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

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

Post  Admin on Thu 07 May 2020, 10:05 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cff-e800e101dc00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
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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NUGGET Today's Devotional Empty Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 06 May 2020, 1:17 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c4a-5a0001016900&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
If you've ever owned a backpack, then you know how useful they can be for storing and transporting items. For a student, they carry books, maybe a computer, pencils and paper. For a hiker, they hold provisions and outdoor necessities. My wife wears a small backpack instead of a purse. And I can attest to the fact that she has more doodads inside than Mary Poppins ever had.

I don't own a backpack, at least not one you can touch, see and wear. But I do own an invisible backpack, one that I unintentionally stuff with worry, fear, and other daily issues that ransack my thinking. I have even taken on things that don't belong to me, so I even further clutter my backpack. Perhaps your invisible backpack is full with concerns over work or lack thereof, worries over loved ones, financial or health issues.

As believers in Jesus, he teaches us, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 CEV)

It's not always easy to empty our virtual backpacks at the feet of Jesus. But we must do just that, every single day. How? It's simple. We unzip our chock-full backpacks and lay at the foot of the cross all the rubbish we cram inside. We pray and ask our Savior to carry it all.

When my daughter attended University, her real backpack was typically stuffed full with textbooks, so much so that I worried about the toll it could have on her petite frame. Often times I wished I could have lightened her load and help carry some of her burden. Where am I going with this you might ask?

This is what Jesus wants to do for us! He wants to remove all the junk we have in our virtual backpacks if we'll only let him. He loves sending us on our way with lighter hearts and a song of praise on our lips. So here's what to do...

Before you crawl into bed each night, ask Jesus to empty your backpack.

"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall." (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

Then sleep peacefully my friend, because Jesus is carrying your load!

Paul Smyth
 

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For further devotionals about dealing with trials, why not visit us at Scriptural Nuggets?
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Post  Admin on Sat 02 May 2020, 3:15 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c19-2d0067013d00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
John the Baptist: The one called as a herald to the Messiah: "'I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me...' says the LORD Almighty." (Malachi 3:1 NIV); "A voice of one calling: 'In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'" (Isaiah 40:3 NIV).

John the Baptist: The one who first recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the one who baptised Jesus: "John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'...Then John gave this testimony: 'I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him...I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One." (John 1:29, 32-34 NIV)

John the Baptist: The one who would later doubt that Jesus was the Messiah...: "John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'" (Luke 7:18-19 NIV)

Tell me: Just how can one go from heralding someone as the Messiah to asking "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?"

It baffles me to think of this. John actually saw the Spirit of God come down as a dove and remain upon Jesus; yet he went on to doubt.

I don't know about you, but I take comfort in this story. You see, God has revealed Truth to me many times and has confirmed His Word and my understanding. Yet in a weak moment, I still find myself thinking, "Did God actually say that???"

Take, for example, the recent sale of our house. We asked God to confirm that we should put it on the market, and He did, through His Word. So we put the house on the market. Two weeks later, there hadn't been even a single showing. I was about as discouraged as I could be, and I had a John-the-Baptist moment. I cried out to God: "Lord, if you really want us to sell the house, give us a sign! May there be even the tiniest show of interest in the sale of our house!"

I repented immediately of my doubt. I remembered that God had told us to sell, and I withdrew my request...

Does God punish us for our doubt? Does He get impatient with us? Does He withdraw His promises and His blessings?       

When John the Baptist's messengers left, Jesus turned to the crowd and said, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet." (Luke 7: 4-26 NIV).

No, Jesus understands our weaknesses, and He does not punish us for our doubt; rather, He invites us to come to Him with our doubt, and He is ever ready to help us through them.

I also find it very interesting that when the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus asking if He was truly the Messiah, it was a "yes/no" question; yet Jesus did not give them a "yes-no" answer. Instead, He began doing things that only the Messiah could do: "At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, 'Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.'" (Luke 7:21-22 NIV).

Sometimes I wish God would simply tell us "yes" or "no". It would be so much simpler! But God knows something we don't always realize: A "yes" or a "no" might not actually be enough for our doubting natures!

This is what God did for me as well. He didn't tell me, "Yes, Lyn, I do want you to sell your house!" Instead, He did something of a miraculous nature that gave us encouragement. Later that same day, after my weak moment when I asked for a sign, despite the fact that I repented of my doubt and withdrew my request, we received a text requesting a showing of our house that afternoon. 30 minutes later, the request was canceled, and our agent was texting us to apologize, saying that this hardly ever happens, but the people changed their minds. He said, "I really don't know what that was about!" But none of that mattered at all to me. God had given me my sign, and it was something out of the ordinary. As a result, I had no doubts that it was, indeed, His will for us to sell the house. When I later told our agent the whole story, his faith was strengthened as well.

God wants us to believe in Him, yes; but He does not punish us for our doubt. Instead, with everlasting love and kindness, He invites us to come to Him with our doubts, so that He can guide us into all faith. What an amazing God we serve!

Is your faith weak? Tell God about it. Give Him your doubts. Be perfectly honest with Him. He knows your heart anyway, so why hide what is there? Then be prepared for Him to--Strengthen your faith!

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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Does your faith need a boost? Why not check out the Mini-Series, Faith!, a study based on Hebrews 11.
 
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 25 Apr 2020, 9:36 pm

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT).

After spending three weeks in the beautiful island of Grenada, my body still hadn't completely adjusted to the heat. It doesn't matter what island paradise you find yourself in, 30 C (86 F) plus humidity is just plain...hot!

And so I complained...

My body had adjusted somewhat to the climate however, as I would discover that morning, after a rainstorm, when the temperature dipped all the way down to 23 C (73 F). When I went out for a little walk, I actually felt...cold!

Because I had been "complaining" about the heat to everyone back home, I quickly composed a text for all of my family back home: "23 degrees C. this morning! I'm cold!"

Meanwhile, while I was fussing that I was "cold" at 23 C., the family back home were suffering under deep-freeze conditions. With the wind-chill factor, temps were dipping down to -30 C., and there was up to 30 cm of fresh snow in parts of the country where my family live. I guess my "problem" got classified as "A Caribbean" problem, unworthy of sympathy; for needless to say, I didn't get any...

It doesn't matter where we find ourselves in life, problems always seem to abound. We complain about being too busy at work, about having to clean the bathroom, that we haven't gotten away in months, that our car is too old, that we don't have the latest computer or cell phone, that our church is too big/unfriendly/loud/boring, that we don't have the latest parallel Bible. Meanwhile, others don't even have a job, some have never, ever left their home villages, many in this world don't have indoor plumbing, thousands have only their feet for transportation, there are those who don't have access to education, and an accelerating number of Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith, many can't attend church, and it is illegal to own a Bible...

The point is, whatever it is we complain about, there are those who have it far worse than we do. I once read an allegory about a man who was complaining about the "cross" he had to bear. An angel took him to a warehouse full of "crosses" and invited him to exchange his "cross" for any of the ones in the storehouse. The man went in, looked around, found the absolute smallest "cross", and came outside bearing it. He would then learn that it was the exact same "cross" he had been carrying all along...

It's so true! If we could see the full picture, then when asked if we wish to "exchange" our problems for those that others have, we would more than likely pick our own!

When faced with adversity, no matter how big or small, we always have two options: We grumble and complain about what we don't have, or we rejoice in what we do.

After contemplating this truth, I repented of my complaint that the temperatures dipped down to 23 C. Instead, I rejoiced that I was blessed enough to be in the Caribbean and to be avoiding the deep-freeze back home.

It's amazing how I began to truly enjoy what I had after that...

Something else happened as well. When I wasn't so focussed on my own comfort--or lack thereof--I began to empathize with those who truly did have it worse off than I did. Instead of complaining to them for a "problem" that was far smaller than theirs, I began to be supportive and encouraging. It's amazing how a tiny bit of empathy goes such a long ways towards helping someone! And that, in and of itself, is so much more rewarding to us, ourselves, then constantly trying to one-up them.

The Bible tells us, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT). It also teaches that, "This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24 NLT). We would do well to remember that, "This is the day" refers to...everyday! And the more we "rejoice and be glad in it", the happier we will feel, and the more we can be a blessing to those who are hurting around us.

Too ______ (you fill in the blank) where you are? Remember: That's a "Caribbean problem"! There are others who have it far worse. Why not choose to rejoice in what we do have instead of complaining about what we don't? When we do, we will begin to lift others up instead of bringing them down with our own troubles!

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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"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8)

Wait a minute: If God promises abundance, then why do I have all this need? Click here to find out!
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Post  Admin on Thu 23 Apr 2020, 11:53 pm

We all want to look our best. And we do our best to achieve it.

And if you're like me, you've tried various products, hoping that the promise on the bottle will prove true.

The latest one I tried had this instruction: "The best time to apply skin care products is when you are fresh out of a warm shower or bath. Not only is your skin clean, but it is also thoroughly moist and will better absorb anything you apply to it."

I followed this instruction. But blushing a bit, I confess I failed to do the same when it comes to my life. When spots of insecurities appeared, when blotches of worry and blemishes of resentment, past sin, guilt and unfulfilled dreams remained, life wasn't pretty.

A clean-up job was begging. But instead, I covered it with the busyness of life. Hoping no one would notice the blemishes that stained inside.

But God noticed.

