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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 8:20 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 22, 2020

Life-Giving Stream
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    While I was taking a walk in the park, I noticed a pair of swans just over the fence. They were drinking water from a stream which flowed down from the hills above the town. The water was fresh and clean.

The swans had been swimming around in the sea which is salt water and contaminated with all sorts of rubbish of plastic containers etc. The swans had the sense to leave the filth of the sea to get a good supply of fresh water to drink.

I began to think of the sea, with all its rubbish and pollution, and likened it to the world of sin in which we live. It's so easy to become contaminated with the filth of sin in our world. We are surrounded by it. The Internet, TV., magazines etc. all have the potential to contaminate us if we are not careful.

We don't need to get contaminated. The swans prove this to us because they are in the contaminated sea and yet stay pure white. Their secret lies in the words of a hymn that came to mind as I thought about this message:

Springs of Living Water -- by John W. Peterson
    I thirsted in the barren land of sin and shame,
    And nothing satisfying there I found;
    But to the blessed cross of Christ one day I came,
    Where springs of living water did abound.

    Drinking at the streams of living water,
    Happy now am I, my soul they satisfy;
    Drinking at the streams of living water,
    O wonderful and bountiful supply.

"Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV)

As I watched, I realized that the swans hadn't stopped to drink until they had made their way far enough up the stream to where the fresh water was no longer mixed with the contaminated sea water. The message I was getting was that as Christians, we should not live our lives too near the sinful practises of the world. We should get as close to the source of the living stream which is Christ. Drink from Him, the fountain which is pure and clean.

The good news is, we can have all our sins washed away in the stream and also drink from it.

O Christ, He is the Fountain -- By Anne Ross Cousin
    Oh Christ, He is the fountain,
    The deep sweet well of love!
    The streams on earth I've tasted,
    More deep I'll drink above.
    There to an ocean fullness
    His mercy doth expand,
    And glory, glory dwelleth
    In Immanuel's land!

Donnie Black
  
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 10:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 20, 2020

Walk the Road
 
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)

I had the strangest dream last night. I was walking down a dirt road with snowy woods on either side of me. I was all alone. The road seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t see another person anywhere. All at once, however, I saw someone walking towards me in the distance. As this person got closer and closer I realized that it was me. It was me from many years ago, fresh faced and young. I could see in his mind all the dreams and hopes that he had too. They had, after all, once been my own.

I was overjoyed. I had so many things I wanted to say to this younger me. I wanted to spare him the trials I had gone through, the pain I had suffered, and the mistakes I had made. I wanted to share with him all that I had learned over the long years of my life. I wanted to show him how his life would turn out so much differently than what he had thought and hoped it would, but that it would be so much better and happier than the path he was now on. I wanted him not to waste so many years on the things his ego thought were so vital but instead to realize that love was the most important thing in this life.

I opened my mouth to say all of these things but couldn’t. I realized at that moment that even if I told him he wouldn’t believe me. He would have to walk the road I had walked, learn the things I had learned, and go through all I had gone through. He would have to find God in his own way and in his own time. I let him walk on by and watched as he disappeared in the distance. Then I turned to continue on my own way and woke up.

In this life there are no shortcuts. We all have to walk the road. We all have to travel through sorrow as well as joy. We all have to learn to love. We all have to grow into who we were meant to be. It takes our whole lives. Yet, it is a journey worth making.

Joseph J. Mazzella  
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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 5:10 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 18, 2020

Is Death the End?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "I think I'm about to lose my job," a friend told me, "The writing is on the wall."

"Goodness, I'm so sorry," I said. "If that happens, just remember that God has a plan for your life."

After a long pause he said, "I don't believe in God. I think man invented a god to use as a crutch."

He continued with his perception of evolution that in his mind erased any notion of God's creation.

I got a little bold and asked if evolution was indeed true, and if we "evolved" and eventually became a greater and greater "being" why is it we're not physically getting better and better every day? And why are we all aging and, without exception, we all ultimately die?

No answer.

So, I asked..."What happens when you die?"

"Nothing, that's it," he said.

Yikes! How's that for hope and for reassurance?

To live your life only until you physically die is like preparing and packing for a vacation only to spend it at the airport.

No one would do such a crazy thing.

But living with the notion that physical death is the end can only end up sinking in subtle hopelessness--no life after the last breath. No expectation of heaven where the best awaits. No joy anticipating all suffering to end.

How can we believe this life has meaning if we don't find meaning in God's promise when He says?

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him Who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24 NIV).

My friend lost his job.

He stuck to his beliefs and found solace in his beer.

No judging here because in my college days, I was just like him. When taking Insecurity 101, I deserved an A. Those insecure thoughts led me to find comfort in relationships, boyfriends and attention from the opposite sex.

No wonder God says we're lost until we find Him. Until we let go of our pride and welcome His passionate love instead.

Filled with that love, we face this world. Life doesn't turn perfect, in fact, it can turn ugly. It did for me. But glorious comfort came when I started hanging out with Jesus, relishing in His Word that sang to my heart and His genuine love that kept me company at night.

Then I could embrace the truth that no matter what happens or doesn't happen in this life, eternity is ours.

My friend believes there's only death after life. God says there's life after death. And to welcome us to that unending glory, He prepared a mansion in heaven. With the pen of Jesus' love, our name is written on the door.

Let's pray: Father, thank you for the freedom to believe in you, for the security found in the promise of life eternal and thank you for each moment's reassurance that we're drawing closer to the best. In Jesus' name, amen.

What truth dominates your heart these days?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 11:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 13, 2020

Share Your Story...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "C'mon, tell them your story," my friend nudged me.

I smiled but my heart said no.

How could I share my story with these two teenagers who showed up to collect for a camping trip? They had knocked at the door, hoping to get some money and be on their way.

But my friend, who hosted me in her house, insisted. "Come in. Have a seat," she said to them, "wait till you hear this story."

I squirmed. This audience of two was not eager to sit through the details of my transition from sighted to blind. I grinned with an apologetic smile. But, having no choice, I began to relate my journey including God's redeeming love and spiritual healing.

"She's crying," my friend whispered to me when I finished.

For obvious reasons, I had no idea the young girl had only one eye. The girls stayed and stayed, telling us their own story, and the trauma they had endured brought tears to our eyes.

"God brought us to this house for a reason," they said. "We know He's real."

That night they found hope. And I found a hint of the power of God when we put aside our resistance to tell what He has done.

And He has done something for all of us, big or small, powerful or light. We all have a detail that shines of His goodness. We all have crossed from some valley to a mountain top. And because He took us through that journey, He says, tell it. Don't hide it. Show it because "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV).

Opportunities to show His light surround us. They whisper to us. And call us to still believe, still be bold, and still know He goes before us in moments trivial to us, but mighty for Him

From now on, rather than hesitate, these words will echo in me: "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:12-13 NIV).

Let's Pray...Father, remove from me any hesitation to share what You have done for me. Open more doors to tell of Your faithfulness and Your goodness at work. In Jesus' name, amen.

What part of your story does God want you to share?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.
  
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 11, 2020

Because of Jesus Christ's Work...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:33b-34 NIV)

When you go to the same grocery store every week, you usually will begin to know the cashiers well. They will learn how you like your groceries put in the bag, and they will do it for you. Now in most places, we have to pay for the bags. So if we say we don't want bags, they cashiers don't bother loading up the groceries for us. The groceries just stay sitting on the cashier's conveyor belt.

It seems like all good things change. Not so with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Heb. 13:8 NIV)

As a result of our unchanging God, Salvation and eternal life are secure for the believer because of the following seven works of Jesus Christ:

1. Christ came to this Earth: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6 NIV) (See also Matthew 1:18-23, Luke2:7, Matthew 2:11-12)

2. Christ died for our sin. His life was delivered as payment for our transgressions: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5 NIV); "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)

3. Christ was raised from death to life: "But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 'Don't be alarmed,' he said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."'" (Mark 16:4-7 NIV). He was raised for our justification.

4. Christ is seated at the right hand of God. In our passage today, Paul tells us Jesus, "…is at the right hand of God" (Rom. 8:34 NIV). We also know from Mark 16:19: "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God." (NIV) If by comparison we look at the temple or the tabernacle as described in the Old Testament, we see no seat -- no place to sit. Why? Because the work of the Old Testament priest would never be finished. However, just before He died, our Great High Priest Jesus Christ said: "It is finished." (John 19:30 NIV). So why is Jesus seated? Because the work is finished!

5. We can ask our Heavenly Father in his name: "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13 NIV)

6. Christ is interceding for us: "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 6:19-20 NIV) Did you pray this morning? If not, you should have. But not to worry, whether you did or did not -- because Christ is right now making intercessions for us to to be in lawful right for us to come back to God.

In John 10, Jesus illustrates how the shepherd cares for his flock, protecting them from weather, thieves, and predatory animals. He loves and shields them, and if necessary, he would even lay down his life for them. Jesus is the good shepherd to His believers just as the shepherds were of their livestock. A shepherd tended his flock day and night. He would gather the sheep into a sheepfold at night for their protection. The sheepfold was a pen, a cave, or an area backed by stone walls. Since there were no doors, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening, ready to guard his sheep from harm.

Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him.

7. Jesus Christ went to our Heavenly Father's house to prepare a place for us: "My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2,3 NIV)

These seven works of Jesus Christ are the reasons why no one -- before God -- can condemn the acts of His chosen people. We have been forgiven. Period.

Let's pray: Heavenly Father, thank You. May we never forget your extraordinary strategy to save us through Jesus Christ...As it's written in Hebrew 4:16: "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV). In Jesus' name, amen.

Sophie Chun Ngeth
San Bernardino, CA  
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 1:39 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 08, 2020

Water-Skiing
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    As a kid, water-skiing was my favorite sport. There was something in the thrill of gliding over the water, jumping over the wake, taking the gentle waves in my knees...

