the all-too-surreal story behind the origin of the Nobel prize would have us believe so!

BOOM...in 1888, Alfred had a dubious distinction of reading his own unflattering obituary! Confused? Let me explain.... When Ludvig, Alfred's brother, died, a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obituary for Alfred which called him the "merchant of death." It went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." This horrified Alfred. Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible epitaph, Nobel created a will that soon shocked his relatives and led to the establishment of the now-famous Nobel Norwegian committee, which awards Nobel Prize "to all during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

Nobel's last will left approximately 94 percent of his worth to the establishment of five prizes in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The prize for economics was not added until 1969. The Nobel prize is now awarded for several outstanding achievements, which have made this strife-torn, ailments-infested World "a better place to live in". Couple this with the fact that it continues to inspire several to put their best foot forward in various worthy pursuits, and it stands as a shining testimony to a man who aspired to "live nobly even after his death" by recognizing and rewarding the noble deeds of his fellow mankind.

So coming to the spiritual realm (do I hear some of the readers saying, it is high time...), is there a Biblical account of the good Lord also recognizing and rewarding His faithful servants?

Welcome to the parable of talents. Welcome once again to that parable latent with lessons waiting to explode (See Matt 25:14-31/Luke 19:11-26). Though the central message of the said parable is similar in both the Gospels, one would observe some subtle differences between the two accounts. It needs to be noted here that the one recorded in Matthew's Gospel was narrated in Jerusalem, while the one in Luke's Gospel was related by the Saviour on the way to Jerusalem.

Since we started off with the Nobel story, this series of 3 parts will use the first two letters of this famed chemist's name, "NO", to outline each of the lessons to be derived from this "explosive" parable. Didn't somebody say you have to blast before building? So here goes...


"NO" Exception...

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability." (Matt 25:14-15 NIV)

Firstly, this parable blasts the myth that there are Christians who with no talents. Scripture is explicit about the fact that none were left without a talent. Let's also at this time, blast yet another myth that "talents" comprise only those of preaching, singing and the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (Word of wisdom; Word of knowledge; Faith; Gifts of healings; Miracles; Prophecy; Distinguishing between spirits; and Tongues. See 1 Cor. 12:7-11), which are guaranteed to bring one under public spotlight.

In case you are one who participates actively in one or all of the three "silent, behind the scenes" ministries of:

a) Intercession prayer: "Brothers and sisters, I beg you to help me in my work by praying to God for me." (Romans 15:30 ERV);

b) Encouragement: "So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing." (1 Thess. 5:11 ERV. See also Romans 12:8/2 Tim 1:16-18/Heb 13:3); and

c) Hospitality: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." (Heb 13:2 NIV)

take heart! You are lining up for yourself some very precious heavenly rewards. These ministries may not bring public approbation, but be encouraged to continue faithfully "investing these talents" for His glory, for the Master says, "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Rev 22:12 NIV).

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for entrusting us with the "talents from above". Enable us to use them faithfully. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
 
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Please join us on Thursday to see what lessons we can further derive from the parable of the talents in "Biblical Nobel Prizes-Of Patent, Latent and Talent!" Part 2!

 
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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Oct 2020, 7:06 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Rose-o10
"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys." (Song of Solomon 2:1 NIV)

I had to do a double take when I read this the other day. I mean, we are told to be humble, right? To not flaunt ourselves? But this woman, whoever it is that Solomon is writing about in the Song of Solomon, is obviously a bit too full of herself!

I read on, fully expecting a rebuke from the king. Instead, His response reads: "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women." (Song of Solomon 2:2 NIV).

Wait. Where is the admonition to repent of prideful thinking? Where is the reprimand for a very arrogant statement? Where is the shock? The recoil? The shaming lecture? It simply isn't there. Instead, we find the king not only agreeing with her, but expanding upon her words, telling her that not only is she like a beautiful flower, but compared to her, all others are but thorns!

Wait! He's encouraging her arrogance!

There are many opinions as to why this particular book is written. Some say it is how husbands and wives should see each other, and I couldn't agree more. Others say this is how Jesus sees the church. Again, I couldn't agree more; but I also find in the Song of Solomon a beautiful portray of how God sees each of us, and how we should respond to Him. So when we see the young woman saying she is like the Rose of Sharon, and we see the young man agreeing with her, we actually see a glimpse of how we appear in the eyes of our God! When we've accepted Jesus as our Saviour, when we've exchanged our badness for His perfect righteousness, God sees us as beautiful. In fact He sees us as being so beautiful that all others in comparison are but thorns!

I'm still having a problem with the woman's statement, however. I can accept that this is how God sees me, but shouldn't I be a bit more humble in my assessment of myself? After all, I don't feel like a Rose of Sharon. Rather, I feel like I'm the spines of thorns, the ones that tore into Jesus' precious brow. It's one thing for God to see me as different, but I don't see myself as being so special, and I shouldn't feel that way either! Otherwise I'd be "flaunting" myself....

This is certainly the trap I've been caught up in for so many years. It's one thing to know that God loves me; but I certainly don't see myself as deserving of that love.... Quite the opposite, in fact!

But wait a minute. If God says that compared to me all the others are a field of thorns in His eyes, shouldn't I agree with Him? I mean, if I don't, then I'm kind of calling Him a liar, aren't I? And if I can't put my faith in what He says about me, then how can I put my faith in what He says about Himself?

Could it be that this is one of the reasons I struggle so much with my faith? When I don't have faith in the fact that God sees me as more beautiful and precious than anything else, how can I have faith that He will take care of my worries? How can I have faith that He heals? That He blesses? That He -- Saves?

For the first time in my life, I see faith as black and white. It's not a "pick what part of faith makes sense to you" kind of deal. It's all or none! Either I trust God for everything -- including how He sees me -- or I don't trust Him for anything!

I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to see how my "humility" in not seeing myself as having any worth actually stems from lack of faith in God!

If this resonates with any of you, if you tend towards low self-worth or have trouble understanding how God can love you, then remember: Your lack of faith in His love for you, in how He sees you, is undermining your faith in Him for everything else!

I don't know about you, but I want to renounce my sense of poor self-worth. I choose instead to put my faith in the One who sees me as perfect and precious and beautiful -- as a Rose of Sharon, a Lily among thorns. I choose to believe that I am perfect, precious and beautiful in Him. And I choose to believe that everything else He says is true, too!

Thank you Jesus!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Oct 2020, 5:04 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c99-ea0001018c00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7 NASB)

We read stories about people who prayed for rain, but who forgot to bring their umbrellas in anticipation of the blessing.

When we abide in Christ, we pray and symbolically carry our umbrellas to prepare for the overwhelming gifts that He promises. We pray, and wait with expectation. What joy to expect blessing from God at any moment and to be ready to receive it! We are to be like little children who expect miracles every day.

When we submit our lives to God and live with Him involved in every daily activity or thought, we walk in His presence -- we abide. We set aside our right to live in any way that is contrary to God's way. If we find ourselves drifting, we can pray to find a godly mentor who can help us return into obedience to the Good Shepherd. When out of fellowship, we can pray to come back home -- God will provide a church with sound biblical teaching. In the meantime, we can read our Bible and listen to Christian music on the radio. When we abide in Him, His words will abide in us as we joyfully trust in His promises. As an act of faith, let's have our umbrellas ready for the blessings to pour down.

We can learn to stay spiritually strong as we continually abide in Christ, reading His Word, praying regularly, and thinking about Him through every activity of our life. Singing songs of praise to our wonderful Lord is another way to be in His presence at all times. When we fly the banner of Christ over our heart, we reside under God's favour and protection, and obey His Word.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that You will teach us to live our lives in Your presence. We stand on the precious name of Jesus as we pray, "Thy will be done." With umbrella up, or upside down, we are ready to receive the downpour of Your blessings. Amen.

Karen Milam
Penn Valley, California, USA

Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author's permission

 

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Post  Admin on Wed 30 Sep 2020, 11:43 pm

"My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty." (Daniel 6:22 NIV)

Some of you may see dogs wearing harnesses over their muzzles. The first time I saw this, I though the dog was sick, and that it was some kind of a mask like people wear in order to stop the spread of viruses or to ensure that the air they breathe is clean. I was wrong! I googled it to learn that this thing is actually called a "muzzle". According to the advertisement of one company, wearing one of these devices is very comfortable and does not make the dog feel uncomfortable. It is there to prevent the dog from biting, from eating garbage off the street, to keep the dog from licking at wounds, and to prevent dogs from barking!

