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Post  Admin Yesterday at 12:38 pm

"I actually cut my bangs myself," my dear friend wrote.

I was impressed.

"...made a huge mistake," she continued, "by cutting 3/4 of an inch instead of 1/4 of an inch."

Yikes, that's sounded like me.

"I couldn't believe I did that!" she said, "But I've had more compliments than ever before. Turns out I look good in very short bangs and think I will keep them that way."

See? Some friends are just blessed that way. They mess up and things still turn out well.

That was a lesson for me. In fact, it was a huge lesson because I learned many things about making mistakes, messing up things, failure in general, and making foolish decisions.

Have you been there lately?

If you're in the "oops" phase of your journey and have looked in the mirror of life and find that you have messed up, then smile. Why? Because there are many lessons we can learn from dealing with failure. Here are six keys to dealing with failure. Using these keys can help you navigate through each episode toward a fail-proof path to success.

Remember:

* A lack of failure denotes we're splashing in stagnant water.
* Failures bring added wisdom to help you take the next step.
* Failures are a sign we're moving forward.
* Failures bathed in faith never equals defeat.
* Fear of failure comes when we let go God's hand.
* Failure brings success when we trust in He who never fails us.

Paul tasted the sadness of failed plans, tough roads, cold prisons, failed relationships, but He never stopped. He held his head high, his convictions deep and his resolve certain: "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:23-24 NIV).

Let's Pray: Father, thank you that my failures are not the end, my mistakes are not the outcome, nor are my flaws my destiny. In you, all my failures are ways to humble me and change my focus--to see you, your hand at work and your mighty power that helps me finish the race. In the name of Jesus, I thank you. Amen.

What failure are you facing?
What does success mean to you?
What steps are you taking to move beyond failures?

Janet Eckles

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

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Aug 2020, 8:56 pm

Playing Church

August 11, 2020

 
 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1ca8-050001010700&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV)

When I was five and my brother was four, we'd play church. We dressed up just like the grownups. My brother was the minister, and I was the organist. He'd stand on the kitchen table with a book in his hands (often upside-down) and preach his heart out. He delivered his sermons with passion and conviction. Then, he would baptize my dolls at the bathroom sink using the precise wording that he had heard in church. I "improvised" on the family pump organ, with my feet barely reaching the pedals. My brother and I did a superb job of playing church. Truly, it does not take a Master of Divinity to administer such clerical duties as pronouncing a benediction. My four-year-old brother did it perfectly -- even with the correct inflections.

Learning to do church is easy. It's easy to become a Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, or a house-churcher. It might even be easy to succeed in seminary. Comparatively, it is infinitely harder to be what God calls us to be. It's hard to take the Scriptures seriously for our own lives. It's hard to love and forgive our debtors as we've been forgiven. It's hard to admit our sinfulness and centre our lives on grace. Our pride simply won't let us become "a fool for Jesus" (see 2 Corinthians 12:11). Consistently living by faith in our sovereign God is hard to do. Why? Because that's unnatural to human nature. It's far more natural to keep on "playing church" -- just as folk were doing in Jesus's day. Jesus said:

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (Mark 7:6b  NIV)

Likewise, we will cling to our church-playing tendencies until we learn to "put childish ways behind" and take responsibility for our relationship with Christ.

God often uses church disappointments to accomplish the transition. The process is never easy. The loss of what matters to us can make us feel angry or discouraged. When we resist, we find ourselves fighting against God's program for us. Our church-playing tendencies must lose their grip before we can fully embrace God's immeasurable promises in Christ.

Paul learned how to "play church" well, with an impressive religious heritage which he deeply valued -- until he found Christ. That's when, comparatively, his heritage depreciated in value, and he could declare:

"Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things." (Philippians 3:7-8 NIV)

Perhaps you yourself grew up in a wonderful Christian heritage which you still value. The question is: Has Christ become of greater value for you?

Prayer: Lord, help us to accept our losses, religious or otherwise, that we may experience the full measure of our gains in Christ. Amen.

Diane Eaton
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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

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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Aug 2020, 11:05 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c9a-0d0001018b00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
Why do people become followers of Christ?

It is an interesting question. I'm sure that there are as many answers as there are Christians to ask; but I suspect that a predominant answer would have something to do with Salvation. We accept Jesus as our Saviour because we want to go to Heaven.

And I might add, this is an excellent reason to become a follower of Christ. We make God happy when we want what He has paid such a high price to give. He delights in us spending time with Him here on earth; how much more will He delight in us spending eternity with Him in Heaven?

In the introductory paragraph of the book of Titus, Paul even spells this out as a reason for Salvation: "I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth...This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God--who does not lie--promised them before the world began." (Titus 1:1a, 2 NLT)

But that isn't the only reason Paul gives for the Truth of the gospel message, is it? Nor is it even the first reason he lists. Before he even mentions eternal life, Paul states that the Truth, "...and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives" (vs. 1b)!

In light of this text, I'm afraid that we cannot truthfully say the only purpose of the gospel truth is eternal life with God! Another vitally important reason is to "live godly lives"!

But this isn't a new thought, is it? Going back to the angels' message to the Shepherds the night Jesus was born, we see something similar: "The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" (Luke 2:11 NLT).

Did you catch that? First they announce Jesus as the "Savior", yes; but then they call Him "the Lord"!

A quick google search on the definition of "Lord" reveals the following: "someone ... having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler."

When someone has authority over us, when someone is our master, our ruler, that someone must be obeyed; and since Jesus is our Lord, then He is our authority, our master and our ruler. We are required to do what He says!

And what does He say? "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." (John 13:34 NLT). When we follow this command, we learn what is involved in living a godly life: we must love one another.

Wait a minute. I thought this was a free gift. I accept Jesus and I get to go to Heaven for eternity. But this living a godly life sounds like work! I mean, it's lots easier to believe Jesus for Salvation than it is to love the person who bashed into the rear end of my car leaving me with a whiplash. It's so much easier than loving my boss who bullies me. Salvation doesn't cost me a dime, while providing food to the homeless man on the street takes my hard-earned money that I was saving to buy a car that I really need.

True enough, but Jesus Himself says, "So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?" (Luke 6:46 NLT). We are called to make Jesus our Saviour and our Lord. That means that the Truth of the gospel message is not only to ensure eternity in Heaven; it is also to teach us how to live godly lives, to teach us to love one another.

Don't forget that God will never require you to do something that He will not empower you to do. Our job is to desire to follow Jesus' command and to continually seek God's assistance in doing so.

You may have already made Jesus your Saviour, but have you made Him your Lord? If not, why not resolve to do so today?

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 book of John takes us through many deep discussions that Jesus gave at various times in His ministry. Please click here for Study #1 -- JESUS AND NICODEMUS; Study #2 -- THE WOMAN AT THE WELL; Study #3 --  AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA; Study #4 -- BREAD OF LIFE; Study #5 -- THE SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK; and Study #6 -- THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 06 Aug 2020, 7:57 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c9a-640001014d00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it." (Genesis 3:6a NIV)

What we see and what we hear has a powerful influence on our thoughts and actions, and has had from the beginning of time. For instance, remember Eve? She was the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother, but unfortunately, she also had the dubious distinction of being the first to fail -- the first to sin. We don't know the whole story, but it's possible that she'd been looking at and thinking about that beautiful tree for a long time, wondering how the fruit would taste. Various translations say that the fruit was "pleasant to the eye”, "looked beautiful and tasty”, and was a "delight to the eyes”. So, when the serpent came along with his twisted version of God's Word, she listened -- and the rest of the story has impacted history for eons.

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness." (Luke 11:34 NIV)

"I will not look with approval on anything that is vile." (Psalm 101:3a NIV 2011)

Her eyes and her ears were focused on the wrong person. What we take in through both those sources of input gets embedded in our brains and affects our thoughts and our actions. In the last few years, I've become increasingly aware of this problem. I've restricted my viewing and reading; there are many television shows, movies and commercials that I can't watch and books that I can't read because they create images in my mind that lead me into paths of thinking that I don't want to tread. I can't let those ideas and images rest in my brain. One thought leads to another, and soon, I'm thinking about situations and ideas that have no place in the mind of God's child.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

There is an answer -- a solution -- as laid out in this verse. Use these criteria to measure what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, even who we listen to. Measure every source of input by the Bible -- even the sermons that we hear at church or on various media. Then, our minds can be free to focus on God.

Prayer: Father, help us to keep our minds pure, to measure every source of input by Your Word, by Your commandments, by Your statutes. Give us the strength to focus our eyes and ears always on You. Thank You, Father, for Your guidance and love. Amen.

