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Post  Admin on Tue 19 Jan 2021, 11:54 pm

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." (2 Corinthians 11:28 NIV)

Like most pastors, I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking about and worrying over people in the congregation that I serve. I guess that other professionals -- doctors, teachers, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and counsellors -- experience the same kind of sleepless nights. Like them, I carry around in my heart and mind the many circumstances, issues, and even secrets that the people under my care have shared with me. At times, those burdens are hard to carry, so at night, I sometimes lose sleep by worrying about the church folks.

The good thing about this is that I also get some quiet time to pray for their situations. During the day, there is a lot going on, and finding a quiet place or time can be hard to do. However, in the wee small hours of the morning, I can quietly come to God to pray for the healing, help, or wholeness that people need. I can whisper their names to God and ask for strength, guidance, and grace to be given to them. Usually, when I have about finished my prayers, sleep begins to drift over me, so I can return to my bed and get beneath the warm blankets.

When I read today's verse from the apostle Paul, the first thought that crossed my mind was that "He gets it." We tend to think about Paul being a fearless preacher who faced many dangerous and life-threatening moments in his ministry. But he was also a pastor who had a heart for the people whom he met -- this is why he writes of the daily pressure that he endures because of his concern for all of the churches about which he cared. I believe that Paul, too, had some sleepless nights and quiet moments of prayer for the church folks whom he knew.

Maybe you've been waking up at night because of family, work, school, or health issues. Perhaps you are worried about money or concerned about the future. Let me humbly suggest that you use those sleepless times effectively by seeing them as sacred moments when the Holy Spirit is calling you to pray. I think that you'll find an answer to your problems and a much better sleep after praying.

Points to ponder: What concerns do I presently have? When and where can I quietly pray about them?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we have sleepless nights because of our current issues and prevailing worries, help us to turn to You quietly in prayer. Enable us to share deep concerns with You and sincerely to seek Your guidance and grace, strength and healing. In Your holy name, we quietly pray. Amen.

John Stuart
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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

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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Jan 2021, 2:42 pm

Are you feeling less than satisfied these days? Join the crowd. What with political turmoil all around, mass shootings on the rise, demonstrations in countries we rarely even hear about, fires raging out of control all across Canada, the United States, Australia, etc.... It seems that every time you turn on the news, there is never anything good. And we've said yet nothing about climate control issues!

Haman knew all about unsatisfaction. When he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate and refusing to bow to him when he passed by, he became livid: "But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious." (Esther 5:9b NLT). He went home complaining, and before the night was over he had built a gallows 75 ft high. All he needed was the king's permission to hang Mordecai from that gallows.

We saw that Esther 5:9b tells us how angry Haman was when Mordecai didn't bow to him at the palace gate, angry enough to build a gallows to hang Mordecai on. But when we look at the first part of Esther 5, we see that when Haman passed Mordecai at the palace gate, he was actually returning from a banquet with Queen Esther and the King, and the Bible says that Haman was, "a happy man as he left the banquet!" (Esther 5:9a NLT). He was, up until the moment when he exited the palace and some Mordecai, feeling very, very happy!

How is it that he can feel so happy one minute, and the next minute he becomes so upset, dissatisfied, angry?

This, actually, is not the beginning of Haman's story. When Haman was first appointed as the King's right-hand man, all others were expected to bow down to him. Mordecai, however, "...refused to bow down or show him respect." (Esther 3:2b NLT). Once Haman found out about this, "...he was filled with rage. He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes." (Esther 3:5-6 NLT).

It is true that Haman's anger at Mordecai and the Jews in general may have stemmed back hundreds of years to the time when King Saul was commanded to kill all of the Amalekites (See 1 Samuel 15). Their king was Agog, and we know that Haman was an Agagite.... We have no solid proof of this, however; but what we do know is that Haman was angry because he could not control Mordecai's behaviour and because he felt his authority was being threatened!
 