In our lives, we find ourselves living in and among different kind of people. We likely never imaged that we would be in these situations. I suspect that Daniel never thought he'd be in the situation he found himself in either, that day that he was thrown to the Lions.

When you have time, I encourage you to read the book of Daniel. Many of you know his story, that he was in a high position, second only to the King of Mediopersia. There were many who were jealous of him, and he was not safe. One of the very interesting parts of Daniel's story is that he didn't get angry with the king. In so doing, he was acting like Christ.

Remember the story of Jesus' crucifixion? When He was brought to Golgatha, I don't see in the record anyone asking Jesus Christ "to forgive" them for hurting and killing Him. Nonetheless, He did forgive them: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34 NIV). And He forgives you, him, her, them, me, us all.

We need to follow His example and immediately forgive people who hurt us, without trying to justify ourselves and without pointing the finger of blame.

Maybe right now you are perhaps in a similar situation to Daniel. Maybe it is in your situation at work or at church. You never thought you would be in the situation, but there are people who are jealous of you. Can you follow Daniel's example and act like Christ?

Scripture teaches that we can't handle anything apart from Christ. He promises to be with us in times of need. In our weakness, He shows Himself be our protector.

No matter what unexpected challenges happen in our work place or in church or any situation. We can still be on solid ground with Jesus by relying on Him to help us follow in His steps. While our society, and unfortunately, also the church, is made up of imperfect people, Jesus is perfect and holy.

We can also be assured that Jesus loves us and that He always takes the side of those in need. That is why we are told: "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

Today, we are all in need in one way or another, and we all need Him. As a believer in Jesus Christ, He is on our team. He is for each of you. He is for our redemption. He is for our sanctification. He died for us while we were still sinners. Right or left, wrong or right, He is for those who need Him.

Jesus is patient with us as we learn and grow. He understands the frustrations that we face. He walks with us through the valleys, and He delights in our newfound wisdom and growth: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11 NIV). Why not, like Daniel of the Bible, follow Jesus' example in all that you do?

And when you find yourself in a situation where you feel like lashing out at someone, remember the muzzle. Don't say the first words that come to you. Instead, remember to follow Jesus' example and show forgiveness. And when someone begins lashing out to you, pray to God that He will send His angel with a "muzzle" to stop the flow of negative words!

Let's pray: I thank my Heavenly Father that "the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:17 NIV). In Jesus Christ name, the name above all name, I ask, Amen.

Sophie Chun Ngeth
San Bernardino
 

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Post  Admin on Sat 26 Sep 2020, 9:29 pm

We couldn't initially identify the strange creature feeding at the bottom of the harbour at Anse d'Arlet in Martinique; but upon closer observation, we realized it was a marine turtle, more than likely a Green Sea Turtle. The reason we didn't immediately recognize it was that from a distance it appeared distorted. It was only when we came in a bit closer with the glass-bottomed boat that we realized the "distortion" was in fact a large Sharksucker (Remora) that was stuck to the marine turtle's shell.

The poor turtle didn't appear to like this "hitchhiker", and he tried several different water manoeuvers to try and dislodge it; but to no avail. That Sharksucker would not be thrown off.

So many in this day and age suffer from anxiety and depression. It's like these conditions have a suction-cup mouth, just like the Sharksucker, and they are clamped on tightly. We try everything to dislodge it, but it is to no avail. The anxiety and depression have far too strong a hold on us to be able to throw them off.

We initially thought the Sharksucker was feeding from algae that clung to the turtle's shell; however, apparently this sucker fish actually feeds primarily on the dung of its host*....

Could it be that anxiety and depression that cling to so many of us are also feeding upon some kind of "dung" in our lives?

Sure, we aren't Green Sea Turtles, but many of us carry around a bit of "dung"--things like insecurity, fear, low self-esteem and unforgiveness. We also carry around doubt, and we cling tenaciously to control and become completely disillusioned when things don't go the way we think they should. But in allowing these things in our lives, are we inadvertently providing "food" for the anxiety and the depression?

The Bible teaches, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12 NASB). Could it be that the way to discourage the anxiety and depression is to rid ourselves of what it feeds upon?

But wait a minute. I don't want to relinquish control! And why shouldn't I doubt? I mean, it is an impossible situation, isn't it? And don't I have a right to be insecure? After all, I was created too ____(tall, short, fat, thin, boring, light-skinned, whatever). Besides, _____ certainly doesn't deserve my forgiveness. What he did wasn't fair, it wasn't just and right, and therefore, he doesn't have the right to be forgiven!

And so it is that we continue to allow all that "dung" of insecurity, doubt, fear, unforgiveness, jealousy, control, etc., to provide ample food for the demons of depression and anxiety.... 

Now I'm not saying that all depression and anxiety are demonic. What I'm saying is that in addition to a true medical problem, there are parts of the depression and anxiety that are rooted in other things, and when we feel so ambushed by depression and anxiety, many times there is something we can do about it. We can begin search our lives for anything that might cause any evil spirits of depression and anxiety to cling to us. We can give those things to God. We can relinquish control. We can recognize our feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and renounce them as lies from the pit of hell. We can forgive. We can grow in our faith. And once what the depression and anxiety feed upon are gone, then we can rise up in the name of Jesus, with the power of His blood shed at Calvary, and renounce the demons of depression and anxiety. We can accept Jesus' joy, His peace as our own. We can break free.

As we continued to watch that marine turtle with its "hitchhiker", we noticed that the turtle eventually stopped fighting with the Sharksucker. In fact, before our glass-bottomed boat moved on, it appeared that the turtle had simply accept the Sharksucker as part of his life....

I am only speaking from personal experience; but I feel that other depression and anxiety sufferers out there will be able to relate when I say that sometimes, I just don't "want" to be rid of the depression! It's like it's "comfortable"! Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I mean, who would want to stay depressed? However ask any depressed person in the midst of their depression, and they are simply too depressed to even try. We become used to these "sucker fish", and we stop fighting them!

Don't stop fighting them. Any demonic component to any anxiety or depression you might be suffering does not have the right to be there! It must flee at the name above every other name, it must flee at the name of Jesus!

Suffering from depression or anxiety? It may be a true medical condition, and if so, you must see a doctor. However, it may be, at least in part, of a demonic nature, and this portion is something that is 100% curable. I urge you to search your life for the things your depression may be clinging to. Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you depressed because you are not in control? Are you disappointed that things didn't happen the way you had hoped? Are you feeling insecure? Inadequate? Or any of the other lies formed in the pit of hell? If so, your depression and anxiety will feed off of these other emotions. Ask God to help you through these triggers. You'll be amazed at how much easier the battle will become.

In His love,
Lyn


* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remora

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

 
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Post  Admin on Thu 24 Sep 2020, 10:40 pm

"Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)" (Psalm 150:6 AMP)

Praise the Lord! Psalm 150 commands everything, "Just DO it!" -- not just humans, but ladybugs, coyotes, stars in their heavens. A woman stops by to admire the sunflowers in my garden, turning their heads as they follow the sun. Their very presence and the intricacies of their construction praise the Lord. Trees praise Him, their leaves swaying in the breeze, with a sort of breathing as they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for us to breathe -- to the praise of our Creator's craftsmanship. Sparrows wake up singing in the morning, reminding us to focus completely on the Lord.

There are no directions in the psalm on how to praise -- the psalmist didn't think that we needed any. We breathe in and out as we walk through our day with our God. Our lives committed to Him are the praise that we offer, doing, each day, what He has given us to do, with rejoicing.

The quality of our praise isn't an issue or even whether or not we are doing it the right way. Someone said, "It's none of my business what other people think of me. I'm in the efforts business, not the results business." What is the result of my praising the Lord? A hallelujah comes out, maybe the greatest thing that any creature can be part of, on this earth. "Gratitude is the gate upon which the spiritual life swings," someone else has said. That spiritual swinging is the sound of the sweet chariot of our lives, praising the God who made us, by the everyday example that we set.