Sharon Cook
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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

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Post  Admin on Tue 04 Aug 2020, 9:26 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cb2-ac0001015800&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"That's him," my friend said. "It has to be him."

The soft evening breeze at SeaWorld made the concert delightful. The band's catchy and familiar beat never got old, but the members of the 70's band sure did.

"After all these years," she said, "who knew he'd be still playing."

"Did you try to go and say hi?" I asked, assuming that would be the first thing I would do.

"No," she said. "Although we were close friends, he belongs to the lifestyle I had during that time, and I don't care to go back."

Gulp. A bit of guilt slithered in. In a minute, I would have rushed to him and given him a big ole hug. And faster than a drum beat, I would've gushed an update of my life and asked about his.

But not my friend. Her resolve to leave behind a life that wasn't God-honoring was admirable. And choosing not to look back at time past where her life was empty was honorable. She embraced the new streams of water in her new life. With no apologies, she danced to the melody of her new path. She relished in new friends, and her soul sang to God's promise: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland..." (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

Let's Pray: Father, thank You for teaching me that I mustn't go back to old ways, to ponder on past failures, to bring back old mistakes. I delight in the breeze of Your promise that in the wasteland of bad memories, You're creating a new spring of beautiful tomorrows. In Jesus' name, amen.

-- What memories, relationships and ways do you need to let go?
-- What changes are needed in your present life?
-- How will you learn to relish in a new day?

Janet Eckles

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

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Finding it hard to leave the past behind? Why not work on spending time with God in the present?
 
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 01 Aug 2020, 7:18 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cb4-460001017900&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
It had been one of the most stressful fall seasons of our lives.

First of all, my elderly mother was experiencing numerous different health problems, including what her physician was certain was colon cancer. Her hemoglobin was dangerously low, and she was also being investigated for a probable mild heart attack. This was all on top of eye surgery and a stubborn ulcer on the bottom of her foot that had her confined to an electric wheelchair, complete with porch lifts, scooters, etc.

Secondly, my husband was suffering from health problems requiring multiple medical appointments.

Thirdly, I was under investigation for shoulder pain, for strange loss of sensation in my hands, and mostly, for suspicious spots of unknown origin on my liver and on both kidneys. Being a breast cancer survivor, I didn't need to be told that liver was one of the common sites of metastatic breast cancer, and my stress doubled. Then, when the MRI that would confirm the diagnosis wasn't schedule until April...Well, we'll just say that tipped me a bit over the edge...

Of course I am the only driver for the three of us, as Rob's vision is too poor for most driving situations, so you can only imagine how much time I was spending in doctors' offices...

As if all of that weren't enough, our oldest son moved back to University, but couldn't find a place to live until mid-semester. As a result, he was living in our unwinterized 12-foot trailer that doesn't even have a bathroom, in a campground close to the University, and once he finally found a place, we had to move him out of our house, out of the trailer, and help him get settled into his new place.

And just to add a little "spice" to our lives, we were trying to downsize. Our family-sized house had been on the market for six months already, and nothing was happening.

Therefore, when my husband wanted to leave the country from January to March, I wasn't exactly ecstatic. There were too many "mountains" standing in the way of such a trip! After all, what if my mom actually did have colon cancer? How could we leave her for that length of time? What if...I had liver cancer? What if the house hadn't sold? What if...?

Before making a decision, we took it to the Lord and asked for His advice. His response? He promised miracles...not once, not twice, but three times!

Booking such a trip in the face of all those "mountains" would take more faith than either of us had, and this put us exactly where God wanted us to be. He placed in on our hearts then to begin meditating on Matt. 17:20: "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." (NLT). With God's help, we began to understand just a tiny bit more what mountain-moving faith looked like, and with His help, we are working at growing our faith into the mustard-seed-size required to move the "mountains" that would have potential to keep us from the winter trip.

As I write this devotional, it is now 2 short weeks from when we are due to leave the country, and I continue to be amazed at the mountains God has moved with our shaky mustard-seed-sized faith...

Mountain #1: My mother has been declared completely cancer free, her hemoglobin is back to well within normal limits, her heart problems and blood pressure are stable, her foot is healed and her spirits are restored. I can feel at peace leaving her for three months!

Mountain #2: At the end of November, we got an offer on our house, conditional upon the sale of the buyer's home, closing date in April, when we are back in Canada. Two weeks later they received an offer, also conditional upon the sale of their buyer's home, also proposing a closing date in April. At the same time, two beautiful houses came on the market, just the thing for us. Would we be able to put in an offer before we left the country?

Mountain #3: Wonderful chiropractic treatment restored the sensation to my hands and my shoulder pain is gone. My MRI was moved up to the first week of December, and the results finally came in yesterday. The spots on my liver were not just determined to not be cancerous, instead, they were completely...nonexistent! God had removed them! And the spots on my kidneys were determined to be nothing but common kidney cysts. Praise God. I could leave the country for the winter in peace.

As I think back, I am amazed at how our nearly-non-existent faith has grown--just a tiny bit--into mustard-seed portions over the course of this fall. I am also amazed at how this tiny little seed-sized faith has, indeed, moved the mountains of our lives, clearing the path for us to be able to leave the country in peace.

But why not? After all, our Heavenly Father does have everything under control, and all He asks is for us to put our tiny, shaky, mustard-seed-sized faith in Him. For when we do, the "mountains" of our lives will--move!

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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If you have missed any of the Mountain-Moving faith series, you can access the entire series by clicking here; or if you do not have access to the internet, just email me and I will be happy to send the missing lessons to you. God bless each of you as you strive to grow your mustard-seed-sized faith so that you, too, can move mountains!
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Jul 2020, 1:03 pm

So far in this series, we have seen Biblical definitions and examples of what mountain-moving faith looks like; but to date, we have focused on acts of faith that happened within the lifetime of the believer. What happens when we do take a stand in faith and our prayers are never answered?

We all know what it is like to pray for something for weeks, months, even years, and yet never see our prayers answered. How can we continue to believe when nothing happens? And what of the many, many people of strong faith who have died of cancer? And what about those who have placed their children in God's hands only to have them die in car crashes or of various medical conditions. What then? Was their faith for naught?

Consider the following verses from Hebrews 11:

Vs. 13-14: "All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth." (NLT)

In the context of Hebrews 11, we see that these people all lived in the era of the Old Covenant. They did not only believe God for specific things that happened in their lifetimes, but they also believed God for the future, the part they could not see. This is not something that they would personally experience; yet the bible says they, "...died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth." (Vs. 13 NLT).

This verse teaches us that one important aspects of mountain-moving faith is believing--even if it doesn't happen in our lifetime! Why? Because mountain-moving faith causes us to be able to see it all from a distance and welcome it!

Take a look at the next verse:

Vs. 14: "Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland." (NLT)

Does all this mean prayer doesn't work? Does it mean that we didn't even have that shaky mustard-seed-sized faith?

Not at all. Rather, it means that God has something even better planned than what we imagine, and He simply asks us to believe, "for a better place, a heavenly homeland." (Vs. 14 NLT). In fact, the faith that is required under these conditions is even stronger than faith required in other situations, and this is another important aspect of mountain-moving faith!

Verse 15 of Heb. 11 adds one more interesting piece to the definition of mountain-moving faith: "That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (NLT)

Did you catch that? The part about God not being ashamed to be called their God? If God did not answer their prayers, He would be ashamed to be called their God! That's how strongly God feels about answering our prayers! He sees it as His responsibility, to the point that it would be a matter of shame for Him to not answer our prayers. So when our prayers are not answered this side of Heaven, we can be assured that they will be answered in Heaven, for God has prepared a city for us, a Heavenly city, where we can sit at His feet!

Frustrated that your prayers aren't being answered? Hang on to that mustard-seed-sized faith, ever believing that what you do not see here in this world will be granted in Heaven. If it weren't so, then God would actually be ashamed to be called our God!

So just what is our definition of mountain-moving faith?

1. It doesn't have to be big. Faith of the size of a mustard seed is enough (See Matt. 17:20);
2. It doesn't have to be never-wavering. God rewards our ultimate faith, even if we have moments of doubt from time to time (See Abraham and Sarah's story in Gen. 16-21);
3. It doesn't have to be there at the beginning, it just needs to show up at the end (See Gen. 18);
4. It is faith that strong enough to drive you to do the illogical;
5. It pushes you to blind obedience;
6. It is the evidence that what we are praying for will happen, meaning that all the evidence we need to take a stand of faith lies in our believing God's power and ability and love;
7. It is what gives us a good reputation with God;
8. It is the assurance that the God who, by speaking forth the Word, made the universe out of nothing will also make something out of the nothing in your lives;
9. It relies totally on God and not on our own strength;
10. It is acquired by walking in close fellowship with God;
11. It is what pleases God;
12. It is persistent, even in the face of months and years of disappointment;
13. It recognizes the fulfillment of the promise and is not afraid to tell others;
14. It makes us praise God, even when we don't yet see the fulfillment.