He had the washcloth of His unconditional love and the lotion of His grace to wipe away any unsightly blemish in my heart, all the dirty of past mistakes, the nagging regrets and the self-doubt.

And when in front of the mirror, I saw it all. I took a deep breath, drew in courage and confessed to Him, "I'm in Your presence as I acknowledge all I see. I will be still for you to clean all that keeps my heart, my attitude, and my thoughts from radiating the beauty You know I should have."

One by one He wiped away, leaving my heart fresh and free. And He added the perfume of His instruction:

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22 NIV).

Let's Pray: Father, it's a pure heart I pursue and it's a clean life I long for. Help me to be still as You use Your supernatural cleanser that I still need. In Jesus' name, amen.

What needs to be removed to make your life beautiful again?

Janet Eckles

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

 
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Saturday, April 25, is ANZAC Day for our many friends in the southern Hemisphere, and although this isn't celebrated in most of the norther Hemisphere, we would all do well to stop more often to honor the lives that have been slain in the defense of freedom. Please be blessed by the following ANZAC Day address, written by Nugget author, Elizabeth Price:

ANZAC DAY BETHANGA 2020

We come together with deep love to commemorate the ANZACS but we also gather with deep love to commemorate the fire fighters and the volunteers, and all others, who also fought and died to save others.

Jesus said 'you must love one another as I have loved you,' and He gave his life to save us.  
So we say the Lord's prayer regularly because Jesus taught us to do so but this morning I want us to think about our prayer.  Firstly we begin with our Father which art in heaven because we acknowledge the Lord's residence.  

Then we say 'hallowed be thy name,' and to hallow a name means to make it a holy name, or to venerate it or consecrate it.  Yet how often we hear it used almost like a swear word or merely as a common exclamation.  

Next we make a claim that we want our Father's kingdom to come but again I question our reality when we say so.  Ask yourself:  Do I really, truly want to live in a world where there is total peace, total commitment to the Lord, and no more greed or grabbing opportunities, or self-aggrandisement?

Then we claim we really want everything done in the world as in heaven.  We claim we want to give ourselves and our desires entirely into His care and keeping.   And we follow it by asking only for the day's necessities to be given to us.  Just what we actually need, not what we want, just our necessities.  Is that what you ask for?  Or do you give the Lord a list of your wants?

What do you ask forgiveness for?  Are we in debt to God?  We are all in deep debt to Jesus for His forgiveness of ALL our wrong doings and for ALL our sinfulness.  In other words, I know I am a total mess and yet God forgives me because Jesus has put His arm around me.  Is that how you feel too?  I pray it is.

Then we ask not to be led into places that will tempt us to do wrong, but to be delivered from such places.  I cannot count how many times over the years I have been kept safe in spite of myself.  Over and over, I have been 'delivered from evil.'  Why?  Because I, in my humble and trite way, give my world to Him because His is the power and the glory.  I am the thief on the cross who said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.'  And His reply was, 'thou shalt be with me in paradise.'

So now let us say together --

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen

Elizabeth Price
Australia
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 21 Apr 2020, 11:27 pm

As of right now, most of the world finds themselves in lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. This made me ask myself: What does “lockdown” mean to someone who is a child of God? The following devotional is God’s answer to me: 

L = Live by Faith: "For we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV); "For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed -- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,  just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'" (Romans 1:17 NIV). See also Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.

O = Obey the voice of the LORD your GOD: "Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you." (Jeremiah 26:13 NIV)

C = Confession: "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16 NIV). See also Romans 10:9.

K = Know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells IN YOU: "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV). See also Col. 1:10.

D = Deliverance: "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah." (Psalm 32:7 NIV). See also Luke 21:28.

O = Obey Jesus Christ: "...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure." (1 Peter 1:2 NIV)

W = Worship God: "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You." (Psalm 22:27 NIV). See also 1 Cor. 14:25.

N = Nothing can separate you from God: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

Let's remember in these times the story of Paul in prison. The story is found in Acts 16:25-30, and we see that even though he was in the innermost dungeon, he wasn't complaining: Rather, He was...Singing praises to God! "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them..." (vs. 25 NIV). As you read on through the passage, you see that the rescue and deliverance happened while they were praising God: "Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose." (vs. 26 NIV). 

Our present day enemies don't want us to bind together in praise and worship any more than the demons who stood against the early church. How should we react in our lockdown situations? Why not us join in the Spirit and worship Our Heavenly Father with praise! 

But wait. Who feels like being joyful in lockdown? 

As Christians we have plenty of reason to praise God in any situation. Here are a few from Ps. 85, all taken from the NIV: 

1.    "You, Lord, showed favor to Your land; You restored the fortunes of Jacob." (Vs. 1)

2.    "You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins." (Vs. 2)

3.    "You set aside all Your wrath and turned from Your fierce anger." (Vs. 3) 

4.    God will not be angry with us forever: "Will you be angry with us forever? will you prolong your anger through all generations?" (Vs. 5)

5.    "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" (Vs. 6)

6.    "Show us Your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us Your salvation." (Vs. 7)

7.    "...he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants -- but let them not turn to folly." (Vs. 8)

8.    "Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land." (Vs. 9)

9.    "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven." (Vs 10-11)

10.    "The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest." (Vs 12)

11.    "Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps." (Vs. 13) 

"May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord show you his kindness and have mercy on you. May the Lord watch over you and give you peace." (Numb. 6:24-26 NIV)

Sophie Chun Ngeth

"So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:10 NIV)

 
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Getting tired of lockdown? Why not spend some time praising God today?

 
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Post  Admin on Sat 18 Apr 2020, 8:57 pm

 
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Are we always aware of temptation? Are we always aware of the risks in our everyday world? Or do we just dismiss them as normal, never bothering to be on our guard?

Upon retirement, my husband and I began seeking ways to have more sunshine and warmth during the long months of Canadian winter. This past winter found me going for long morning walks out onto the deserts of the American Southwest.

Unfortunately, it would appear that these same deserts have become trash dumps where you can find anything from automobiles to baby bottles. They have apparently also become home to thousands of homeless....

Neither of these things bothered me, however. I walked around the trash and keep my distance from the homeless... Until that one morning...

As I made my way up a dry canyon, I came upon a huge trash pile. As it was too wide to circumvent, I picked my way through and continued on up the trail. After threading my way through the trash on my way back, however, I heard a noise. Expecting a coyote or some other kind of wild animal, I turned to look; but what I saw caused my heart to race even faster than the thought of a wild animal: A man rose up from a spot on the desert floor, just a few feet from where I had passed! I had inadvertently walked right through the "home" of one of the desert's many homeless!

I turned and ran, and I vowed to never go up that particular canyon again. But how could I have prevented this? That trash pile looked no different from any of the others I had passed...

Temptation is the same. Oh, we can try and avoid places where temptations abode, but the Bible says, "...the devil...prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8b NLT). Just as I had no idea there was a homeless man living in that trash dump, we often have no idea the devil is stalking us! This is why we are told in the same passage: "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy..." (1 Peter 5:8b NLT)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all on the alert for potential transmission and infection. Besides social distancing and lockdowns, we wear protective equipment when we have to go out. In addition to avoiding temptation hubs, wouldn't it be nice if we also had protective equipment against the devil?

But there are no devil-proof masks!

Or are there?

Interestingly, before and after warning us about the sneakiness of the devil, Peter gives us some practical devil-proof protective equipment: "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:6 NLT)

1.        Our pride acts as a stepping stone, a stronghold for the devil; and when we humble ourselves before God, we are, in essence, donning a devil-proof mask!

2.        The devil also uses our worries as a stronghold to get to us; but when we give all our worries to God, it is like we are donning devil-proof gloves!

Peter also gives us more "protective equipment" vs. 9: "Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are." 1 Peter 5:9 NLT).

3.        Doubt is another of the strongholds the devil can use to get to us; but when we are strong in our faith, we are donning that devil-proof "gown"!

4.        The devil also loves to use self-pity against us; but when we remember we aren't alone, when we turn our minds away from ourselves, we are, in essence, donning that "eye-shield"!

In addition to all this, there is also a HAZMAD suit against the devil! Jesus outlined this that infamous night in the Garden of Gethsemane when He returned from an hour of prayer to find his disciples asleep. His words to them? "Couldn't you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!" (Matt. 26:40b-41 NLT)

5.        Notice that Jesus says to watch and pray, "so that you will not give in to temptation"! Our HAZMAD suit is...Prayer! When we DON'T pray for God's help against temptation, we are much more likely to fall into the devil's traps when they come our way! And Jesus isn't calling for reactionary prayer, here, either. He's calling for preventive prayer!

Is there protective equipment against the traps of the devil? Absolutely! We have the "mask" of humility, the "gloves" of being worry-free, the "gown" of faith, the "eye shield" of selflessness, and we have the HAZMAD suit of prayer!

Let's all protect ourselves from the raging devil by humbling ourselves, giving our worries to God, being strong in our faith, doing away with self-pity, and, perhaps most importantly, let's all follow Jesus' command: "Watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation"!

Oh, and I was a lot more careful on my desert walks after that incident...I stayed out of the canyons, in the open desert, and I gave wide berth to any junk piles!