Just the thought makes me want to go out water-skiing...

One memory that has never left me is the memory of being in the water, crouched around my ski with the ski tip between the two rope handles as I waited for the boat to take off and lift me up out of the water. Usually we wouldn't ski if the water was too rough; however, most lakes in the busy southern California region where I grew up were busy, and even on calm days, the waters were troubled with the rolling waves created by the wakes of other boats. Each of these waves would rock me from side to side and fill my eyes with spray.

As I think back, I am reminded of how I still, to this day, don't like water in my eyes. Nonetheless, that spray didn't faze me in the least when I was connected via rope to the back of that ski boat. I recall simply blinking the water away in excited anticipation of the roar of the motor and the surge of power that would draw me out of the water. No, there was no way I would let anything pull my eyes away from that boat...

Funny how my desire to keep my eyes on that boat made such a difference...

As I go through the various trials that I am deemed to traverse at this stage in my life, it occurs to me how much each wave of trouble seems just like a wave of water washing over me, spraying into my eyes, stinging, blurring my vision...I try, with some success, to keep my eyes on Jesus, but with each new wave of trouble, it can be harder to see Him. After all, who can see anything with stinging eyes and blurred vision?

I have to admit that the majority of the time I "close my eyes" against the "burning" and "blurred vision" caused by the waves of trouble in life. And when I do manage to open them, all I see is the water in my eyes--or perhaps the next wave of trouble bearing down upon me...

But wait. Just like I was connected to the ski boat via the rope, am I not connected to Jesus? And just like I knew that the ski boat would soon lift me out of the water, don't I also have the assurance that God will draw me out of my problems, causing me to glide over the top of the waves of trouble? "He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he subdues the nations under me and rescues me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents." (Ps. 18:47,48 NLT)

Hum. In the moments (hours...days...weeks...months...years...) of testing, perhaps I would do well to remember the time in the water waiting for the ski boat to lift off. Perhaps I need to just blink the trouble from my eyes, ever keeping them fixed on Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of my faith (See Heb. 12:2) in joyful anticipation of the moment that He will pull me up out of the water and cause me to glide over the waves of trouble. Perhaps I should put my attention on gripping the "rope", the "anchor" as it were, my hope that extends into the inner sanctuary, behind the veil, where Jesus is interceding on my behalf (See Heb. 6:18b-20)!

It's true that while in the water, the rope was often slack in my hands and didn't seem to be doing anything. Interestingly, the thought would never have occurred to me to let go. If I did, I would never be brought up out of the water! In the same way, sometimes it feels like that "anchor" isn't grounded on anything. It is easy to become discouraged and to consider dropping that hold on Jesus. It doesn't matter, however, how slack the rope to our anchor of hope may be. It doesn't matter that it doesn't seem to be doing anything. If we let go, we will never be drawn up out of the waters and waves of troubles!

There is always that waiting phase while we wait for God to come through. During that waiting time, don't let go of the rope, your hope. Instead, keep your eyes on the "boat", Jesus Christ, and when the next wave of trouble washes over you, just blink your eyes to get the water out, ever knowing that He will soon "roar" into life and pull you out so that you can glide over the top of the waves of circumstance!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 6:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 30, 2010

What Jesus has to Say: The Pearl, Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Tuesday, in The Pearl, Part 1, we saw that pearls are only formed in an oyster that has been inflicted with some type of an irritant. We also saw that pearls are symbols of wisdom, something that is to be sought after and loved like a sister (See Prov. 3:13-18, 7:4), and we came to understand that the "irritants" of life, those bad circumstances that have been thrown our way, are there in order to help us gain wisdom and understanding.

I recognize, however, that no one would choose the kind of trouble that has been forced on to our plates, even for the sake of gaining wisdom. Just what does the Bible actually teach about how pearls are viewed and grown, and to what extent they should be valued?

Jesus used the pearl in two of His parables. In Matt. 13:45-46, He tells the parable of the Pearl of Great Price: "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!" (NLT). In this text, we see an image of one of God's children putting aside all worldly wealth to in order to obtain the pearl he has found.

This parable is but one of several presented in Matt. 13 that Jesus is using to help us understand the Kingdom of God, and it teaches us to what extent we must seek this "pearl", and that those who expect salvation must be willing to give up all!

It is iteresting to note that the merchant in Jesus' parable was also "on the lookout for choice pearls". He wasn't looking for rubies or diamonds that occur naturally in the ground, but rather, he sought the only gem that grows as a result of irritations and trials.

This already gives us serious food for thought, but the symbolism goes even deeper. To understand the fully meaning behind this parable, it is important to understand that the pearl was not particularly valued by the Jews. Because the oyster comes from the water and does not have fins and scales, it is considered to be unclean (See Lev. 11:12). In the same way that the pearl was "unclean", it is said of Jesus: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem." (Is. 53:2b,3 NIV). Jesus paid a very steep price of suffering that we might be saved, and it was only through His suffering and pain that He could become our Salvation!

Jesus is our ultimate example (See 1 Peter 2:21), and in light of what He suffered for the ultimate good, should we, mere human beings, try to avoid the problems that come our way? Or should we, like the merchant of Jesus' parable--should we, like Jesus Himself--seek the ultimate gain at all cost to ourselves?

Jesus' other parable about pearls is recorded in Matt. 7: "Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs!" (Matt. 7:6 NLT). Remember that the "pearl" can be seen as representative of Jesus' suffering and pain as Jesus goes on to say: "They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you." (Matt. 7:8 NLT). Here we begin to understand how many are blinded to the value of the pearl, to the importance of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.

In much the same way, we are not overly anxious to go through the trials and hard times that are required for us to develop the pearls of wisdom that Solomon encourages us to seek. Some of us are so prideful that we resist what our negative circumstances have to teach us. In His parable about the pearls and the swine, Jesus is teaching us that we must have a heart that is open and searching or we won't even recognize that the pearls of wisdom that can only develop from trials and hard times are of any value at all!

Thus, as we consider this, we must again ask ourselves: What should we do when the "irritations" of trouble are forced upon us? Will we be like most living creatures and watch and worry as it festers and spreads? Will we try to remove it, and in the process, remove some of ourselves as well? Or will we, like the oyster, allow the negative circumstances to form a pearl? A pearl of wisdom, a pearl of great price, a pearl worth all cost to ourselves? A pearl whose value may not be recognized by the world?

It's a hard question. And if you're still not convinced that the trials are worth the gain, I do not blame you. I ask you to join us, however, on Saturday for "The Pearl, Part 3" for one final lesson the Bible has to teach us about pearls.

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 28 Jan 2020, 11:46 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 28, 2020

Pearls of Wisdom: The Pearl, Part 1
 
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    I was thinking today about the pearl.

As most of you probably already know, a pearl is developed when some kind of a foreign object, such as a grain of sand or a bit of food matter, slips between one of the outer shells of the oyster and its mantle--the protective layer that covers its organs. In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster immediately begins covering the irritating object with layers of the same mineral substance that fashions the oyster's shell. This substance is called "nacre", or "mother-of-pearl", and as each layer of nacre is put down, the beautiful, iridescent gem is formed.

Two things about the pearl really hit home to me today. First of all, not all oysters have pearls. The only ones that will grow a pearl are the ones that are inflicted--either accidentally, as in the case of a natural pearl, or embedded as in the case of a cultured pearl--with an irritant. Secondly, it is interesting that not only is the oyster the only creature that will develop a pearl in the face of irritation, but the pearl is the only precious jewel that grows in a living organism in response to irritation...

We are all familiar with "irritations" that are introduced into our lives. Our "grain of sand" may look like chemotherapy, divorce, loss of your home or job, death of loved ones, etc., but whatever it may be, in the face of these "irritations", we just want them to go away. What if we were to learn from our oyster friends that these "irritations" are really occasions to grow a "pearl"?

But wait. This isn't a fair comparison. How can a human grow a pearl?

We have often heard the term, "pearls of wisdom". www.merriam-webster.com defines these "pearls" as "wise words or statements", and www.thefreedictionary.com describes them as "an important piece of advice". Of course, while in the midst of those "irritations" that are introduced into our lives, wisdom is something we long for. Just like the oyster's response to irritation is to grow a pearl, could the very wisdom we crave actually become a product of the "irritations" we are experiencing? Is the pain and suffering really worth the tiny bit of wisdom we might glean from these "irritations"?

Interestingly, wisdom is highly valued in the Bible. Check out the following passage from Proverbs:

"Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly." (Prov. 3:13-18 NLT)

Proverbs has many more choice things to say about wisdom, and we are even advised to: "Love wisdom like sister..." (Prov. 7:4 NLT)

Could it be that without the irritations, we would likely either never receive or never accept the "pearls of wisdom" that develop from the trials?

It's an interesting thought.

Perhaps, however, the key question is this: As we endure the frightening circumstances that are thrown into our lives, will our reaction be like the majority of living creatures? Will we try to remove the irritant? Will we try to ignore it? Will we worry as we watch it fester and become infected? Or will our reaction to the irritant be like the oyster? Will we allow those bad circumstances to form into "pearls of wisdom"?

I recognize that no one would choose the kind of trouble that has been forced on our plates, even for the sake of gaining wisdom. I invite you to join us on Thursday for The Pearl, Part 2, to see what the Bible actually teaches about how these pearls are viewed and grown, and to what extent they should be valued.
In His love,
Lyn
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 7:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 25, 2020

Feeling your Prayers are...Ineffective?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    In a recent email, a friend made the statement that he often considers his own prayers to be relatively ineffectual.

I have to admit that I was a tiny bit relieved to receive this email...So it isn't just my prayers that aren't answered!