Prayer: Father God, help me to grow my mustard-seed-sized faith so that I, too, can ‘move mountains'! Help me to believe, even when the promise isn't fulfilled right away. Help me to have the courage to tell others. Help me to be totally reliant upon You, to be pushed into blind obedience, to do the illogical. Dear Lord, in the words of the father of the lad in need of deliverance, I cry out to you, Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!

We invite you to join us on Saturday for a modern-day example of mountain-moving faith: "Modern-Day Mountain-Moving Faith...In Action! Mountain-Moving Faith, Conclusion".

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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Last Saturday, in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 4, we saw from the example of Simeon that mountain-moving faith not only waits in anticipation, never doubting that it will come, even when the promise is delayed, but it also recognizes the fulfillment of the promise without doubt and is so self-assured that there is absolutely no fear to tell people. 

Today we will take a look at another biblical example of mountain-moving faith: The faith of...Hannah!

We know very little about Hanna. All we know is what is recorded in 1 Samuel 1:

-- She was the wife of a loving husband ("But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her..." 1 Samuel 1:5 NIV);
-- She was one of two wives ("He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah." 1 Samuel 1:2 NIV);
-- Peninnah, bullied her incessantly ("...her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat." 1 Samuel 1:6b-7 NIV);
-- She was a passionate woman ("In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly... Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk..." (1 Samuel 1:10,13 NIV).

But perhaps, most importantly, Hannah was the mother of...

No one!

And herein lie the root of her trouble: "Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none." (1 Samuel 1:2b NIV). Besides the obvious bullying she was taking from Peninnah, we also know from history that it was a real shame for women to be barren, and as a result of her deep-seated anguish, Hannah was beyond shame. She had no one to turn to. Peninnah was a primary source of the problem, and even her loving husband's response sounds rather unfeeling to a hurting heart: "You have me--isn't that better than having ten sons?" (1 Samuel 1:8b NLT).

Little caring what people would think, Hannah turned to God, her only hope: "In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly." (1 Samuel 1:10 NIV). Her pain was so pronounced that Eli thought she was drunk: "Eli...said to her, 'How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.'" (1 Samuel 1:14 NIV).

Over the course of the next few seconds, however, something happened to Hannah. The Bible records that, "...she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." (1 Samuel 1:18b NIV).

What happened?

Simply this: "Eli answered, 'Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.'" (1 Samuel 1:17 NIV).

That's all it took. Hannah went away filled with joy, and the Bible records, "...Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I asked the Lord for him.'" (1 Samuel 1:20 NIV).

Although Hannah was stuck behind the mountain of infertility, she had mustard-seed-sized faith. There was no doubt in her mind that God had spoken to her through Eli, and her faith left no room at all for God to renege on His promise. As a result, she went away rejoicing, knowing beyond a doubt that God would do what He had promised.

But Hannah's mountain-moving faith ran even deeper than this. We know that Eli wasn't exactly the best father figure in the world. The Bible records, "Eli's sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:12 NIV). I don't know about you, but I wouldn't entrust the father of those "scoundrels" with "no regard for the Lord" to raise any of my precious children, let alone a prayed-for, miracle son! Yet that is exactly what Hannah did. She did so to fulfill a promise to God, for when she prayed for a son, "she made a vow, saying, 'Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'" (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV).

Samuel was a miracle child, given as a gift to Hannah, and rather than looking to logic to determine who should raise this precious gift, Hannah trusted him to--the Lord! Even when that meant he was put in the care of the father of "scoundrals" with "no regard for the Lord"!

That's what mountain-moving faith looks like, friends! It is faith that causes us to put off our grief and depression and rejoice, even before the prayed-for thing is received; and it is the faith that causes us to relinquish our precious gifts into God's hands, even if that seems a totally illogical thing to do.

Lord, give me Hannah-Like faith!

But wait. How can we simply go on anticipating the promise in faith when we all know people who had mountain-moving faith and died without receiving the promise? Join us on Thursday for: "But What if our Stand in Faith ends up in...Nothing? Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 6".

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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But wait. How can we simply go on anticipating the promise in faith when we all know people who had mountain-moving faith and died without receiving the promise? Join us on Thursday for: "But What if our Stand in Faith ends up in...Nothing? Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 6".
 
 
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Last Thursday we saw that 'mountain-moving faith' is faith that does not require a sign (and certainly not three of them!); it does not question God and give excuses; and it does not demand to be delivered from the storms of life!

So now that we have seen some examples of people who did not have mountain-moving faith, at least not at the beginning, how about an example of someone who did have this kind of faith?

Simeon is only mentioned in one place in the Bible: Luke 2. Even there, only 10 short verses are dedicated to him; yet he stands as a powerful example of what it means for a mere human to have faith that moves mountains:

"At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel." (Luke 2:25 NLT)

Notice that Simeon was eagerly awaiting the Messiah. How long he had been waiting, we don't know, but we can surmise that he was old; for in Vs. 29 he says to the Lord, "Now let your servant die in peace..."

Of course, everyone in those days was waiting for the Messiah to arrive, and they knew from prophecy that it would be soon. Now I don't know how anxiously they were waiting, for I wasn't there. I can only compare this to our day and age, for we, also, await Jesus' coming, His 2nd coming. We also know it will be soon. But unfortunately not everyone truly believes it will happen in our lifetime. As a result, we aren't all waiting with joyous anticipation. We give it lip service and go on about our lives as if it is some distant thing. I suspect most in Israel at the time of Jesus' birth was in a similar state of mind. Simeon, however, was a noted exception. He: "...was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come..." Why? Because he had something that not everyone had: He had a promise: "The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah." (Luke 2:26 NLT)

Notice that Simeon hadn't been told when the Messiah would come, yet he got up every day expecting it to happen. Nonetheless, he had to wait. Day in and day out he awaited the Messiah; yet the Bible does not record that he became discouraged. It does not record that he got impatient or began to doubt, as I would have done. Rather, when the time was right, "...the Spirit led him to the Temple..." and he was there when, "...Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required..." (Luke 2:27, 28 NLT).

Simeon knew immediately that this was the child he awaited, for: "He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 'Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!'" (Luke 2:28b-32 NLT).

When I read this story recently, I tried to put myself in Simeon's shoes. After all, I, too, am awaiting the fulfillment of a promise, a promise of healing from these liver and kidney spots. Like Simeon, I wake up every day and anticipate the fulfillment of my promise. I ask myself daily if perhaps today will be the day that God will fulfill His promise; but each day ends without receiving the promise. Unlike Simeon, however, when each day ends without my promised healing, I get discouraged and begin to doubt. In fact, some days I am sorely tempted to not even anticipate it any longer. After all, if God were going to heal me, why hadn't He already done it?

This is the difference between Simeon's mountain-moving faith and my own less-than-mustard-seed quantity: Simeon-like mountain-moving faith is faith that doesn't get discouraged when the promise isn't immediately fulfilled; but rather, expects the fulfillment with joyous anticipation, even after waiting hours/days/years/even decades. Simeon's mountain-moving faith continues to believe and seek the promise even in the face of multiple times when the promise is not fulfilled.

There is one more lesson we can learn from Simeon about mountain-moving faith:

"Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby's mother, 'This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise...'" (Luke 2:33 NLT)

Simeon was absolutely certain that this tiny baby was the awaited Messiah. In fact, he was so certain that he even prophesied over the baby!

I don't know about you, but if I'm not absolutely certain that something has happened, I won't do anything as blatant as to prophecy. I am much more likely to keep it to myself! After all, this pain in my abdomen is intermittent. Just because the pain leaves when someone prayers over it doesn't mean I'm healed! It could come back in the next minute/hour/day.

Friends, Simeon-like, mountain-moving faith not only waits in anticipation, never doubting that it will come, even when the promise is delayed; but Simeon-like mountain-moving faith also recognizes the fulfillment of the promise without doubt and is so self-assured that there is absolutely no fear to tell people.

That is what practical, mountain-moving faith looks like. Join us on Tuesday for another practical example of faith that will move a mountain: "The Faith of...Hannah! Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 5".

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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Last Tuesday, in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 3, we saw that mountain-moving faith is strong enough to drive you to do the illogical and push you into blind obedience. We also saw that mountain-moving faith doesn't need to be "great" or "perfect" faith. It doesn't mean we never doubt. It doesn't even have to be there from the beginning on. We just need to develop that mustard-seed-sized faith to move those mountains.