I think I can relate to Haman. I don't know how many times I have been teetering on the brink ecstasy, only to find myself crashing down into the depths of depression, anger and dissatisfaction when just one simple thing happens! Take, for example, when I'm out hiking. I feel like I'm on top of the world. I'm surrounded by God's beautiful nature, it is peaceful and quiet, I'm breathing fresh mountain air and I'm experiencing the thrill of climbing God's beautiful mountains and seeing the spectacular views that are our reward at the top. I am in my "heaven on Earth". Yet how quickly my ecstasy can change into anger, disappointment and dissatisfaction the moment someone says, "We're out of time, we have to go back." Or, "I can't go any further, this is too difficult." I get upset, of course, because I want to continue to experience the ecstasy that I get when I'm hiking in the mountains. The fact that I can't go on, however, doesn't change the stunning mountain views. It doesn't alter in the least the beautiful greenery that still surrounds me. It doesn't even smother out the sweet mountain smells or the peaceful sound of the birds flitting through the trees. So why is it then, that I suddenly become so dissatisfied?

The answer, of course, is that I'm upset because I am not getting my way. 

Let's learn some vital lessons from Haman...and from me! Let's learn that even when bad news strikes, it doesn't erase all of the good that is already around us. We can continue to enjoy the blessings God gives us with a happy heart. True, whatever it is that has made us unhappy may not go away; but that does not have to rob us of every joy God has given us. And when we take the time, even in the midst of bad news, to remember that we continue to be surrounded by God's blessings, it will boost our faith and make our current set of problems seem so much easier to bear.

I challenge you to try this the next time bad news strikes. If you are feeling full of joy only to encounter something that suddenly makes you feel unhappy, don't let that erase the joys that are still in your life. Continue to praise God for His mercies and His blessings and His grace, for when you do, the problem, although still there, will seem to shrink in importance. It will be forced take its rightful place, one that is not at the foremost of all of your thoughts and actions.

If Haman have tried this, then perhaps that gallows, that would eventually become his own death instrument (see Esther 7:9-10), would never have been built. Hey, the Book of Esther might never have been written!

In His love,
Lyn


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

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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Jan 2021, 12:20 am

We are already fourteen days into the new year. More than likely, by this time, you have had difficulties with your phone. Maybe it's run out of storage space, but whatever it is, the only suggested "fix" is to reset it. The problem is, if you do so, you will lose everything in the phone!

Many of us made New Years resolutions. However, for most of us, we don't make room in our lives for those resolutions. It's like when our phones run out of storage space, and we refuse to allow the customer service to reset the phone!

This can happen in our relationship with God as well. We don't make room for Him.

Often the only way to make room for Him is to "reset" our minds! In the same way that we make room in our daily life to receive real food, we need to give God our hearts, our minds, our eyes and our ears so we can live our life according to God will. We need to...Renew our minds! "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Rom. 12:2 NIV)

So how is our mind renewed?

By doing what you are doing right now -- reading, studying Scripture, teaching God word and pray scripture daily.

Want to have your mind renewed?

Get to know Jesus.

Want to know Jesus?

Read about Him in Scripture.

Do we have questions about who can become a child of God, about what we do as the child of God, about which of God's benefits we will inherit? Do we want to think like Jesus Christ? Do we want to be obedient to His commandments and love one another? Do we desire to be like Jesus just before He gave His last breath, and forgive those who have hurt us? Do we want to speak God word? But instead of doing all these things, we just--give up?

Remember: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philppians 4:13 NIV)

Maybe right now you are crossing a sea or a river of trials, either big or small. Let's remember to "download" God Word: "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go." (Joshua 1:5-7 NIV)

May God be in us all . May God bless you and your family in Jesus Christ's name. Amen.

Sophie Chun Ngeth

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 12 Jan 2021, 10:45 pm

"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:37-39 KJV)

On a global basis, war and destruction is rife, particularly in the Middle East, commonly surrounding the areas of Jesus's ministry. Israel is under threat to be "wiped off the face of the Planet" and atomic weaponry is in creation, with Iran, Pakistan and North Korea delivering constant threats and practice of performing Nuclear missile flight and tests.