Practicing daily praise is a hallelujah, a regular habit, downloading into our hearts the hymns that are in our heads, going down the street with our Saviour, continuing in prayer, stopping to see if we can help someone in need, being a member of this present world and the heavenly world at the same time, being conscious of meaning and purpose in our lives no matter where it takes us, and being grateful with every breath for being allowed a part in another hallelujah.

"[The Fourfold Hallelujah] After these things I heard something like the great and mighty shout of a vast multitude in heaven, exclaiming, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory (splendor, majesty) and power (dominion, might) belong to our God." (Revelation 19:1 AMP)

"Then I heard something like the shout of a vast multitude, and like the boom of many pounding waves, and like the roar of mighty peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all] reigns." (Revelation 19:6 AMP)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, may we hear Your canticle divine in our lives today, the eternal song which we shall someday share with all believers. Thank You for these foretastes of joy in Your presence. May each of our lives become a hallelujah. Grow our understanding in patience, kindness, and love so that our sinful selves are changed to become what You always intended them to be. Help us to accept Your forgiveness. Thank You for the example of Your Son, who showed us the way out, and in whose name we pray. Amen.

Rose DeShaw
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author's permission

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Sep 2020, 4:49 pm

Last week, I posted a short devotional entitled "Be Strong and Courageous". When I wrote it, I knew in my heart that God intended the message for someone in particular.... Little did I know that the "someone" was actually...me!

We all know how much easier it is to preach than to practice, and I'm no exception. It was barely 30 minutes after I had posted last Saturday's devotional to appear last Saturday that I received a phone call from my doctor's office. Now, I don't know about any of the other cancer survivors out there, but every time I get an unsolicited call from my doctor, the little "worry bug" begins to chew on my spirit. Especially in the wake of recent, (supposedly) routine testing. Imagine my surprise when it was the booking clerk phoning to let me know I had been booked for a CT scan. The conversation went something like this:

"A CT scan? But no CT has been ordered. What are they going to scan anyway?"

"Your abdomen."

"But I just had an abdominal MRI done in June."

"An MRI in June? Let me see why this has been ordered. Okay. Here it is. It is to follow up on the abnormal spots seen on your bones."

"Abnormal spots on my bones? But no one told me there were any abnormal spots on my bones. And besides, I just had a bone scan, and the results were negative for bone metastasis."

"You just had a bone scan? Hum. Well this is Dr. ____ who wishes to follow up."

This doctor is apparently the one who took over when my oncologist retired recently. I have never seen him, and to be honest, I can't even remember his name. Hence the "Dr. ______". But that information only served to further fuel the already-seeded worry. "But why? I wasn't told there was anything wrong with the MRI or the bone scan. Why do I need the CT?"

The booking clerk agreed at this point to leave a note for my family doctor and her nurse to follow up with me about the "why" question the following week, and we peaceably ended the phone call.

That peace lasted exactly 10 seconds. In another 5 minutes, I was a bawling mess. What if they hadn't told me about bad results? It had happened to me before! What if it was all happening again? What if my bone scan really hadn't been negative for bony mets? What if the MRI really did show metastatic disease to the liver and the bone? What if...?

My poor husband tried to console me, but I was in no state to be reasoned with. Fortunately, I had to leave then to meet my mother at Walmart and help her do her monthly shopping. I left the house in tears, but at least I was somewhat distracted.

My husband said he had begun to pray for me at that point, and I know it was true because I had barely exited the driveway when God again placed Deut. 31:3-6 on my mind. Only this time, the words were personal: The LORD your God Himself will cross over ahead of me. He will destroy these nations before me, and I will take possession of their land.... And the LORD will do to them what He did to Breast Cancer in 2012, that He destroyed.... The LORD will deliver them to me.... Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD my God goes with me; He will never leave me or forsake me. (Adapted from the NIV).

I realized then that I was being asked to put into practice what I had so smugly written just 30 minutes earlier. It took me a few minutes to give it all to God, but in the end, I praised Him that He would fight this battle. He would do to this cancer threat what He had done to cancer seven years ago. He would deliver me from this cancer threat. I had only one thing to do: I had to be strong and courageous. I was to not be afraid or terrified because God would never leave me or forsake me!

Peace washed over me then, and that peace remained, despite the fact that I had no idea why they wanted to do that CT; I didn't know if I had been given accurate results from previous tests or not; I didn't know if the CT would show metastatic disease or nothing at all! I knew one thing and one thing alone: My God would never leave me or forsake me to cancer.... Or to anything else for that matter!

What is the "nations" and "giants" that have been thrown your way today? Yesterday? Last week? Last month? It doesn't matter when, or even what they are. God will do to them what He did to Sihon and Og. He will go before you. He will destroy these circumstances. Your part is simply this: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6 NIV)

P.S. In the end, the CT was a routine scan and the results came back negative for cancer. Instead of weeks of stress, I had God's peace! 

In His love,
Lyn

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

 
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Post  Admin on Sat 19 Sep 2020, 11:12 pm

I am asking God right now what someone out there needs to hear, and the message is loud and clear:

"I have not abandoned you!"

This isn't a new concept, is it? After all, the scriptures tell us: "for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6b NIV).

The context of this famous words spoken forth to the Children of Israel by Moses himself just before his death is this: Israel would soon cross the Jordon River and begin to take the Promised Land. That was good news, yes, but there would be challenges. There were many nations already possessing the Promised Land. These nations seemed to have the idea that Canaan was their home, and they would do what any of us would do for our homes: They would fight! Israel already knew there were giants in the land, for this is one of the things that had made them turn away 40 years earlier; and these giants would not be easily defeated. It was an onerous task that they had before them, and they had already turned away once. Moses wants to encourage them to not turn away again, and he assures them: "The Lord will deliver you...." (vs. 5a NIV). He also reminds them of victories the Lord had already given them: "And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land." (vs. 4 NIV).

What "giant" is in your path at the moment? What "nation" is vying to receive the promises that God has given to you? Is illness standing in the way of His promised joy? Is it loss? Death of a loved one? Of a pet? Financial difficulties? Problems at home? Whatever it is, it is not greater than the giants of Canaan, nor is it stronger than the nations who really didn't wish for Israel to take over their land! Whatever it is, remember:

1. God has already defeated many "giants" and "nations" in your life. Why not take a few moments and reflect on His miracles of the past?

2. The same God who delivered you last time is still on His throne: "The Lord will deliver you...." (vs. 5a NIV)! He will do to your current circumstances the same thing He did for you in the past!

3. The God who loves you so much that He actually died for you, this same God, "...goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Vs. 6b NIV)!

It is interesting that most of this text in Deut. 31 speaks of what the Lord will (or won't!) do. He will go before you, He will deliver you, He will do to them what He did to past circumstances, He will never leave you nor forsake you.... It's all about Him! In fact, there is only one tiny thing we are admonished to do:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them...." (Deut. 31:6a NIV).

Our only job is to have courage and stand strong, not allowing any see of fear to enter in.

This sounds hard, but if we truly believe the rest of Deut. 31:3-6, it actually becomes quite easy!

Bad circumstances getting you down? Put your trust in the One who has been there for you in the past, the One who promises to never leave you or forsake you, the One who promises to fight your battles and deliver you, and then, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them..." (Deut. 31:6a NIV)!

When I wrote the above devotional, I knew in my heart that God intended the message for someone in particular…. Little did I know that the "someone" was actually...me! Join us on Tuesday for the rest of the story....

In His love,
Lyn

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

 
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Post  Admin on Thu 17 Sep 2020, 9:30 pm

In the final part of our series titled "The Faithful One", we come to the sub-topic:


Faithful Father of the Redeemed in Christ...

In conclusion, let's focus upon our faithful Heavenly Father's dealing with us as Christians. Besides selecting us from times immemorial (See Eph. 1:3-6) for salvation in Christ, He has promised to faithfully shepherd us until we safely reach Heaven, "by sealing us with His Holy Spirit" ("and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us." 2 Cor 1:22 NLT; See also Eph 1:13-14). In our own "ups and downs" of our spiritual walk with Him, as the following Scripture testifies, He always remains faithful...

"if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself." (2 Tim 2:13 NLT)
(Hey, let not this Scripture be a license to any licentiousness!!! Beware our Father is also a consuming fire- Heb 10:26-31/12:29)

In response to our Father's immeasurable faithfulness, let's resolve to serve Him faithfully until the very end, be dependant upon His indwelling, empowering Spirit to overcome all the temptations that may come our way (See I John 4:4/Heb. 10:37-38/Rev. 17:14). Amen and Amen.