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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The Bible also gives us other protective equipment. Are you donning it daily? Check out: God's Armor: A mini-series. 
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 16 Apr 2020, 11:41 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c4b-48001201d500&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
"But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:13 NASB)

I turned off the morning news after eating breakfast this morning.  In spite of a few hopeful stories the tidal wave of bad news from the Caronavirus was drowning me in a sea of helplessness.  Over and over I asked myself, “What can I do?” but had no answer.
 
Instead I walked outside, stood on my back porch, and breathed in the clean April air.  I heard dozens of different birdsongs blending together to welcome the rising sun while two Woodpeckers provided the drumbeat.  I looked at the rapidly greening and growing grass and wondered how long before I would have to mow it.  I saw the first flowers peeking out of the soil too.  A bumble bee tumbled through the air by my face and a delicate butterfly followed behind it.  I saw Robins building nests in the trees and the buds beginning to turn into green leaves on their branches.  A rabbit hopped along the fence line, turned to look at me, and then bounced away without a care.  All around me the Earth was coming alive while I was stuck in my fear.  I walked out into the yard, felt the warmth of the rising sun on my face, and thanked God for the day.  It was at that moment that an answer to my question came to me in a quiet corner of my soul.  "Share your Spring!", it said.
 
If you are asking yourself what you can do during this difficult time my answer to you is to share the Spring within you.  Every letter you write, text you send, phone call you make, e-mail you share, picture you post, or video you send out is a gift.  Fill them all with your light.
 
Fill them all with your love.  Fill them all with your Spring.  Use them to lift your spirits and the spirits of everyone you can. The greatest gift God gives us is the gift of Love.  No fear can stand against it.  No problem can outlast it.  Give your love freely then in every way you can.  And always share your Spring!

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
 

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What can you do today to "share your spring"? 
 
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Apr 2020, 4:45 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c94-4a0001012300&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
Finally, we come to the concluding section of the 6-parts series titled "Easter and the Identity crisis" and that is...


Identifying the times, we are living in...

An end-time prophecy is recorded in Daniel 12:4: "But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase." (NLT). These words would always resonate in the minds of all discerning Bible students, for they identify the time we are living in as the end time. Like no other period in human history, this cyber age with its global business tours catalyzed by technology revolution, has become more commonplace, and knowledge has grown even more exponentially. Latest inventions are the order of the day, so much so that it is news only when a new discovery in the field of science is not been made in a 24-hour span.

Also it would be foolhardy to ignore other 'signs', such as the earthquakes, famines and wars, which Jesus announced would precede His second coming (See Luke 21:10-11). Aren't newspapers littered with stories of earthquakes ravaging several countries, famines stalking various parts of the World and wars being fought within and between nations?

As though to refute a rationalist who would attribute the afore-mentioned 'signs' to common occurrences of the past centuries, the good Lord sent yet another irrefutable proof on the 26th of Dec, 2004 and in March 2011, respectively, in perfect fulfillment of His prophecy in Luke 21:25b: "And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides." If an earth-shaking event of the magnitude of the tsunami, the very definition of a strange tide, that hit several coastal cities in Dec 2004 and Japan in March 2011, doesn't convince us that His second coming is on the anvil, then nothing else will. Yes, our hearts go out to the victims. Let's remember that secrets behind some sovereign acts can only be understood in eternity (See Deut. 29:29).

Have we identified the fact that we are living very close to the zero hour? Are we ready to meet our Master? Oh may we all rejoice in seeing His radiant countenance soon, even while hearing His words of commendation: "Well done, my faithful servant"!

Prayer: Father, even as we Your Children are identifying the fact that we are very close to the end times, enable us not only to be alert but also to lovingly and passionately alert others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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This is the final part to the "Of Easter and Identity Crisis" Mini-Series. To access the entire series, please click here.
 
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Apr 2020, 9:09 pm

Of Easter and Identity, Part 4: The Blessed Hope

April 11, 2020

 
 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1ce6-d70001010500&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
On Thursday, we identified ourselves with the Resurrection Power and with the completion of Jesus' work on Earth. Remembering that our Lord faced a severe "identity crisis" on that first Easter and the days following His resurrection, we will focus today, on identifying the blessed hope...


Identifying the "Blessed hope" borne of "Resurrection" in believers by Unbelievers...

As I mentioned earlier in this series, souls are won-over by Scripture-backed, Spirit-filled sermons. I am recalling once again the response of those of who heard a soul-stirring sermon of Apostle Peter on the "Day of Pentecost" ....

"...Brothers, what should we do?" (Acts 2:37 TLB).

We can well imagine a repentant, convicted prostrate spirit behind it all!

Now the decisive question is: Can the Blessed hope borne out of the Lord's Resurrection in us, empowering us to stay pure (see 1 John 3:2-3) in addition to helping us cope with adversities, arouse the curiosity of an unbeliever in the manner a powerful spirit-filled sermon does? The answer is an emphatic yes!

One doesn't have to go beyond the story of Acts 16:16-30 to arrive at this conclusion. There we see a Philippian jailer witnessing two Christian missionaries being the very definition of the word "stoic", even while being unjustly whipped. Historians state that at the time of receiving whip lashes, the pain is so intense that obscene language unconsciously flows out of the mouth of those at the receiving end of it all. Later on, even while being dumped into an unhygienic cell and having their feet cruelly fastened into stocks, the jailer observed that these two men were all grace and poise in the manner of their Master at the Cross.

More dramatic events symbolizing the thankful demeanor in times of trouble of this dynamic duo were to unfold before the Jailer: Their whole-hearted praising of God, by way of passionate singing, the earthquake, and an utterly selfless disposition of not wanting to capitalize on the opportunity of escaping which would have sealed the fate of the jailer at the hands of his superiors (as per the Roman Law... Every jailor was made responsible for his prisoner, under the same penalty to which the prisoner himself was exposed). The end result of it all? A similar conviction was wrought by the Holy Spirit and a consequent similar response was elicited like the one we saw as an offshoot of powerful preaching in Acts 2:37. If at that time it was "Brothers, what must we do (to be saved)?" (See Acts 2:37), then now it was... "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30 NLT)

Do I need to say more? Did Paul and Silas preach? Or did they perform miracles to draw the attention of the jailer? No way! The thankful way they demonstrated the blessed hope in them, even in the midst of severe, unjust suffering, aroused the curiosity of an unbeliever, and eventually won not only him but also his family members to the Lord (See Acts 16:33-34).

Mind you Christian, it is indeed a severe "Identity problem" with capital "I" so to speak, if the unbelievers who see you often have still not "identified" the "blessed hope" in you, which ought to influence all of your conduct!
 
Prayer: Father, enable me during my tough times to cast my anchor on the Blessed hope of eternal life which all Christians have because of the First Easter. Enable me thereby to be a shining witness to the unbelievers. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Please join us on Tuesday for the final part of this mini-series: "Of Easter and Identity Crisis, Part 5: Identifying the Times we are Living in..."



Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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We invite you to join us on Tuesday for "Of Easter and Identity Crisis, Part 5: Identifying the Times we are Living in..." To access the entire "Of Easter and Identity Crisis" Mini-Series, please click here.
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Apr 2020, 11:56 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c75-02000b015700&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
On Tuesday, we identified Jesus' purpose on Earth, as well as how to identify ourselves with His purpose. Remembering that our Lord faced a severe "identity crisis" on that first Easter and the days following His resurrection, we will focus today, in the penultimate section of this 6 part series, on casting the spotlight on two more related subjects...


Identifying ourselves with the Resurrection power...

It would serve us well to introspect as to whether "resurrection power" is playing a pivotal roles in the following areas of our lives... Jesus' resurrection power:


a) Saves... Dear Friend, if you have "identified" your sinful condition but are unable to liberate yourselves from the clutches of sin, the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit is for you to avail and break free from the grasp of sin (See Eph. 2:1-6) by making Jesus your personal Saviour: "The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you." (Rom. 8:11 NLT)

b) Sustains... Our Lord is called the "Saviour" not only because He infuses "life" into our "dead" spirits at the point of regeneration, but also because He empowers us from within to lead a God-pleasing life at all times (throughout the Christian's journey till reaching Heaven)... Even in the most adverse of circumstances: "But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." (1 John 4:4 NLT; See also Acts 16:25/Phil. 3:10). For instance, overcoming hate while being at the receiving end of injustice is but one manifestation of resurrection power in sustaining a Christian's life.

c) Spurs... Post Easter, the Resurrection power of the Holy Spirit (See Romans 8:11) was now the Disciples to appropriate and advance the Kingdom. If on Easter Sunday, the Resurrection power emptied the grave and brought the Son of God out, fifty days later on the Day of the Pentecost it filled the Disciples, emboldening them mightily: "...they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31 NLT; See also Acts 2). From that day onwards the same men who fled from the Master on the night of His capture in the Garden of Gethsemane were "capturing men in the net of the Gospel" for the remainder of their lives. Ever wonder from where the Early Church got its highest compliment (albeit unwittingly), "these men have turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6 NLT)? Not from its friends, but from its enemies! Talk of a Republican Presidential candidate giving his Democrat counterpart a Thumbs up or vice-versa.... That's Resurrection power for you, and because, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever..." (Heb. 13:8 NLT), its available even today for us to use. Say Christian, are you boldly witnessing (See Acts 4:31) for your Saviour wherever the Lord in His infinite wisdom has placed you?

d) Salvages... The same Resurrection power which opened the grave of the Saviour on the first Easter will on the day the last Trumpet is blown (See 1 Thess. 4:13-17) open the grave of every "resting" Christian too, for, "Christ...is the first of a great harvest of all who have died." (1 Cor. 15:20 NLT).