Wildfires abound on every continent; even beautifully lush green England and Europe don't escape the harsh reality of fire. The extreme wealth of people is not protected against unusually harsh climatic extremes of fire, hurricanes, freezing cold and heavy downpours. The Amazon forests, sometimes referred to as 'Earths Lungs' experience increasing destruction, either to be consumed by agricultural practice or wildfire. Huge areas on all corners of the earth experience destructive contamination, oil slicks and resultant marine destruction.

Floods are regularly drowning towns, bursting riverbanks and dams. Polar ice is rapidly declining. Polar wildlife is in numerical and health decline. Many African wildlife species are being severely poached, taking them towards extinction.

Politics is completely in disarray in many countries. Striking, demonstrating, placard waving mobs overrule police trying to subdue them. Mob Rule generally has no concept of the politically "bigger picture". There appears to be a clash between the views of leaders and the views of many of the electorate.

Globally, banks and well established businesses are going bankrupt as mismanagement and greed increase, greed fast becoming "the norm". Good leaders in business, education, health, family, politics, military, industry and most vocations become derailed as they strive to achieve good national values.

Pedophilia is becoming more common, highlighted to be practiced among financially successful people and Christian mentors too. Shameful conduct is practiced through Hollywood and by other overpaid people and places, sometimes with leaders "turning a blind eye" to offenders.

Events at Sodom and Gomorrah angered God enough to rain down fire and brimstone on the wrongdoers. The physics and chemistry of the combination of Fire and Brimstone expose the horrific punishment that rained down on the people when God angered so, over His people. That comparatively small area was dealt the wrath of God. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are now openly practiced globally, are encouraged at high/leadership levels of society, and are fast becoming a social norm.

Is it possible that Satan's tentacles have penetrated a wide range of leaders of society, geographical regions, seas, mountains, rivers, desert and forest areas in order to attempt achieving destruction of all that is good in God's creation?

We, as family, and Christians everywhere, must all be ready; fully prepared and prayed up with the Armour of God (see Eph. 6:10-18), the full protection of our Lord at all times if we are to live through the pending times in peaceful comfort and joy. Most Bible prophecies are fulfilled. Will we be ready to stand before our Father in Heaven when the last is fulfilled?

Our Father is a God of Peace, Kindness, Forgiveness, Love, bountiful beauty and Joy. He bonds and unites in warmth, love, comfort and generous provision. By contrast, our enemy is determined to destroy. He attacks families, especially well bonded, love-filled family units and friendships. He sews spirit of anxiety, trauma, destruction, ill-health, hate, unpleasantness, confusion, separation and division.

We have to ask ourselves: As individuals, do we UNITE or DIVIDE society? Do we live and deliver a life of peace, kindness and forgiveness? Do our actions show happiness and loving unity? Or do they cause anxiety and division?

God doesn't ask us individually to change the world. He asks us to change into His image, so that one by one the world can be changed. Will you ask Him to help you do that today?

Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done throughout the Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Fill our Souls with a kind, forgiving, energised and love-filled Spirit.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil for Thine is the Kingdom,
all Power and all Glory. Forever and forever.
Amen.

Tony Morkel

 
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Post  Admin on Sun 10 Jan 2021, 1:38 pm

I'm the boss... And I have my wife's permission to say so!

I have often heard this said, and each time it makes me smile as images of the wife wearing the trousers float through my head....

As I was thinking about this saying this morning, it occurred to me that I don't particularly like having people in authority over me.... It makes me feel somehow less important. Could it be that I have a misunderstanding of what authority is all about?
 
The Bible teaches that we submit to those in authority over us:

"Be subject to every human institution for the Lord's sake, whether to a king as supreme or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good. For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good." (1 Peter 2:13-15 NET; See also Heb. 13:17; Rom. 13:1, etc); "In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders." (1 Peter 5:5 NET)

Going back to the husband/wife relationship, the Bible teaches that the man is the head: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife..." (Eph. 5:22 ESV; See also 1 Cor. 3:11, etc).