Prayer: Father, we resolve to put our weak hands into Thy powerful hands and walk. We glorify Thee in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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This is the final part of the mini-series, "The Faithful One". If you have missed any parts of this series, you can access the series by clicking here. Alternatively, you can contact me and I'll send them to you via email. God bless you as you come to know our Faithful Father more and more.
 
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 12 Sep 2020, 11:13 pm

In the third part of our series titled "The Faithful One", we come to the yet another dimension in our meditation, and that is of our Indescribable God being:


Faithful Father of the Nation...

While George Washington and Mahatma Gandhi may be called the Fathers of the Nations of the United States of America and of India, respectively, there is no doubting as to who was the Father of the Nation of Israel, as the following Scripture portion affirms oh-so-beautifully...

"Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father..." (Isa 63:16 NLT)

Though the obedience graph of the Jews would show wild swings right from their "conception onwards", so to speak (read Wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan), the Almighty remained faithful to them by providing for them. A closer scrutiny of the Scriptures would reveal that despite their constant rebellion, none of them died out of hunger or thirst in their 40-year journey, though they did bring a curse of longer stay in the desert upon themselves (See Deut. 29:5). Later on, in the Promised Land -- and outside of it as well when they brought hte curse of exile upon themselves due to willful idol worship -- the Faithful God would continue to care and provide for them (See Jeremiah 29:1-11). He protected them from all kinds of dangers, including a planned, horrific, international genocide. The book of Esther stands as a testament to this truth. Now the same Faithful One has given an assurance that all Jews, even though they now despise Christ, will soon be led to a Christ-oriented salvation: "And so all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:26a NLT; See also Zech 12:10).

Whilst on the subject of the Lord's faithfulness towards the Jews, consider Jeremiah 29:11, addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the LORD. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). Even a cursory reading of this text would make a first-time Bible reader wonder whether the Jews were in Babylon for doing "something good" or doing "something bad". 

When we consider historically how the good Lord brought this prophecy to pass, it would bring us to King Cyrus and the providential events described in Daniel Chapter 5. Before I take one proverbial step ahead, I want to blare out a question: With all the security around the home of a world leader, would it be an easy task to enter and (God forbid, for we should always uphold our leaders in prayer -- See 1 Tim. 2:1-2) kill him or her? 

King Cyrus, who is one of the seven individuals named in the Bible even before his birth, was miraculously aided by the good Lord to bring about the fall of mighty Babylon on the night of revelry of wicked King Belshazzar, perfectly in line with the prophecies of Isaiah:

"who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers'; who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built', and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'" (Isaiah 44:27-28 ESV)

"Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed..." (Isaiah 45:1 ESV)

For the uninitiated ones on the subject, I intend to say that it would serve them well to read the enlightening Biblical commentaries such as the one of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown or that of Adam Clark on the subject to grasp better the mystifying intricacies of the amazing events of Daniel Chapter 5, for even cursory reading of this Chapter by curious first-time readers would birth in them some logical questions such as:
 
a) Was King Belshazzar aware of the impending attack of the army of King Cyrus on that "epochal" night? If so, why ould he hold a party on the night of his death?

b) How did King Cyrus cross the Euphrates River which lies between the two kingdoms of Babylon and Medo-Persia oh-so-quickly? Was the prophecy "I would dry up the rivers before King Cyrus" literally fulfilled that night?

c) Who opened up the gates of the imposing Babylonian fort for King Cyrus to enter the City and take the obviously unprepared Babylonian army totally by surprise?

While limitations of time and space may constrain usfrom dealing more elaborately on the above "juicy" questions, what I want to affirm is this: King Cyrus, after being called the Shepherd of the Jews (See Is. 44:28) could only be the "protector and provider" of God's flock (read Jews) referred to in the above prophecy in Jeremiah 29:11.

Just contemplate for a moment: If King Cyrus had broken down the gates, it would have been a "noisy affair" alerting the army on the other side of the gates of the Babylonian Fort on that fateful night before making his entry into the City. They were doubtlessly "miraculously" opened. And Would not "the-now-alerted" Babylonian forces resist Cyrus' army with their own barrage of weapons? And in the ensuing, intermittent "cross fire" of that battle, would not at least some of the innocent Jews (thousands of them were residing in Babylon at the time) have perished? Even today does not "cross-border" firing claim innocent lives? But the Faithful God of Israel ordained the occurrence of events as per His sovereign will, borne out of fathomless wisdom, in such a way that "not one Jew" perished in the "entire take-over" process! If this is not an act of faithfulness by the ever-faithful One towards his not-so-faithful people, then what is it? Hallelujah!
 
Prayer: Father, Thy Faithfulness is immeasurable. Make us lean on Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Join us on Tuesday for "The Faithful One, Part 4" as we explore the similarities given to us in Scripture between King Cyrus and our Lord and Saviour...
 

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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Sep 2020, 8:21 pm

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant..." (Deut. 7:9 ESV)

Today in the second part of our series on God's faithfulness, we focus more on the word "covenant" ("berith" in Hebrew). A closer look at the above captioned Scripture portion (at the beginning of this message) would reveal that the words "faithful" and "covenant" are spoken of in the same breath. In fact, where God's faithfulness is, the word covenant, which is based on God's faithfulness, cannot be far off.

Before taking one proverbial step forward at this point, I would like to dwell more on the significance of the word "covenant" while comparing it with the word "contract" in order to better to understand the nuances of the former. The two notable differences between these two almost similar words are as such: While a contract is always between two Parties of equal stature (eg: a Land owner and a building Contractor), a covenant is always between a higher party and a lower party. Two examples of this are as follows:

1) a marriage between a stronger husband and his wife -- a weaker vessel (See Mal. 2:14/1 Peter 3:7)

2) The will of an experienced father being handed over to his not-so-experienced progeny (See Job 42:15)

3) The Prince Jonathan entering into a covenantal pact of friendship with the shepherd boy David (See 1 Sam 18:1-4).


We also need to remember that while a contract stands broken if either of the two contracting parties violate the terms of agreement, a covenant remains intact at all times from the higher party's perspective, in that he always fulfills the terms of the agreement, even if the lower party violates them. One need not go beyond a faithful husband Hosea and his faithful demeanor towards his faithless wife Gomer to better comprehend the meaning of the word Covenant (See Hosea 3:1-3).

To substantiate the above points, I want to bring before my readership the following examples which underscore our Heavenly Father's faithfulness....

Faithful Father of Man...

Yes, Adam, whose Father is God (See Luke 3:38) transgressed the covenant he had with his Father by dealing faithlessly with Him ("But like Adam they transgressed the covenant..." Hosea 6:7 ESV); but his Divine benefactor would not go back in the matter of helping him and his wife in various ways, beginning with:
 
a) Provision of clothes (See Gen. 3:21);

b) Protection from wild animals (Daniel in the lion's den story would get dwarfed in comparison, for after the fall all the "wild" animal--tigers, bears, elephants, let alone the lions--would all become hostile to our "first parents"); and later on

c) Ensuring safe delivery during childbirth (See Gen. 4:1-2), at a time when there were no midwives (See Gen. 35:17), let alone maternity hospitals.... etc., etc...

In the next part of our series titled "The Faithful God", we shall focus on the sub-heading "Faithful Father of the Nation".

Prayer: Father, we are being sustained by Your faithfulness alone, despite our many limitations. Enable us to lean on Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Yours in His Service,
Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries
Hyderabad-India

Join us on Saturday for "The Faithful One, Part 3" as we explore how God is the faithful father of the nations!
 

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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 5:35 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c8f-170001018400&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant…" (Deu 7:9 ESV)

First things first....

(Notice that the letter "F" will be used frequently in this message…)

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 God 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. Remember that other forms of worship, such as worshipping Him for the blessings He showers upon us, all come with strings attached!

While on the subject, at this stage it would serve us well to look at a synonym of the word "glorify", namely "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" in you is bound to come across several unique attributes of the Almighty. lThese will evoke awe, and in turn, lead to spontaneous, heart-felt worship and praise. 