Yes, I can certainly relate. I've even gone so far as to beg God to show me why my prayers are not effective. Am I praying with a prideful heart? Are my prayers too selfish? Does God not love me enough to answer my prayers?

This friend's email made me think, however. Shouldn't my prayers be effective? Shouldn't the prayers of all believers be effective? After all, the Bible tells says that, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16b NIV)!

Wait. This text specifically states the prayer of a righteous person is effective. Is this my problem? Am I simply not righteous enough?

Not at all!

The Bible teaches that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are clothed with His righteousness. Consider the following: "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness..." (Is. 61:10 NIV; See also Zech 3:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24, etc.) This means that anyone who has accepted Jesus is righteous in God's eyes, for we have Jesus' righteousness!

No, righteousness isn't the reason our prayers seem ineffective, for saying we aren't "righteous enough" is, in essence, saying the Jesus isn't "righteous enough"!

So if my righteousness isn't in question, why does it feel like my prayers are so ineffective?

So often in His ministry on earth, Jesus rebuked human-kind for their lack of faith (See Mark 4:40, Matt. 8:26; Luke 8:25, etc). The Bible even records that He didn't do many miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith (See Matt. 13:58). On the other hand, He commended others for their faith, and their prayers were answered (See Matt. 15:22-29; Luke 7:1-10)!

Thus, when we doubt God's ability to answer prayers, our doubt blocks His ability to answer those prayers; and to put this in context of our own prayers, doubting their effectiveness is what is actually making them ineffective!

Now that's a solemn thought!

I type this, I realize that there is yet another reason why I am tempted to think my prayers are ineffective...

When my prayers haven't yet been answered, these unanswered prayers so cloud my mind that I have trouble seeing beyond them. But when I truly push aside all the unanswered prayers, I see something totally different, something that the enemy does not wish for me to see: I see the thousands upon thousands of my prayers that God has answered...

Take, for example, a couple of Mondays ago. A friend's daughter was under spiritual attack. I felt led to spend the day fasting and prayer for her. At the same time, I also prayed for six other things: for my mom to be healed of colon cancer, for the issues my son was going through, that my daughter-in-law would receive the full-time job she had applied for, that my house to sell, that a friend would receive full-time work, and for some of my own health issues. By Thursday of that same week, my friend's daughter had been delivered from the spiritual attack, my mom was declared free of colon cancer, my daughter-in-law received her full-time job, and the issues in my son's life resolved.

Wow!

But do you think I could see these answers to my prayers?

Not at all.

I was too busy focusing on the fact that my prayers for the sale of the house, for my own health issues, and for my friend's job had not been answered! I was pretty sure this was because my prayers were "ineffectual"! Meanwhile, I was being totally blinded to the fact that God had driven out demons, removed cancer, opened doors of opportunity and secured full-time employment, all as a result of my prayers...

Let's remember that there is an enemy who wants nothing more than to make us believe our prayers are ineffectual. When we fall for his lies, our prayers do, indeed, lose power. Please join me today in renouncing the lies that our prayers are ineffective. Instead, let's put our faith 100% in God's ability and desire to answer ALL our prayers: "And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for." (1 John 5:15 NLT). Let's put our faith in the fact that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we take His righteousness as our own. Let's mediate on the truth that we are righteous, and that as a result, our prayers are powerful and effective. And in case of any lingering doubt, take a few moments and ask God to show you a few of your prayers that He has answered! You'll be amazed at how long that list is in comparison to the list of not-yet-answered prayers...

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Jan 2020, 12:02 am

Welcome to the Nugget

January 14, 2020

Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "All these things happened to them as examples--as object lessons to us--to warn us against doing the same things; they were written down so that we could read about them and learn from them in these last days as the world nears its end." (I Cor. 10:11 TLB)

At the very outset of this message, I would like to state that it may surprise some (not very familiar with the chronological order of NT Books) that when Apostle Paul penned those immortal words, "All Scripture is God-inspired..." (2 Tim 3:16), the New Testament section of the Bible in its present form was not yet fully compiled. For instance, "books", such as John's Gospel and the Book of Revelation, had not yet been written. So what exactly did Apostle Paul have in mind when he wrote those epochal (figuratively speaking) words? Obviously the Jewish Scriptures, the ones we would call the "Old Testament".

Whilst meditating on the afore-referred Scripture, which is all about "learning from the History of the Nation of Israel", it would serve those of us in the present age well to remember that the unchanging Lord we are serving is the same Lord of the Old Testament Scriptures. He still blesses the obedient, but sets Himself up against the proud (James 4:6b/1 Peter 3:12 TLB).

Since our Heavenly Father is the same unchanging One all throughout the Scriptures, do we, then, see similarities between the people of the Old Covenant (read the Sinai Covenant) and the ones of the New one, especially in the matter of Lord's dealings with them?

"Yes" would be the affirmative answer!

In this series of 4 parts, with the concerned sub-headings therein beginning with the alphabet "D", I will endeavor to bring forward similarities between the "Church of the bygone covenant..." (See Acts 7:38) and the Church of the existing covenant. We will begin with the "principal actors'" of the respective covenants...


Deliverers...

Both Moses and Jesus have been used by the Almighty as "Deliverers'". Moses was used by the Almighty to deliver the people of Israel from the Egyptian slavery (Pharoah was an agent of the Devil) to be His own "property": "Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.' This is the message you must give to the people of Israel." (Ex. 19:5,6 NLT). Our Heavenly Father then used our Saviour to deliver us from the bondage to the world of Satan to be His exclusive "property" as well: "But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[a] a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9 NLT).

If functionally both of the the "main initiators" of the two covenants were similar, then one would observe stark similarities with respect to other aspects of their lives as well. Remember the words of Moses, that God would raise up a "similar" prophet? (See Deut. 18:18-20). Here are some of the similarities we find between Moses and Jesus:

1. Mother: The adopted mother of Moses, with whom Moses would spend much of his childhood and youth time, was also a virgin when she rescued Moses (see Ex. 2:1-10). Mary, the mother of Jesus was a virgin at the time of Jesus' birth (see Luke 1:26-45)

2. Mortal Danger: As a child, Moses faced mortal danger from Egyptian King Pharaoh, but was miraculously saved by the Almighty (see Ex. 2:1-10). Similarly, as a child, Jesus faced mortal danger from the Judean King Herod, but was miraculously saved by the Heavenly Father (See Matt. 2:1-21)

3. Marriage: Moses married a non-Jewish lady (See Ex. 2:15-21), while the bride of Christ Jesus, the church, is also non-Jewish (see Gal. 3:28/Col. 3:11)

4. Miracles: Both performed awesome miracles.

5. Mount of transfiguration: At Mount Sinai, Moses had the transfiguration experience, which created fear amongst his close associates, even Aaron (See Exo 34:29-30). Jesus' mount of transfiguration was Mount Tabor, where His experience created fear amongst His closest associates, Peter, James and John (See Mark 9:2-6)

6. Mediator: Moses always played the fervent intercessor (See Ex. 32:30-32), while Jesus perpetually plays the role of passionate intercessor (See John 2:1).

7. Methodology: The Old Covenant was given first to Moses in written form, and then onto the Jews (See Ex. 24:4/Ex. 31:18/Ex. 34:1). The New Covenant is being "written" in the hearts of Christians as per the prophecy (See Jer. 31:33) was first "written down" in the heart of the Messiah (see Ps. 40:6-8)!

8. Meekness: Moses was the meekest man on Planet Earth during his time (See Num. 12:3). The Hebrew word for meekness used in this passage is Anav which means, 'meekness borne not out of weakness'. It is actually a condition of someone who is constantly bowed down under constant pressure, like a branch weighed down by fruit. The huge burden of leadership led to this fruitful spiritual condition in Moses. While we read Number 12:3, let's remember the fact he was more "weighed down" than anyone else, lest anyone of us misconstrue that Moses was "proud" of his humility. Without retaliation, Moses would intercede for the very ones' who would look down upon him or persecute him. (See Numbers 12:1-13/Numbers 14:1-19). Jesus was the meekest on Planet Earth in His generation (See Matt. 11:29). The Greek word for Praus used in this passage also means "bowed down fruitful condition" wrought by heavy responsibilities. The constant realization of the responsibility of becoming "sin itself" for Mankind would weigh heavily on the Saviour's shoulders from Eternity onwards (see Rev. 13:8/John 12:27)! Without retaliation, Jesus would intercede for the very ones who would look down upon him or persecute him. (See Matt. 11:29/Luke 23:34)

9. Mass Tragedy: Those who wouldn't listen to Moses' words on occupying Canaan died en masse in the Wilderness journey barring two men (see Numbers 13-14/Numbers 26:64-65). Likewise, those Jews who wouldn't accept the words of Christ that He is the Saviour (see John 14:6) perished en masse in the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem (See Acts 3:22-23). Those Christians who wouldn't walk as per the Holy instructions of Christ would also perish (see 1 Cor. 11:30).

10. Mount of Death: Moses died atop Mount Nebo (See Deut. 34:1-5), and Jesus atop Mount Calvary (See Matt. 27:33-35).

11. Massacre: Moses was used by the Almighty to bury the army of the first World super power--the army of Egypt--in the Red Sea (See Ex. 14:26-28). Jesus will be used by the Almighty to slaughter the army of the final super power at Armageddon...the army of Anti-Christ (See Rev. 19:11-21) (Note, The 7 heads of the Red Dragon, Satan, depict the 7 World powers Egypt, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, Romans and the Revived Roman Empire (Anti-Christ), which are inimical to God's people. (See Rev. 12:3).

Of course, so many similarities aside, one ought not to forget the fact that the Messiah, the Son of God, never failing even once in the obedience front (See Heb. 4:15), is greater than the great Servant of God, who would falter once in the face of severe provocation (See Numbers 20:2-13, Heb. 3:3-5)!