Keeping with the marriage example, however, what the Bible does not teach is that the woman is in any way of less value than the man. And Jesus' ministry certainly was a prime example of this. We see Jesus honoring women in a society where they were considered less important. In a culture where men did not speak directly to women in public, we see Jesus not only speaking directly to them, but doing so in a caring, loving manner (See John 4:7-26; John 8:10-11; Luke 7:12-13; Luke 8:48; Luke 11:27-28). Even on the way to the cross (See Luke 23:27-31)! We see that women were the first ones to Jesus' tomb, the first to know He was alive (See Matt 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1; Mark 16:1-8). We see that women were honored by the apostles in the New Testament (See Rom 16:1-2; Acts 16:13-15; Acts 18:26, etc). We also see that some of Israel's judges were women (See Judges 4, 2 Kings 22:14–20, etc). And those are just a few of the examples.

Wait. Doesn't it seem like the Bible is contradicting itself here? If a woman is to submit to her husband, doesn't that say that she is of lesser value?

Not at all.

According to the Bible, women are to be submissive to their husbands. This doesn't mean, however, that they are any less important. Submission is not the same as admitting inequality. You can be equal and submissive at the same time.

We see this also throughout our lives. Take the work place. Whoever is your superior is not more important than you are, they are not of higher value. However, they have been placed in a position of authority over you. And then there's the church. A pastor and an elder are not more important in God's eyes than the members of the church. They have been, however, placed in authority over the church members. One final example is the coach of a sports team. The coach isn't more important than the team members. Hey, he isn't even the one out there making the ball move and scoring points! But he has been placed in a position of authority over the team members.

Taking this one step farther, let's take a look at the relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit: The three parts of one God. We know they are equal, for they are all part of the One, and the gospel of John says, "...he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God." (John 5:18 NLT). Nonetheless, it would seem that God the Father is in charge, because we see Jesus submitting to His Father: "I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise." (John 5:19 NET; See also John 12:49; John 10:25-29), and we also see that the Holy Spirit is in submission to both God the Father and to Jesus: "Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever..." (John 14:16 NET; See also Acts 2:33).

What we can see, then, from the Bible, is that though God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the three parts that make up God, Jesus Christ submits to God the Father, and the Holy Spirit submits to both! Thus, the trinity, each being fully God, submit themselves to one another!

And if God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are willing to submit to the authority of God the Father in order for unity to be maintained, how much more shouldn't we, being human, be willing to submit to the authority of those God has placed over us?

And while we're at it, if Jesus and the Holy Spirit, both being equal to God the Father, submit to His will, what does that say about us, His creation? I don't know about you, but I'm going to think twice about trying to maintain control, when God tells me I need to give Him control of my life!

Oh, and the next time you hear someone saying they are in the boss, and they have their wife's permission to say so, go ahead and smile; for that is actually the way God intended it to be from the beginning!

In His love,
Lyn

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

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 29 Dec 2020, 3:11 pm

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." (John 14:27 NRSV)

Jesus told His disciples that there would be wars and rumours of wars, and that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. He spoke these words as they stood in awe of the magnificent buildings and stone structures of Jerusalem, especially the temple that seemed so vast and solid that it would stand forever. "Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down," Jesus said. (Mark 13:2b NRSV)

Less than 50 years after Jesus uttered these words, the temple lay in ruins, destroyed by the Roman invaders, and the prophecy of Jesus came true.

Since the coming of the Prince of Peace, Whose birth was heralded by an angelic chorus singing, "Peace on earth, goodwill to all people", there have been wars and rumours of wars. Impressive buildings, from cathedrals to skyscrapers, have toppled to the ground. Bombs have levelled city blocks and entire cities. Precious lives have been lost or scarred forever.

During the first great world war, once called "the war to end all wars", trench warfare and mustard gas poisoning were added to the list of horrors endured by those sent forth to battle. It was followed by a peace that lasted about twenty years.

On Remembrance Day or Veterans' Day, we will remember, with gratitude, those who went to war for peace, seeking to halt the spread of evil and contain aggressors. Yet, we also remember, with sadness and regret, our own failure to live in the peace that God intended.

My mother once told me her story of what happened in Muirkirk, a little town in Scotland, in 1918, the year "the war to end all wars" ended. My mother and her four-year-old twin sister were having a tea party on the old gravestones that dotted the churchyard. Her father was the church beadle -- the caretaker -- the one who held the keys to the church and graveyard and carried in the Scriptures before worship.