In this 5-part series, I would like to bring before my readership one definite attribute of the Almighty -- one which at once evokes awe in me: He is, as the above-captioned Scripture emphasizes, a "faithful One". In Hebrew the word used to describe the faithful God is EL EMUNAH (pronounced E-Ma-Nah). One may well say that His signature of faithfulness is seen vividly in all of His dealings with men, beginning with Adam. Going with the ebb and flow of this message on the topic of our Lord's faithfulness, I have also attempt the following:

a) To reconstruct the events of Daniel 5, where we would see the overthrow of the mighty Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persian King Cyrus, in line with the prophecy uttered just a few hours earlier (See Daniel 5:24-30), while b) bringing out some similarities between King Cyrus and Christ.

At this stage, it would also serve us well to look at the Hebrew and Greek words employed for describing faithfulness: "Emunah" and "Pistis" respectively. These mean loyalty or steadfastness. It is His infinite loyalty that binds the Eternal One into an eternal relationship with his prized creation, Mankind.

Prayer: Father, we your children, despite our many limitations are being sustained by Your faithfulness alone. Enable us to trust Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Yours in His Service,
Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries
Hyderabad-India

Join us on Thursday for "The Faithful One, Part 2" as we explore the relationship between "faithfulness" and "covenant"!
 

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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Sep 2020, 10:22 pm

I had just finished editing a paper for my younger son. It had started out as a 12 page paper; but by the end, it was down to only 10....

This must have been hard on my son. I know from being on the other end of the manuscript that it is incredibly hard when someone edits your work and suggests cuts. You tend to develop an affinity of sorts with the words you've written, and it is kind of like someone suggesting that you get rid of one of your kids! Nonetheless, an author tends to be too close to a manuscript to be able to accurately identify the redundancies and things that detract from the subject at hand.

It is the same in our Christian lives. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, there is usually lots of our carnal lives still hanging around: "I know that in me [that is, in my flesh] nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find." (Romans 7:18 NKJV). What Paul is referring to is our carnal nature that we inherit from our fallen parents. This includes temper, irritability, jealousy, pride, selfishness and criticism, to name just a few. We, however, are far too close to ourselves to identify that those things aren't needed any longer, that they are redundant, that they, perhaps, take away from the lives-in-Christ that we desire to lead... 

What we need is an editor!

Fortunately for us, God has just what we need in the form of the Holy Spirit: "And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin...." (John 16:8a NLT).

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to point out to us where there are areas of our lives that need to be "edited" out.

But wait. We don't like it when someone says something in our lives should be "edited out"!

Let's look at the next line of John 16:8: "And when he comes, he will convict the world of ... of God's righteousness...." (John 16:8b NLT)

When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, He also convicts us of the righteousness of God, the same righteousness that we have been given as a gift when we exchange His perfection for our sin. By contemplating that perfect righteousness of God, that same righteousness that covers our ugly sinful nature, it makes us want to have less "ugly stuff" to cover up! Thus, besides convicting us of sin, the Holy Spirit places in our hearts the desire to be more like Jesus, and this will make us want to do away with those unnecessary and perhaps damaging parts of our character.

But wait.... When someone edits out my work, it leaves me feeling bad, like maybe I shouldn't have written that piece in the first place. Is that how we should feel when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and puts the desire in our hearts to be rid of them? Should we feel condemned?

There is just one more line in John 16:8: "And when he comes, he will convict the world ... of the coming judgment." (John 16:8c NLT). Jesus goes on to explain what He means about the coming judgment in vs. 11: "Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged." (John 16:11 NLT). What this means, then, is that we who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour need not fear the upcoming judgment. We don't need to worry about the fact that we sinned in the first place. We can rest assured that because the ruler of the world has already been judged, we can have peace in the judgment seat.

Let's remember the opening words of Romans 8: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." (vs. 1-2 NLT)

Yes, there is a Celestial editor, the Holy Spirit. He will gently show us the sin that still pollutes our lives. He will quietly convict us that we need to get rid of that sin, and at the same time, He will softly remind us that there is no condemnation and that we can have peace in the face of judgment, because the ruler of the world has already been judged!

Celestial editor? Bring Him on!

In His love,
Lyn


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


 
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Post  Admin on Thu 03 Sep 2020, 9:44 pm

Having just put in a flower bed, my husband and I were looking for affordable cedars to plant it with. After pricing them at nearby nurseries, we finally decided on some that were 15$ per tree. They were bare-root, and the four-foot trees looked more like buggy whips than anything else; but we realized we were destined to either pay more than we could afford or have 'buggy whips' in our new border bed. Compared to the price we'd have to pay elsewhere, we figured the trees would grow.

On a whim, I went on an internet website dedicated towards helping in the exchange of goods. I typed in "White Cedars" into the search bar, and you can imagine my pleasant surprise when my search came up with a private nursery nearby that had beautiful trees in pots for 8$ apiece....

It all made me think. So often when we look at the facts in front of us, we tend to take them at face value. It is what it is. And just like we had resigned ourselves to ugly trees because we couldn't afford to pay for nicer ones, we look at the circumstances life has landed in our laps, and though we don't like them, we know we have to learn to live with them. And so we proceed, slipping deeper and deeper into the 'buggy whips' of worry and despair, anger and fear, regret and depression....

But we didn't just accept those 'buggy whip' cedars at face value. We proceeded to search farther, and in the end, we found something much better and much more affordable.

True enough, life's circumstances are far uglier than those 'buggy whips' that paraded as cedar trees.... And of course, we certainly had the option of not buying trees at all, whereas we aren't usually given a choice about the circumstances.... And our research did lead us to something that wasn't painful at all, something that is impossible with life's circumstances.... So what comfort is this?

Just this: Though we can't just choose to not go through troubled times, and though there are no different, less painful option, there is something we can choose to do: We can choose to let God be in charge of our circumstances. We can choose to rejoice in Him--despite the circumstances, and we can choose to leave the future in HIS hands, not our own!

I received some bad news this week. I saw a specialist who suggested that many of the problems I'm experiencing at the moment may actually be the early signs of MS. Needless to say, I left the office in tears.

God got through to me, however, as I was getting on the local highway. He reminded me that I could have chosen to buy those expensive, ugly trees; but instead, I found something much better and cheaper. He then put it in my mind that in the same way, I could choose to take this particular set of circumstances at face value, or I could seek something better. He suggested to me that my joy isn't tied up in good health, but rather, it comes from being in HIS presence. He called to my mind Neh. 8:10b: "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (NIV) Then He took it one step farther.... He showed me that my tears were rooted in fear of what might happen in the future, and He assured me that He, and not some obscure medical diagnosis, is in charge of my future. Then came the final reminder: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6 NIV) No matter what the future might bring, my God will never leave me or forsake me. MS or no, He will walk with me every step of the way. And if I let Him, His joy will be my strength.

I choose the cheaper trees. I choose to live in the moment, drawing my joy from His presence. I choose to let Him be in charge of my future, ever knowing that no matter what may come, He will walk with me, and His joy will be my strength!

Expensive 'buggy whip' cedars?

No thanks! I'm going for the pretty kind that saves me money...

What about you? Will it be expensive, ugly trees of worry and anger and despair? Or will you let God help carry you through whatever it is you face?

In His love,
Lyn

P.S. In the end, further medical testing ruled out any likelihood of Multiple Sclerosis...

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

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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Sep 2020, 11:34 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c8f-44002001e200&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
Modern medicine is wonderful, but there are some problems it cannot solve. Faith is altogether different. With faith, nothing is impossible! There are at least 5 problems modern medicine can't solve (that your Faith can!):

* Depression: In the past, depression was described as an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Today, modern medicine views depression as a mental illness to be treated with drugs, often for the rest of a person's life.

In most cases, the old-fashioned description is accurate. Helplessness and hopelessness cannot be overcome by drugs. Faith is a much better "treatment." There is no better source of hope and help than your Higher Power! The Lord can do what modern medicine cannot! Instead of depression, you can have hope, gratitude, and happiness.

* Addiction: These days, people are told that addiction is a disease. We are led to believe that even abstinence will never result in full recovery. With this viewpoint, individuals are pressured to believe they are disabled for life.

When you turn your life over to God, though, you can recover! You can be free of the desire for drugs and alcohol, but there is much more to it. You no longer need to live the life of an alcoholic or addict, because faith can lead to amazing changes in your life. When you allow your faith to take over, you can have a life that is worth living.

