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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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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 
Announcement:
Ever wonder about the Omniscience of God? Ever wonder if little acts of obedience are important? Check out the mini-series, "Omniscient God" by clicking here.
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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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 
Announcement:
Just what IS love, anyway? Check out "Lessons In Love From 1 Corinthians 13", a mini-series by Soyna Richards, to find out!
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give....
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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 
Announcement:
With Autumn already showing her colours throughout the northern hemisphere and spring bringing new life throughout the southern hemisphere, let's all take a moment to reflect upon the blessings that God has granted us througout this past summer/winter. May God bless you abundantly and with abundance this fall/spring!
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 12 Oct 2019, 8:50 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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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Has God given you a special message? Why not share it with The Nugget and its subscribers? The Nugget welcomes any and all Bible-based devotional submissions under 1000 words. Please include at least ONE BIBLE TEXT in your submission, and send it here!
 
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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. 
Announcement:
Looking for tips on how to witness to your non-christian friends and family?  Check out "Fishers of men!" a two-part mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Oct 2019, 8:16 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 8, 2019

Out of Place
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    'Once upon a time' as the saying goes, the Lord woke me with a massively big undertaking. Let me tell you about it.
 
I had felt totally bereft of His presence and had reached a crossroads. Did God care at all about me or did He not? Was I still on His radar or had He declared me out of bounds?

I had not done or thought anything particularly wrong that would have given me such feelings of destitution and yet I felt completely rejected.

After praying deeply for a reply direct from Scripture I opened my Bible totally at random. It was now or never. The Lord would give me a reply, a direction, or He would not. There was a sense of finality in my being. So I turned my Bible over and over in my hands with my eyes shut so there could be no possibility of collusion in my thoughts, and opened it.

At first the reading seemed completely meaningless and left me just as destitute as before I read it. I closed it quietly and sadly, believing I was beyond the care or redemption of the Lord. I looked at the dawn, which I often love to watch, and which was just beginning to lighten the hills outside, and turned forlornly aside.

Then something persuaded me to read the passage again. I opened it at the same place and read the story again. It told of how Jehoiachin, king of Judah, the Lord's people (See 2nd Kings 24:12), had been imprisoned by the king of Babylon and how the Babylonian king took Jehoiachin out of prison and gave him a seat at his own table. In fact, Jehoiachin was placed for the rest of his life, above the seats of all the other Godless kings in Babylon at that time. (See 2nd Kings 25:27-30)

I felt I knew how Jehoiachin felt while he was in prison because that is exactly where I had felt I was -- in a lonely prison, excluded and unwanted by the Lord.

But then Jehoiachin was taken out of prison and placed above all other kings at the king's table? What was the Lord trying to get me to see? Placed above all evil kings by the Lord -- was that reasonable? Was it reasonable for me -- a very ordinary person of no note? Yet it had happened repeatedly in the Old Testament. It happened to Joseph, (See Genesis 41:14), to Esther, (See Esther 4:14), and to Daniel and his companions under King Nebuchadnezer, in the Book of Daniel, and to others.

How utterly impossible for me! But true? Was it remotely possible that I was meant to read these things? I sat in silence, totally ambushed and overcome.

Then humbly I began to acknowledge what the Lord wants all His people to understand, "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." (Isaiah 44:6).

And in Revelation: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Rev. 1:8)
 
The Lord Himself has released from the prison of eternal exclusion all who have responded to Him. He has placed them at His table where they are above the greatest of all evil governments and kings in the world.

Wherever we are placed, the Lord has His purpose for our being there. But remember, it is the most dangerous place in all the world. We are tempted above all others to abandon the will of the Lord and accept evil.

Whatever our position in life, our responsibility is to share what the Lord has shown us and taught us. We are to sit with those around us and bring the love of God to those who 'know not God.'
So please, if you are feeling strangely out of place, or alone, or abandoned, may I sit near you?

Elizabeth Price 
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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Oct 2019, 10:05 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 1, 2019

How to Pray so God will Answer

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    What's that smell?

Not long ago, an unidentified odor filled the front of our house. We tried and tried to find the source but failed. We cleaned, washed and sprayed air freshener. Nothing worked.

To make it worse, since I'm blind, my sense of smell is heightened. Ugh! There was only one thing to do--cover my mouth and nose.

So, I went to work, frantically searching for a cloth mask to cover my mouth and nose. I was sure I had put one away in a drawer somewhere.

I pulled out items; I ran my fingers all around. No mask. "Lord," I prayed, "I know this is silly, but will you help me find that mask. You know where it is, will you help me?"

He didn't.

Facing my defeat, I sat at my computer and worked for a few hours. Then I got up, walked around the house and, to my relief, the smell was gone, totally gone.

What came instead was a big lesson.

How often we ask for something specific, yet God is up to something bigger. We beg for a solution, but God has a mightier answer. And when we plead and plead for a specific outcome, He comes up with a different one, and one that solves a bigger problem.

That is what His promise is--to solve them His way. That's why we can be reassured that although He listens to our prayers, He sees our heart. He often doesn't give us what we want but grants us what we need.

And He gives the reason why in Isaiah 55:8-9: "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" (NIV)

Trusting in that promise…

* I pray not just to see a better tomorrow, but to delight in the best of today.
* I pray not just for a leap to triumph, but to take each step on firm ground.
* I pray not just for triumph, but to know how to defeat fear.
* I pray not to do great things without first knowing the greatness of God.
* I pray not for a life of roses, but to remove the thorns of doubt.
* I pray not for knowledge in a lifetime, but for enough wisdom in each defining moment.
* I pray not for the abundance of my bank account, but to take into account my riches in the abundance of God.
* I pray not for my own answer to every prayer, but for His every answer to fuel my faith.
* I pray not for God to take away every trouble, but for me to take the trouble to see His way out.
* I pray not just for a cure to my illness, but for the healing of my soul.
* I pray not to trust in my success, but to succeed in trusting God.
* I pray not to heal my loneliness, but to heed the truth that God alone is enough.

Let's Pray: Father, thank you for your answers, your solutions and your victories. Grant me wisdom to wait and to trust that your thoughts and ways are above my own. In Jesus' name, amen.

What have you been asking God lately?

Does your prayer align with His Word?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Sep 2019, 8:20 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 28, 2019

When Things get Worse...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    So you think you heard God give you a promise of deliverance from whatever it is you're going through, but things just continue to get worse...

It leaves you wondering, doesn't it? "Did I really hear God's voice? Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe God doesn't speak to me. Maybe He doesn't give me promises. Maybe God doesn't keep His promises. Maybe He doesn't care about me at all..."

What happens when people comes along and confirm that promise? Or when your Bible reading of the day just so happens to be a word of encouragement? Do you believe them? Or do you just write it off as yet another sign that God doesn't speak to you or doesn't keep His promises because the deliverance hasn't happened?

The Children of Israel were in the same situation. They were slaves in Egypt when this man, Moses, came along, showed them a few signs and wonders and claimed that God had promised to deliver them and take them back to Canaan (See Ex. 4:29-30). Yet their bondage didn't end. Instead, it got worse: "That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: ‘Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don't reduce the quota...Load them down with more work. Make them sweat!'" (Ex. 5:6-9 NLT)

Is it any wonder that when Moses came along with yet more encouragement and promises from God ("I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt...I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!'" Ex. 6:6-8 NLT), the people refuse to listen? "So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore." (Ex. 6:9a NLT).