Identifying the Completion of Salvation work...

While the sixth epochal utterance on the Cross, "It is finished", on that first Good Friday signified the completion of the atoning work from the Saviour's side, the Resurrection of our Lord on the First Easter signified its acceptance by our Heavenly Father: "And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." (Romans 4:23-25,5:1 NLT). It is this complete acceptance and appropriation of both the atoning work and resurrection of the Saviour by a sinner in his/her life that justifies him/her before the Judge of the Universe (See Rom. 10:8-9).

Consider this: The High Priest, on the Day of atonement, carrying the sacrificial, atoning blood, "disappears" into the Holy Place of the Temple from the eyes of the viewing public to sprinkle the same on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (in the Most Holy place), and then to appear before the viewing public with the words "Shalom" so as to proclaim "God's acceptance of the atoning sacrifice". In the same way, Jesus, too, who had "disappeared" into the grave on First Good Friday, reappeared on the First Easter morning to both practically and virtually proclaim "Shalom (read God's acceptance of His sacrifice)" to one and all (See Matt. 28:8-9 CJBHeb 9:11-12 TLB).

Prayer: Father, we glorify Thee for the Resurrection of the Saviour, whereby we are guaranteed of the fact that His great atoning sacrifice on the first Good Friday has been accepted by Thee. Enable us to share this Good News with others too with joy borne out of gratitude. In Jesus' Name. Amen

There is still more. Not only must we identify ourselves with Jesus' resurrection power, we must also identify ourselves with the "blessed hope" borne of "resurrection". Please join us on Saturday for "Of Easter and Identity Crisis, Part 4: The Blessed Hope"!


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Apr 2020, 10:17 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c79-550001015700&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
On Saturday, we saw that the Saviour's resurrection was well foretold in scripture. Remembering that our Lord faced a severe "identity crisis" on that first Easter and the days following His resurrection, we will today focus on identifying His purpose and how we can identify ourselves with that purpose...


Identifying the Messiah's purpose...

Post resurrection, not only were Jesus' disciples and his followers guilty of failing to identify their blessed resurrected Lord, they were also guilty of still not identifying their Master's purpose for coming into this world. And that purpose was to be: "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." (Luke 2:32 ESV). Despite being with Him all those years and listening to His countless sermons proclaiming Himself to be the Saviour of the whole world, His disciples were still trying to come to terms with the original purpose behind Jesus' first coming. So much so that we see them posing a witless question in Acts 1:6: "Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?" (NLT). Oh how much it must have pained the Saviour that they were yet to fully comprehend His agenda for His first coming! It had nothing to with anything political, but everything to with all things spiritual! More than occupying any earthly throne, Jesus had always been keen on occupying the thrones in the hearts of men!

Come Lord Jesus to reign in our hearts!


Identifying ourselves with the Messiah's cause...

It is one thing to identify the Messiah's cause, and quite another to identify oneself with the same. The disciples, to whom His cause was revealed, were called to identify themselves with their Master's cause by being his witnesses in "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:9 NLT). In the same way, His followers through the ages, to whom His cause has also been revealed, have also been called to don the same role.

Witnessing for Jesus, stripped of all its fanciful trappings, is as simple as telling everyone what Jesus has done in your life. With all the excitement that a terminally ill cancer patient who is operated upon and healed by a Doctor would tell others of his/her Doctor's wondrous surgical skills, we are called to tell our story. Then again, just as a patient who had a brush with death would do this passionately, starting with family members and then relaying this news in ever-widening circles, we, too, who have tasted His redemptive love and have been saved from far worse 'eternal death', are called to testify in a centrifugal manner about our 'experience'. We should also begin with our family members. Note that Jesus, in the above-captioned scripture portion (Acts 1:9), put Jerusalem first. This signified that his disciples were to start the work of relaying the Good news of Jesus' saving power right at the place of their stay, and from there, they were to proceed onto other places... Yes ... 'even to the ends of the world'. That we are reading this piece, most probably in a place far away from Jerusalem, is proof enough of the fact that Jesus' disciples did a commendable job when it came to identifying themselves with their Master's cause!

How are we faring on this front?

Prayer: Father, make me a witness for Thy glory to the viewing public at all times-through my lips and lifestyle. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

But there is more. Not only must we identify ourselves with Jesus' purpose, we must identify ourselves with His resurrection power and with the completion of His Resurrection work. Join us on Thursday for "Of Easter and Identity Crisis, Part 3: The Resurrection Power"!


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 

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We invite you to join us on Thursday for "Of Easter and Identity Crisis, Part 3: The Resurrection Power..." To access the entire "Of Easter and Identity Crisis" Mini-Series, please click here.To access the entire "Of Easter and Identity Crisis" Mini-Series, please click here.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Mar 2020, 11:32 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 24, 2020

The Best or the Worst
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28 NIV)

It was the first day of Spring here but it didn't feel like it.  The Coronavirus Pandemic was sweeping the globe and everywhere there were feelings of uncertainty, fear, loneliness and even despair.  "Social Distancing" had become the new norm.  Here the schools had been closed, the restaurant dining rooms shut, and people had been told to work from home whenever they could.  Even the sheltered workshop where my oldest son worked had been closed until further notice.  People had made a run on the stores and large areas of the shelves were bare.  On the news the numbers of sick and dead continued to rise.  It felt like there was a weight on the souls of everyone in the world.

My own family was staying at home as much as possible and as I looked out my window I wondered how long this crisis would last.  It was then, however, that I saw something that lifted that weight off of my soul, made my face smile, and made my heart feel happy again.  On the street below my house there was an old friend of mine from high school who was a teacher there now.  With him was my younger son's former aide from the high school as well.  They were delivering the school lunches door to door to the hungry children who were stuck at home. 

Watching them made me think of something everyone's childhood television neighbor, Mr. Roger's once said: "In the bad times.  Always look for the helpers." 

I have no doubt this crisis will pass as all the crisis before it have.  But it is our choice on whether it brings out the best in us or the worst in us.  Let it bring out the best in you.  Use it to strengthen your faith.  Use it to free yourself from fear.  Use it to grow kinder, more giving, and more loving.  Become a helper to all those in need and you will be doing God's work today and in all the days to come.

Joseph J. Mazzella    
Announcement:
Everything is doom and gloom...But God is the master of bringing good out of bad situations (See Romans 8:28). Check out this Dr. Suess-like poem written by a child:

The buildings were big and people would smile,
And travel they would mile by mile.
But sick they become, in numbers it grew
Businesses worried, communities too.
Things stopped for a bit, the world slowed its roll
The virus had certainly taken its toll.
But what they then saw from slowing things down.
Is in fact they now had less reasons to frown.
Families now gathered, what game shall we play?
Pass me the blue crayon, give mommy the gray.
Dad's home guys! He'll read us a book
then all of us together will cook.
The lungs of the planet caught a small break
Less travel meant less pollution to make.
People did realize they'd all be ok
They don't need so much to get through the day.
Maybe this virus that caused so much stress
Showed the whole world that more can mean less...
Writen by XXXXXX
Inspired by Dr. Seuss
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 21 Mar 2020, 9:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 21, 2020

The Speck
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    I gave away my peace this morning.

It was a crazy thing, really. I was upset because someone I care very much about was not acting in the way I wanted this person to act. It hurt me. I was sure it was because this person didn't care about me at all...I don't get to see this person very much, and I actually found myself wishing the visit, as rare as it was, were over...

Silly, isn't it?

I knew it was wrong, I knew I was picking at a "speck" in this person's perverbial eye. I even tried some spiritual warfare. But all that gave me was a few moments of peace before the harassing demons returned full-scale. Finally I cried out to my Heavenly Father: "God, You promised that I would never be tempted more than I can bear; but You will always give me a...way out (See 1 Cor. 10:13). God, I'm at my breaking point! I don't want to feel this way. But I can't...seem...to break free...God, help me!"

At that point it was time for church. As I entered into worship, I began to hear God speaking to me through my mind. I heard Him tell me that being so upset at this person was actually completely ruining the few moments of time I had to spend with this person...

I gave the person -- along with that person's perceived "incorrigible" traits -- into God's hands.

I was filled with God's peace.

When we arrived back home from church and I was brought face to face with this person once again, I was again tempted to be angry. I was sorely tempted to get upset. But I didn't. I didn't give away my peace. And the next few moments between us were precious. No, the person hadn't changed; but in allowing God's peace back into my heart, I suddenly began to see this person differently. I began to appreciate this person for who he/she was instead of trying to change this person...

But why shouldn't I accept others the way they are? Why should I try and change them? The Bible teaches: "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye." (Matt. 7:1-5 NLT)

Let's remember that even our worst enemy is a creation of our Heavenly Father in the same way we am...True enough, not all of God's creations (and I'm sorry say, me included) always follow His ways...But God loves us the same. He doesn't push us away. In fact, He longs for us to come before Him, "warts" and all. He reaches out His loving hand and beacons us to Him: "'Come now, let's settle this,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." (Isaiah 1:18 NLT).

Shouldn't we be as gracious to others around us?

As I determined in my heart to love this person the way he/she was, I also determined to pray for this person and let God do any changing that needed to be done. After all, isn't the changing of hearts the work of -- the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8)? It's not my work at all! And when I try to change others, I am actually stepping in and trying to do what God is far better equipped to do. I actually stand -- in His way! Yikes!