Despite these attempts at defining mountain-moving faith, I still find it is a concept that is not easy to understand. Whenever I'm having trouble grasping the actual definition of something complex, I often look at the opposite meanings for help. Thus, in order for us to fully understand what 'mountain-moving faith' is and whether or not we have it, it would be good to look at a few Biblical examples of people who did not exhibit 'mountain-moving faith'...


Gideon...

For anyone not familiar with the story, I would encourage you to read Judges 6,7 in their entirety. The "cliff notes" version is this: Israel was suffering under the rule of the Midianites, and after years of idolatry, they finally cried out to God. He answered them by sending His angel to Gideon: "Then the Lord turned to him and said, 'Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!'" (Judges 6:14 NLT)

Gideon's response? "But Lord...how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!" (Judges 6:15 NLT)

God didn't punish Gideon for his lack of faith, He simply gave him assurance: "I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man." (Judges 6:16 NLT)

Gideon wasn't convinced: "If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me." (Judges 6:17 NLT). He received it.

Unfortunately, his conviction didn't last. As soon as the pressure from Midian was on, "Gideon said to God, 'If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised." (Judges 6:36-37 NLT)

Gideon again received his sign: "When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water." (vs. 38 NLT)

But that still wasn't enough. He asked for yet another sign (see Judges 6:39-40)!

Friends, Gideon did not have 'mountain-moving faith'. Even though he received a clear revelation from God, he asked for--not one but three!--signs of confirmation.


Moses

Moses was called by God to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, as recorded in Ex. 3 & 4.

His response? "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?" (Ex. 3:11 NLT)

God assured him and even gave him a sign (See Ex. 3:12). Moses' response?

"If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" (Vs. 13 NLT), to which God patiently gave him the answer (See Ex. 3:14-15) and proceeded to restate and expand upon the promise (See Ex. 3:16-22).

Moses still wasn't convinced: "What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The Lord never appeared to you'?" (Ex. 4:1 NLT)

The Lord replied by giving him two miraculous signs (See Ex. 4:2-9)

Still Moses wasn't convinced: "O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled." (Ex. 4:10 NLT)

I could go on, but you get the picture. Moses would develop 'mountain-moving faith', but at the time of his calling, he did not have it. Otherwise, his response to God would have been something like this: "Here I am, Lord! Send me!"


Jesus' Disciples

The disciples were often admonished for their lack of faith. Here is just one example, as recorded in Matt. 8:23-28. They were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus was asleep in the back. A storm arose, and the disciples woke Jesus up. Jesus's response? "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" (Matt. 8:26 NLT). It is only after admonishing them for their lack of faith that He calmed the storm.

Even Jesus' disciples did not have 'mountain-moving faith'. If they had, they would have slept with Jesus in the back of the boat, ever knowing that God would carry them through the storm.


In summary then, 'mountain-moving faith' is faith that does not require a sign (and certainly not three of them!); it does not question God and give excuses; and it does not demand to be delivered from the storms of life.

Please understand that God's hand was not stopped from moving by these signs of shaky faith. Gideon did deliver Israel. Moses did lead the people out of Egypt, and the disciples were delivered from the storm. Thus, their reactions were not evil, they were simply signs that they lacked 'mountain-moving faith'.

Join us on Saturday for an example of someone with exemplary mustard-seed-sized faith in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 4".

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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Now that we've seen what Mountain-moving faith looks like, and we've seen examples of what it does NOT look like, join us on Saturday for a look at someone with exemplary mustard-seed-sized faith, Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 4.
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Last Tuesday we came to understand a partial definition of Mountain-Moving Faith. We saw that this type of faith is: 1) actually the evidence that what we are praying for will happen, and all the evidence we need lies in our believing in God's power and ability and love; 2) that faith is the assurance that God, who by speaking forth the Word made the universe out of nothing, will also make something out of the nothing in your lives as well; 3) that faith relies totally on God and not on our own strength; 4) that it is acquired by walking in close fellowship with God; and 5) it is what pleases God.

But according to Hebrews 11, there's more:

Vs. 7: "It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith." (NLT)

What I find most interesting in the "Noah and the ark" story is that God came to Noah and told him to build something he had never seen before! Yet Noah obeyed God. He did what was completely illogical in his day and age, and the writer of Hebrews tells us: "It was by faith that Noah..."

We see, then, that another important characteristic of mountain-moving faith is that it is so strong that it is willing to do the illogical, ever trusting that where our knowledge and logic fails, God is all-knowing and all-powerful.

Vs. 8-10: "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith--for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God." (NLT)

And then there was Abraham. We all know Abraham's faith wasn't perfect, and this is what I love about his story! Even though he broke faith with God in the Hagar/Ishmael matter (See Gen. 16), his name is written in Hebrews 11 as an example of utmost faith. Why? Because faith doesn't need to be perfect! Perfect or not, all you need is a mustard-seed-sized amount of faith. Abraham had that. Is that ever a comforting thought!

There is one more important lesson to be learned from these three verses. Notice that when Abraham left his homeland, he didn't even know where he was going...And once he finally got there, he lived like a nomadic stranger, moving around in tents; and this went on for three generations! What does mountain-moving faith look like? It looks like such total dependency upon God, such total confidence in Him, that we are willing to blindly obey--for the rest of our lives! And perhaps for the next two generations as well!

Vs. 11-12: "It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead--a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them." (NLT)

Yet another lesson on mountain-moving faith comes from Abraham's wife, Sarah. Barren all her life and many years post-menopause, the story in Genesis 18 tells us that Sarah didn't actually believe God's promise. At least not at first. She was, after all, the instigator in the Hagar/Ishmael matter, and when the angel came to tell Abraham when Isaac, the promised child, would actually be born, Sarah laughed. And then she had the audacity to deny laughing! Sometime after that incident, however, Sarah did put her faith in God, and it resulted in the promised child.

What can we learn about mountain-moving faith from this story? Simply this: Our faith doesn't have to be strong--a mustard seed of faith is enough--and it doesn't even have to be firmly established from the beginning on. All that is required is that we put our shaky mustard seed of faith in the Lord, for when we do, the world is changed forever.

In summary then, mountain-moving faith is: 1) faith so strong that it will drive you to do the illogical; 2) faith so strong that it will push you to blind obedience; 3) faith that doesn't need to be perfect, nor to be there from the beginning on; it just needs to be there at the right time.

And that, friends, is what mountain-moving faith looks like!

Is it still a bit foggy in your minds?

If so, you're in good company. Perhaps in order to fully comprehend mountain-moving faith, we must also understand what it is not...Join us on Thursday for "What Faith that Moves a Mountain is NOT...Mountain-Moving Faith, 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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Perhaps the place to start when looking to understand mountain-moving faith is in Hebrews 11, the Faith Chapter:

Vs. 1: "Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see." (NLT)

This verse tells us that our faith is the evidence that what we hope for will come to pass. It is what makes up the reality of what we hope for.

Take a moment to meditate upon that. When we truly believe God will keep His promises, our faith is the evidence that what He has promised will come to be! To state it differently, the mere fact that you believe God is going to do it is all the evidence needed that He will do it!

That, my friends, is what mountain-moving faith looks like!

But there's more...

Vs 3: "By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen." (NLT)

So often when we are in need of a miracle, we need the impossible to happen. We need something to be created out of nothing. Take, for example, the empty bank account coupled with the loss of job. There is nothing there, and in order to pay the bills, money will have to be created out of nothing. Impossible, right? Yet God gave the command, and the entire universe was formed out of nothingness. The fact that there is no money cannot stop the God who created the entire universe out of...nothing!

This opens up a powerful way to pray: "Father God, it is not too much for You, the creator of the universe, the One who spoke a word and the entire universe was created out of nothingness, to create a way to ____out of the nothingness that I have! I pray Your creative power over _____, and I praise You in advance that the One who created the universe out of nothing will provide!"

Vs. 4: "It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel's offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith." (NLT)

Why was Abel's offering was "more acceptable" than Cain's? Genesis 4 tells that: "Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift--the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock...." (vs. 3 NLT). We know that an animal sacrifice was what was required to provide temporary covering of our sins (See Heb. 9:22Lev. 17:11), and this was instituted right after the original sin (See Gen. 3:21). The required sacrifice was a sacrificial lamb, and when Cain brought crops, he was, in essence, saying that he knew better than God. Herein lies another important part of Mountain-moving faith: It relies totally on God and not on our own strength!

Vs. 5: "It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying--'he disappeared, because God took him.' For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God." (NLT)

This powerful verse tells us how we can get mountain-moving faith. Genesis 5:23 tells us: "Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him." (NLT).