The Bible doesn't drop the story here, however; It goes on to tell why the people refused to listen to God's continued encouragement: "They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery." (Ex. 6:9b NLT). The people refused to even hear God's words of encouragement because the harshness of their circumstances had discouraged them.

Herein lies the reason why we, as well, sometimes don't even see God at work while we await the fulfillment of His promise of deliverance. When that promise isn't immediately fulfilled, we can usually convince ourselves that we must simply wait; but when the circumstances then proceed to get worse, it doesn't matter how much continued encouragement God sends us, we are often too discouraged to hear it. The waves of problems strike us squarely in the eye, and we become blinded to anything other than the brutality of the trials.

So what should we do?

The book of Hebrews gives us the answer: "...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne." (Heb. 12:1-2 NLT).

We know that Israel's unbelief did not keep them from receiving the promise. They were, indeed, brought out of Egypt; they did, indeed, return to their native land. Yet how much more pleasant that deliverance and journey would have been if they had put off the doubt and discouragement and put their trust in God, despite the severity of the circumstances.

God's promise to you today is also binding, even when your circumstances appear to get worse. Your "Egypt experience" will end in glory, so instead of focusing on the circumstances, try these simple steps:

1. Keep your eyes on Jesus;
2. Follow His example by focusing on the joy of the deliverance;
3. Put off the doubt;
4. Fight against the discouragement;
5. Receive the encouragement God sends along the way; and above all,
6. Fix your eyes on Him and Him alone.

When you do, you will find that the journey towards your deliverance isn't so stressful after all...

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 26 Sep 2019, 9:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 26, 2019

Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

There are actually eight different meanings to the word "fix", one of which is to direct one's eyes, attention and mind towards something in a steady, unwavering fashion.

When my daughter, Thada, was three-years-old, she taught me a powerful lesson. My husband and I had exchanged heated words, and I was upset. Thada said to me, "Look at the cloud!" I didn't respond immediately, and so she touched my face with her little fingers and tilted my head towards the sky. As I put my eyes on that cloud, I was able to describe its shape to her rather than "describing" (read nagging about!) my husband...

Most of us have issues to face while we are living in this world. Problems, challenges; and changing circumstances just go with the territory. One of the most difficult lessons to learn for us as believers is to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ instead of only on, "describing" (read focusing on, talking about, paying attention to...) our hardships.

We are, after all, believers in Jesus Christ, which is testified by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the promises of the Bible come to life for us. The enemy will not win when our mind is fixed steadily on Jesus and on the promises in God's Word, for the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the most powerful name. From now on, I urge you that instead of thinking about the bad things, we must put our mind steadily on Jesus Christ and on God's promised word.

Here are a few powerful promises that we need to focus on in our spiritual battles:

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15 NIV). With this truth in mind, we know that the enemy is defeated!

"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." (1 Peter 2:24 NIV; See also Isaiah 53:5). With this truth, we are assured of God's healing power.

"The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 'This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,' says the Lord. 'I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: 'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary." (Heb. 10:15-18 NIV). This text reminds us of a very important truth: Our sins are forgiven! Period! We don't have to believe the lies of the enemy.

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love...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." (Romans 8:38a, 39 NLT) In other words, God's love is greater than even the most painful experience. We simply CANNOT be separated from the love of God!

And what about the believers who are still in the bondage of anger and hate, unforgiveness or needing to be forgiven, and hopelessness; living lives void of joy, love and peace; entangled with fear and in need of encouragement? What do we do when we need to be healed of our disbelief in Jesus Christ? When we require healing from our doubt? The answer is the same: "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

And while we are fixing our eyes upon Jesus, we praise His holy name:

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name...and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed." (Psalms 103 NIV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ so we find love, peace and joy, so that we can be healed completely according to your will. We would like to live our lives focusing on Jesus Christ who gives the victory. Our restoration is what we pray for. May we be rescued out of the lion's mouth. I ask this in Jesus Christ name above all name, king above all Kings, and Lord above all Lords (See John 14:13). Blessed be your name. Amen.

Sophie Chun Ngeth
San Bernardino, CA 
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What about you? Do you feel God has placed something on your heart that He would like to have shared with the world? Why not write it up? You can submit your writing for consideration here. Please bear in mind that there is a 800 word limit, and your devotional should contain at least one Bible text. God bless you as you respond to His calling!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Sep 2019, 5:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 24, 2019

Thriving in the House of God...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 13: Psalm 52
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have learned 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 of the Psalms is comprised of 31 Psalms, 42-72. David wrote 18 of these Psalms, Solomon wrote one (Psalm 72), and the rest were written by Korah. These are thought to parallel the book of Exodus, for herein we get the sense of a nation in ruin who is calling out to God for deliverance. While inspiring us with a sense of wonder when we worship the Lord, these 31 Psalms are prayers of deliverance, for they speak of how God is able to rescue His people.

In this series, some of the Psalms of this second book have already been showcased. Part 2, based on Psalm 55, focused on the fact that God has already done everything required to deliver us; Part 3, based on Psalm 43, teaches us that God is our only hope of joy in trouble; and finally, Part 6, based on Psalm 46, gives us a recipe for coping when the enemy comes upon us.

Today's lesson comes from Psalm 52, a Psalm of David, written for the choir director. It is believed to have been written at the time that David, in fleeing Saul, went to see Ahimelech, and Doeg the Edomite was sent after him (See 1 Samuel 21,22 for the complete story). The Psalm begins with a vivid description of the enemies that come against us:

"Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
    Don't you realize God's justice continues forever?
All day long you plot destruction.
    Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
    you're an expert at telling lies.
You love evil more than good
    and lies more than truth.
You love to destroy others with your words,
    you liar!" (Vs. 1-4 NLT)

Interestingly, though we can see the vivid picture being painted in a way that we can all relate to, the first verse: "Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don't you realize God's justice continues forever?" speaks forth a powerful message: The enemy has no real power! No matter what he boasts, no matter how deadly the trials or the temptations, no matter how weak we are when they choose to strike, no matter how hard they strike, this enemy is already defeated, for "...God's justice continues forever"!

Still not convinced that what you are up against is already defeated? Read on through verse 5:
 
"But God will strike you down once and for all.
    He will pull you from your home
    and uproot you from the land of the living." (Vs. 5 NLT)

It doesn't matter if the enemy is as formidable as Doeg the Edomite. It doesn't matter if it is spiritual in nature, or even if it is disease or broken relationships or financial difficulties. God will bring them all down, once and for all!

The Psalm, in fact, goes on to tell us that we, the righteous, will see this happening and be amazed:

"The righteous will see it and be amazed.
    They will laugh and say,
'Look what happens to mighty warriors
    who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
    and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.'" (Vs. 6-7 NLT).

Meanwhile, where do the righteous stand while we await this deliverance? Aren't we still going through the pain of the attack?

Perhaps, yes.

However, we have a huge advantage available to us. If we would only make use of these amazing gifts of God outlined in the last two verses of Psalm 52, we would weather these trials so much better: 

"But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God's unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people." (Vs.  NLT)

According to these verses, our part in the battle is as follows:

1.     Remember that we are thriving in the House of God;
2.     Always trust in His unfailing love and in His good name;
3.     Praise the Lord forever;
4.     Take that stand of faith, exemplified by our praise, in the presence of God's people!

What are you going through right now?