Isn't it funny that I was so upset that I couldn't change this person...And all the while, it was me who needed to change...

Thank You, Lord, for changing our hearts and bringing them in line with Yours. Help us to be as gracious to those around us. Help us to accept and love others the way they are, help us to commit any behaviours that need changing to the One who is the best at the joy, to Your Holy Spirit. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
In the Midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is pretty hard to not give our peace away for a different, very real reason! Remember: Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"! (Matt. 11:28 NIV) This doesn't mean COVID-19 will immediately disappear. It means that we can trust Jesus for the outcome. Why worry, when the God of the universe is holding us in the palm of His hand?
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 19 Mar 2020, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 19, 2020

Rest...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

When I read Matt 11:28-30, I couldn't help but think not only my own experiences with receiving God's rest, but also the story of the Canaanite woman...

"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.' Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, 'Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.' He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.' The woman came and knelt before him. 'Lord, help me!' she said. He replied, 'It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs.' 'Yes it is, Lord,' she said. 'Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.' Then Jesus said to her, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed at that moment." (Matthew15:21-28 NIV)

This woman, when saying, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly", was asking Jesus Christ to give her -- REST!

Sometimes when we ask God for rest, He reveals His Word through our own mouths, through the written Word, or even through someone else, perhaps even our worst enemies (Remember that God used Saul - AKA Paul - one of the worst enemies of the newly-founded church, one of the key persecutors of new believers in Jesus Christ (See Acts 2:22-39), to reveal His Word!). As a result, when God does reveal His will, we may not even recognize it.

How about you and I, are we finding rest for our souls?

How many times have we gone to God, begging for His mercy? Remember the Canaanite woman? "The woman came and knelt before him. 'Lord, help me!' she said." Sometime, our recent dilemmas are still very much present in our lives when others show up on our plate. We look to the left and to the right for solutions. The woman, on the other hand, went straight to Jesus and refused to be discouraged. She refused to walk away.

This reminds me of God's Word: "If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." (1 John 3:20-24 (NIV). This woman's heart did not condemn her. She had confidence before God. Instead of turning away, she said, "Yes it is, Lord...Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." (Matt. 15:27 NIV)

How would you respond in her situation? What would my own response be?

I pray that I will respond to God like the woman: "Yes, Heavenly Father, I am an undeserving woman, a refugees, an orphan; I am unskillful and alone. May I receive compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness and love from the Creator Heaven and earth!"

Prayer: Lord, I want to be find rest for my soul. I want to be anointed to Your call, according to Your will. In the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names, Amen.

How about you? Will you pray this prayer with me?

Sophie Chun Ngeth
San Bernardino, CA 
Announcement:
It's a SCARY world out there right now. 

Brother Rob and I just got back home today. We were wintering in warmer spaces in the southern part of the US without a care in the world...You know, it happens to other people, not to us! And then...News flash! All Canadians are advised to come home! Wait. That can't be us! We're not "abroad"! And besides, we're not sick! After prayer for guidance, we packed up, hopped in the car and beelined for home. Four long days of driving, and we receive the news: The US/Canadian border is...closed!

God is good, we, along with a gazillion other Canadians who were presumably also wintering in warmer parts, were the only ones at the border. We were allowed in, but we are all in mandatory isolation for the next two weeks...

Am I telling you this for sympathy? Not at all! True enough, we probably wouldn't feel good for awhile if we were infected, but the virus probably wouldn't kill us as we're healthy and -- relatively -- young! But here's the lesson I hope each of you will hear today: It isn't about us! It's about the vulnerable ones we could unknowningly infect during the incubation period of this monsterous virus. Social distancing is the only weapon that we have, humanly speaking. Social distancing protects us, but perhaps more importantly, it protects the vulnerable ones around us. It protects grandma. It protects Uncle Scott who is Chemotherapy. It protects your neighbor, Steve, who has an autoimmune disorder. It protects us all! 

Is this said in a spirit of fear? Not at all. It is said in a spirit of love. God is still on His throne. Miracles still happen. But God also still asks us to love our neighbours as ourselves. We must also do our part!

I emplore each of you: Isolate yourself as much as you can. Wear a mask and gloves when you are in public (and yes, this means even those of you who live in unaffected places!), wash your hands often, and don't touch your face. Yes, even when your nose itches! Change your clothes once back home, and only go out when absolutely necessary. 

The rest, we leave to our Almighty Father in Heaven. Let's remember: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up..." (John 3:14 NIV). Praise God, the Son of Man has ALREADY been lifted up, and if ever there is a time when we need to look up to Jesus, it's now! 

God bless all of you! Stay safe, keep others safe by isolating yoruself, even if you're young and healthy, and mostly, look up to the Son of Man who has made a way!

In His love,
Lyn Chaffar
Moderate, The Nugget
 
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 10:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 17, 2020

How Long do I Wait for God's Answers?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    It grows and grows, doesn't it? The love for our grandkids, that is. It brings out the silly side in us. And also creates the loveliest of memories.

Back when my granddaughter was 18 months old, our family spent the weekend in a condo on the beach.

She had woken up from her afternoon nap and was letting us know.

I volunteered to get her. Bad move. Although the condo was lovely, I was unfamiliar with the layout of the rooms.

So, I did what any blind Nana does. I followed the sound of her voice as my guide.

When I reached her crib, I scooped her up. "Nana is here."

I kissed her cheek, rocked her a bit to calm her down. Then with her in my arms, I proceeded to make my way out of the room. I took a few steps to my right. I ran into the bed. I stepped to the left only to find a wall with a window. Holding her in one arm, with the other I reached out to "feel" my way out. Although I was going around in circles, I was determined to get out on my own. But my efforts were futile.

"Hey, sweet thing," I whispered into her little ear, "you get us out of this room."

I put her down on the floor. I took her by her tiny hand. Trusting her, I followed her and with ease, she led me out.

We do the same in life. Our own stubborn nature takes over. Blindly, we go around and around, groping for answers. Looking for the solution. We try to "feel" the way out of painful situations. And when no results appear, we still count on our futile efforts.

What if, instead, stretching out our hand toward Him, we allowed God to take it? Once secure, we can declare out loud the words in Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (NIV)

Here's what we need.

We need His lamp to know what the next step will be. And we count on His light to guide us in the dark room of adversity. We follow His wisdom to take us from heartache to healing.

And unlike my granddaughter who didn't ask me to trust her, God is asking us to trust in Him. But the trust can't be a wimpy kind of trust, or half-hearted, superficial.

Instead the Bible instructs: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).

Are you heading in a crooked path of frustration? God knows. He's aware of our human blindness that keeps us from seeing what only He can. And He offers the answer to guide us on a direct path. And when pure trust overflows, peace comes back, security reigns and our heart becomes still.

Let's Pray: Father, how often I lived frustrated by going in circles. But now I know that trusting in You is the direct way to answers and the only way to freedom. In Jesus' name, amen.

Whose hand are you holding on to for guidance?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Spring is almost here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the north rejoices to see the snows disappear and the flowers begin to grow, soon summer will be here...But while the north rejoices, the southern hemisphere is headed into autumn, and although autumn has its ultimate beauty, winter is just around the corner. What season of your life do you find yourself in? If you find yourself entering a spring/summer (read: trouble free!) time of year, we rejoice with you. But realize that while things are looking up for you, there are many who are entering the autumn/winter (read: troubles abound!) times of life. Let's commit to praying for those who are going through troubled times! And for a bit of encouragement for everyone going through troubles, why not click here?
 
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Post  Admin on Mon 16 Mar 2020, 1:11 am

Welcome to the Nugget

March 14, 2020

Dirt...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    (Written Mid-May)

Spring is finally here.

I'm not a big gardener, but I do like to plant spring flowers to decorate the front of my house. And so today I began to dig into the dirt and plant the pretty annuals that I bought. The longer I dug and sifted and mixed that healthy black soil, the filthier my hands got. The blacker my fingernails became, the more I began to think about dirt. What's in it, anyway? Just what was it that was lodged under my nails?

The dirt I was using was primarily top soil. A quick search on Google reveals that top soil is primarily organic matter and microorganisms*.

Wait. What? Isn't organic matter a nice term for rotting leaves? Animal waste? Decomposing insects, worms and other animal matter?

It only took about two seconds for me to connect the dots: I had decomposing worms and what the dog leaves in the yard under my nails! Yuk!

There truly is no way to do a good job of gardening, however, without getting your hands dirty. It's the nature of the thing. Plants need the organic matter to grow. The minerals in the decomposing plants and animals are what feeds the plants; and the plants, in turn, give us oxygen, food and visual pleasure. It's the way it is: No yukky stuff, no pretty plants!

It truly is nature's jewel of an example of what the bible means when it says that, "God has made everything beautiful for its own time." (Eccl. 3:11 NLT). It also helps us to understand why the Word of God says, "...God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Rom. 8:28 NLT).

Not connecting the dots here?