Notice that it was in walking in close fellowship with God that Enoch was known as someone who pleased God. We all know that trusting someone begins with getting to know them, and the better we know them, the more we trust them. Thus, in walking in close fellowship with God, Enoch developed faith in Him, and it was by this faith that he was eventually be taken to Heaven without experiencing death. Thus, an important part of developing mountain-moving faith is to walk closely with God and to spend time fellowshipping with Him!

And just in case we haven't yet understood that it pleases God when we put our faith in Him, vs. 2 & 6 tells us that in so many words:

Vs. 2: "Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." (NLT)

Vs. 6: "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (Heb. 11:6 NLT).

Here is yet another part of mountain-moving faith: It is faith that believes God exists and that He is powerful enough and He loves us enough to answer our prayers. Interestingly, it is also that faith that make God happy and that gives us a good reputation with God.

In summary then, mountain-moving faith is:

a) The evidence that what we are praying for will happen. All the evidence we need lies in our believing in God's power and ability and love;
b) The assurance that God who, by speaking forth the Word and made the universe out of nothing will also make something out of the nothing in your lives;
c) Faith that relies totally on God and not on our own strength;
d) Faith that is acquired by walking in close fellowship;
e) What pleases God!

Although that may be a pretty impressive list, there is more...Join us on Tuesday for "More of What Faith That Will Move a Mountain Looks Like: Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 2".

In His love,
Lyn


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







 





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Post  Admin on Thu 16 Jul 2020, 1:21 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cc2-f90001012900&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
Strange pain in the lower rib cage on the left side is what drove me to the doctor. When an x-ray revealed that there was no fractures or lesions to the bone, the next step was abdominal ultrasound. Being a breast cancer survivor for the past six years, you can only imagine the peak in my stress when the results came back as undefined lesions on my liver and on both kidneys...

The next step was a CT of the abdomen. I was believing that the lesions would be gone, along with the pain, but they weren't. It didn't matter, however, because surely the procedure would confirm the lesions were not cancerous. But it was not to be. The results of the CT were also inconclusive...An MRI would be required to identify the lesions.

I tried not to worry. I gave it to God, I prayed for healing, but when I still hadn't gotten a date for the MRI three weeks later, my patience ran out. I needed to know those lesions were not cancer!

Unfortunately, calling the MRI booking department only made things worse. Apparently they hadn't even received my referral until that same morning...

Meanwhile, my husband continued to pray for my complete healing, and he was quite puzzled as to why the prayers were not being answered. One morning, he asked me to do a simple exercise. He asked me to meditate upon the concept of faith that will move a mountain.

I have to admit I was a little incensed...Why does everyone assume in the face of no miracle that the recipient doesn't have enough faith?

God got to me quickly enough, however. He helped me to remember that I had been asking Him to increase my faith. He also reminded me of my innate battle with pride, and He helped me to see that I needed to stop worrying about what everyone thinks and simply let Him grow me.

I decided to do what my husband suggested. The results have been incredibly eye-opening to me, and as a result, my faith is indeed strengthened. Over the course of the next five devotionals, I will attempt to share with you what God has been teaching me about mountain-moving faith. My hope and prayer is that your faith will also be strengthened so that the next time you face an immovable mountain, you will be better equipped to take a stand in faith.

As an introduction, let's take a closer look today at the Biblical incident that led to Jesus' famous quote: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt. 17:20 NET).

At the beginning of the story, the Bible records: "When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, 'Lord, have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire and into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they were not able to heal him.'" (Matt. 17:14-16 NET)

The first thing of note here is that it is actually the father who is seeking healing for his son, not the son himself. We do not know the state of mind of the son, but you have to ask yourself in the recipient of the miracle actually had faith at all! And even the father of the child lacked faith, for the gospel of Mark records that he said to Jesus, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 NET). However, Jesus' statement about mountain-moving faith was not addressed at the son or his father; rather, it was addressed to the disciples who could not cast out the demon! "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why couldn't we cast it out? He told them, 'It was because of your little faith.'" (Matt. 17:19-20a NET).

This doesn't mean that we don't need faith to be the recipient of miracles. The Bible even records that He didn't do many miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith (See Matt. 13:58) and in commending others for their faith, their prayers were answered (See Matt. 15:22-29Luke 7:1-10). However, the fact that Jesus rebuked the disciples for not having enough faith is significant. It means that it isn't only the recipient of the miracle that needs faith...

It is also the one(s) praying and asking for the miracle!

Whether you are the one in need of a miracle or the one praying for that miracle, remember this Truth: "...if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt. 17:20 NET).

But just what does mountain-moving faith look like? Join us on Saturday for "What Faith that will Move a Mountain Actually Looks Like...Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 1".


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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1. Join us on Saturday for Part 1 of "Mountain-Moving Faith" to begin learning what faith that will move a mountain actually looks like. And may I join each of you in prayer for the "mountains" that need to be moved in your lives?

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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 8:30 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cb4-39002801f100&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
Sometimes depression is the monster that can destroy our peace. But when we know where to find peace, freedom finds us.

I received this announcement in the mail. It read: "The Foundation Fighting Blindness is sponsoring a dinner dance in the dark."

A clever thing. Not only is it a fundraiser for research to find a cure for blindness, but also for sighted folks to catch a glimpse of the world of the blind. Thus, the event will be held in the dark.

Interesting, right? You can be sure hands will be in the mashed potatoes. Who knows how many glasses of water will be spilled? And, with no lights, wait till they have to visit the bathroom.

I've been in that physical darkness. Actually, I'm there now. Living for over 30 years without sight, I've grown accustomed to it. But the funny thing is, I often forget I'm blind. Okay, you can laugh. It's kind of silly, but I do forget. In fact, I even enjoy dancing. That's why that dinner dance in the dark is way too familiar to me.

Though it's familiar, the dance back then wasn't pleasant. When a retinal disease closed my eyesight, I danced with depression in the darkness of my misfortune. The steps were awkward and clumsy. I slammed into obstacles while I groped, searching for healing. But fear, anxiety, pride, stubbornness and self-pity blocked my path to happiness; and instead they took me to depression.

The depression made my world even darker. Seeking a cure, looking for freedom and answers only added to the emotional bruises, cuts and wounds. But when the mess became too much, I became aware of what I was missing: The wisdom to reach out to God, who had the path out of my plight. He knew the source of my sadness. And He had the light to shine into my darkness.

Thank you, thank you, Lord.

The day He turned on that light for me, the light of His Word, the splendor of His ways and the clarity of His path, life began for me. Like a flower blooming, my heart opened up to joy and His reminder ever echoes in me: "...for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as a child of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible." (Ephesians 5:8-13 NIV).

And what became visible was the dance floor where Jesus leads the dance, step by step, day by day to the melody of His promises.

Let's Pray: Father, I confess the pride and anxiety that led me nowhere. Thank you for the light that showed me to the path of Your love and Your healing. IN Jesus name.

What leads your path out of darkness?

Janet Eckles

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

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2. Faith that will move a mountain: Do we truly understand what this means? Do we desire it? How can we attain it? Join us on Thursday for the introduction to a new mini-series, "Mountain Moving Faith", by Lyn Chaffart
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Jul 2020, 9:15 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c41-ae000101d100&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
It was a full day. On this, our third day on the island of Grenada, we decided to take a tour of the entire island with a local tour company. We had a friendly guide who picked us up at the door, took us to several of the local attractions and provided us with history and stories and even lunch.

The problem was, this guide was not always patient with us when we had questions. He did answer each one, but we would also later learn that his answers to our questions were not always 100% accurate...

It was another full day. We were in our second week on the island when we decided to hike out to see some of the local waterfalls known as the "Seven Sisters". We had been advised to go with a local guide, and when there was one waiting at the entrance to the hike, we gladly accepted his services. This guide was immediately in tune to my husband's visual difficulties and the problems this caused him when hiking. He was there to give a helping hand and good advice. He responded to all of our questions patiently. He didn't always have an answer for us, however. Instead, he would say, "I'm not sure. Let me look that up!" In the end, when he advised that the trail to the last 5 of the 7 falls was more treacherous than we could handle, we trusted his opinion.

Two weeks later, we decided to climb Mt. Qua Qua, one of the peaks surrounding an ancient volcanic crater that is filled with water: The Grand Etang of Grenada. Again it was advised that we go with a guide...

Anyone care to guess which of our two guides we choose?

Yup. You got it! The second one.

Why did we trust the opinion of the second guide over the first? Because he guided us into truth. He gave us accurate information when he could, and when he didn't know the answers, he admitted it and sought them out.