Remember: Our enemies are already defeated, and we can thrive in the house of the Lord as we go through the trials when we trust in His unfailing love and good name, and when we praise the Lord in the presence of God's people!

In His love
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Sep 2019, 10:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 17, 2019

A Bit of Song
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:14-16 NLV)

It was a beautiful morning. I was still asleep in my bed when the rising sun sneaked through my curtains and tapped me on my eyelids. I quickly woke up and walked into my living room. My cat was sitting on top of my desk soaking in the sun that shone through the widow. I smiled at her as I leashed up my dogs and headed outside. I took my time walking them too. It was cold and frost was on the grass, but I didn't mind. After weeks of overcast skies I delighted in the light. I watched as the pink and purple clouds slowly turned a brilliant gold. Then I smiled up at the sky and thanked God for the beautiful morning and for another day here on Earth.

Later in the day I was grabbing a few odds and ends at the local grocery store. I was exchanging pleasantries with the cashier when I heard a giggle behind me. I turned and saw a little girl holding her Mom's hand. She looked up at me and said: "You sing when you talk." Her Mom looked embarrassed and apologized, but I just smiled at the little girl and laughed along with her. It was only then that I realized that I had been feeling so fine on this glorious day that my voice had even changed. It had become so light and airy that my "Good morning", "Thank you", and "Have a great day" had taken on a song like quality. Instead of feeling embarrassed by it, though, I felt even better. It was so wonderful knowing that I had been singing when I talked and that I had made that little girl giggle with joy.

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote: "The sun does not shine for a few trees or flowers, but for the wide world's joy." May the same be true for all of us. May we all share our love not just with those around us but with everyone we meet. May we all shine our light not just in our own homes but for the whole, wide world. May we all give our joy to God, ourselves, and everyone else. And if a bit of song should sneak into our voices when we do then all the better.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 2:16 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 12, 2019

Thick Fog
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    The fog is so thick. I can't see my hand in front of my face. I can't see where my feet are going, there is nothing to keep me from tripping...Oh God, You promised to never leave us or forsake us, but where are You now?

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 NLT)

But Lord, I don't know where You are! I can't see anything in this fog! How can I come when...

"Be still, and know that I am God!" (Ps 46:10a NLT)

Be still...Okay, I'll try...

"Come to me..." (Matt 11:28a NLT)

Maybe if I follow Your voice, I will find You. Maybe then I'll find my way out of this fog. Maybe...

"Come to me..." (Matt 11:28a NLT)

I must keep moving...I must keep making my way towards that voice...Hey! There's a hand! God, is that You?

"For I hold you by your right hand--I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.'" (Is. 41:13 NLT)

Okay. Oh, Lord, Your hand, full of power and might. Thank You, thank You, thank You!

"Come, follow me..." (Matt. 4:19 NLT)

But wait. It's still foggy...I thought that You were the Light of the world. I thought that once I got to You the fog would lift, that I would be able to see my way out, that this storm would cease...I thought...

"Blessed are those who believe without seeing..." (John 20:29 NLT)

You mean, I'm supposed to continue to stumble along in this fog? Where's the abundant, fog-free life you promised? Where is the...

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b NLT)

But...but...I'm afraid I'll stumble, I don't want to trip and fall...

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NLT).

But...but...I can't see in this fog! What if I go the wrong way? What if...

"[I] will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber." (Ps. 121:3 NLT)

So, I'm just supposed to hold your hand and let You guide me through this fog?

"Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:29 NLT)

But if I can't see, how can You?

I am you light and your salvation--so why should you be afraid? (Paraphrased from Ps. 27:1a NLT)

Okay Lord. There doesn't seem to be any choice but to flounder in this fog, so I choose to take Your hand and let You lead me through.

Let all that you are wait quietly before God, for your hope is in Me. I alone am your rock and your salvation, your fortress where you will not be shaken. Your victory and honor come from Me alone. I am your refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach you. O my daughter, trust in Me at all times. Pour out your heart to me, for I am your refuge. (Paraphrased from Ps. 62:5-8 NLT)

Hey! This isn't so bad. You truly aren't letting my feet slip...And since You see the end from the beginning, the fog of my circumstances doesn't bother you in the least...Wow. So I've always thought that the solution to finding peace was for the fog to lift, yet all this time Your peace is nothing but my choice. I can have it even in the fog of my circumstances...Never have I felt so much peace...and joy...and love...and...

Wait! Isn't that what Peter experienced in the storm? Didn't he walk on top of the waves? Didn't the storm continue on? Yet amidst the storm, he found his peace in You (see Matt. 14:22-33). That's what I'm doing right now, isn't it, Lord? I'm walking through the fog of my circumstances, I'm walking blindly in peace...Wow!

But Wait...The fog is lifting a little...I'm starting to be able to see...Oh God, it's so beautiful...

"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over." (Mark 5:34 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. 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Sep 2019, 8:21 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 5, 2019

Animals...ALL Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction...
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Last Tuesday, in "Animals...All Around, Part 1", we saw that just because we don't always recognize God's blessings doesn't mean they aren't there. We also saw that sometimes we don't recognize God's blessings because we are too busy to stop and watch for them. Are there other reasons we don't see the fulfillment of God's promises in our situations?

While touring in Australia, I told myself that I was watching for animal life 24/7. In reality, however, while driving I was watching the road and trying to remember to drive on the left. When out hiking, I was often swatting flies or watching where I put my feet. Take, for example, the day I decided to take a walk through the park while my husband visited the ANZAC museum in Albany, Western Australia. I was doing the right thing, right? I was taking the time to stop the mad scramble and search for birds. Unfortunately for me, only a few paces into my walk, "nature" began to "call", and I had to switch the focus of my search from birds to toilets! Needless to say, I heard birds calling out as I rushed to find that all-important place, but I didn't stop to look for them. Could it be that one of the reasons I didn't see more animals was because I was, in general, too...distracted?

In the same way, so often we don't see God's abundant blessings because we are too distracted by other things: Problems, illness--even just the busyness of life--can all blind our senses to the touch of our God. It doesn't mean He isn't there, it simply means we don't see Him. We need to stay focused on seeking the blessings God pours out on us, even--and perhaps especially--when emergencies arise!

Here are a couple of examples:

1. You are feeling so overcome with fear that when an encouraging email arrives, you don't even open it. Or if you do, you don't even realize that the encouraging words are actually God speaking into your situation.

2. You may be feeling discouraged and depressed, like the "sun" of prosperity and happiness will never shine again. You pass someone who attempts to make eye contact with you to give you a cheery smile. You don't even notice. What you don't realize is that this particular person's smile was the ray of sunshine you had been hoping for. He was sent to you by God to give you hope, but you were too distracted to even see him.

Another reason we were never able to see certain Australian animals in the wild was that many are nocturnal, and the ones that were not nocturnal tended to be "crepuscular" (in order to escape the heat of the day, they usually don't come out of the cooler forests except in the early mornings and late evenings). We, on the other hand, were forced to be "diurnal" (opposite of nocturnal)! Because of the problem with animals on the roads at night, we were actually not allowed to drive our rental car anywhere except in town between dusk and dawn. As a result, we could not be in the animals' habitats at the times when we would have been able to see them.