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Join us next Thursday to learn how Depth, Destination and Difficulties all show us the similarities between the two covenants in "Similarities...ALL the Way! Part 2". 
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Post  Admin on Tue 07 Jan 2020, 7:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 7, 2020

Storms of Life
 
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    I enjoy thunderstorms. My backyard faces west so I have a good view of darkening clouds and distant flashes of lightning as inclement weather draws near. Then finally when the storm arrives, I watch with intrigue as the sky bristles with lightning, followed by sharp cracks of rolling thunder. And no I'm not outside observing from under a tree! But as I watch from my patio door, safely inside I should add, I can never help but marvel at the power and majesty of God's creation.

I've often watched blue sky or stars quickly re-appear following a bout of unstable weather, which yes, leads me to the analogy you knew was coming! Just like stormy conditions outside, there are times in life where we all experience gut wrenching, knock-down and often times faith crippling situations inside; unwanted baggage which results from a multitude of unsavory life experiences.
So let me ask you this; when the elements thunderclap into your life, what do you do?

Perhaps you become sour at God for allowing such tribulation? I have. Or maybe you sometimes feel that by praying, attending church, reading your bible, doing unto others- you get the idea; that these things should equate to a divinely enhanced protection package? I have the t-shirt(s) and sense I'm not alone.

But then a verse comes to mind when storms crash in around me. Jesus says this, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NLT)

There's a ton of wisdom and comfort in those words and we can be at peace knowing the Lord has our backs, that even though life is filled with stormy weather, we can take heart because our Savior has already claimed victory in our lives.

A friend going through a very difficult time recently told me, "I want all the tests to now become testimonies." That's a beautiful statement and prayer we should all adopt. She understands that God will never waste her life experiences, that he will come alongside her and ultimately turn all for good according to his plan and purpose.

When life becomes difficult, place your faith in Jesus. When lightning and thunder threaten to destroy your peace, The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8 NLT)

My father liked to say, "It will come to pass," and he's right. Trials and sorrows in life are inevitable, but just like passing storms overhead, our Redeemer tells us to take heart as we await clear skies and allow him to work out the intricate details of our lives.

Let God's peace be your greatest defence when storms brew.

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jan 2020, 1:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 4, 2020

When God Seems so far Away...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    We've all been there, maybe we're there now, and most certainly we will be there sometime in the upcoming New Year: Up to our eyeballs in troubles, and it seems that the more we cry out to God, the farther away He seems. Or perhaps it is wisdom we seek. There is a vital decision to be made, one that could have huge ramifications on the rest of our lives; but when we ask God what to do? Total silence. Is He even hearing our prayers? Have we--lost God?

Jesus' parents knew how we feel. They--quite literally--lost Jesus. He had been with His parents to Jerusalem for the Passover, and when they left, He wasn't with them. The Bible records: "But when he didn't show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there." (Luke 2: 43b-44 NLT).

What is interesting is that His parents didn't even realize He was missing at first: "After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn't miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers..." (Luke 2:42-43 NLT). We don't know how far Mary and Joseph had gone from Jerusalem before they realized Jesus wasn't with them, but we know that in the very least, they were already on their road home. We also know that they even when they realized He wasn't with them, they waited until evening to get worried, assuming He was simply with His friends!

If I think back to the times in my life when it seemed that God was completely absent, when I am certain that I misplaced Him somewhere, I have to admit that in all honesty, I may not even be asking God for help/wisdom/etc. until things begin to get critical, and even then, when I don't find Him right away, I just keep pressing on, assuming that He'll be there at just the right times!

But Jesus wasn't there in the evening, and neither is God there when I finally start to seek Him earnestly. What then? Is it simply, "yeah, impeccable timing, God!" Or is there some other reason why God appears to be so absent at the most inconvenient times?

The Bible records Mary and Joseph searched three days for Jesus without finding even the slightest hint of where He might be: "...they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him..." (Luke 2:45b, 46a NLT). And I can totally relate! Especially if there is an important decision to be made or a critical problem that isn't going way. Sometimes those three days stretch to three weeks, even three months...And in one instance that comes to mind, God has been silent for three years, and is still silent!

So what do we do?

Mary and Joseph give us the answer: "...they finally discovered him in the Temple..." (Luke 2:46b NLT)!

What do we do when Jesus seems so far away? When it seems we've "misplaced" God? When we seek Him for days/weeks/months on end to no avail? When it appears for all practical purposes that...God doesn't care about us and our situation?

We do what Mary and Joseph did! We seek Him...in the temple!

Okay, I know what you're thinking...I'm talking in riddles! In Jesus' day there was a literal temple. Mary and Joseph had a physical place to look. Jesus was in a tangible spot. We don't have a literal, physical, or even tangible temple in our neighbourhood.

Or do we?

The Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of God's Spirit: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Cor. 6:19a NIV). This means that God resides in our hearts.

Remember that Jesus was in the temple the entire time His parents were searching for Him, but it wasn't until they looked in the right place that they found Him. What this means for us is that when it feels like we've "lost God", when He seems to be miles away, when we can't seem to find Him, it isn't because He has moved! He is in our heart-temple--all the time! The problem is that we are looking in the wrong places!

So how, then, do we look for God in our hearts? How can we enter this "temple of the Holy Spirit" where God is?

Psalm 100 gives us some vital clues:

1. "Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!...Come before Him, singing with joy." (vs. 1, 2b)
2. "Worship the Lord with gladness" (vs. 2a).
3. "Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture." (vs. 2b,3)
4. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving; Go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name." (vs. 4)

The way to find God when He seems to have been "lost" is to come before Him, singing with joy; giving Him thanks and praising His name; Worshiping Him with gladness; and meditating upon how He has made us, how we are His people.

Also notice what is NOT on this list: There is no mention whatsoever of our prayer requests! When we want to find the "missing" God, our best bet is to put our own agendas aside and simply worship Him!

Does God appear to be "absent" in the midst of your current trials? Seek Him with thanksgiving and praise, and you'll be guaranteed to find Him.

In His love,
Lyn

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

We are working on a new template for The Nugget, which will be mobile-friendly. This should be launching over the course of the next few weeks. We recognize that it is difficult to work out all the bugs in a new format without sending it out to multiple people. We are looking for a few temporary volunteers who are willing to receive their Nugget newsletters in the new format during this de-bugging phase. We would ask you to simply let us know if there are any problems with how the page looks on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If you would like to volunteer, please email me! And thank you in advance for your help in improving the Nugget!

His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator.
 
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Welcome to the Nugget

December 31, 2019

Dog-Like Love: A New Years' Message...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed--or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" (Luke 10:41-42 NIV)

It was Saturday morning and my cat, Roxy, was being a total pest. She swished round my feet, meowing until I sat down and picked her up. She stayed on my lap for a few minutes, purring, soaking up the attention, but then she ran off to play with a ball.

Maybe this isn't typical of every cat, but my own experience with the furry felines can be summed up nicely by a sign in my vet's office: "Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. They have never forgotten this..."

The truth of the matter is, cats want to be with us, want our attention, etc., but only in their own time! Dogs, on the other hand, are a totally different story. They love to be petted and played with, yes, but when you aren't paying attention to them, they are content to curl up at your feet. Having recently lost my 14.5 year old retriever, I certainly miss the unconditional devotion she always showed.

This isn't the first time I've been inspired by dog-like love versus that shown by my cat, nor is it the first time I've written about how we need to be more like dogs in God's presence and less like cats; but as Roxy returned from her ball this morning, to meow and walk on my papers, I realized something powerful: Roxy she doesn't really care for me as a person; she simply desires what I have to offer: attention, food, letting her outside, etc. Is this how we approach God? Do we desire what He has to offer but shun surrendering to Him? Do we search for healing and liberty and joy, but refuse to enter into a relationship with Him?

Throughout my years in ministry, I have often observed people who, though they appear to try, never truly arrive at experiencing God fully. Some go so far as to pray the sinner's prayer, but they never seem to receive the many gifts that Salvation offers us (peace, joy, love, etc.).

There is, for example, someone dear to me who has received several personal interactions that can only come from God. She has experienced dreams, answered prayers, even miraculous healings. She has had a taste of the joy and peace and love that only God can bring. In fact, she became so enamored with the peace, joy, love, etc., that she experienced that she began to seek it with all her heart, mind, soul and spirit. And she continues to seek these gifts of God everywhere--in new age and eastern religions, even in Christianity--but they continue to elude her.

Unfortunately, she continues to reject any mention of a relationship with Jesus Christ...

Is she seeking peace instead of seeking the Peacemaker? Does she desires Godly love without truly loving God? Does she search for joy, but not for the One who brings us great joy?

As I write this, I think of someone else who is near and dear to my heart. A professed atheist, this person once told me that he had spent months seeking God, but he never found him. I remember those months of this person's life, for at that time I was seeking God as well. I remember how we both got up early in the morning to join in Bible study and prayer groups...I remember surrendering myself to God at this time, and that is when I began my relationship with Him. Could it be that my friend was seeking God's voice and His presence, without being willing to totally surrender himself to Christ?

It makes you think, doesn't it? None of us want people to simply pay attention to us for the "perks" that we might offer. We want people to love us for who we are, not for what we represent or what we can give...

Is God any different?

If you are frustrated by the fact that God's wisdom/love/peace, etc. always seem to elude you, if you are beginning to think that God either doesn't love you or isn't real, then don't enter this New Year without taking a moment to meditate upon your motive for seeking God. Make it a New Years' Resolution to not just go to God with an agenda or a prayer list. Instead, enter His presence with dog-like love. Desire, like Mary of old (Luke 10:38-42) to simply sit at His feet, to love Him enough to just want to be with Him. If you put aside your own agenda and instead adopt the attitude of wanting to be with Jesus, then no matter what is going on in your life, I can guarantee you will come away filled. I can also guarantee you that if you continue to do so for the duration of 2019, your New Year will turn out to be very special indeed.