Truth is so important. True enough, whether or not a particular beach goes by this name or that one won't make or break us in the grand scheme of things; but if someone isn't trustworthy with the little things, how can you put your trust in him for something as big as whether or not we will be safe on a trail?

And what about the things that really matter in life? What about the Truth of God's Word? What about the guidance we seek? Do we have a truthful honest guide who can help us in these situations as well?

I'm happy to say that we most certainly do. In fact, we don't just have a truthful guide, we have one who truly does know all things: "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:10a NKJV); and "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13 NKJV).

And what is even better, this Guide has been given to us as a gift! We don't even have to seek Him out: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:26 NKJV).

An interesting thing about our second guide...He was always willing and eager to help, but he only reached out in help when he was asked to do so. It is the same with God's Spirit. God will never push Himself on us. We must choose to seek Him out, we must choose to solicit His help. Why not choose Him today?

But, you say, how can I know if truly God's Spirit who is guiding me? Doesn't the Bible teach: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world..." (1 John 4:1 NKJV)?

The first way is this: Did you ask Him to guide you? If you did, then you know that He is: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord..." (James 1:5-7 NKJV)

But a vitally important way to know it is God's Spirit and not that voice of our own in our heads is this: Does the given advice go against anything written in God's Word? If it does, then it is not of God: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20 NKJV).

So where does this leave us?

It leaves us with a Guide, One that is reliable, helpful, loving, truthful and faithful: The Spirit of the Living God. Don't try to navigate life without Him. He is a free gift of God, One that you can always count on!

In His love,
Lyn


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

 

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If you are planning on visiting the Island of Grenada and would like the contact information for an excellent guide, let me know! Likewise, if you wish to know more about seeking our Loving Father's Spirit, I would love to help you there as well. Just email me! 
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jul 2020, 11:07 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cb9-660008011b00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
"We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor." (Romans 15:1-2 NRSV)

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) buried his wife and two children in 1840. Grief paralyzed him. He gave up composing. The days were dark, and the nights were worse. Visits from his music agent did not help. As one of his visits was ending and not knowing what to do, the agent left with Verdi a manuscript about the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Verdi ignored the manuscript for some time. Slowly, the vision of a new opera began to take shape. Verdi described the process: "One day one verse, one day another, one time a note, another time a phrase, and little by little the opera was written."*

This story illustrates two skills that are essential for anyone grieving a significant loss or wanting to offer support. First, there is the support of family, friends, and professionals. The most helpful aspect of support is listening. When words are spoken, they must be non-judgmental and must not compare one loss against another.

The second grief skill is not to rush. Take time. Do what seems possible. The break with a loved one has to be incorporated into one's thinking and behaviour. The break in the relationship has to heal before reinvestment is possible. Healing takes time and effort. Verdi was lonely and lost. At some point he gave himself permission to look at the manuscript. The simple step led to two, then to three, and to more. The effort resulted in Verdi the composer finding a new life. The new fame did not take away the pain of the loss of his wife and children or memories of them, but it did keep him from joining them.

I recall hearing a presenter say that we do not need more grief therapists. What we need are more people willing to listen to grieving people. A man said to me, "My mother did not want someone to tell her how to feel. She wanted to tell someone how she was feeling."

"Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food." (Acts 6:1 NRSV)

But the neglect was more than food. A husband and wife who deliver meals to widows, invalids, and needy persons told me that delivering the box containing the warm meal is only ten per cent of what they do. The remaining ninety per cent is the visiting that takes place and the informal inquiry as to the health and safety of the recipients.

An important date in the life cycle of grief is the one-year anniversary of the loss. It is a day that seems unreal -- how could a whole year have passed? It is a day when a visit, a telephone call, or being with friends is helpful and healing. It is not a day to ignore the grieving.

Prayer: Gracious God, as we join the circle of prayer, we pray for those who mourn. Reveal Your presence to them. Comfort them in this time of change and sorrow. Give us the courage to be listening neighbours. May our presence be unspoken words of sympathy, strength, and love. Amen.

* Cavanaugh, Patrick. Spiritual Moments with the Great Composers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995, page 147.

Richard Worden
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

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

 

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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jul 2020, 8:57 pm

July 7, 2020

 
 
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"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV)

An unusually hot and wet Spring this year was followed by an extremely hot and wet Summer. Sunny skies were constantly giving way to heavy showers only to be replaced with more sun and heat. This combination has made for a few changes from our regular Summer here in the mountains of my home.

The limbs on the trees are growing twice as fast as usual and their leaves are huge. The Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisies and Black Eyed Susan’s are growing waist high in the meadows and on the sides of the roads. The bush in my front yard is shooting up as fast as a Sunflower. The grass in my yards is thicker and taller than ever. Butterflies and Bumble Bees are everywhere as are the Yellow Jackets and Hornets. Mama Deer and their babies can be seen coming out of the woods to feast on the abundance of crab apples on the ground. Squirrels with acorns are scurrying up the trees and baby birds are flying out of their nests. Everywhere I look there is an explosion of growth and life. It is incredible to see.

We humans are a little different than the rest of nature, however. Yes, our bodies do grow best in optimal conditions. We grow healthy and strong when we have good food, clean water, fresh air, and plenty of exercise. On the inside, though, it is often during the hardest times that we grow the most. During the times of death, loss, and suffering is when our souls grow stronger and closer to God. During the bleakest Wintertime is when our hearts grow more loving. During the worst times of our lives is when we help each other the most.

Why is it that we grow kinder, stronger, and wiser during the tough times as well as the good ones? Why is it that the worst in this world often brings out the best in us? No one knows for sure, but I am happy with the mystery. Live well then. Love much. Grow strong. Be the person God meant for you to be during the Winter nights as well as the Summer days.

Joseph J. Mazzella

 

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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jul 2020, 9:40 pm

 
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It was the big day. My parents, my brother 16 and I at 17 sat in the courtroom. We dressed for the occasion and our hearts wore unprecedented excitement.

My family worked hard to meet the requirements and lead us to this event that would change our lives. The red, white and blue of the American flag covered the front wall of the large courtroom. Its majestic presence reminded us we were about to take a step filled with a unique honor.

"Raise your right hand," the immigration officer said.

We did, and with unwavering conviction we renounced our allegiance to Bolivia and pledged our allegiance to the United States of America. In that ceremony we officially became American citizens, fully committed to our allegiance. And that's when the 4th of July sent off fireworks of gratitude in us.

Not so when I pledged my allegiance to Christ. I became a Christian, but, unaware, I adopted dual citizenship--to God and, to the world, too.

On Sundays I worshipped. During the week I worried.

Have you been there? On Sundays we pledge to believe, to obey and follow God. We commit to embrace God's Word and hold on to His promises. But when life brings ugly moments, our allegiance to negative emotions takes over.

How can that happen? God says not to worry, but we do. He repeats to trust in Him, but we doubt instead. He offers peace, and we forget that, too.

But freedom from worry comes when we remember that worry is a language, a specific way to communicate with God. Our worry repeats these five lies:

1. God is not capable to remove the anxiety in us.
2. God is not capable to bring answers to our solutions.
3. God is not aware of the details that bring on fear.
4. God is not able to put back the pieces of our broken heart.
5.God cannot change the path of our wrong choices.

That's the language of worry, unacceptable to Him, and destructive to us. Worry-talk contradicts God's Word and dilutes His promises.

But if we renew our allegiance to His instructions, we can speak the language of faith. It can express His strength, enough to sustain us. It can repeat of His love, enough to cover us. And of His grace to bring a timely outcome. "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:34 NIV).

And with worry in the garbage disposal of life, we sing, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Ps. 91:2 NIV)

So why do you doubt, shake or fret? When you know "Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday" (Psalm 91:3-6 NIV).

Let's Pray: Father, thank you for the reassurance that You have me and my family covered. Thank you for the sleep that comes at night as you silence the lies. I praise You for the reassurance You whisper into my heart, removing worry from my mind. In Jesus' name.

When will you begin your worry-free life?

Janet Eckles

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

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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 8:01 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1ce4-6a003001ef00&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx

 
That was one of my southern-born mother's favorite expressions, one that I admit she had to use often. I was (still am!) the queen of seeing whatever I am upset about as being much bigger in the grand scheme of things as it truly is.

Take, for example, how upset I got over the recent sale of our house. The more time that went by without a "sold" sign hanging in front of the house, the more I was sure the world would end if the house didn't sell in my time.

In the end, God sold the house--in January, after we took it off the market... Hey, we weren't even in the country! And God's timing was actually far better than any I could have come up with, especially when the only house we saw that we really liked wasn't even available until our house sold...