In the same way, we may be expecting God's blessings to pour out on our own timetable. What we don't realize is that God's timing is always right, even when it differs from our own. Take, for example, the sale of a home. God prompts you to move to another town. You put your house on the market, but it doesn't sell right away. Why isn't He blessing your obedience with a quick sale? Is it, perhaps, because the timing isn't right? Maybe the home you need to purchase in the new town isn't available to you yet, or there may be some other reason for the delay. The point is, God will bless you with the sale of your home. It may not, however, be in your timing. Just like we needed to be in the forest at the right times to see certain of the Australian creatures, we need to recognize that God's blessings will come at just the right time.

God's blessings abound; however, in order to recognize and receive them, we must await God's timing, and we need to stay focused and not allow our circumstances to distract us.

There were times, however, in Australia, that I was wholeheartedly looking for diurnal animals in the daytime. I was in their habitat and I was taking my time and staying completely focused on the search, yet I still didn't find any. Are there times in our lives that we are seeking God's blessings in His time, times when we are attentively pushing aside our distractions and taking the time to watch and wait, but those blessings still seem to elude us? Join us on Saturday for "Animals...ALL Around, Part 3"!

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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Join us on Saturday for some ideas in "Animals...ALL Around, Part 3: Too--Commonplace? Camouflaged? Masked by Disappointment?"
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Sep 2019, 7:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 3, 2019

Animals...ALL Around, Part 1: God's blessings...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     As my husband and I were preparing for a once-in-a-life-time trip to Australia, I couldn't help but begin to imagine all the wonderful animals we would see. From the stories I had heard, the roads would be littered with hordes of Emus, Camels and kangaroos, and I knew I would have no problem achieving my goal of seeing and photographing every unique member of the Australian animal kingdom.

Needless to say, this isn't exactly the way it was. We had been in Australia for over two weeks before we saw our first wild kangaroo. A month brought us our first kookaburra, and we never did see wild Tasmanian devils, camels, platypus, or even cockatiels or budgies. We only saw one snake in the wild, and the spiders were actually not everywhere, and they were of ordinary size...To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Where were all the animals we were purported to see?

In the same way we were told that animals were everywhere in Australia, we are told in God's Word that God's blessings abound. Here are a few examples of the blessings God's Word promises us:

1. God blesses His people: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (Num. 6:24-26 NIV); "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Eph. 1:3 NIV).

2. God is near to the broken-hearted: "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Ps. 34:18 NIV).

3. God gives us comfort: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4 NIV).

4. God provides for us: "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul." (Ps. 23:1-3 NIV).

5. God is our shelter in times of storm, our Rock, our strong tower: "For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." (Ps. 27:5 NIV; see also Ps. 62, etc.)

The problem is, in the midst of our troubles, these blessings seem like my animals in Australia: non-existent!

In truth, the continent of Australia truly is teaming with wildlife. The abundant roadkill lining the highways will attest to this, as will the many reports of animals sightings in the same areas we visited and declared "animal free".

In the same way, the fact that we don't see God's blessings being poured out upon us does not mean that they don't abound. God has promised to bless, comfort, protect, feed, encourage and empower us, and God keeps all His promises: "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." (Ps. 145:13 NIV). It isn't that God doesn't pour out His blessings; rather, just like I didn't always see the abundant wildlife in Australia, we do not always recognize the blessings of God.

The question, then, changes from, "Where are all the purported blessings?" to "Why don't we see and recognize God's blessings?"

There actually were several specific reasons why we didn't always see the abundant wildlife in Australia. I believe that from my failed experiences with animal sightings we can learn some vital lessons in recognizing the blessings God showers us with. This will be the focus of this mini-series.

For today, let's look at one of the biggest reasons I didn't see wildlife in Australia: We didn't take the time...We were, after all, on a set agenda. Australia is big and our time was limited! Were we unable to spot wildlife because we were in too much of a hurry? I decided to test this theory. When my husband wanted to visit the ANZAC museum in Albany, Western Australia, I opted to take a leisurely walk around a quiet park instead. The result? I came away with many pictures of exotic birds.

Herein lies the first vital suggestion for recognizing God's blessings: We need to stop rushing through life. We need to learn to be silent and watchful, for when we do, we will begin to notice the many blessings God has for us.

Take, for example, that day when I, as a hospital worker, was feeling completely stressed out as I rushed through my morning agendas. I didn't even notice the occasional smile or cheery word from coworkers and patients. If I had stopped long enough, I might have realized that God sent those cheery smiles and greetings specifically for me, to brighten my day! Doesn't God tell us: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Ps. 46:10 NIV)?

Please join us on Thursday for "Animals...All Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction..."!

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:
So how do we begin to recognize God's blessings in our lives? Join us on Thursday for "Animals...All Around, Part 2: Masked by Distraction..." for some pointers.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Aug 2019, 8:12 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 31, 2019

Each Tiny Leaf...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ." (1 Cor. 12:12 NIV)

Why is there so much disunity in the church? With unity being so near and dear to Jesus' heart that it appeared four times (see John 17:11, 20-24) in His last recorded prayer before going to the cross, shouldn't it be near and dear to our hearts as well?

But wait. The church is made up of so many different types of people. Some are true believers, some are not. Everyone is of a different culture, and our skins are so many different colours. We all have our preferences. We all come from different socioeconomic levels. How can something so diverse truly become "one body"?

The answer is simple: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Cor. 12:13 NIV)

The one "common thread" so to speak is God's Spirit. This doesn't mean that we all look or think or act the same. In fact, that will never be: "Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." (1 Cor. 12:14 NIV). What it means is that when we are filled with God's Spirit, our differences won't matter, and we will be able to work together as one.

In fact, the secret to the church's strength and functionality actually lies in our diversity: "Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body...If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?...But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." (1 Cor. 12:15, 17-18 NIV. See also vs. 16).

The truth is, the body would not be able to function properly without its diverse, individual parts: "If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." (1 Cor. 12:19-20 NIV)

I am so saddened by the fact that we have segregated church congregations. Why do all the members of a congregation need to have the same culture or colour skin? Or why do they all need to be middleclass or citizens of good standing? Why can't we let the outcasts in? When we discourage someone from attending our church or treat them as if they are substandard, we are, in essence, saying we don't need them. Yet Paul tells us, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'" (1 Cor. 12:21-22 NIV)...

What if that person we don't think belongs in our congregation is actually someone who is vital to the functioning and testimony of our church? What if they can encourage and bless on a different level than anyone else, because they are different?

Consider Paul's words: "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other." (1 Cor. 12:22-25 NIV)

Let's remember this all important truth: "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor. 12:26-27 NIV)

One of the many thousands of things that fascinated me on my recent once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia was the leaves on the tree. I would note that the leaves of many were actually made up of thousands of tiny, tiny leaves, all bunched together in what would appear as one leaf.

Isn't this the way our churches should appear? Shouldn't we live so much in unity that no one sees our individual parts, but only the beauty of the church as a whole? Shouldn't we be so supportive and caring, shouldn't we each carry out our individual roles in such a way that we appear as one? Then, just like those leaves in Australia, outsiders would have to look closely to see that we are, in fact, individuals making up the whole.

Think about what kind of message this would send to the world at large: "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21 NIV).

Prayer: Father God, may we see the true value of each other. May we stop judging and setting racial and cultural boundaries in our churches. May we be one, so that the world may believe that You sent Jesus!

In His love,
Lyn
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Aug 2019, 10:33 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 29, 2019

6 Ways to Bring Back Peace

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     New friends ask me, "Being blind, how do you put on your make-up?"