* Relationships: Problems can exist in any relationship. There is nothing modern medicine can do, but much can be accomplished through faith.

Whether your problem is with your spouse, child, or employer, you will see God's love extends to that person as well as to yourself. You will realize how important the relationship is, and start to demonstrate more respect. You will be willing to communicate and resolve differences, instead of insisting on your own way. Even the most troubled relationships can be healed, and you can truly appreciate all the people in your life.

* Anxiety: Anxiety is often classified as a disorder, but it is usually based on fear. In most cases, these fears are irrational. Perhaps you have an attack of anxiety or panic in specific situations, or around certain people. These attacks can be overwhelming, and may even cause physical symptoms. Perhaps your anxiety is the result of too much stress and worry. Perhaps you are struggling with anxiety because you do not know what to expect in the future.

Whether rational or irrational, you do not need to live with anxiety. Fear and worry do not need to control your life. As the Bible says, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV). This statement alone can help you put your anxieties into perspective, and with faith they can disappear.

* Impossible Situations: You may be in a situation that seems to have no solution, no way out, and no chance of change. There may be people in your life who are encouraging you to give up altogether. Whether your situation is financial, a family matter, or health-related, you may be at the point of giving up.

This is when you must rely on your faith. The situation may not work out the way you wish, but it can work out. Not only can you dismiss loved ones who tell you it is impossible, your situation can work out despite the current facts. As an example, think of Abraham and Sarah. The facts were only temporary, but God's promise was what mattered in the end. As the Bible says, "For nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37 ESV). When you fill your heart and mind with faith, the impossible can indeed be possible!

The most important point to keep in mind: modern medicine is not perfect, but God is! Even the best doctors can fail. But faith will never let you down!

Amelia Evans 
 

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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Aug 2020, 9:49 pm

Google translate got me into trouble yesterday. I typed in the word "Bengali", pulled out the response written in such beautiful shrift and pasted it into my document. It was to be the hyperlink to a document that a friend had painstakingly translated, and I was seeking the word that represents the language of Bengali. Of course, I could have asked my friend for the translation, but I figured that for such a small thing, I could just figure it out for myself....

Fortunately I did have the foresight to have my friend review the entire document before publishing it on the web. It came back with just one error: The word I looked up! Apparently in Bengali, the word for the Bengali people is slightly different from the word that represents the language, and Google translate had given me the people word, not the language word....

I'm not really kicking myself for making this error. How would I have known that the words for the people and the language would be different in Bengali? I am, however, kicking myself, because the whole thing could have been avoided if I had just asked....

This error is so typical of me. I prefer to try on my own instead of asking for help. The result? I slog through most of my life, making error after error, most of which could have been avoided if I had just humbled myself and relinquished control of the problem.

Perhaps the worst part of all this, however, is that the One I tend to turn to the least is the One who could help me the most: God Himself! Doesn't He tell us, "Ask and it will be given to you..." (Matt. 7:7a NIV)? Doesn't Jesus' brother say, "You do not have because you do not ask God..." (James 4:2b NIV)? Doesn't the Psalmist tell us, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken..." (Ps. 55:22 NIV)? Doesn't Jesus Himself tell us to: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened." so that He can, "give you rest..." (Matt. 11:28 NIV)?

It's true that I did give the translation job to my friend, and I only tried to translate one tiny word; but it was that one word that got me into trouble. So often we do give our problems to God; but isn't it often the case that we still try to resolve them on our own?

Take, for example, the nights we beg God to help us sleep, but then we take a sleeping tablet. I've done this so many times, and it is 'funny' how those are the nights that sleeping tablet doesn't work at all....

Or maybe I've given the poor choices my kids make to God; but then I proceed to "lecture" them on the subject via text/email/phone call.... Guess what choices don't change?

Or perhaps I pray and ask God to provide me the time for all that needs to be done; but then I stay up late, get angry if anyone disturbs me, push people aside.... Guess what I don't end up having the time to do?

It's true that God sometimes uses people, medication, etc., to accomplish His purposes; but when we give something to God, we must be prepared to only act when He specifically tells us to. Otherwise, it's like me putting Bengali into Google translate. It comes out all wrong! Is it for nothing that the world's wisest man, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, penned these words? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)

Whatever it is you are concerned about, friends, don't turn to the "Google translates" of this world. Instead, seek the Problem-Fixer, your Heavenly Daddy who loves you beyond anything you can ever imagine, and leave the problem to Him!

In His love,
Lyn

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

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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Aug 2020, 9:38 pm

August 27, 2020

 
 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c1a-470001012500&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"Come near to God, and he will come near to you." (James 4:8 NIV)

Out of the mouths of babes! At the park, while watching Bubble Man move his apparatus so that the wind would blow hundreds of iridescent bubbles at a time, my great-granddaughter patted the grass, and said, "Come sit by me, Grammy." She and all young children love for us to be near them, to enjoy their activities, and to learn of them. When we spend quality time with them, we form wonderful relationships.

Scripture teaches us to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. In the Bible, Mary sat at Jesus' feet to learn from Him. Then, she poured a very expensive perfume over His feet. In Jesus' day, the people loved His teaching; they loved who and how He was with them. He also wants us to sit with Him, to talk with Him, and to walk through our day with Him. Every moment is important. The more that we learn about Jesus, the closer that we get to Him. The most caring friendship that we can have is in relationship with Jesus. In essence, He says, "Come sit by Me."

I love the quiet times with Jesus. When I listen to His prompting, His wisdom guides me to opportunities to form friendships and family relationships within His will. We practice here on earth by showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our activities with one another. Sometimes, it isn't easy, but when we draw near to Christ and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do these things. In order to please God the Father with these behaviours, we must draw on the power of the risen Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for calling to say, "Come sit by Me." We pray that we will sit closely so that we can praise You, learn from You, and be comforted by You. Amen.

Karen Milam
Penn Valley, California, USA

Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author's permission
 

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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Aug 2020, 6:11 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c18-460001012400&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
In the concluding part of our series titled, "He is the first in everything." After having focused on how the Lord takes the lead in implanting love and faithfulness in us, today let's focus on how our Lord takes the first step forward in implanting hope in us...


Hope...

Comparing the Christian life to a building, if love is our foundation and faith is our pillar, then hope is the equivalent of the roof of a building. Hey, whenever we speak of the "roof" when inside a room, are we not naturally inclined to look skywards? Yes, it is indeed every Christian's "Blessed hope" to one do be taken to Heaven ("while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed." Titus 2:13 NLT). We will either be "defying" the laws of grave, from which there is normally no "exit" once one has "entered" in, or we will defy gravity by being translated from the land of the living to Heaven!

But how did this "blessed hope" take birth in us? Let the tell-tale Scripture take over at this stage:

(And notice the reference to "first" again...) "...Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits  of those who have fallen asleep..." (1 Cor 15:20 ESV)

Candidly put, minus the "first" Easter where there was no human hand in Jesus' resurrection, there would be no "blessed hope" in or for us.

So Dear Friends, in conclusion let me say that in response to His love, faithfulness and engendered hope in us, let us at all times love the Lord passionately (see Rev. 2:4), follow Him faithfully, for we have been called and chosen (See Rev. 17:14), and earnestly look ahead in anticapation of our eventual trip to Heaven (See 2 Tim. 4:8). All glory to Him! Amen and Amen!!!

Yours in His service,

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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This is the last part of the "He is the First in Everything" mini-series. If you have missed any parts of this series, you can access them by clicking here. Otherwise, feel free to email me and I can forward them to you.
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 8:07 pm

In the second part of our series titled, "He is the first in everything" today we we shall focus on the faith aspect of our spiritual walk...

Faith...

Coming to the "pillar", as it were of Christian faith, first things first here please! The meaning of the word "faith" all through the Scriptures has been not only that which comes from hearing the Gospel and leads to salvation (See Rom. 10:17), but also one which keeps the saved soul on the straight and narrow path until the end. The Hebrew and Greek words for faith, "Emunah" and "Pistis", employed respectively in Hebrew and Greek Bibles and meaning faithfulness or loyalty, better capture essence of the word faith (See Hab. 2:4/Heb. 10:37) rather than its regular use in Anglican churches.