Let me help: If God created the earth in such a way that it actually requires animal waste and decomposing plant and animal matter to ensure that plants grow, then we can be certain that whatever "dirt" we are going through right now is going to be used by God for His glory. And not only that, but we can be sure that when that "dirt" of our trials gets up under our fingernails, so to speak, we can trust Him to cleanse us emotionally, physically and spiritually. We can be convinced that in the end, we will understand why the Bible says, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." (Romans 5:3-4 NLT)

Whatever it is you are going through right now...Remember that without dirtying your hands, beautiful flowers, vegetables and fruit can never grow. God has this. He will make everything beautiful, in His time!

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.

*https://www.doityourself.com/stry/topsoil-facts-what-its-made-of 
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Post  Admin on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 12:34 am

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March 12, 2020

Wind-Bent Trees
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I don't know for sure why the tops of all the trees in the Northern-most corner of the island of Guadeloupe are all pointing west. I am sure, however, that somehow or another, it is related to wind. Maybe this happened as a result of the last hurricane to strike the island paradise; or maybe the prevailing winds in this area blow from east to west. I truly don't know, and though I'm sure I could find out, it didn't interest me enough to put forth the effort.

What did interest me, however, was that the leaves atop those bent-over branches all pointed...up! Whatever harsh winds those trees had to endure, nothing stopped them from looking up to the sky.

Now in my simplistic way of thinking, those leaves could very well have just grown the same way as the branches they clung to: bent over, as if carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. But they don't. They don't let themselves be influenced by the harsh winds that caused their branches to grow horizontally instead of upright. Instead, they use those wind-bent trees as a platform to grow--upwards!

Why?

Because they are looking towards the sun. The sun is the source of their life. In fact, all life needs sunlight, and without it, there is no life on Earth. Specifically, however, plants need sunlight for the process of photosynthesis--the process by which they synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water to produce glucose. The plant then either uses the glucose itself, or is eaten by animal life and thus provides energy for all life. And since oxygen production is a by-product of photosynthesis, and we need oxygen to live...Well, you get the picture!

With all of that in mind, it is a bit easier to understand why those leaves on those horizontal, wind-bent branches all grow up towards the sun!

I don't know about you, but I often feel like those wind-bent trees. The trials of life, the problems, the circumstances, most of which are outside of my control, leave me beaten down, helpless and hopeless; and I believe most of you can relate to what I'm saying. So is there a lesson for us in all of this?

I think there is. Remember that those leaves have the choice of growing horizontally with their wind-blown branches but instead, they choose to use those same branches as a platform to point up to the sunlight they so desperately need. We, in the face of our circumstances, have a similar choice: We can allow life's burdens to beat us down and leave us hopeless and helpless, or we can use them as a stepping stone to launch us into a brighter future.

And to take the analogy a step farther, let's remember that the reason those leaves grow upright is because they are seeking the sunlight they so desperately need; and that sunlight causes them to grow and receive the energy they need, not only for themselves, but in order for them to fulfill their role in the circle of life. We also desperately need the "Son". Let's remember that Jesus is the: "...light of the world..." (John 8:12 NIV) and "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5 NIV) The "Son-light" that shines upon us when we seek Jesusis what we need to grow, to be nourished, and also it is what we need to be able to care for others!

The "winds" of problems, trials, negative circumstances, etc., are guaranteed to blow, and they may very well leave you beaten down, helpless and without hope. What will you do? Will you allow yourself to remain beaten? Or will you learn an important lesson from the leaves of those wind-bent trees on the northern tip of Guadeloupe? Will you look up, towards the Son? Will you allow your negative circumstances to be a stepping stone, a tool so-to-speak, that will draw you closer to the Jesus Christ? Will you draw from His "Son-light" so that you can grow above your circumstances? So that you can have the energy to go on? So that you can have what you need in order to be there for others?

Think about it!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
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March 7, 2020

Centrality of the Cross, Part 5
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Dear Friends, in the concluding part of our series titled "Centrality of the Cross", today let's focus on two "Trees" in human history...


Cause and Counter...

First things first! For the uninitiated, let me unravel the full meaning of the phrase, "turning the tables"...

The Oxford dictionary sums it up as reversing one's position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage.

To illustrate... Loius Braille, who had been blinded by an awl whilst playing with it in his childhood, used that same instrument to create a "raised dotted system" of all the 26 alphabets by piercing holes suitably on the pieces of leather. Thus the blind could read using their sense of touch. Today, the Braille language is used universally so as to serve as virtually "a lamp in the darkness" for the blind.

In the spiritual realm too, Dear Friends, our Almighty wise God would use for a "counter strike" on the Enemy, the very objects or situations that initially were a "curse" in order for them to become a "blessing" later on!!!

If sin (along with it curse) came by the tree that was attractive to the First Adam and company (See Gen. 3:6), then Salvation had to come through no other means other than a tree, which though repulsive to the final Adam (See Luke 22:42-44), would pave the way for reconciliation of the estranged relationship between Man and His Creator (See 2 Cor. 5:17-21/2 Cor. 6:1-2). Let me repeat: The tree (read Cross) alone would be central to the Almighty's redemptive plan.

While historically Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400BC and developed, during Roman times, into a punishment for the most serious of criminals like the Seditionists, David prophesied about the mode of death of the Saviour a good 1000 years before the first Good Friday: "...They have pierced my hands and feet." (Psalm 22:16b NLT).

Let's once again unravel the secrets behind the Saviour's crucifixion and marvel at God's sovereignty in ensuring the Saviour completed the redemption plan only on the tree ("When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'" Gal 3:13 NLT), and not at any other place or through any other means. Charged by the Sanhedrin as He was of blasphemy (See Matt 26:59-66), why then didn't His enemies kill Him by stoning as per the law (See Leviticus 24:10-16,23/1 Kings 21:11-14) as they ostensibly killed Stephen, the first Christian martyr (See Acts 7:54-60)? The Almighty God in His plan borne out of infinite wisdom (See Rom 11:33-34) had pre-arranged everything in a way that the Saviour died an atoning death only on the tree. Let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"The Jews said to him, 'It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.' This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die." (John 18:28-32 ESV/ See also John 12:32-33).

How come Romans only are permitted to execute someone? What exactly happened was that in 28 AD, the Sanhedrin, under Roman pressure, divested itself of executing the death penalty (Source: Talmud Sanhedrin 41a; "Maimonides" Laws of Sanhedrin 14:13). In the case of Stephen's stoning, the Sanhedrin had "clean" consciences, ascribing the stoning to "mob fury". In all probability the Jewish legal body got away from the investigative Roman authorities too, ascribing Stephen's stoning to an instance of public outrage. As Stephen was not-so-popular, the whole issue could be "brushed under the carpet"; but in the mind of the crafty Sanhedrin (about 4 years earlier), executing the popular Jesus haphazardly represented an act fraught with the risk of His followers rebelling against them ("When they tried to put their hands on Him, they were afraid of the many people. The people thought He was One Who spoke for God." Matt. 21:46 NLV). However, as determined as they were to eliminate Him, they brought the Romans into the picture. Look at how the Sanhedrin changes "colours" in front of Pilate. Not one word is spoken about about the Jesus' act of blasphemy at the beginning, for it would not cut much ice with Pilate  as he would not be much interested in that accusation (See Luke 23:1-5/John 19:7-16). So they forcefully sing the "accusatory" song of sedition before Pilate. Now as sedition was the ground of accusation, it followed that crucifixion was the mode of execution of the death penalty that sedition entailed. One look at the chain of events brings to the fore our Heavenly Father's sovereignty in ensuring the tree would be the central part to the Redemptive plan (See Acts 3:18).

If love for God which can be exhibited only by implicit obedience to His commands (See 2 John 1:6), and this love was conspicuous by its absence in the behaviour of the first Adam when exposed to the lure of Tree of Knowledge, then by stark contrast the final Adam (read Jesus...1 Cor 15:45) personified obedience by willfully hanging on the cruel tree (See Gal 3:13) as per the Father's will (See John 6:38/John 14:30-31). Further on the subject of "turning of the tables", let's factor in this truth as well. If Adam fell on account of a "tree" planted in the middle of his "world" (read Garden of Eden -- See Gen 2:9/3:1-3), then our Heavenly Father ensured that the final Adam completed the redemption plan using yet another tree that was "planted" for Him in the middle of the world of His times (Jerusalem was in the middle of the World in Biblical times --See Ezekiel 5:5).

If the first Adam hid behind a tree to hide his shame, then the final Adam, to cover up our sin and shame, would be fastened to the front side of the tree, completely naked, to bear shame on our behalf (See Heb 12:1-2). Do not go by paintings which show the Crucified lot wearing loin cloth, but rather check history to accurately to know the exact truth about the Crucifixion ordeal.

If tree of knowledge sprouted spiritual ignorance then the so-called tree of foolishness (1 Cor 1:18) has been the source of enlightenment to many who came under its shade, as it were.

Finally Dear Friends, if I began my message with a Desi chant, then let me conclude it as well with a Desi one marveling at the person of Christ, who completed the mission of saving mankind on the Tree that was central to God's redemption plan...

"Jab Suraj aur Chand bhi mit jayega, Yesu tu hamesha hamare paas prakash banke rahega". In English, the gist would read like Rev. 21:23: The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. HALLELUJAH!


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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The is the last lesson on the Centrality of the Cross. If you have missed any of the previous lessons, please access them on the web by clicking here. Otherwise, email me and I will be happy to forward them to you.
 
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March 5, 2020

Centrality of the Cross, Part 4
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Dear Friends, in the penultimate part of our series titled "Centrality of the Cross", today we focus on yet another subject which substantiates the fact as to how Cross was central to God's redemptive plan...