My answer is simple: I do it carefully.

After living with complete blindness for 33 years, I often forget my limitations. But trouble comes when getting ready to go out. I pry myself from endless tasks. At the last minute, I rush around like a crazy woman. I hop in the shower, slip on my robe and dash into my walk-in closet. Frantically, I slide hangers, looking for any outfit to wear.

How do I do this with no sight? It's pretty simple. When I purchase an item, I store in my memory its characteristics--the texture, the shape of the neckline, buttons or length of sleeve. One light touch tells me what the item is. But when I'm in a hurry, trying to find the right outfit gets a bit tough. Not because I can't see, but because I just have too many clothes. Way more than any blind gal should be allowed to have. The bar holding all those hangers is probably sagging from the weight.


A jammed-filled closet and a jammed-filled life.

Oh, how my jammed closet resembled my life--full of tasks of all kinds and sizes. Like a squirrel running from tree to tree, I'd dash from one task to another.

I had no choice--lots of people to please. Fueling that desire, even as a young girl, I tried to perform to win my parents' and teachers' approval. Later on, I wanted to please my family, my employer, and my friends. Phew! I thought that the only way to please myself was by pleasing them.

Have you been there? The pleasing craze explodes. We rush through life eager to make someone happy. And the level of stress and tension rises like the thermometer in Orlando's summers.

So this season of our life, how about if we vow to cool off. God never meant us to live in the heat of tension. He gave one pretty refreshing directive: "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:36-37 NIV).


The 6 Secrets

When life sags from the weight of countless tasks, obeying His greatest commandment is the key to peaceful success. Early In the morning as we slide our feet into our slippers, this is what should play in our head: Loving God means receiving His peace. And when the world robs it, here are six secrets to bring it back:

* Inviting Him into our day.
* Drawing wisdom from His word to place the correct order to our priorities.
* Presenting Him with our to-do list for His approval.
* Giving thanks in advance for glitches as we know He will resolve.
* Invite into our day moments of silence in His presence to refuel our energy.
* Inhale the aroma of His reassurance for calmness.

Deviating from His ways equals burnout. But obeying His greatest commandment ushers wisdom to: arrange priorities; press forth when fatigued; bring clarity when confused; be calm when overwhelmed; and know the warmth of His love.

The love that sparks a desire to please Him. To receive His rest. And to know His peace because "It's useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don't you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?" (Psalm 127:2, MSG).

Let's Pray. Father, the tension and stress of life are keeping me from experiencing your peace, which I so long for. I invite you into my day and look to you to bring the calmness and peace I seek. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Since the Bible teaches that God's blessings abound, why can't I see any in my life? Join us next week for "Animals...All Around", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart.
 
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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 12:17 am

Welcome to the Nugget

August 27, 2019

The Lord is in His Holy Temple...
Lessons From the Psalms, Part 12: Psalm 11
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     
In past "Lessons From the Psalms", we have seen that in ancient Judaism, the Psalms were known as the "five books of David", and that these five books correspond and contrast with the "five books of Moses"

The first book of David is comprised of the first 41 Psalms, and it is thought to parallel Genesis, due to its theme of man and his relationship with God and its focus on how all blessings are bound up in obedience.

Over the past few months, we have explored a few of the Psalms in this first book: Psalm 1 in Part 7 of this series; Psalm 3 in Part 8 of this series; and Psalm 16 in Part 3 of this series. Today's Psalm, Psalm 11, also gives us unique perspective on man and his relationship with God, this time with specific emphasis on God's justice and trustworthiness. Let's take a look...

"I trust in the Lord for protection.
     So why do you say to me,
'Fly to the mountains for safety!'" (Vs. 1 NLT)

Isn't it true that we so often verbally put our trust in our loving, all-knowing, ever-faithful God; yet we then turn around and try to do things by our own power? For example: We pray that God will give our doctor wisdom. But when that same doctor comes in and tells us things we don't believe and prescribes treatments that we don't think will help, don't we tend to badmouth him a bit? Insinuate that he doesn't know what he is doing? Call him a fool? Refuse what he has prescribed?

Or perhaps we have prayed and asked God for courage to witness and for His Spirit to give us the words to say. Yet when the time comes, we are sure those thoughts planted in our minds are not right to be said, and we sneak off, out of the situation, without saying them.

When we say we are believing God for something, we are entering into a trust relationship with Him. That requires that we know Him, that we trust in His wisdom and His unfailing love. We may not trust the doctor in the above example, but we trust that God is big enough to give him wisdom. Or we may not trust our ability to hear God's Spirit, but we can trust in His Spirit to know how to speak to us in a way we will understand. There is, therefore, no need to doubt. We don't need to "fly like a bird to the mountain" in order to be ensured of God's protection!

Unfortunately, we see that everything in the world goes against this logic. We see others around us making bad choices. We see our leaders lying and cheating. We even see our pastors and priests falling into temptation. This, my friends, is not new. Psalm 11, written by David so many hundreds of years ago, describes something similar:

"The wicked are stringing their bows
     and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.
at those whose hearts are right.
     The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
What can the righteous do?" (Vs. 2,3 NLT)

With all the bad that is happening around us, it is so hard to truly trust and so easy to scratch our heads and ask, "Where is God in all of this?" Yet God asks us to know and love Him enough to trust Him, no matter how many there are who "shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right". He asks us to trust in His unfailing love for us that He has proven time and time again, and that He solidified with the cross of Jesus Christ (See Rom. 5:8).

"Where is God in all of this" you ask? Let's look:

"But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
     the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
     examining every person on earth." (Vs. 4 NLT)

In all of this, God is in His holy temple, and He rules from Heaven. He asks us to trust that He is not blind, that He knows when the wicked are trying to destroy us, for:

"The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.
     He hates those who love violence.
He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,
     punishing them with scorching winds." (Vs. 5-6 NLT)

In His love for mankind, God is just. He looks at the wicked. They will receive their just punishment. We can trust in God's omniscience and His justice!

And what about the righteous?

"For the righteous Lord loves justice.
     The virtuous will see his face." (Vs. 7 NLT)

Those who love and trust in the Lord will receive the ultimate in rewards: to "see His face"!

And herein lies perhaps the most beautiful picture of the purpose of the first 41 songs in the Psalms: When our relationship with God is bound up in love and respect, our ultimate reward is the highest honour in the universe: to "see His face"!

Never forget: it matters not what the wicked do and say; when we cling to God, we will "see His face", for "the Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord still rules from Heaven"!

In His love,

Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 10:37 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 29, 2020

Lawn Mowing? Or Lawn Care?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I have a love/hate relationship with my lawn mower.

I love the way the grass looks once it is cut.

The hate part?

Pushing it requires work. It takes energy, it takes time...

Besides, there will always be areas where the machine can't get -- like around the bases of the fence and in the corners. And the grass only looks nice for a couple days before it begins to need cutting again...

I saw a truck the other day with the words, "Lawn Care" written on the side. Two young men in blue shirts were pushing lawnmowers, and one was using a trimmer on all the areas the mowers wouldn't reach. Wait. What a great idea! All the good things about cutting the lawn, without any of the bad!