God loves you so much: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV). Why not surrendering to that love today? You can answer the Saviour's Call by clicking here.

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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Resolution ONE:
I will surrender my ALL to God. I will rejoice at being in His presence.

Resolution TWO:
No matter what this New Year brings,
I will surrender my ALL to God and I will rejoice at being in His presence!

May God bless you this New Year as you grow to know Him more and more!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Dec 2019, 10:18 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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December 28, 2019

Though I am Surrounded by Troubles...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 16: Psalm 138
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Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have seen that the book, subdivided into five parts, was seen to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised of Psalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God; the second book, comprised of Psalms 42-72, focussing on God's deliverance; the third book, comprised of Psalms 73-89, focussing on God's holiness; and the fourth book, comprised of Psalms 90-106, focussing how God restores everyting the devil has stolen.

The fifth book of the Psalms is comprised of 44 Psalms, 107-150. David wrote 15 of these Psalms, 108- 110, 122, 124, 131, 133, 138-145. Solomon wrote Psalms 127; and the authors of the rest are unknown. This fifth book is felt to parallel the book of Deuteronomy, with its theme bei ng coming home and entering the Promised Land. The entire book reminds us that God will bring us into our "Promised Land", into our ultimate rest, when we rely on Him, our ultimate rest (See Heb. 3,4).

This series has already showcased many of the Psalms from book five. Part 4, based on Psalm 136, helps us remember what to do when tempted to believe God doesn't care. Part 5, based on Psalm 130, shows that in the depths of our despair, we can come to the One who has already redeemed us from every kind of sin. Part 10, based on Psalm 114, helps us understand that nothing can stand before the Lord without trembling. Finally, Part 11, based on Psalm 117, reminds us to praise the Lord no matter what our circumstances may be.

One final example of these theme can be found in Psalm 138, a Psalm of David.

The Psalm begins with a common Biblical theme: Giving thanks to the Lord:

"I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart..." (Vs. 1a NLT).

What makes this verse unique is the next line:

    "I will sing *your* praises before the gods."
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness..." (Vs. 1b-2a NLT)

The verse doesn't say we are to worship these other gods; rather, that we should sing the praises of the True, Most-High God in the face of the many false gods who surround us! It is reminding them, and us as well, that they have already been defeated (See John 14:30, Acts 10:38, Gal. 1:4, 1 John 3:8, Heb. 2:14-15, etc.)!

Why do we have reason to praise God, even in the midst of the worst circumstances?

"for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name." (Vs. 2b NLT)

We know we have reason to praise God because there is no higher guarantee of anything than God's Name! Remember God's words in Ex. 3? "God replied to Moses, 'I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.'" (Vs. 14 NLT)

Another reason to praise God is this:

"As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength." (Vs. 2b-3 NLT)

We can praise Him because He answers our prayers (See John 14:13) and because when we ask, He will give us strength and encouragement and every good thing (See James 1:17).

We are then reminded that when we praise God, we are not alone, for one day,

"Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
    for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord's ways,
    for the glory of the Lord is very great." (Vs. 4-5 NLT)

The bottom line is this: God's blessings are available to all of us all the time!

Do we have a role to play?

Absolutely:

"Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
    but he keeps his distance from the proud." (Vs. 6 NLT).

Our job is to humble ourselves before Him. When we do:

"Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life--
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don't abandon me, for you made me." (Vs. 7-8 NLT)

When we humble ourselves before Him, He will bring us into our ultimate rest, our peace of mind, heart, soul and spirit.

This is one tiny catch to all of this: We must remember that it is our choice to enter into this rest. We can choose to try and carry our worries; we can choose to try and fix our own problems. When we do, we are inviting in the depression and anxiety that will come when we fail.

But there is another choice. We can choose to enter into God's rest by surrendering all our worries and troubles completely into His hands, by going to sleep in the back of the boat, so to speak, while He works out the details. Remember:

"God's promise of entering his rest still stands...For this good news--that God has prepared this rest--has been announced to us just as it was to [Isreal]. But it did them no good because they didn't share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest." (Heb. 4:1-3 NLT)

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
Announcement:
This is the last of the "Lessons From the Psalms" series. If you have missed any of the previously published lessons, you may access the entire series by clicking here. If you do not have access to the Internet, please feel free to email me, and I will be happy to forward them to you. God bless you as you draw closer to the Lord through the book of Psalms.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 26 Dec 2019, 11:42 pm

December 26 , 2019

Lessons From the Jesus' Birth, Part 3
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Today, in the concluding section of our series on Christ's Birth, let's dive into the following lessons...

Propagate...

"And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child." (Luke 2:17 ESV) If witnesses (the lowly shepherds) of Jesus' birth could not contain the Good News to themselves and shared it with everyone they met, how much more is the onus on us to share the Good News of His birth. After all, hasn't it resulted in our "rebirth" (See 2 Cor. 5:17/1 Peter 2:24)? We should be oozing with contagious joy -- Jesus Joy -- (See Luke 6:45/John 8:37-39) towards everyone we come across this Christmas season and beyond. Obviously we must do so with love and hu mility (See 1 Peter 3:15), and after establishing our rapport with them (See 1 Cor. 9:19-23)!

During this season, lovingly tell others about your "rebirth", which was a result of Jesus' birth here on Earth. Rememeber, this was the first witnessing tool the Apostles used for their audiences, followed by sharing the Gospels (See Acts 8:25). Share with everyone and anyone who comes to visit -- secular friends, milk boy, newspaper vendor, internet bill collector -- Anywone! You could also go a step further by gifting them a daily scripture calendar, a Gospel tract or even a a piece of cake, just to sweeten the deal!

However, the "fruit of the spirit", one of which is joy, Jesus Joy (See Gal. 5:22-23), needs to be present within us at all times. This attracts people to our Lord through our lip and lifestyle, and at the same time, He will strengthen us from within in order to prevail (See Rom 15:13)!


Propel...

While praising God during the Christmas season for fulfilling Biblical prophecies regarding our Lord's birth, it would also serve us well to meditate on the Lord's second coming. Pure simple logic states that if all prophecies regarding His first advent were fulfilled at the time of His birth, then prophecy regarding His second advent would also be fulfilled. If the joy of the Bridegroom's friend (John the Baptist) was complete on merely the "Bridegroom's popular Ministry" (See John 3:29-30), then imagine what heights our joy will rise to for our ethereal marriage with our Indescribable Bridegroom!

Soon, those of us who have accepted Christ's gift will be "propelled"-- not by any rocket power, mind you, but by His power -- into the air (See Is. 26:27-28/1 Thess 4:13-17). Signs pertaining to the fulfilment of prophecies of Jesus' second coming are abundant and burgeoning. Pertinent amongst them are the return of ever-growing violence and immorality reminiscent of the days of Noah (See Gen. 6:11/Gen. 19/Luke 17:26-20), which is what Christ foretold would happen before His return.

Come Lord Jesus, soon, to reign not only in our hearts as You did after the First advent, but to usher into Your peaceful and just rule across the entire world!

Prayer: Father even as we rejoice in meditating on the significance of Your Son's First advent, enable us to be alert to His Second advent too even whilst alerting others.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

This is the conclusion of the "Lessons From Jesus' Birth" mini-series, as well as the conclusion of the Jesus' Joy focus. If you have missed any of the "Lessons From Jesus' Birth", please click here.  
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The One who came the first time to redeem us?
The One who is coming back to take us to Heaven with Him?

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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Dec 2019, 7:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 24 , 2019

Lessons From the Jesus' Birth, Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Today in the second and the penultimate part of our series of drawing lessons from Christ's birth, we shall focus on the following subjects...


Project...

Ever wondered why the good Lord had the narrative of Christ's birth shown from Mary's perspective in Luke's Gospel only, and not in any other Gospels? In Matthew, we seen the story from Joseph's persepective. If there was any person who would have logically objected to a virgin birth, it would have been a doctor and who was Luke? A doctor (See Col. 4:13), of course!


Provide...

Now, why a virgin birth? No one before Jesus, or after for that matter, has ever been born to a virgin. For a divinely foreordained, spotless and sinless sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (See Rev. 13:8/1 Peter 1:19), a virgin birth would provide a unique "Lamb" which was not only sinless from it's birth, but right at the start of its conception onwards. This would also work as a perfect mediator between God and mankind (See 1 Tim. 2:5-6), as He would be a Son of Man (of Mary), representing human interests before the Almighty, and a Son of God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, representing the interests of the Almighty before men: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35 NLT)

Also, because it was Eve (See 2 Cor. 11:3/1 Tim. 2:14) who was first deceived by the crafty serpent, a certain divine "poetic justice" required that only the "Seed of the Woman" -- not the seed of Adam and Eve, but only "Eve" (See Gen. 3:15/Gal. 4:4) -- could trample the head of the serpent.


Props...

Before I take even one proverbial step, allow me to share with you a quote from Galatians 4:4 which reads as follows: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law." (Galatians 4:4 ESV)

The key operative words in the above Scripture are "when the fullness of time had come". The all-wise Heavenly Father, who had set the "stage" before the "First Adam" arrived (see Gen. 1:1-28) was then bound to keep that "stage" ready before the advent of the "Final Adam", another name for our Lord (See 1 Cor. 15:45). By the time our Saviour arrived, the world was ready to speak--to facilitate the Gospel by its unification of not just a single language (Greek at that time), but also by excellent roads connecting most of the vast and ever-growing Roman Empire together. Without these factors, Apostle Paul's three missionary journeys would probably not have ever come to fruition!