Of Cloth and Cleric...

Now our Saviour is a glorified high priest, as at His matchless royal name: "...every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11 NLT). Is it any wonder that when He appeared in all His glory to His beloved disciple John in the Island of Patmos, the latter couldn't take it in and simply, figuratively speaking, "gave up the ghost" (see Rev. 1:17)?

Ever wondered why high priests and kings (Were the kings not also "middlemen"? Didn't David and Solomon prayed on behalf of the people? See 2 Sam 24:17/25 /1 Kings 8:22/54) would wear predominantly purple clothing (See Exodus 39:29)? Doubtless this was the color of our Lord's divine attire, too, during His glorious appearance to the exiled Apostle.

Consider the following two Scripture portions and the answer would emerge...

Firstly Numbers 15:37-40: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God." (NLT). Here we see that the Israelites were commanded to have a "blue border" in their attire, and the blue hem would remind them of the Almighty up and beyond the blue sky, as it were, whenever they were tempted to sin; thus restraining them from lustful acts of flesh. So virtually, blue symbolized the Divine presence.

Now consider this Scripture- Isaiah 1:18: "'Come now, let's settle this,' says the Lord.
'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'" (NLT). Here the red color symbolizes the sins of men.

Time to reflect on an ethereal scene...on the one side, the Almighty is symbolized by blue; and on the other, sinful man is symbolized by the red color. The high priest, then, who who carries the best interest of both parties in his heart, stands in the middle, bringing about the reconciliation between the two. The high priest, the cleric of those days, is literally God's representative before men and vice versa. When you mix blue (for God) and red (for man's sin), lo and behold, what do you get? Purple! The the middle color, so to speak! Eureka! Or better yet, Hallelujah!

Now consider what color clothing Jesus had to wear en-route to the Cross...let the Scripture takeover: "And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him" (Mark 15:17 ESV).

Quite unwittingly, Jesus' enemies were conveying a message as to Christ's mediatory role in the Almighty's redemptive plan by donning Him with purple cloth.


Of Covenant and Carry...

While the primary function of the Priest in Old Testament times entailed that he be a middleman between God and His covenanted people, men of the high priestly clan of Kohath (second son of Levi -- See Genesis 46:11) had some functions to perform in the affairs of the Tabernacle. The indispensable one amongst them was that of carrying the Ark of the Covenant (See Numbers 7:9). It needs to be noted here that while objects of the Holy Tabernacle such as the brazen altarand the bronze laver could be transported by an oxcart, the most holy Ark of the Covenant (the title itself says it all), which symbolized the very covenantal relationship between God and the chosen nation of Israel (the Ark virtually stood in the middle, as it were, as a witness to that relationship), had to be carried on the shoulders of those of the priestly clan. Mind you, not any other Levitical clan, like the Gershonites or the Merarites, but only the Kohathite clan, to which belonged Aaron, the high priest could carry the Ark. Any volition of this Law would entail severe punishment, as King David tragically would "discover" later (See 1 Chronicles 13/15:11-15)!

In our prevalent dispensation of Grace, the cross is the symbol of the covenant relationship between God and Christians. Period. "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14 ESV; See also Galatians 5:11). In this context, would not tears of gratitude flow copiously from our eyes when we consider the fact that our unparalleled high priest (related to the Kohathite clan through His mother's side -- See Luke 1:5, 36) also carried the New Testament "Ark of the Covenant", i.e. the Cross, on his shoulders? The Almighty, who can guide a King's heart like a stream of water (See Prov. 21:1) had doubtless historically moved a Roman rulers heart as well, to pass an edict on "the guilty" bearing their own cross, in order that the situation described in the Scripture (John 19:17) would come to pass. Our High Priest had to bear the covenant symbol of the Grace dispensation on His shoulders. The genesis of many of the startling New Testament events can be traced to acts which symbolized them in the Old Testament. However to grasp the beautiful meaning behind those acts and connect them to New Testament epoch-making events we need to make the Psalmist's prayer our own "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law." (Psalm 119:18 Borean Study Bible)

Prayer: Father, we glorify Thee for illumining our mind from time to time as we meditate on the Scriptures. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
As we proceed through this season of Lent, let's take the time to contemplate the centrality of the Cross. Please join us on Saturday for the final part of "Centrality of the Cross"!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 9:25 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 3, 2020
Centrality of the Cross, Part 3
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 
Dear Friends in our series titled "Centrality of the Cross", today we cast our spotlight on other related subject which underscores the significance of the Cross in God's redemption plan...

Condition and Conduct...

The penalty of the Cross, which requires that the condemned's "hands and legs be fastened by the nails to it", also in a way portrays the "middleman" role of the Saviour. In the Cross, the condemned man's head neither touches the sky nor do his legs touch the ground. 1 Tim. 2:5 tells us: "There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity--the man Christ Jesus." (NLT). Thus, Jesus, while on the cross, was is right in the middle between God above and man below. Amazing, isn't it! My Saviour paid the price in order that I might be liberated from both the clutches of sin and the demands of the law (1 Cor. 15:54-57)!

When Jesus was crucified along with two other criminals, it was not for the first time nor was it for the last time that three men were being crucified simultaneously in the annals of Roman history. The intent behind putting the sinless one on the middle cross was the wicked reasoning of His enemies that he was the worst criminal of them all, for the middle cross would usually be assigned to the most dangerous of the three criminals. It was meant to rub salt, virtually and figuratively, into the copiously bleeding wounds of Christ. The Almighty, however, has a way of weaving even the crooked ideas of hard-hearted men into the overall beautiful tapestry that His plan of Salvation represents.

To the redemptive work of Christ on the central cross, there has historically always been, and can be only be, two types of responses. These responses are personified by the words of the two criminals who hung on either side: The one of rejection: "One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, 'So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself--and us, too, while you’re at it!'" (Luke 23:39 NLT) and other of re-creation: "But the other criminal protested, 'Don't you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn't done anything wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.'" (Luke 23:40-43 NLT).

Dear Reader, when you look at the person dying for the sins of mankind, like the hard-core criminal to the left of Jesus who wanted only physical deliverance from the excruciating death, you can choose to remain in sin and look at Christ as merely a solver of worldly problems. Hey, even today many would want to follow Christ if only the "prosperity gospel" is preached instead of the rightful "gospel of adversity" (See Acts 14:22.) Is it not a fact that there are many takers for the prosperity gospel, which is why "prosperity gospel" preachers are.... hmmmm..."prospering"? However we need to respond like the repentant thief and die to sin by accepting Jesus as the solver of the much graver, spiritual problem of sin in our lives. And yes...He would surely provide for the needs of those who make pleasing Him their number one priority (See Matt. 6:33).

To reject the redemptive Gospel or to be redeemed by it through repentence (see Acts 2:37-38) is the choice that is kept in front of all of us. Remember the decision we take here on this side of eternity determines our destiny on the other side of it.

Let's learn to cast our cares upon our Adonai God who is seated on the throne and in control of everything ("So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 1 Peter 5:6-7). Yes, let's also learn to worship in awe of Him who is Sovereign.

Prayer: Father, we seek Thy Son for salvation sake first and foremost. Enable us to always prioritize properly. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Please join us on Thursday for "Centrality of the Cross, Part 4" to see what the cross has to teach us about the "cloth", the "cleric" and the "covenant"!
 
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Welcome to the Nugget

February 29, 2020

Centrality of the Cross, Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Dear Friends, in our series titled "Centrality of the Cross", we focus on yet another subject which substantiates the fact as to how Cross was central to God's redemptive plan...


Of City and Clock...

Where else could God's Pascal Lamb (see 1 Cor 5:7) die other than in God's home, Jerusalem (See Psalm 132:13-14; and what other time could He die other than at 3 pm, just when the original Pascal lambs were slain in respective Jewish homes on the First Passover festival at evening time (See Exodus 12:1-6 -- Note that "evening" for Jews would mean 3pm-5pm)?

Jerusalem, by virtue of its location in the middle of the World (See Ezekiel 5:5), also typified Jesus' mediatory Ministry of bringing about reconciliation between the Holy God and sinful mankind (See 1 Tim 2:5).

Isaiah 6:1 tells us: "I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple." (NLT). At this stage, I intend to increase the intensity of the spotlight on the subject of Adonai God, the Sovereign One seated on the throne. It would stun many of us when we observe the sequence of events leading up to the Cross as to how the Almighty had everything in His Sovereign control in order everything takes place at the right place and in the right time.

To be more precise, let's consider the Scripture in the background of Jesus' arrest in the night before His crucifixion (See Luke 23:1-7) and His judgement of the High Priest (Matt 26:57-66). The next day morning, in the course of interrogation, Pilate finds out Jesus belongs to Galilee, and he sends Him to Herod Antipas the Governor of Galilee for settlement of the case.

Before we go any farther, let's take a look at the Geo-political "climate" at the time of Jesus' crucifixion. The Land of Palestine was divided by Rome into 6 provinces. Three were on the Western side of the River Jordan, Galilee, Samaria and Judea. The other three were on the Eastern side of the River Jordan: Iturea, Decapolis and Perea. While the Rome-appointed Governor for Judea and Samaria was Pontius Pilate with his headquarters at the Coastal city of Caesarea, the provinces of Galilee and Perea were under the Governorship of Herod Antipas with his headquarters in Tiberius. him stationed at Tiberius. And in case you aren't overly familiar the geography of ancient Israel, the distance from Caesarea to Jerusalem was 112 kms, while Tiberias to Jerusalem was 176 kms and Caesarea to Tiberias was 90 kms.