I truly made a "mountain" out of that "molehill".

But from God's view, aren't most of our "mountains" nothing more than "molehills"?

I mean, how He must have shaken His head as He watched me worry and fret about the sale of the house. He already knew it would sell, He knew when the time would be right, and He already had all the ducks ready to put in a row, so to speak.

And I am afraid I make God shake His head in the face of most of my problems. Even cancer. How I fretted about having cancer. Yet He knew well in advance that I would have it, that I would recover from it, that I would go on to live many more healthy years.

The truth of the matter is, what we see as the "mountain" of problems in front of us are nothing more than mere "molehills" to Him, piles of dirt that He will plant His Heavenly "foot" on them at just the right time.

The Bible says, "I lift up my eyes to the hills..." (Ps. 121:1 ESV). Why should we do that? Because when we look to the "top" of our "mountains", that is where we see God, towering over them, ready to squish them in His time.

We sang a beautiful song in church on Sunday: "Be lifted up, be lifted higher!" It made me think: When I insist on worrying about the "mountains" of problems facing me, I am not allowing God to be God. When He is lifted up in my life, higher than the problems, then is when I begin to see how tiny my problems are in the face of an almighty God.

Yes, I tend to make mountains out of molehills; but the good news is, God makes molehills out of our mountains!

What "mountain" will you lift up to Him today? When you do, be prepared to see it from His perspective, a tiny molehill that He will squish at the right time. In addition, also be prepared for the exciting ride with God from this moment forward until the day that molehill is squished for good!

In His love,
Lyn


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

 

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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 11:53 pm

June 27, 2020

 
 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c54-d1000101a300&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
It was truly an adventure to walk the roads in Grenada. Sidewalks were rare, even in the towns, and the roads were hilly, narrow and winding.

Because we were staying outside of the main town of St. Georges, and because our primary mode of transportation was the local mini-bus, we often found ourselves walking down the side of the road. We would soon learn that because of the hills and twists and turns, it was often impossible to see oncoming cars. A far more reliable way to tell if there were vehicles coming was to trust our ears.

The problem was, we weren't used to this! We're used to relying on our eyes! But it didn't take long for us to learn: when our eyes registered an empty road, this didn't necessarily mean there were no oncoming cars.

This reminds me of faith. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing: "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message..." (Rom. 10:17a NIV)

Notice what the Bible doesn't say: It doesn't say that faith comes from seeing. In other words, as we walk the paths of life, especially the dark, shadowy ones, we can't trust what we see. Our eyes trick us. Our eyes try to make us think we should rely on logic. Our eyes try to make us think that just because we don't see the solution, it must not be there. God's promises are not upcoming, etc.

Rather, faith comes from hearing!

What does that mean?

It means that if God said it, it will happen, whether we see it or not. It doesn't matter that we don't see an end to our problems. It doesn't mean a thing that our circumstances only appear to be worsening. If God said it, it will happen!

So how can we "hear" what we need to hear in order for our faith to grow?

Romans 10 tells us this as well: "...and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (Rom. 10:17b NIV)

In other words, our faith grows by hearing the messages in the Bible, the Word of God. When we read stories of how God kept all His promises, making a way where there was no way, coming through at just the right time; when we meditate upon the wonders of the cross as outlined in God's Word, our faith will grow.

Does it look like your circumstances are never-ending? Do they seem to be worsening instead of getting better? Don't rely on what your eyes are telling you! Instead, pick up the Word of God. Listen for what He is speaking to you through the Bible. Write down what you hear so that you can return to it in moments of doubt. And most importantly, never forget that faith does not come by seeing, but rather, by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God!

Oh, and the next time you are visiting Grenada on foot, remember: Don't trust your eyes to tell you there aren't any upcoming cars. Instead, listen to what your ears are telling you!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 

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Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 9:11 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1ca7-c0000101b700&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
"When one of you says, 'I am a follower of Paul,' and another says, 'I prefer Apollos,' aren't you acting like those who are not Christians? Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of suh quarrels? Why, we're only servants. Through us God aused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us." (1 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT)

Lovebirds are native to the forest and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Remains of different lovebird's species have been unearthed in South Africa, dating as far back as prehistoric times.

Lovebirds are social and affectionate and the name comes from the parrot's strong monogamous pair bonding and the long periods which paired birds spent sitting together. They live in small flocks and eat fruit, vegetables, grasses and seeds.

The monogamous birds reach sexual maturity when they are about ten months old. Mating begins with courtship behavior and can continue throughout their roughly fifteen year lifespans. Wow! Lovebirds mate for life, isn't that great? Monogamy is essential to the social stability of their social behavior.

It was a wonder to me that such beautiful traits can be found in the life of birds. They mate for life. Once they have chosen their partner, they mate for life, against all odds and this is a truth and tradition that is being erased from the mechanism of the new world.

We are meant to mate with our chosen partner for life, without seeking comfort elsewhere. We are meant to mate and be one with the lord, our maker for life, we are not meant to look back and be drawn in by the pleasures of life.

When you do this, you will realize that, you will not find yourselves in the heartache, worry, disaster and problems that is a product of most friendships, relationships and marriages.

I pray we will see the beauty of monogamy.

In God's love,
©Okunola Peace.

 

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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Jun 2020, 8:50 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c25-fe0001018400&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
"While Jesus was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head." (Mark 14:3 NIV)

Every woman loves to receive perfume. We don't wear it all the time, just dab on a little for special occasions. This perfume was worth a year's wages and the woman tipped it all over Jesus, on purpose! It seems like a strange thing to do. "What a waste!" we think.

Perhaps Jesus didn't smell so sweet! It was a hot country, but bathing and cleanliness were still important. Both men and women wore perfumed oils. Suppose Jesus had been allergic to it! Some are allergic to the essential oils we use today.

It doesn't appear to have been an accident. Was the woman saving the perfume for a rainy day and just decided this was the day? Should she have saved the perfume to barter with at a future date? Did she realise that if it were sold, the money raised could have been used to do all kinds of good things?

Was it a rash action on her part? How many of us have said it seemed a good idea at the time ... We might understand this woman's seemingly bizarre act if we consider some of the things we spend our money on today. Some of us will admit that we bought a year's membership to a gym, but only went a few times. Or we invested in a timeshare proposition then tried to get out of it.

There are also those who leave everything behind to follow Jesus, or are led by the Holy Spirit to give away their car or house. Everything comes to us from God, and He blesses extreme generosity. For instance, He commanded the Israelites to cancel all loans and let their slaves go free every seven years (See Deuteronomy 15).

I don't think the woman regretted her action. To her, it was a logical thing to do as well as emotional. She wanted to show her love for Jesus by giving Him something. She gave the best she had. She may have been Mary, a sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrected from the dead. In that case, nothing was too good for Him.

This was an act of worship and Jesus seems to consider her act to be perfectly appropriate. We are born to worship, and what we worship says a lot about the kind of person we are. If we worship the wrong things, our lives remain empty because we were designed to worship God alone. When we worship our Creator - who gave His Son Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross for us - we begin to have new priorities. We find ourselves spending our time, our life, on Jesus. We want to give Him whatever He has given us: resources, talents, money, time.

Our behaviour may appear strange and extravagant to others, but it's not wasteful. It's an investment. When we put God first, we find that we pour out our love and life for Him in all kinds of beautiful and unusual ways, and He always blesses us in return.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, We confess that sometimes we worship the wrong things. Help us to pour out our life on You, as You did for us. In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.

JJ Olerenshaw
 

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Post  Admin on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 10:18 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1c08-3c0001012100&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
Anyone from a French culture knows exactly what is meant by the word, "Carnaval", or "Carnival", as we write it in English. Depending upon where Carnival is being celebrated, this could mean anywhere from three days to seven weeks of celebration, with celebrations always ending on Ash Wednesday.

Our first experience with carnival came as our host was driving us from the airport in Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe to our rented apartment. He was excited to share with us that we had arrived at the perfect time of year, for carnival had just begun. He left us at our apartment assuring us that he would text us with carnival locations so that we wouldn't miss any of the celebration.

The very next day was a Sunday. Everything in Guadeloupe closes at noon on Sundays and after church, we went out for a walk. Imagine our surprise to see boys, young and old, slapping the pavement with long, thickly-braided homemade whips. The sound could best described as a gunshot, and when there were many whips being slapped at the same time, it was hard to not look around for fireworks.

We had no idea what this meant, but later that evening, the "pops" and "cracks" of hundreds of whips could be heard throughout our neighbourhood. It was shortly after this that the parade began, and we were blessed to have it pass right down our street. We were able to see the entire parade from our balcony!