It makes me think about life's problems. They are there. We apply a "fix" -- counselling, mechanics, finding new jobs, seeing the doctor -- and there is some satisfaction in seeing the "fix" begin to work until the problem is resolved. But mere antibiotics can't cure most of life's problems. Neither can counselors, mechanics or good jobs. Some of them are so large that no matter what "fix" you apply, they can't be resolved. And just like mowing the lawn doesn't stop the grass from growing back, clearing up an infection -- or seeing a marriage counselor or taking your car to the mechanic or finding a new job -- won't stop problems from returning either.

So what to do? Is there a "Problem Care" service?

Good news: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Just like there are two ways to get my lawn cut -- To push though and do it myself, or to hire a lawn service -- there are also two ways to get through the problems of life. We can worry about them and try to fix them ourselves, or we can give them to the One who truly can fix them.

But wait, you say. I have tried to give my problems and my worry to God; but how can I "not" worry when they aren't resolving? When it seems like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?

Are you sure they aren't resolving? Are you certain that your prayers aren't reaching Heaven? Is it possible that God is providing for you in a different way?

I once knew someone who was praying for a job. When it didn't materialize, that person began questioning whether God even heard the prayers. That person would later tell me that during even the worst of the unemployment crisis, they always had enough. God was providing for them, and they didn't need to worry about finances, even when the job didn't materialize.

I, myself, prayed for God to heal me of cancer. No matter how hard I prayed, however, the tumour remained. In the end, I had to undergo cancer treatment via the medical system. Did God hear my prayers? Absolutely. In the end, I was healed. Maybe the healing didn't look quite the way I had anticipated, but the cancer was gone just the same. And while going through this experience, God was right there, holding me up, carrying me through; and perhaps most importantly, He was teaching me important lessons on how to help others who are going through similar experiences.

When we truly cast our worries upon God, He comes through for us. His solutions are in His time and His way; but even while we continue to wait, He is there to help us through.

Problems abounding? What it will be? Will you worry? Or will you give the worry to the "Problem Care" specialist, the God of the universe who loves you exponentially more than you can even imagine? Will you try to find your own solutions? Or will you trust God to provide for your needs in His way, even when the "desired" outcome seems to be nothing but a pipe dream?

I don't know about you, but I want to subscribe to that "Lawn Care" service... And I want to subscribe to the "Problem Care" service as well!

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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AnnouncementDoes anyone out there find the Bible dull?  Lacking in excitement and action?  Check out: Lights, Camera, Action! -- A mini-series in the books of Joshua and Acts by Suresh Manoharan. 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2019, 11:19 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 22, 2019

The Waiting
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We had just put our house on the market a week earlier.

Up until that time, it was a flurry of activity with painting, striping wallpaper, scrubbing, cleaning, repairing and redecorating being the theme.

We hoped that in not-too-many days, the house would sell, and the flurry of activity would start all over again with packing and moving, and of course, there would be the painting, etc., of the new place.

We were in a rush for this to happen. We wanted all the dust to be settled by the end of July, because our son was getting married at the end of August; but we were, at that moment, in a waiting phase.

We had looked at a few houses, yes, but until our home sold, we really couldn't do anything. We couldn't even really start packing, for the house needed to stay pristine-looking for potential buyers. Besides, when we didn't yet know where we would be going, it would have been difficult to know what to get rid of and what to keep!

It seemed like such a waste of time, this waiting. We could have been busy doing so much towards advancing the move; but there we sat, twiddling our thumbs so to speak, waiting...

Do you find yourself in a waiting period of life? Maybe you've been given a promise of restoration, but you await its fulfillment. Maybe you thought you were on the right track, but you were derailed by a bad medical diagnosis or relationship issues. Or maybe you lost your job. And since there isn't anything you can "do" to change these derailments, to get yourselves back on track, you find yourselves waiting...

It's hard to wait patiently, isn't it? I just wanted to start packing! In the same way, I know you want your lives to get back on track as quickly as possible from the bad circumstances that have brought you to a standstill.

Let's remember, however, that, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven..." (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV). God never intended for us to push forward full-steam all the time, and His Word tells us that there are benefits to waiting: "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." (Is. 40:31 NKJV).

So what do we do when we wait?

*Here are a few suggestions I found...

1. Remember that God hears our cries: "Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me." (Micah 7:7 NKJV).

2. We must put our hope in God's Word and remember the blessings yet to come: "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope." (Psalm 130:5 NKJV); "Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him." (Isaiah 30:18).

3. We must trust explicitly in the Lord and not in ourselves: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding..." (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV).

4. Our job to watch with expectancy and to be prepared for unexpected answers: "My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up." (Psalm 5:3 NKJV)

5. We need to see the waiting period as an opportunity to experience God's goodness: "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him." (Lamentations 3:25 NKJV).

6. While we wait, we need to be strong and take courage: "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:13-14; see also Ps. 31:24 NKJV).

7. We also need to be still and choose patience, putting a stop to our fretting and anger: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm." (Psalm 37:7-8 NKJV).

8. Finally, we need to continue in steadfast prayer: "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving..." (Colossians 4:2 NKJV).

I'll try to remember this the next time I have to wait.... And maybe I'll catch up a bit on my writing in the downtime!

*Adapted from the "Unlocking the Bible" website...

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 20 Aug 2019, 11:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 20, 2019

A Broken BB Gun
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 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." (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)

When I was a young boy my favorite toy was a BB gun. It was shaped like an old fashioned Winchester lever action rifle. When I had it in my hands I suddenly became all the heros of the Western movies that I watched. I was John Wayne riding to the rescue, fighting off train robbers along the empty train tracks that ran next to our yard. Occasionally I would shoot BB's for target practice but most of the time I just pretended to be a cowboy with it.

One day I walked into the house carrying my gun in my hand. I was imitating a John Wayne movie where he swung the rifle by its lever and shot it with one hand. As I did so, however, I heard a pop. I hadn't totally cleaned the BB's out of the gun when I was shooting it the day before. I watched in terror as the BB parted the hair of my Dad who was snoozing on the couch. A half an inch lower and it would have shot him in the head. My Dad woke up instantly and saw what happened. With a lot of anger and cursing he grabbed my BB gun, walked out to the railroad tracks and smashed it on the rails. I wouldn't have another BB gun for a long time after that and when I did I refused to put BB's in it.

What bothered me the most, though, was seeing the anger in my Dad's eyes. I hid in my room for the rest of the day not wanting to face him. I was afraid he didn't love me anymore. At dinnertime he finally walked into the room and put his hand on my head. "It's ok, Joey", he said. "I forgive you. Now come and eat." I felt so relieved and joyful at that moment. I felt safe, happy, and loved once again.

In the years that followed I would disappoint my Dad more than once. I would also disappoint my Heavenly Father time and time again. I was a slow learner and suffered the consequences of my own actions. I hurt myself and others. I cried and struggled and grieved. Yet, through it all I always felt loved. No matter how many times I messed up I knew that God loved me and forgave me. I knew too that He was helping me to become better, kinder, and more loving. I just had to do my part.

God loves us all so much. His love is unconditional. He forgives our mistakes, failures, and bad choices. He guides us along the path of love and helps us to become the people we were meant to be. He helps us to find the light and love that lies deep within our own souls. Whatever you go through in this life then remember, you are loved! Remember, you can love! Remember, YOU ARE LOVE!

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Aug 2019, 10:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 17, 2019

The Hum of the Air Conditioner
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Ps. 118:29 NIV).