All glory be to our Heavenly Father, whose wisdom can never be measured; who kept everything in its place all for the arrival of His Son; for the Good News of salvation had to travel to the ends of the Earth.


Proposition...

If not for Christ's birth, there would be no opportunity for us to live life solely for the Father's glory: "For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will." (John 6:38). Because our Lord "fleshed out" obedience in a complete contrast to the First Adam, we can now make the call to live as Christ lived (See 1 Peter 2:23/1 John 2:6). And it's only possible because He is indwelling in us--giving us the required strength to obey and follow the righteous path; the love and joy that should be burning within every Christian's heart: "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 Neh 8:10)!

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the indescribable gift that was given to us on the first Christmas; a gift that gives us the necessities to live life with glory, joy, strength, and salvation! We glorify you and thank you in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Please join us on Saturday for the conclusion of Lessons From Christ's Birth!  
Announcement:
It is Christmas every time you let God love
others through you. Yes, it is Christmas every
time you smile at your brother and offer him
your hand."
~ Mother Theresa ~

Would you like to be empowered to let God love others through you? Click here to answer the Saviour's Call...
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 21 Dec 2019, 10:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

December 21, 2019

Lessons From the Jesus' Birth, Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    The opening ceremony to any grand event should always be handled with pomp and gaiety. Take the Olympics ceremonies, for example, that are always exploding with extravagant lights, special melodies, and mesmerizing performances. This is to captivate eager watchers, hyping them up for the sporting action yet to come. However, spiritually speaking, there should be no grander event one can experience than the moment the Almighty, in His Spirit, indwells us and fills us with His joy (See Acts 13:52), while at the same time preparing us to spend eternity with Him (See 2 Cor. 1:22/Eph. 1:13-14). This prophecy, "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws..." (Eze 36:26-27 NIV), would be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (See Acts 2:37-38/Rom. 10:9-10). It's no wonder that Christ's birth would also have had its own "opening ceremony", in the sense that nothing less than the Heavenly Choir itself would perform on that memorable day 2000 years ago: "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (Luke 2:13-14 NLT) .

In this three-part series, we will look at some paramount lessons from Christ's birth.
 

Prompt...

As I hinted before, Christ's birth by itself would not make one a "Temple of God" (see 1 Cor. 3:16) and filling us with His divine joy, but it certainly prompts a start of the process towards the attainment of that ultimate privilege.

If the Christ child, the Saviour ("And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matt. 1:21 NLT) had not been born, His atoning death, which involved the shedding of His own precious blood, would not have been possible 33 years later. If not for His substitutionary sacrifice, and subsequent resurrection three days later (See Rom. 4:25); a plan that was set in motion on the day of Jesus' birth, we would never have the chance to be cleansed from death or be fit enough to spread the good news to the world as "Temples of God". Because of this gift, on the Day of Pentecost, we, God's people, were bestowed our own gift from the Holy Spirit, a gift of witnessing, and that we should never squander this almighty gift; for wherever His presence is, an infinite joy that outshines any other is sure to follow (See Psalm 16:11)!

In the Old Testament, wherein many prophecies and signs pointed towards Christ's coming, we see that the Lord's presence came to indwell King Solomon's temple (See 1 Kings 8:10), a temple which had been built upon countless animal sacrifices and offerings (See 1 Kings 8:5). In the New Testament, the signs and prophecies, such as those from the prophet Simeon and John the Baptist, also foretold of Christ's convergence and would proclaim Him as the "Divine Lamb": "I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God." (John 1:34 NLT; see also Luke 2:25-38).


Prophecy...

We should, however, realize that Jesus could have accomplished everything as per the Heavenly Father's plan (See 1 Peter 1:1-4) without even a single prophecy.

Now let's address this question: Why is the Bible filled with not only prophecies foretelling Jesus' birth: "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf." (Micah 5:2 NLT; See also Gen. 3:15/Is. 7:14); but also prophecies relating to other milestone events in His life, such as His substitutionary death on the Cross: "See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man." (Isaiah 52:13-14 NLT; See also Isaiah 53), and finally the grandest event of all: "And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Gal. 4:6 NLT), Him indwelling us with His spirit? Whilst answering, allow me to illustrate a picture for you. Some years ago, during Christmas time, the women of our Church formed a "purchase committee" and travelled to a reasonably distant Department store to buy gifts for the widows, orphans, and Sunday school children of our Church. After they had returned, one of the Churchgoers, a member of the committee named Sunita Benny, realized that she had forgotten her purse in the parking lot of that huge and busy commercial complex. Praying profusely, the entire committee rushed back to that hustling, bustling area after a full hour of slogging through traffic congestion. Normally, an unguarded purse would have as much chance of remaining unpicked as an ice-cube not melting in a fiery furnace. But against all of that, they found it safe and secure! Hallelujah!

Now, if I were to share this account with an atheist or a rationalist and state that the Christian's God is a prayer answering One, then the atheist/rationalist may attribute the miraculous recovery of the purse to sheer "luck" or "coincidence" rather than to the power of God. Now consider this: If all the events, in proper and sequential order, relating to that dramatic experience of Sister Sunita were documented in a Sacred Book, say 300 years ago, would any rationalist worth his "logical" salt still attribute it to mere luck or coincidence? Not a chance. No wonder it's said that prophecy is described as "history written in advance".

At this stage, when we factor in the following three points:
 
1) On Jesus' one life hinged the salvation of all mankind, so it would follow that our infinitely wise Father would also take no chances, lest anyone attribute these prophecies as "coincidence", rather than Divine providence;

2) The Gospel was first preached to the Jews with whom the Apostles shared these prophecies to substantiate their points (See Acts 2:22-36/Acts 13:16-39)

3) Then to the Gentiles, in which the Apostle Paul also drew from these historical "prophecies", in order to present the Gospel: "For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'" (Acts 17:28 NLT)

There is great significance in these Prophecies for being wonderful facilitators for Gospel preaching and so that subsequent soul-winning can emerge with no ambiguity!

Prayer: Father, we are rejoicing in You today because You sent your Son into this World. We thank You and glorify You for the same. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Please join us on Saturday for Lessons From Christ's Birth, Part 2 
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Who can add to Christmas?

The perfect motive is that "God so loved the world..."
The perfect gift is "that He gave His only son..."
The only requirement is to believe "in Him..."
The reward of faith is that you will have "everlasting life".
~ Corrie Ten Boom ~

How YOU believed in Him? Click here to answer the Saviour's Call...
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
December 5, 2019

What IS Joy, anyway?

JESUS JOY!
Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child--All Year Long!
Part 1
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The Bible speaks of everlasting joy that will never fail. Why is it, then, that the joy we experience on earth never seems to last? Is it possible that we do not truly understand what joy is?

In our search for a definition of joy, perhaps it would be easiest to start with what joy is not: Joy is not the same as happiness!

Oh, the two concepts are related, but they are on-so-different in very important ways.

We all know that happiness is an emotion that comes and goes. We find happiness in in our jobs, our families, our relationships, our pets, our retirement, and our health, to name just a few...

But the company we work for can close its doors. Death may rob you of your wonderful spouse, your loving mom, even your wonderful child. Your girlfriend or fiance may break up with you, or even worse, your spouse may decide it's time to move on to greener pastures. Your pets may run away--or pass away--or turn mean. Your retirement plans may be foiled by health concerns or needs of extended family. That good health you've always experienced may simply turn and wave good-bye...

In other words, our happiness is rooted in things that can be taken away! Joy, on the other hand, is rooted in things that cannot be taken away.

Here are a few examples of the root of joy:
* God's Love:
        -- "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone
            who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NLT)
        -- "Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!" (Psalm 63:3 NLT)
        -- "No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation
            will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God that is revealed in
            Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:39 NLT)
        -- "Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will
            become useless. But love will lst forever!" (1 Cor. 13:8 NLT)

* God's Grace: Remember that the definition of Grace is: Unmerited favour!
        -- Creation itself is an act of God's limited grace: "The LORD is good to everyone.
            He showers compassion on all his creation." (Ps. 145:9 NLT)
        -- The ultimate measure of God's grace is at the cross: "For God saved us
            and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it,
            but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time--
            to show us His grace through Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 1:9 NLT)
        -- "Yes, by God's grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone." (Heb. 2:9 NLT)

* God's faithfulness:
        -- "Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the
            faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and
            lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his
            commands..." (Deut. 7:9 NLT)
        -- "Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness
            reaches beyond the clouds." (Ps. 36:5 NLT)
        -- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised
            is faithful." (Heb. 10:23 NIV)

* God keeps ALL His promises:
        -- "Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed." (Joshua 23:14b NIV)
        -- "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who
            for a thousand generations keeps his promises and constantly loves those
            who love him and who obey his commands." (Deut. 7:9 TLB)

In summary, then:

* Happiness comes from what we have; joy is something that we have;
* Happiness focuses on what we have; Joy focuses on our blessings;
* Happiness comes from being filled with ourselves, joy is a result of being filled with God's grace and strength;
* Happiness can be taken away, joy cannot.

What this translates to, friends, is that we can have joy in the midst of our unhappiness!

Yes, you may have been given a diagnosis of cancer; but you can be joyful, for your God has promised to carry you through (See Ps. 91:11-12; Isaiah 40:11, 41:13, 63:9, etc)!

True enough, you may have lost your job; but you can be filled with joy because your God has promised to be your provision (See Phil 4:19)!

It may absolutely be true that your spouse left you and your children; but you can still be filled with joy because our God has promised to be a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows (See Ps. 68:5, 146:9, Isaiah 54:4-5)!