Now consider the magnitude of God's sovereignty over the sequence of events leading unto the Cross. If Pontius Pilate had not been in Jerusalem in the climactic hours before crucifixion, doubtless the Priests would have had to take Jesus to Caesarea, a good 112 kms from Jerusalem, to get the ruling of Pontius Pilate. We know this from the story of Paul, who was arrested in Jerusalem but taken to Caesarea for justice (See Acts 23:23-33). And there too, in the questioning process, Pontius Pilate would have discovered Jesus was from Galilee and would have directed the Jesus' accusers to take him to Herod Antipas in Tiberias, which is a good 90 kms away from Caesarea. Undoubtedly Herod Antipas, after examining Jesus, would have passed "the buck" back to Pontius Pilate. In all this ponder for a moment... tick –tock...tick-tock... the time would have been ticking away. Jesus, the God's Pascal lamb (See 1 Cor. 5:7), had to die in Jerusalem on the Passover between 3 and 5 pm, at God's appointed time. Now let's go on stitching together the probable sequence of events, had Pilate not been in Jerusalem...

Once Jesus would have been brought back to Caesarea, Pontius Pilate, under severe pressure from the highly influential Priestly class, would have "washed his hands" of Jesus, and the High priests, using the Pilate and the Roman Soldiers as their tool, would have crucified Jesus in Caesarea itself ... maybe as much as 2 days after after the subsequent Sabbath days were over. Bye Bye Divine plan of God's Paschal Lamb dying in Jerusalem at the appointed twilight time? No way!!! The Almighty Adonai God ensured that both the governors instrumental in the decision making process were in Jerusalem at the right time, because everything had to occur as per the pre-destined unalterable divine plan (See Acts 4:27-28)! Hallelujah!

Proverbs tells us: "The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases." (NLT). Thus, in the course of events of the cross, Adonai God proves that He can make the earthly authorities virtually dance to His tune without even their own knowledge . The earthly kings may undertake to do something to achieve their own selfish ends, but the Almighty can turn their actions around in such a way it would all fit His Greater plans. If not for Caesar Augustus' decree to take a census, Mary, in advanced stages of her pregnancy, would not have travelled all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem (for a pregnant lady a tough 90 miles journey complicated by a terrain dotted with hills and valleys), in order for the Saviour to be born only in Bethlehem, as per the prophecy, and not anywhere else (See Micah 5:2/Luke 2:1-7).

Historically speaking, during that Passover festivities both Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas came to Jerusalem for "selfish reasons", one "announced" and the other "secret". Firstly about the former...like in modern times, even 2000 years ago the politicians were all for PUBLIC PLEASING, and it was a custom for Rome-appointed Governors to "identify themselves with the Jews during their most prominent Festival time...the Passover" by being at Jerusalem (the temple city) and by coming up with public-pleasing gimmicks (See Matt 27:15). In the Indian context, do not our political leaders, all with an eye on the vote-bank, go the "extra-mile", announcing sops to some communities on the occasion of their festivals and participating in some parties like "Iftar" "Christmas" parties? Nothing has changed! Coming to the "secret" reason (now our Indian political leaders are innocent on this score), whenever lots of Jews are gathered in one place, one jingoistic shout of: "Freedom from Rome!" would be sufficient to spread the wildfire of rebellion against Rome. So the presence of large numbers of heavily-armed Roman soldiers on ground, along with mounted cavalry with gleaming swords under the personal supervision of Rome-appointed Governors, would serve as a deterrent to such nationalistic uprisings. In addition, they would make the crowd-control process that much easier. So there were Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas in Jerusalem rather then being in Caesarea and Tiberius, respectively, at just the right time. Ah, the bottom-line is that the Almighty was in complete control of keeping the authorities in the right place at the right time in order that the divine redemption plan, prepared even before the foundation of the world was laid, would be carried out at the right place and at the right time. Hallelujah!

Now let us also cast the spotlight on the timing of the 7th word uttered by our Saviour on the Cross: "By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, 'Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!' And with those words he breathed his last." (Luke 23:44-46 NLT). He was announcing His propitiatory death. The Messiah, who had said: "No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded" (John 10:18 NLT), was in complete control of the events surrounding Him, and being the Pascal Lamb, He laid down His life exactly at 3 pm!

Prayer: Father, we are awed by Thy sovereignty. Whenever we come across difficult situations in life, we need to simply cast all our cares on Thee knowing Thou art sovereign, having everything in Your control. We praise Thee in Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Please join us on Tuesday for "Centrality of the Cross, Part 3" to see what the cross has to teach us about "condition" and "conduct"!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 5:55 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 27, 2020

Centrality of the Cross, Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Jab tak rahega , Samosae mein Allu, tab thak rahega Bihar mein Lallu," (till potato remains in the Samosa, till then Lallu will remain in Bihar...an apt rustic translation befitting the person...) shouted the angry supporters of Lallu Prasad Yadav, the Chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal party and Ex-Chief Minister of Bihar State (the second largest in India in terms of Lok Sabha seats) some years ago (2013 to be more precise). He cried this even as he was being whisked away by the police from the Ranchi High court after having been convicted in the infamous fodder scam. A jail sentence of five years awaited him then, however this earthy, street-smart Political maverick has since made a strong comeback both in State and National politics! Now, for the catchy afore-mentioned slogan... The uninitiated Samosa with spiced, mashed potato filling in the centre is an Indian snack relished by every Indian from "Kashmir to Kanyakumari" (the Indian equivilent of "from Dan to Beersheba" See 1 Sam 3:20). Really what is in the centre makes the difference in a sandwich too, doesn't it?

Now coming to the spiritual realm in this Series of 5 parts, I wish to focus on the subjects related to the "Centrality of the Cross" in God's redemption plan. Firstly...


Of Cement and Conciliation...

Even though Adam, by sinking his teeth into the forbidden fruit, conveyed through his actions that he wanted to live independently of the very One who had given him life in the first place, our benevolent God has spoken all along in many different ways (see Heb 1:1) about the reconciliation He had planned between estranged mankind (represented by Adam) and Himself. That reconciliation would come through the cross. In other words, the cross was "central" to God's wise plan of Salvation, which would "cement" the broken relationship between Him and His prized creation, mankind.

With advancement of medical science, several startling medical truths are coming to the fore on a routine basis. One among them is that the protein, Laminin, which binds all the cells (keeping body together as one functional unit) virtually is a cross-shaped "cement". It is as though it suggests that in God's infinitely wise mind, the cross's eternal purpose all along had been one of "binding" between two parties (Him and Mankind).

Prayer: Father in Heaven, we praise thank Thee for planning for us the great redemption plan. Today we are your children because your Son completed the same on the Cross 2000 years ago. We once again glorify Thee for your infinite love and wisdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Please join us on Saturday for "Centrality of the Cross, Part 2" to see what the cross has to teach us about God's perfect timing!
 
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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Feb 2020, 1:08 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 25, 2020

Are you a People Pleaser?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last week I sat across the examining bed where my 90-year-old Mom waited for the doctor.

After a complete check-up, the nurse came in with a device to measure her eye pressure. A simple procedure that took seconds, but the results nearly knocked me off my chair.

"Hmmm," the nurse said, "the pressure in one eye is 54."

Fifty-four? The normal range is between 15 to 20.

I pulled out my cell and requested transportation to her ophthalmologist. Hours later, my Mom sat in his examining chair. "Chin here and forehead on the bar please," he said. "The eye pressure is perfectly fine."

What happened?

The nurse at the previous doctor's office used the incorrect devise, unreliable and pitifully inaccurate.

How many times have we done the same--use the wrong measuring device? Often, we look to the world to measure our sense of worth. We look to our job to bring fulfillment. We hope that pleasing our family will bring satisfaction. And we trust that pleasing our spouse will bring happiness.

Unaware, we use each of these as the device to measure our sense of contentment and fulfillment.

Why do we do it?

Because we want something in return. We hope the outcome will fill our need for validation.

But do we find it?

Hardly. In fact, rather than gratification, disappointment comes instead.

What went wrong? Did we choose to please others before pleasing God?

I invite you to take the test:

Do you fall in these categories?

1. With the best intentions dancing in your heart, do you put your trust in others? Careful because..."This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength. And whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; He will not see prosperity when it comes.'" (Jeremiah 17:5-6 NIV).

2. Does the validation and approval from those around you increase your self-confidence? "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44 NIV).

3. Are you fearful others will criticize or judge you? "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25 NIV).

4. Are you a people pleaser--eager to do what others want and expect? "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12:43 NIV).

5. Is pleasing God part of your daily plan? Do you share in Paul's self-reflection: "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10 NIV)

Pleasing God first brings the ultimate pleasure for the heart. Serving others is the sacrifice that brings joy with no expectations in return.

Let's Pray: Father, thank you for the wisdom to choose to please You above all. Guard my attitude from wanting to seek validation from others. In Jesus' name, amen.

Whom do you long to please these days?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Why is the cross the central part of Christianity? Join us on Thursday for Part 1 of "Centrality of the Cross", a Mini-Sermon by Suresh Manoharan
 
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