When you choose to visit a hot climate in the midst of their summer season, the value of air conditioning becomes all apparent. In our recent January/February trip to Australia, we found air conditioning units to be so commonplace that we mostly didn't notice they were there. If I had made the effort to listen, I might have heard their background "hum"; but the sound was so ordinary that it didn't warrant my attention, and you most certainly wouldn't have heard me thanking them for doing the job that I wasn't even noticing they were doing!

There were a couple of times, however, when I did take notice of the air conditioner's hum: When the units were not functioning as they were supposed to! Once, for example, the day the unit actually began to blow hot air into the room. You can believe me when I say that unit immediately came on our radar! It was, after all, already 35-40 degrees C outside, and even hotter in the hotel room! We fussed and fiddled to no avail, and we eventually called the hotel manager.

It all made me think about God's blessings and His workings around us. Just like the air conditioning units that were prevalent in Australia, God's handicraft is all around us. The Bible teaches that He is always at work: "In his defense Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.'" (John 5:17 NIV). But just like the quiet hum of the air conditioner was so commonplace that I didn't notice it, can we honestly say that we understand the Truth that God is always at His work? Do we see God at work in our lives? Do we recognize the effect of this work?

I am afraid that I, for one, usually do not. Especially in the good times. In fact, it isn't until bad circumstances arise that I generally even think about God's blessings and the fact that He is always at work around us; and then, just like that air conditioner unit blowing hot air got my full attention, it is in the midst of the hard times that I begin to look for God's hand in my situation.

But remember that I couldn't find the problem with the malfunctioning unit. In the same way, I generally don't see God at work in the midst of my troubles, either! I don't see it, of course, because I am looking for a specific resolution to my problem that I have defined, and when I don't see what I am looking for, I conclude that God isn't there...

Take my last years' "hot-blowing-air-conditioning-unit", for example: God helped us to understand it was time to think about moving, and our house was put on the market. After two weeks, however, not a single person had come by to see it. It was as if the house were invisible. I saw the solution: People had to start coming by to see my house so that my house would sell as quickly as possible! But was this God's solution? Apparently not, because it didn't happen. I was telling a good friend about my frustrations one day, and her response seemed to be coming to me straight from God: "Well then, the house you are to move into next is not yet available!"

Something else also happened that same day. There had been escalating tension between my neighbour and his neighbour on the other side. I had been feeling frustrated because there didn't seem to be anything I could do to help; yet God opened a door. Could it be that God wasn't quite ready for us to move? Did we, perhaps, still have a role to play in our neighbourhood?

No, the fact that our house didn't sell when we thought it should didn't mean that God had somehow "misplaced" us and our house. Not at all. What it meant was that God was, indeed, busy at work in the background, preparing the way, not only for the best house to come available for us to buy, but also using us in a small way to accomplish what we had been praying for: Reconciliation between our neighbours.

It's sad that it took a broken air conditioning unit to help us appreciate the air conditioning in Australia. It's even sadder that it takes the troubles of life to make us realize that God is, indeed, not only in control, but busily at work, not only for our own personal good, but for the greater good as well.... Perhaps, even during the good times, it might be a good idea to notice "the hum of the air conditioner"...to see where God is at work around us, and give Him thanks!

And more on the sale of our house to follow...

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 15 Aug 2019, 10:34 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 15, 2019

Reward

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     How demanding life can be! You know what I mean, right? We follow that same routine—trying to catch our breath as we rush through the day, meeting everyone's needs. Where is the reward?

My answer came through my brother and his wife Lois who were our house guests for a few days.

One evening I knocked at the door of our guest room.

"Come in," Lois said.

I walked in and felt the ironing board. "What are you ironing?"

"The table runners we bought."

"You don't have to." I protested, "You did more than enough: cleaned, rearranged, shopped and even painted a table for me."

"I don't mind," she said.

She didn't mind because that's what she does. Anything she tackles is done quietly, with no expectation. She helps in a silence that screams kindness and pure love.

Why can't I be that way? Secretly, I look for recognition or at least a faint sign of appreciation.

Can you identify? You just wiped the kitchen counter and cleaned the floor for the umpteenth time. But no applause from anyone. You did the third load of laundry. No one noticed. Paid the bills with stress cramping your stomach, and no appreciation there either. And while at work, the extra load of tasks is completed, but the boss gives no recognition. You even smile at the cashier at the store but it goes unnoticed.

Sigh! Do we just keep on giving and giving? Is there any hint of satisfaction or return for our efforts?

God has the answer:

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4)

Prayer: Father, in the secret of my heart I want to be recognized and I look for rewards. Change my heart and grant me humility to do all in the quietness of love. May my actions be for your eyes only. In Jesus' name, amen.

What reward can you expect from the Lord today?

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 13 Aug 2019, 9:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 13, 2019

Absorbing the Dirt
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Have you ever noticed how messy things become when you are trying to clean?

Take cleaning out the garage, for example. When you begin sorting through the junk, cleaning up tools, etc., it isn't long at all before your hands are greasy and your clothing is muddy. The end result may be a clean garage, but you will have to take a shower and wash your clothing in order to remove the dirt that at one time was in your garage!

We notice the same phenomenon on the emotional level. When we are with someone who is depressed, worried or angry, it isn't long before we begin to feel the same way.

What about on the spiritual level? If we are around sinners, will we absorb their sin?

Throughout the books of Moses, we see many interesting reference that would indicate that sin is transferable. Take the instruction, for example, in regards to the scape goat: "He will lay both of his hands on the goat's head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people's sins to the head of the goat..." (Lev. 16:21 NLT). This is not without cost to the High Priest, for the next verses tell us: "...he must take off the linen garments he was wearing...Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place...and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord." (Lev. 16:23,24 NLT)

We get another glimpse of how sin can be transferred in Exodus 29: "Each day you must sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering...Afterward, cleanse the altar by purifying it; make it holy by anointing it with oil." (Ex. 29:36 NLT). Thus the bull receives the sins of the people; but the altar it touches becomes defiled and must be cleansed and made holy again.

If sin is so highly "contagious" that the people--and even the altar--that touch those "sinful" animals are now in need of cleansing, then it certainly stands to reason that reaching out to those who are entrenched in the dredge of sin also puts us at risk for compromise. Even if we find ourselves so appalled by what we see that there is no way we would ever fall into the same traps, we might find ourselves at risk for the sins of pride or self-reliance, or even of developing the "holier-than-thou" attitude.

The point is, whenever we do our part in the "cleaning up" process, be it in the garage, the city slums or anywhere in between, we are at risk for receiving some of the "dirt"!

Does this mean we shouldn't try to reach out and help people?

Not at all! The Bible is very specific that we are to help one another: "We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord." (Rom. 15:1-2 NLT)

It is important, however, for us to be aware of the fact that helping out in a cleaning-up project puts us at risk of assuming some of the dirt. In the same way I should wear gloves and coveralls when I clean the garage, it is necessary for us to go into these spiritual "clean-ups" covered in the blood of Jesus. We need to be aware of the risk and pray for God's Spirit to build a hedge of protection around us that we will not be compromised even in the least way.

How should we dress for helping one another? By knowing who we are in Christ (See Eph. 6:10-18): by knowing the Person of Truth and having a personal relationship with the One who IS Truth (vs. 14a); by accepting Jesus' righteousness as our own (vs. 14b); by standing ready for the fight (vs. 15); by having unbendable faith in God (vs. 16); by believing in the power wielded to us by Jesus' Salvation (vs. 17a. See also Eph. 1:19-20); by knowing and using God's Word against the enemy (vs. 17b); and above all, by covering ourselves and each other in prayer (vs. 18).