A cursory glance of the heroes of faith enlisted in the Faith Chapter in Hebrews 11, people such as Abraham, Moses or David, would bring to the fore a common unifying factor: None of them, after their calling by God, went back to their "old lives". If we pose the question of who called them faithfully in the first place and then faithfully stood by them, the answer would be unequivocally -- the faithful God (See Psalm 33:4/Gen. 12:1-3/Ex. 3:1-10/1 Sam. 16:1-13)! Ditto with every Christian (See Eph. 1:3-5)! A honest recapitulation of the events leading to salvation would convince us of this truth: A faithful God followed us right from conception onwards before saving us at the right time!

Just to underscore my point about God's faithfulness, I am bringing in the significance of the word "Covenant" and comparing it with the word "Contract". The two notable differences between these very similar words are as such: A contract is always between two parties of equal stature (eg: a land owner and a building contractor); A covenant is always between a higher party and a lower party (eg: the will of an experienced father to his not-so-experienced progeny -- See Job 42:15). Also we need to remember that while a contract stands broken if either of the two contracting parties violate the terms of agreement, a covenant remains intact, with the higher party always fulfilling the terms of the agreement even if the lower party violates them. One need not go beyond the story of a faithful husband, Hosea, and his faithful demeanor towards his faithless wife, Gomer, to better comprehend the meaning and nuances of the word "covenant" (See Hosea 3:1-3).

To substantiate the above point even whilst emphasizing the key word  "first" of this message, I want to bring before my readership the following examples...

"First" Parents...

"But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me." (Hos. 6:7 ESV). Yes, Adam and Eve transgressed their covenant with their Father and dealt faithlessly with Him, but their Divine benefactor would not go back in the matter of helping them in various ways, beginning with:

a) Provision of clothes ("And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife." Gen 3:21 NLT),

b) Protection from wild animals. After the fall, the "wild" animal -- tigers, bears, elephants -- would all become hostile to our "First Parents", making the famous story of Daniel in the lion's den dwarf in comparison.

c) ensuring safe delivery during child-birth at a time where there were no midwives (See Gen 35:17) let alone maternity hospitals...etc...etc...

"First" Church...

Contrary to popular belief that the word "church" is used for the first time to describe only "an assembly of Christian believers" in the New Testament, it may surprise some when I say that the word "church" has also been used to describe the nation of Israel ("This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us" Acts 7:38 KJV). Did not our Creator God have a crelationship with the Jews long before the church as we know was "born on the Day of Pentecost" (See Acts 2:37-46)?

Though the obedience graph of the Jews would show wild swings right from their wilderness journey, the Almighty remained faithful to them, providing for them despite their rebellion therein many a time. Though they brought upon themselves the curse a longer stay in the Desert, none of them died of hunger or thirst in their 40 years journey: "For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out." (Deut. 29:5 NLT). Later on, in the Promised Land and outside of it too, even though they continued to bring upon themselves the curse of exile due to willful idol-worship, the faithful God would continue to care for and provide for them (See Jeremiah 29:1-11), protecting them from all kinds of dangers including a planned, horrific genocide (The book of Esther stands as a testament to this truth). Now the same faithful One has given an assurance that all Jews, though they despise Christ now, will soon be led to a Christ-oriented salvation: "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died." (Zech 12:10 NLT; See also Rom 11:26-27).

How true is the Apostle Paul's declaration about our Heavenly Father's faithfulness, in regards to Christians too...

"if we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself" (2 Tim 2:13 ESV)

Prayer: Father, we are awed by Thy faithfulness. As we prayerfully depend upon you, enable us to be faithful to Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Aug 2020, 9:44 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c70-880001013000&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"...He is first in everything..." (Col 1:18 TLB)

Speaking about the pre-eminence of worship in a Christian's life, a Biblical scholar put it wisely: "If prayer and praise are a preoccupation about our needs and blessings respectively, then worship is a preoccupation with God's glory alone (read God's goodness -- See Ex. 33:18-19).

In this series of 3 parts, my aim is to glorify our Heavenly Sire, Saviour and Sustainer by focusing on His unique attribute of being the originator of love, faith and hope in us. Oh yes, though it is generally believed that love, faith and hope are the foundation, the pillar and the roof of our Christian lives, respectively, in order to sustain that life in Christ (See 1 Cor. 13:13), a closer scrutiny of the Almighty's working in our lives, in conformity with the Scriptures, would reveal that He is actually the Creator of this "awesome threesome" in our lives -- lest we try to take any credit for birthing them within ourselves!


Love...

"So you see, our love for him comes as a result of his loving us first..." (1 John 4:19 TLB)

Firstly, on the "foundation" of the Christian life is love! It is often portrayed either in the mythological or the movie world that a hero is usually born to rule and kill villains. On the other hand, the first advent of Christ, the only hero in a Christian's life (See Heb 12:1-2), was all about love-inspired serving and dying for sinners, of whom we would be the chief (Matt 20:28/John 3:16/Romans 5:10/1 Tim 1:16). The realization of the truth that we are loved not because of virtues but in spite of vices at the point of regeneration is what fills a Christian with gratitude. This, in turn, gives birth to unalloyed, Spirit-empowered love, which would be evident subsequently in many an act of reverence and charity towards the Saviour and our fellow-Christians respectively (See Luke 7:47/Luke 19:8/Acts 2:44-45/Acts 11:27-30/Rom 5:5/1 John 3:14-16).

Let's resolve to always retain that "first love" ("first" again eh?) at all times and show it by way of selfless acts of love towards our Heavenly Father and our fellow brethren. As love is mostly an offshoot of gratitude, a Christian needs to daily renew his gratitude for his Saviour by prayerfully (with Holy Spirit's help -- See Rom 8:26-27) remembering all the benefits he has received from His Divine Benefactor's hands, not only from the point of salvation onwards, but right from his physical birth onwards. Now this is one spiritual exercise (See 1 Tim. 4:8) which is guaranteed to ensure that the embers of our "First love" are stoked time and again!

Prayer: Father we love Thee because You out of your infinite love have loved us first. We pray that as we prayerfully depend upon You that our love for Thee gets renewed mightily every day. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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Post  Admin on Thu 04 Jun 2020, 10:21 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c6e-c9000101c000&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
(Our apologies for the sending error on Tuesday that caused some of you to not receive Part 4 of this series. If you did not receive it, please let us know by clicking here and we'll send it to you.)

In the concluding part of our series revolving around the ongoing Global crisis, let’s glean some conclusive lessons on the topic “A Disease far deadlier than Corona Virus”...


Caution and Chance...

Ideally none in the medical field would like to risk their lives whilst treating the Corona virus patients but hats off to them that they are responding to a "higher call". They are trying their best to treat the sick and dying ones in the hospitals even while taking as much care (read by wearing "protective gear") as possible to ward off the possible infections to themselves.

How very much in consonance with the higher Scriptural call to the Christians who normally would avoid all sin (2 Cor 6:17-18) but are exhorted to take "calculated risks of the spiritual kind" for a greater purpose...

Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren't pulled along into their sins. "Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners"  (Jude 1:23 TLB)


Charity and Conciliation...

At a time Corona virus is on a rampage, even as we keep a constant vigil for the Second Coming, let us also be consistent in both our Charity and also Intercessory Prayers for our neighborhood, towns, cities and Countries.

This Pandemic provides us with a golden opportunity to demonstrate the fact that Christian love goes beyond mere mouthing of concern over the financial woes/needs of many (James 2:14-17). Is it not a fact that some daily wage earners are unable to go for work nowadays? Are not the underprivileged pastors in rural areas finding it tough to make ends meet? Also remember that government needs to manufacture medicines and protective gear for "medical front liners" on a mass scale, a contingency for which it may not have budgeted previously. This indeed is the time to dig deep into our pockets and render help in cash and kind to those in need or those agencies that are supporting them in the manner of a "Good Samaritan", going the extra mile. The "Good Samaritan" one would remember had no qualms in investing his "time, talent and treasures" on a needy person who in all probability would not help in return (See Prov. 19:27Matt 25:40Luke 9:25-37).  

Also this is the time to hold fast to the Biblical promises and intercede for Divine deliverance cum protection over our villages/towns/cities and Nations...

"For the sake of ten, I will not destroy [the city]." (Gen. 18:32 NIV)

"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chro 7:13-14 ESV)

Readers, remember that the Lord yearns to see intercessory prayer warriors (Ezekiel 22:30). Be inspired now to join me in this conciliatory prayer (in fact it was articulated by one of the respected Christians of India)...