You may truly be living the loss of the deaths of three close friends and family; but you can still have joy, for God has promised to turn your mourning into joy (see Ps. 30:11-12) and to wipe the tears from your eyes (see Rev. 21:4, Is. 25:8, Ps. 56:8, etc)!

As we enter this Christmas season, let's remember that the Christ Child came to offer us true joy...not happiness that fades away, but the joy of the Lord, the everlasting love, grace and faithfulness of God Himself. Let's stop confusing joy with happiness. Let's look for it in all the right places: In the Christ Child Himself!

But how can I access this joy? I mean, I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, but I still don't feel the kind of joy that is described here. Where have I gone wrong?

Please join us on Saturday for "Accessing Joy...JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas--All Year Long, Part 2."

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 30 Nov 2019, 11:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving...All the Way! Part 3
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    In the concluding part of our series on Thanksgiving, let's look at the "evangelistic" dimension of a thankful demeanor.


Rope-in...

"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30 ESV)

We all know that souls are won-over by power-packed, Spirit-filled sermons. Remember the response of those who heard the soul-stirring sermon of the 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: Can sincere thanksgiving amidst adversity pull a soul in like a powerful spirit-filled sermon does?

The answer is an emphatic yes!

One doesn't have to go beyond Acts 16:16-30 to arrive at this conclusion. There we see a Philippian Jailer witnessing two Christian missionaries who are stoically holding their own as they are unjustly whipped and beaten. Historians state that at the time of receiving whip lashes, so much is the pain that screams and obscenities unconsciously flow out of the mouth of those on the receiving end. Not so with these two missionaries. 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 a thankful demeanor in trouble were to unfold before the Jailer: Whole-hearted praise to God by way of the passionate singing by this awesome duo, followed by an earthquake. And even more powerful, an utterly s elfless disposition of not wanting to capitalize on the opportunity to escape, which as per Roman law would have been the death sentence to the Jailer at the hands of his Superiors. The end result? A similar conviction was wrought by the Holy Spirit, and a consequent similar response was elicited like the offshoot of the powerful preaching that we saw in Acts 2:37. If at that time it was "Brothers, what must we do (to be saved)?" Now it was "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30 ESV)

Do I need to say more? Did Paul and Silas preach or perform miracles to draw the attention of the Jailer? Not a chance! The thankful way they went about their calling, even amid severe and unjust suffering, roped in a soul for the Lord and later on more souls (See Acts 16:33-34).

Much like his Master, the Apostle Paul first practiced and then preached (See Acts 1:1) rather than the other way around! Before he wrote that monumental verse to the church in Thessalonica--"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess 5:18 ESV), he had already practiced thanksgiving, even in the midst of severe affliction, just a month previously in Philippi.

Praise God for such faithful, thankful Apostles! Let us be thankful to the Lord for their inspirational lives. Hallelujah!

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Post  Admin on Thu 28 Nov 2019, 10:30 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving...All the Way! Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Then Jesus answered, 'Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?'" (Luke 17:17 ESV)

Some Christians, whilst reflecting on Genesis 1:27 of God making man "in His own image", inadvertently limit their understanding of the physical dimension of it all. However, this shouldn't be the case. We don't necessarily know from this that God has two ears, two eyes, etc; but rather, it would serve us well to ponder on the spiritual and the emotional similarities between our unique Creator (See Rom 11:33-36) and His most unique creation, humankind.

Imagine a person thanklessly going his own way after we have gone out of our way to help Him. It would break our hearts. Likewise, with our emotionally similar Creator when we take His blessings for granted.

A discerning Bible reader would be able to detect Jesus' voice getting slightly choked with sadness in the afore-referred Scripture when the nine lepers repay his healing with ingratitude.

A spiritually healthy Christian is one who constantly renews His gratitude for God by meditating often on all the benefits the good Lord had graciously bestowed upon him, not the least of which being his Salvation. In so doing, his love for his Creator is also constantly renewed. The greater the gratitude, the greater the love (See Luke 7:47). The greater the love, the greater the obedience; the greater the obedience, the greater the sacrificial witness; the greater the sacrificial witness, the greater the impact on the viewing public!

Let's look back at Scripture for a moment:

"...and a considerable number of those who had engaged in occult practices threw their scrolls in a pile and burned them in public. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, it came to fifty thousand drachmas. Thus the message about the Lord continued in a powerful way to grow in influence." (Acts 19:19-20 CJB)


Rooted...

" In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground." (Gen 4:3 ESV)

An amazing aspect of the trait of thanksgiving, is that it is rooted in us from birth. Now let's hit the rewind button and visit the times of Cain and Abel. Let's recall that the Apostle Paul's instruction about being thankful at all times, as enshrined in I Thess 5:18, had not yet been given. In fact, even the Mosaic Law, with its regulation to observe three annual thanksgiving festivals (Exo 34:22-24) was yet to be given at that time. Yet what do we see? The two siblings bringing their thanksgiving offerings to the Lord because the attribute of saying thanks was inherent in them! The key decisive, introspective question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we exercising this innate trait for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)?


Rank...

"...and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering..." (Gen 4:4 ESV)

Now for a lesson within a lesson! What was right about Abel's offerings that the Lord accepted it (read ranked it as "approved"), and what was wrong with Cain's offerings that the good Lord rejected it? There are a few interpretations and theories pertaining to why this was the case, but one we'll be examining was about the person giving the offering--or should I say the heart towards the Lord of the person giving the offering.

I invite you to look closely at Genesis 4:4: "And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering." We see that it is the person involved that is mentioned before the offering. More than the offering, a person's heart condition matters to God. While we give thank offerings, like a considerable sum to church ministry or an evangelistic institution, are our priorities right? Are we giving our thank offering wholeheartedly? Or only as a matter of ritualistic routine? Remember: "Each one must give...not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7 ESV)! An offering such as the one of Cain (See Gen. 4:7a) was detected as a half-hearted endeavor and was not acceptable to the Lord.

Shouldn't we, then, especially on Thanksgiving, freely and cheerfully give back to the Lord?

Prayer: Father, empower us to cleanse our hearts at all times and come to Thee with a proper heart of thanksgiving. In Jesus' name, amen


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
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Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for. Why not take a few moments today and make a list?

Join us on Saturday for the conclusion of "Thanksgiving...ALL the Way!"
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 31 Oct 2019, 3:15 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 31, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 2
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Continuing our Series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and the Church, His Bride, today we come to two more areas where we find stark similarities...


Progression...

Jesus grew in stature and wisdom in the eyes of man and God by humbly obeying His earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52). In the same way, besides giving themselves to prayers and fellowshipping, the early Christians (who I reiterate are a role-model for all the Christians who followed thence) also grew spiritually by listening to their "spiritual earthly parents": "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (Acts 2:42 ESV). Hey, in matters of spiritual growth, it pays a new Christian well to carefully follow the advice cum the example of his "spiritual parent" who preached the Gospel to him whilst winning him over to Christ (1 Cor 4:15-16)!

Mind you, the "new converts" of the Early Church from Pentacostal Day did not stand beside the Apostles to preach. Neither were they u sed in ministry within 24 hours of receiving "new life" from God. If new birth is a great spiritual experience, the one of being ushered into ministry with due passage of time (but not too soon! See 1 Tim 3:6) would be an equally memorable one.


Subjugation/Qualification...

Jesus' earthly life can be divided into three parts: Preparation (at Nazareth), Proclamation (Ministry largely in the Northern Galilee, beginning after the arrest of John the Baptist -- See Matt 4:12-17) and Passion (in Southern Jerusalem). It is important to note that the "proclamation" phase, involving mighty anointing (Luke 4:14/Acts 10:38), was preceded by Jesus' triumph over the temptations of the cravings of the flesh (Matt 4:1-4), the lust of the eyes (Matt 4:8-10) and the pride of life (Matt 4:5-7). How much more so for a Christian that he/she subjugates these temptations (1 John 2:14-16) before receiving the needed anointing to qualify for any of the five ministries (Apostolic, Evangelical, Prophetical, Pastoral or that of teaching. See Eph 4:11-15) that Christ would use him in for the enhancement of the boundaries of His Kingdom and for building up the Church to a state of full maturity.

The Apostle Paul sums up the subject on how subjugation of temptations precedes anointing for Ministry aptly in 2 Tim 2:21: "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work." (ESV)

It is pertinent to note that the Greek word used for "being set apart as Holy" is "hagiazo", which means "consecrated" or &quo t;anointed". Virtually by subjugating the temptations, a Christian has proved his trustworthiness for receiving greater responsibilities.

Doubtless, when Peter wrote his epistle to some 3000 who received the Lord (in Pontus, Cappadocia--the very places from which they had come on the Day of Pentecost. See 1 Peter 1:1), and who had stood firm in the midst of fiery trials (see 1 Peter 1:7-8), they had already been "anointed" in the intervening period, for Peter exhorts them in the matter of gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11) and pastoral ministry (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Be it as it may, what every Christian has to do at all times, whether he is clergy or laity, is be a good witness for the Lord through his life and lip.

Of course, I hasten to add here that anointing also doesn't make a Christian completely Christ-like. It is s a great experience in itself; yet there are always rough edges that can be smoothened only with consistent Cross-bearing over a period of time (See Romans 5:3-4/James 1:2-4).

While, I have lain before my readership the general pattern of spiritual occurrences in a Christian's life using my life as an example, the Holy Spirit, who is like wind in that He does not follow one set pattern (See John 3 :8), cannot be dictated to; therefore, we cannot expect Him to conform to a set pattern in the matter of His manifestations (visible or invisible) at the beginning, or even at the later stages in a Christian's life.

All said and done, what ought to matter most to all Christians, in the manner that it was in their Bridegroom's heart, is their persistent joy of the Holy Spirit, who is also in their hearts (See Luke 10:21/1 Peter 1:8/Acts 9:31)!