When we go in so dressed, we will be protected against the transferable power of sin. However, let's remember that after receiving the sin offering, it was necessary for the High Priest to wash and the altar to be cleansed. In the same way, it is important for us, after we've been helping those imprisoned by sin find escape, to make the effort to cleanse ourselves. We need to ask God to cover us with His Spirit and remove any dross we might have picked up along the way.

Helping others? Vitally important; but for our own protection, we must go in properly clothed, and we must make an effort to have God cleanse us afterwards!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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The Illustrator and the Nugget have joined forces and are now on Facebook under the name Answers2Prayer. This group is dedicated to bringing people closer to our loving God through daily thought-provoking devotionals and inspirational stories.

Invite them to join us at by clicking here. They may either sign in or sign up, and once into their account, they can search for Answers2Prayer in the search bar (on the top right corner of the screen) and hit enter. Here they will find our new group, and they can click on "Join Group", hit "Confirm" and then enjoy daily encouragement.

As always, this is a free. Our goal is to help your friends and family make Jesus their focus!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Aug 2019, 10:08 am

Welcome to the Nugget

August 8, 2019

Mowing the Lawn
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude...That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it." (1 Peter 3:8,9b NLT)

It had been raining on and off for several days and the weather forecast called for even more rainy days ahead.  The only break seemed to be for several hours this morning so I knew that I would have to cut the grass now. I had several large lawns to do so I quickly pulled out my old push mower and hoped that the wet grass wouldn't choke it up too much.  I got to work cutting 20 inch swaths over and over in the thick grass.  I took my time and did my best to mow around the patches of buttercups and dandelions so the butterflies and bumblebees could still have something to snack on. 

As I worked I let my mind wander.  Bits of songs bounced around my brain and I let myself sing along with them.  Old memories made me smile and I let myself delight in them.  Plots from old books and television shows popped up too and I allowed myself to enjoy them.  As I grew tired from cutting the large lawns, however, my thoughts grew more serious and turned to the questions that I often mull over.

One in particular stuck in my mind today: "Why am I here?"  I knew that I wasn't just here to mow lawns, do laundry, and wash dishes.  I knew that I wasn't just here to write my stories and share them with the world.  I even knew that I wasn't just here to care for my two mentally handicapped sons.  In a sense I was here for all of these things but I was also here for something more.  As I was finishing cutting down the last of the grass I felt a warmth come into my heart and a Divine answer enter my mind.  It was the same answer I always get but often forget. It said, "You are here to Love!"

We are all here to love! We are here to love God! We are here to love ourselves! We are here to love everyone as ourselves!  Live your life in love then.  Bring your love to everything you do. Let your love flow when you work at your job.  Let your love flow when you hug your family.  Let your love flow when you laugh with your friends.  Let your love flow when you share a smile with a stranger.  Let your love flow from your every thought and prayer.  Let your love flow from your heart right up to Heaven. 

And don't forget to let your love flow even when you mow the lawn. 

By Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Aug 2019, 8:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 6, 2019

What to do When Facing Impossibilities

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Memorial Day brings back memories of heroes as with gratitude, we recall their brave commitment to bring us victory. But why do we forget the victory Christ has already won for us?

Do you remember this story?

"One day the angelsa came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the Lord, 'From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.'" (Job 1:6-7 NIV)

Did he say the earth? Gulp. Friend, you and I are on that same earth on which he roams. And we need to watch out because, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

He's probably licking his lips, staring at us.

And when we're alone, seated on our bed of self-pity, surrounded by walls of gloom, lamenting our impossible situations, we become more appetizing. We're more appealing because we're weighed down by negativity. And we're weakened by moments of hopelessness.

I've been there.

And unaware of what an inviting prey I was, I was soon to be his spiritual lunch.

The giant I faced towered over me, reminding me of my frailty, whispering I was defenseless.

That's the place the enemy wants us, walking into defeat and deceived in thinking that victory will only come when the impossible problem would be removed.

But often that doesn't happen. Not to us and not to David. Instead, like our struggles, the giant stood firm, relentless and threatening.

Poor David?

No! Although a boy, He was scrawny, a bit of a shy kid, the youngest of his brothers and probably voted the "least likely to succeed" in the senior class of the local shepherd high school, yet God was with him.

Success was at work. David stepped forward and the size of his opponent didn't infuse fear, but injected boldness instead.

Unprepared to face giants, he probably smelled of sheep wool and with mud caked on his sandals, he stirred God's power within him.

We're like that, too; we're walking with shoes caked with discouragement, and possibly smelling of hopelessness.

And like you and I, David probably had to shoo off the enemy's lies: that problem is too big, destruction is inevitable, the pain will be fierce, or you are doomed to lose.

And as he does today, the enemy presented opposition from all sides. People doubted David's abilities, King Saul scratched his head with bewilderment, and when Goliath saw David's size, he laughed.

But God smiled ...

...because he prompted David to shed the armor King Saul had given him. The metals and chains were way too cumbersome for his thin body. Instead, he tapped into the power of the Lord.

It was the same power he had used to bring down those ferocious bears and lions. He had the weapon--not a rifle, a shotgun, a knife or sword. And he didn't trust in the smooth rocks in his sling either. He trusted in a greater and mightier weapon--the power of God.

Have you faced those giants that loom over you?

They mock your courage and laugh at your faith? The lies from the enemy that fuel your fear.

The lies that say your 2-inch faith is no match for the 9-foot giant of impossibilities. The deception that repeats you'll never see relief, healing or triumph.

We've all faced that at one time or another. And in desperation we slip on that armor--our own abilities, wisdom, and solutions. But dragging ourselves toward the battlefield, we find that human armor hinders us. It's too heavy with pride.

That's when you and I do what David did.

We shed that wrong armor and pull out our best weapon instead. David was bold as we should be, he's defiant like we have to be, and he's truthful to declare to whom belongs the victory.

It's not the giant that threatens, but it's the gigantic love God has for us that must fuel our courage. That's why David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty" (1 Samuel 17: 45).

Did you read that? The God David spoke about is not just any god, He's the Lord almighty, creator of the universe, and immensely powerful.

Troubles can come from all sides bearing the sword of anguish, the spear of anxiety and the javelin of fear. But you and I come in the name of the Lord--with confidence, with resolve and trust that through Christ, the victory is already won.

And holding the smooth stones of faith, bearing the spiritual weapon of God's faithfulness, we can face any giant of impossibility in the name of the Lord.

I had to make that choice.

In his devious craftiness, he lied to me when he said it would be impossible to find peace after my son was killed. But his lies are no match for God's truth, to God's power of restoring what was broken, to heal that which seared, and to defeat the giant who threatens our peace.

To the world, our problems seem gigantic, to God they are miniscule. They're big when we see them with human eyes. They shrink when we see them through Christ's eyes.

And as we gaze at our problem we have a choice: either to live hoping for blessings, or to bless the hope we already have in Christ.

Let's Pray: Father, you know the giants in my life. I confess they rob my sleep and anxiety visits often. But I ask you to fill me with the faith David had, the wisdom he carried, and the courage he displayed. In Jesus' name, amen.

-- What giant looms over you right now?
-- How do you silence lies in order to live triumphantly?

Janet Eckles

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