Everyone people were joyous and excited, and there was plenty of security around. Overall, it was a fascinating cultural experience for us. We were happy to have been in Guadeloupe at just the right time to see what we thought would be a one-time experience.

Imagine our surprise to learn that this was only a tiny part of a seven-week celebration...

It wasn't hard for the locals to know we were tourists, and they took great pride in telling us where the upcoming carnival celebrations would be taking place. Initially we smiled and said we had already been to carnival; but they would just get more excited that we would be able to experience it again and again.

Please understand that the reason for our 4-week stay in Guadeloupe was to visit the beautiful island. Yes, we wanted to experience the culture, but we felt there were other things we wished to experience in Guadeloupe besides Carnival. Also understand that the main highway around the Island also served as the main road for most of the small towns. This meant that if Carnival was being celebrated in a town we needed to pass through in order to get to our given destination, we would be completely stuck for the next several hours. After getting "stuck" behind Carnival celebrations a couple of times, we became serioius about finding out where Carnival would be celebrated next... with the sole reason of knowing what places to avoid!

Although we loved the natural beauty of the island of Guadeloupe and would miss the beautiful people we met there, we were happy enough to leave their Carnival celebrations behind. Especially since we almost missed our flight off the island due to another Carnival parade! And you can imagine our frustration to arrive at our next island, Martinique, only to discover that everything on this beautiful island would be closed down for the next four days for the cummlation of the Martinique Carnival celebrations...

It all made me think about sin. Now please understand I am not calling Carnival "sin". The reason we wished to avoid it had nothing to do with sin, per sae. Rather, it was simply because we had other things on our agenda, and the Carnival celebrations stopped us from doing what we hoped to do. However, in the same way we wished to avoid Carnival, we all need to avoid even the appearance of sin.

Why?

Because in the same way that Carnival was so exciting to the locals and looked like such innocent fun, sin can be equally enticing. To the same extent that Carnival blocked the highways and main roads, making it difficult for people to get from point "A" to point "B", sin blocks us from pursuing the paths that we have laid out in front of us. And in the same manner the Carnival celebrations closed down all of the stores in Martinique, making it difficult for us to even be able to buy food those first few days on the island, the results of sin can bar us from the essentials of relationships, love and support that we so vitally need.

Is it for naught that we are told to:
a. "...lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us..." (Heb. 12:1b) so that we can, "...run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (Heb. 12:1c NASB)?
b. "Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins..." (Rev. 18:4b NLT) so that we will not, "...be punished with her." (Rev. 18:4c NLT)?
c. "Stay away from every kind of evil." (1 Thess. 5:22 NLT)?
d. "Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts." (2 Tim. 2:22a NLT) and instead, "...pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace." (2 Tim. 2:22b NLT)?

Not sure what sin God is trying to cleanse you of at the moment? Spend some honest, humble time with Him right now. He will reveal it to you; and when He does, flee it!

In His love,
Lyn


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

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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 8:03 pm

 
NUGGET Today's Devotional Raw?appid=YMailNorrin&ymreqid=2e9d598e-399b-5e90-1cef-200001019500&token=zitEzqOML3j84e6ealFTT5U7-km5qEQF52lp7AcCuBbpSVmqVp7Mb1q_UYn7twkRB1-qIdDQsPsbO8JXArPhA02Acmnr9mgmTGCL79S-UbQGYHG5zZROOYeWZBW-NzAx
 
This beautiful truck won first prize at a local classic car show. Not just because of the impressive exterior, or the great paint job or even those snazzy wheels. It won because of the engine, its components, the way it was built, the clean look and its performance. The judges at the car show analyzed all entries to determine the first-prize winner.

You and I are also in line to get a prize.

God begins his analyzing. Like the truck, He won't look at the way we painted the outside--with a lean body, fancy clothes, impressive jobs, or tons of followers on social media. 

None of that attracts His attention. He Himself said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7 NIV).

Our heart is His focus because it's the engine that makes it all work. He said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

If our heart stores anger, stress will flow out. If our heart holds on to resentment, stress will increase. If our heart keeps notions of insecurities, stress accompanies it. And if fear rumbles in our heart, stress rises like the summer temperatures in Orlando.

As you read this, the content in your heart defines your mood, your attitude toward this message, your path and even your destination. Jesus said in Luke 12:34: "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (NIV)

Gulp. That mouth creates and pours out words that either give life or death. Circumstances test this truth.

I was put to that test not long ago.

I sat at the gate. And the announcement came telling passengers my flight to the event where I was to speak was full. No room for me. No chance to reach my destination till the next day. No other options than to miss my event.

That was the reality of the circumstance. But here's the action in my heart. I had choices:

a) To let stress build up.
b) To demand my rights as a disabled person who should have boarded first.
c) To speak my mind and join my irate fellow passengers.

You’ve been there, haven't you? Stress and tension are eating you for lunch. Good news, here is the get-rid-of stress test to take and see if you pass.

Multiple choice:

a) Do I recognize the Holy Spirit is beside me, listening, observing, and taking in all my attitude and words?
b) Will my demands change the situation?
c) Will I gain favor from the person to whom I'm lashing out?
d) Will I mirror the Christian I claim to be--displaying patience, forgiveness and understanding?

If you answered "yes" to A and D, that means the circumstance didn't dictate your reaction, your heart determined your response instead. Then you became a winner by deleting stress and tension.

Not only that, but the victory carries God's promise--His supernatural ways to turn impossible situations around. By removing obstacles. By granting us favor before others and ushering an outcome we never expected.

Just FYI, while at the gate, I took a deep breath. Although there was no solution, I silently thanked God for His way to resolve it. I took the multiple-choice test myself. I relaxed, sat back and waited. Then the agent offered a huge credit for volunteers to give up their seats. Two people took it and I boarded the plane.

Let's pray. Father, how often I create my own stress by reacting to circumstances. I ask Your help to analyze my heart first, to seek to please You, and be confident in Your solutions. In Jesus' name, amen.

Who's winning today--you, or your stress?

Janet P. Eckles
 

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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 9:17 pm

 
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Most of David's life sets a prime example of faith for each of us. Even in the midst of his darkest mistakes, his faith never wavers. Take, for example, the day the Amalekites destroyed David's home town of Ziklag and carried off everything, including his wives and children...

How that must have hurt. David probably blamed himself for not being at home when the enemy arrived; but to make things worse, his men blamed him as well: "David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters." (1 Samuel 30:6a NIV).

David's response is a wonderful model for each of us today: "But David found strength in the LORD his God." (1 Samuel 30:6b NIV).

Why was it that in the face of a stoning, David could find strength in the Lord?

Because he knew God. He knew that no matter what, he could trust God to work things out.

David then continues to show us how to respond in times of trouble. He immediately sought God's wisdom as to what to do about the problem: "...and David inquired of the LORD, 'Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?'" (1 Samuel 30:8a NIV).

When God promised victory, David set out after the Amalekites. It didn't matter to that his tiny army of 600 men was totally outnumbered. He had God's promise, that that was good enough for him.

Unfortunately for David, things only got worse. 200 of his men were "too exhausted" to continue (See 1 Samuel 30:10). He had been seriously outnumbered with all 600 of his men, but now that 1/3 of them had dropped off, how could he even hope to recover the women and children?

Doesn't this always seem to be the case? We believe God to heal our shaky relationship with our spouse; but then we are served divorce papers. We believe God to heal a small cancerous tumour; only to learn that there are multiple tumours throughout. We claim God's promise for provision despite the minimum wage job; and then we lose that job...

I don't know about you, but my response to God in such times is something like this: "Lord, did I hear you right? Am I truly following Your will? I mean, it was impossible then, but now...Now there's absolutely no way!"

But this wasn't David's response at all. In fact, the Bible doesn't record any hesitation on David's part. It just says, "...but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit." (1 Samuel 30:10b NIV).

How could David so calmly go on in the face of yet another calamity?

Because David knew something that we would do well to learn: God is never surprised by what happens! When God clearly told David to go, that he would have victory over the Amalekites, He already knew that the 200 men would be too tired to go on. He already knew that David didn't need all 600 men. He knew that David would be victorious with just 400! And because David trusted God, because David knew that God is never surprised by the things that happen after He gives a promise, the loss of those 200 fighters didn't faze him in the least.

The bottom line is this: when God says something, He means it, and the little changes we see are not surprises to Him!

Is your stand in faith only resulting in more problems? Take heart! Whatever it is, God knew when He gave His promise that there would be more problems, and He isn't surprised in the least! Let's learn from David to not let these mushrooming problems faze us. Let's continue to stand firm on the promise that God has given, no matter what happens, for to God, there are no surprises!

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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