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for keeping Your Son's life as a model for all who would follow Him. Enable us to live lives worthy of such high calling at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 9:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
October 29, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 1
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Crack! Crack! Crack! The whiplashes on the bared back of innocent...Majnu...in the Laila-Majnu Movie, an eastern oriental equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, made me move uneasily in the Cine theatre seat. I was all of 10 years at the time, and the background musical effect of that musical maestro Madan Mohan (who died before completing the film whereby the baton was carried forward by Jaidev, seamlessly) added a ring of agony to that tragic melodrama being played out on the big screen. Lo and behold...something unbelievable was unfolding in front of the movie audience! When Majnu was being whipped, the lashes were appearing on the back of his sweetheart, Laila, as well. She wasn't far away from the whipping scene, and this left an Arabic King, who had ordered that Majnu be whipped, dumbfounded at the intensity of passionate love between these two legendary lovers.

I will stop here. I am rewinding in using this "Bollywood"-related illustration merely for the sake of making a point about "union of hearts" between two lovers. By the way, I said goodbye for good to the World of movies in October 1983 after accepting Christ as my Saviour. He has given me all the "joy" (John 15:11/John 16:24) since, which no entertaining media can provide. The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof!

Coming to the "made for each other" relationships in the spiritual realm, one doesn't have to look beyond "God-Israel" consanguinity of the Old Testimeny dispensation and the "Christ-Church" covenantal relationship of the Grace Age to understand the subject better. Didn't the Heavenly Father say to the persecuted Jews, "for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye" (Zech 2:8 ESV) And didn't Christ confront Saul the persecutor of the Early Church with these words, "Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4 ESV)? By dwelling on the inseparability of Christ and His Church, I would like to bring to the readership, through this four-part series, to understand the deep similarities between the Bridegroom (Christ) and His bride (the church, comprised of His blood-bought Christians).


Creation...

If the virgin birth of Christ was a miracle wrought purely by the power of God (Luke 1:35), then the spiritual birth of a Christian, on receiving Christ as his personal Saviour, is also a singular act of the Almighty with no human plan or passion involved. Let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13 ESV)

In fact, John goes on to record in his first epistle that in every saved individual who has received this new life from the El-Shaddai God, there is a "Seed" (in Greek "Sperma", the root word for the English word "Sperm") of God present. This gives the person the holy character of the Omnipotent One (1 John 3:9).

Yet another similarity we need to focus on at this stage is the means the Heavenly Father used. If He sent the Holy Spirit upon Mary to bring about a miraculous conception, then on the Day of Pentecost the Heavenly Father sent the same Holy Spirit upon the Apostles to bring about the birth of a church...with the laity numbering up to about 3000 (Acts 2). If the Virgin Mary was the means to bring about the birth of the Bridegroom, the apostles were the God-ordained instruments to bring about the birth of the Bride.

On the birth of the church at Pentecost, doesn't the infallible Scripture speak of how genuine repentance preceded the salvation experience of the 3000? It says, "Cut to the heart" (read "thoroughly convicted of their sins") on hearing the Gospel, and in contrite spirit, they accepted Christ (See Acts 2:37). Has not the new-birth experience of every Christian in the last 2000 years borne the same pattern?

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for bestowing upon us a new life in Christ Jesus, Your Son. Enable us always to live a life worthy of our calling. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 11:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 15, 2019

Embrace the Moment
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    When events in your life go sideways, what type of physical reaction do you have? Perhaps you laugh, cry, or maybe even both at the same time?! Or possibly a quick burst of anger is your thing, followed by tossing your smart phone across the room? Whatever your inkling, have you ever thought about breathing deep, embracing the moment and thanking God in all things? Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (NIV)

I recently celebrated my birthday, and yes I'd be happier if mirrors had never been invented! But with life experience and too many candles on my birthday cake, I'm learning to look beyond circumstances and find a way to give thanks to God for life and breath; to be able to smile more and frown less when things don't go according to plan.

My wife and I often have trouble-plagued date nights. Things like a movie stopping halfway through because the projector popped a widget, car breakdowns, or the time my beloved suffered an allergic reaction from something and was taken to the hospital by ambulance with me frantically following behind! You get the idea...

For my birthday this year we went out for dinner. Or so we tried. Our first choice of restaurants was closed. At the second we sat relaxing with two mugs of hot coffee, ordered our food and wham, the fire alarms clamored to life! We had to leave, but still payed seven dollars for the coffee we hardly drank. Third restaurant--yes we're suckers for punishment!--our food arrives just as my wife's phone goes off, and then mine (yes I know, no phones at the dinner table)! When my call ends and I finally get to eat, my wife is forking in the last few bites of her chicken salad. I look at her with my well-practiced apologetic expression, and not wanting her to wait any longer, I doggie-bag my food and we go home. I realize this is one of life's simpler calamities. Still, we chose to laugh and thank God for the blessing of being together despite another flawed date night.

My friend, I know that life can be far more complicated than fire alarms or wasted coffee. I understand when difficult experiences with stress, worry and fear leave us drained. But together we can learn to embrace those moments, to endure when troubles bubble up. Psalms 119:114 offers hope and says, "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." (NIV)
 
Our ability to endure life's hiccups is easier with Jesus; easier because we have the promise that God causes everything to work together for our good according to His purpose (See Romans 8:28). We are already ransomed! So next time the storms of life weigh you down, turn to the Lord. He is completely reliable, totally dependable and never changing in his love for us.
Then go embrace those moments that might otherwise cause you to grimace and atomize your phone!

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Sat 12 Oct 2019, 8:50 pm

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October 12, 2019
Bubblewrap
 
By Answers2Prayer
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I want to bubblewrap my kids.
You know what I mean. Deep in every loving person's heart is the desire to protect those we truly love from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual harm. We want to shelter them from the bullies, we want to keep them out of hurtful relationships, and if someone treats them unfairly, we go to battle for them. Although the mother bear in me stays completely hidden most of the time, she comes out with all vengeance and force when one of my boys is hurting.
Needless to say, with my boys all going through serious problems, and with the pressures they were dealing with at work and school and home, I have been quoted many times of late as saying: "Bring on that bubblewrap!"
I mentioned this once to my firstborn. His response? "But mom, if you bubblewraped us, we wouldn't grow!"
What a moment of maturity...And he is so right!
As I was contemplating this, it occurred to me that God doesn't even "bubblewrap" us. He allows us to go through problems: "...In this world you will have trouble..." (John 14:33b NIV). Let's also remember that even Jesus wasn't "bubblewraped": "but for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame..." (Heb. 12:2b NIV). The end result? Salvation for mankind: "In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered." (Heb. 2:10 NIV).
Okay, if good comes through suffering and if Jesus wasn't even bubblewrapped, how can I truly wish to bubblewrap my boys?
I took this to the Lord in prayer then, and I repented of wanting to shield them from all harm. Instead, I handed them, along with their myriads of problems, to the One who can solve them all. I was immediately overwhelmed with peace, the peace that passes all understanding (See Phil. 4:7), and I felt such joy, the joy that can only come from the presence of God (See Ps. 16:11). Suddenly I could see myself and my boys, not submersed in the problems, but floating above them...as if encased in a...bubble! God had just bubblewrapped my boys--and me too! It didn't mean we wouldn't go through problems. Instead, it meant He would carry us through unscathed and growing in the Lord!
Does that sound like a fantasy? Too good to be true?
Consider God's Word: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV). Though we are told we will go through trouble, Jesus says that we may have His peace, for He has overcome the world.
Consider also the following text: "for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4 NIV). No matter what, we WILL overcome!
Still not convinced? "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). When we remain steadfast in Christ, when we place our trust in Him, we have...Perfect peace!
I could go on listing numerous other Bible texts such as Ps. 16:11, Rev. 2:10, 3:21, etc; but I think the point is clear: Though we are not shielded from problems, there is a "bubblewrap" for us all. We simply need to surrender our problems to Him: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When we do, we are bubblewrapped by the Father Himself! We will pass through those valleys, yes, but we will emerge victorious, growing in our faith, stronger in the Lord and full of His joy.
Bubblewrap, anyone? I know a really good brand...
In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Oct 2019, 10:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 10, 2019

God is With us, Always and Forever

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "May I take that out of your way?"

S-L-O-W S-L-O-W S-L-O-W...

I hate when the waitress asks that question. That means those with whom we're having dinner have finished their meals, and it's a sign for me to hurry. Tough to do because chances are I'm still munching away and have a half-filled plate of food still in front of me.

Why I eat so slowly is a mystery I'll never figure out. Some tease saying it's because I talk too much during meals. But I have tried eating in silence. It didn't work. I'm still the last one to finish, wa-a-a-ay after everyone has ordered dessert, cups of coffee, and has run out of conversation.

I guess I can ask for a doggy bag...but they always end up in the trash.

Our friends are too polite to complain. And hubby never expresses impatience. Take that back...One day he did say he'd bring a book to read while he waits for me...But no matter what, I know he'll stick around with me until the end. He always has and I'm confident he still will.

God is also like that. He's with us till the end--whether we're in the middle of a conflict, writing a book, dealing with broken relationships, or just figuring life out--He's with us till the end.

Why?

"For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end" (Psalm 48:14 NIV).

So...if you're wondering who's going to stick by your side no matter what...here's another promise for you:

"[God] In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end" (Psalm 102: 24-26 NIV; See also Heb. 1:10).

Life changes, but He remains the same. People disappoint you, but His love still pulls you forward. Circumstances turn dark, but His light of hope still shines.

Let's Pray: Father God, every one of us has felt alone at times...abandoned...without hope. But Praying you lean on Him till the end. But your Words to us through the Bible are clear: you are with us. You will be our guide to the end. May we lean on your promises to be with us always. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

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