Almighty God, We come to You with broken hearts over what’s happening all over the world by the spread of Corona virus. Even though it is a shock to us, it is no surprise to You because, as God Omniscient, You know everything from beginning to end, and the end from the beginning. We fall prostrate before You confessing our utter helplessness and misery.

We worship You as the God of Love.
We worship You as the God of Mercy.
We worship You as the God of Grace.

We pray for Your intervention at this critical hour.

Forgive us for worshiping science and technology instead of You our Creator.

Forgive us our idols of greed and lust. Forgive us our self-centred life.

Forgive us our evil thoughts, unkind words and corrupt deeds.

Forgive us our ungodly systems which allow the rich become richer but let the poor become poorer.

Forgive us our neglect of charity and our stinginess in giving to the havenots.

Forgive us our lack of brotherly love towards our fellowmen.

Forgive us our pride, haughtiness and rebellious attitude.

Forgive us for allowing cultural differences to divide us.

Forgive us our better-than-thou attitude.

Have mercy on us, O God.

We know that You are generous in forgiveness.

Be with the medical personnel who treat these patients. Send Your healing virtue to flow as a stream into our communities. Have mercy on the innocent children and the weak elderly who are vulnerable to such diseases.

Dear Lord, we pray for the bereaved families and friends of thousands who became victims to this virus. Their loss is unbearable and their sorrow inextinguishable.

You are the God of All Comfort. We remember how Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died, even though He had known that He would resurrect him.

Dear Father, speak peace to the hearts and homes of these dear families.

Only Your presence can fill the vacuum in their lives, O God.

Father God, we read in the Bible how You stopped plagues when people cried to You with tears of repentance. Help all of us, Indians and non-Indians, to turn to You the only true and living God at this hour. Let our cities and towns get rid of liquor shops, brothels, gambling centres and the like. Forgive us who underpay the labourers and exploit their helplessness. May be their cries have reached Your ears! You are the God of the Poor. As a nation we are sinning against You. As a world we are disobeying Your commandments. Our cup of iniquity is overflowing. We have mistaken Your patience. Please, Lord, do not punish us according to our sins. We beg You to turn away Your anger from us.

Forgive us, Christians, who have failed to be the light in the society.
Forgive us and heal our Land, O God!
Forgive our children and youngsters who disobey the parents and rebel against the elders. We pray that You soften their hearts towards submission lest they come under Your curse.

Having started in Wuhan, China, probably from mid-December, as of the day this was written, (March 28th, 2020), the death toll approximately due to Corona virus outbreak is 27,300 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic), over a period of approximately 105 days. Take heart. Deadly plagues of far bigger intensity could kill 14,700 people or 70,000 people in a matter of only a few hours or 3 days respectively, were stopped by the gracious, merciful, unchanging, omnipotent Heavenly Father, when His sincere, penitent servants interceded fervently and passionately for the people (Numbers 16:41-50, 2 Sam 24:15-25, Psa 102:27, Heb 13:8). So what chance this relatively petite Corona virus stands in the face of the fervent, passionate prayers of His sincere prayer warriors? So intercessors, keep at it in faith (Isa 62:6-7)! 

Prayer: Father, what chance this petite virus has against thy healing powers. Even as this crisis has brought the World to its knees in humble repentance, please abolish it from our Land and equip this contrite generation to walk faithfully and humbly pleasing Thee at all times. In Jesus' Name.

Suresh Manoharan
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
 

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The is the Conclusion of the "A Virus Deadlier Than the Corona Virus" mini-series. If you have missed any of the series, you may access the entire series online by clicking here. Or alternatively, I can send it to you if you email me
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 May 2020, 10:05 pm

 
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St. Pierre: The Pearl of the Caribbean, the "Little Paris", the commercial and cultural capital of the island of Martinique. The city, built on the Caribbean coast at the foot of Mt. Pelee, boasted 26,000 inhabitants, the busiest harbour in Martinique, and the first theatre in the Caribbean.

Despite the fact that Mt. Pelee was an active volcano, the city felt safe. After all, they were seven kilometers from the peak, and between them lie several river valleys. The only dangers identified with volcanic eruptions in those days came from the lava flows and mud slides, and it was logical to believe that any lava or mud would simply flow down one of the numerous valleys to the sea and completely bypassing St. Pierre. As a result, when the mountain "woke up" in 1902, hundreds of people from outlying areas flocked to the city for safety.

Unfortunately, the phenomenon of pyroclastic flow -- a dense, destructive mass of very hot ash, lava fragments and gases -- was not yet understood. As a result, on May 8, 1902, when Mt. Pelee sent a pyroclastic flow directly onto St. Pierre, over 28,000 people died in a matter of 69 seconds.

If those people who flocked to St. Pierre for safety had just stayed home, they would have more than likely survived the eruption...

This reminds me of forgiveness. When someone hurts us, we get angry. We stay angry. We don't forgive. It's the logical thing, right? After all, we didn't do anything wrong. We don't deserve to be treated that way!

Unfortunately, this "logical" thing can be deadly. Unforgiveness doesn't actually hurt the one you are angry at; rather, it hurts you, yourself, along with anyone around you.

We've all experienced how someone who is angry strikes out for no reason. We've seen how unforgiveness kills relationships. John Hopkins medicine reports that unforgiveness actually causes serious health problems. Being angry all the time puts your body in a constant fight-or-flight mode, which can result in changes to blood pressure and heart rate, and even to our immune systems. This then will increase our risk of depression, heart disease, and even diabetes. So when someone hurts us and we do the logical thing by breaking up the relationship and not forgiving, it's as deadly to us as running to St. Pierre was to those poor people on May 8, 1902...

But that's not the end of the story. You see, there were some who didn't feel St. Pierre was as safe as they were told it would be; and these left town on ferries and chartered boats.

We can praise God for not leaving us in the clutches of unforgiveness. When we desire to escape, He makes a way: "But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13b NIV)

A few people in St. Pierre tried to persuade the government to order a complete evacuation of the city, but government officials declared them mad. After all, evacuation was insane. Without the network of roads in modern Martinique, how could evacuation even be done? Where would people go? And just think of the interruption to commerce!

We must understand that the moment we begin to contemplate the need to forgive, the devil will send in all of his strongest forces to keep us bound up in our inability to forgive. He will make us believe we are crazy, that we have the right to be angry. He will remind us of the grave injustice we have suffered. He will convince us that if we forgive, the person will just hurt someone else, etc. But just like the many who were discourage from leaving St. Pierre would soon die in the volcanic eruption, we, too, will not survive if we listen to the devil and his "logic".

But why would the devil care?

We can understand this better by looking at just one more page from the history of St. Pierre...

It was election time in Martinique. The residing officials were afraid that if all their supporters left the city, they would lose the election. It is said that actual road blocks were set up to discourage people from fleeing. The governor of Martinique even made a trip to St. Pierre to console the people and convince them to stay in their "safe haven". It is reported that he brought his wife with him in order to "show" the people that they were perfectly safe in the city. Unfortunately, both the governor and his wife were numbered among the dead that fateful morning...

In the same way, the devil has ulterior motives to keep us from forgiving. He hates God, and he desires to hurt what God loves -- You and me! He knows that if he can get and keep us entrapped in unforgiveness, the door is open for depression, anxiety, fear and other physical and mental health problems. He knows that our unforgiveness will kill our earthly relationships and divide our families. He knows that not forgiving will make us sick. It is to his advantage that we do not forgive!

Let's stop listening to the "logic" of this world. Let's recognize that the "facts" that keep us from forgiveness are simply there to keep us enchained. Let's remember that the devil has strong hidden motives for keeping us enslaved. Let's remember that it's better to flee unforgiveness immediately and completely by forgiving those who have hurt us. Otherwise, when the "volcano" erupts, we may still be in danger of...death!

Is it for naught that Jesus taught, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt. 6:14-15 NIV)?

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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Forgiving isn't easy; but don't forget: God will never ask you to do anything that He is not ready to help you with! Take your anger to Him, talk to Him about it, let Him begin the healing process. If you need help with this, please feel free to email me. May God bless you as you work through unforgiveness to freedom in Christ!
 
 
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