As the little girls drank their pretend tea, my mom heard a commotion in the street. When she turned around, she saw Mr. Henderson, the minister, running through the town shouting, "I need the keys! I need the keys! Open the church! The bells have got to ring! The war is over. The bells have got to ring!" Mr. Henderson had just received the news by telegram at the local post office.

As the bells rang, a plane flew overhead dropping white discs that floated from the heavens like tiny snowflakes. On each disc there was a message: "Peace". It was 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

The story that my mother told me about the end of "the war to end all wars" points to the truth about the peace that begins all peace: peace is God's gift to us, and it falls gently from the heavens.

Lasting peace comes from God through the ministry of the Prince of Peace, Who breaks down the dividing wall of hostility that separates us from God and from one another. He gives us the grace to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us and to pray for those who wrong us. He enables us to become peacemakers.

What then is our task as peacemakers? Each day, peacemakers choose to love and serve God as heavenly Father, treating all people as brothers and sisters.

Let us choose to be peacemakers, for blessed are the peacemakers and blessed is the world that we are making as we choose to love and serve God by loving and serving others.

Prayer: Loving God, help us always to seek the way of peace, to work for the good of others, and to pray for those who govern the nations of the world, that all Your people may dwell in unity and harmony. Amen.

Helen Hartai
Nestleton, Ontario, Canada

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

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Dec 2020, 11:35 pm

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to His faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts." (Psalm 85:8 NRSV)

Sometimes, we get so busy at this time of year that we forget to listen to what God is saying to us. We get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines -- personal and work-related -- that we set God aside and promise within our hearts to get back to Him later. It's not that we mean to diminish God's presence or lessen His influence over us. Rather, we are just too busy for our own good and end up harassing ourselves with stress and pressure, which keeps us awake at night and makes us tired throughout the day. We become our own worst taskmasters, and we complicate Christmas in ways that were never intended by God.

When I came across today's verse, I knew that it was meant for me. I've been listening too much to other things -- the nightly news and political panels, the urgent cry to get everything done, the clamour of crowds, and the voice in my head that keeps telling me that I'm not doing enough to make things perfect for other people. I listen to them all and buckle under the burden of those relentless sounds. Yet somewhere, God is saying something substantial and is patiently waiting for me to listen. He is speaking peace to me and to everyone around me. He is gently and quietly offering His gift of shalom: the perfect peace for our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. We're just not listening, which is sad because God really wants us to know, receive, and experience this perfect gift of this holy season.

So today, I've decided to let go of all those stressful things and loud noises around me. Instead, I'll let God do what He does best: to speak quietly to my heart and breathe peace into my weary soul.

Point to ponder: How much peace do I need from God?

Prayer: Lord God, speak quietly to our hearts and help us to free ourselves from ourselves. Help us to stop, wait, and listen so that we may hear Your beautiful and loving words of peace. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart

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

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Peace on Earth will come to stay
when we live Christmas every day.

~Helen Steiner Rice ~

Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here! http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html

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Post  Admin on Sat 12 Dec 2020, 11:54 pm

Last Thursday, in Jesus' Peace, Part 3, we saw that if God is peace, then the closer we draw to Him, the more we can enjoy His peace. Thus the way to access Jesus' peace is to draw near to Him, to keep our hearts and minds focussed on Him, to make Him our refuge at all times.

But doesn't this still seem so abstract? Does the Bible have any stories that will help to put all of this into perspective?

Acts 27:27-28:5 records the story of Paul in a shipwreck. After fourteen days in a major storm at sea, Paul says to the 276 people aboard that ship, "You have been so worried that you haven't touched food for two weeks...Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish." ( Acts 27:33-34 NLT) The Bible then records that after he says this, Paul, "took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat." (Acts 27:35 NLT). Paul, quite obviously, is at total peace!

Just a few days later, after the ship breaks up and every passenger safely makes it to shore, Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake: "As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, 'A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.'" (Acts 8:3-4)

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I would be so peaceful if a poisonous snake latched itself to my hand! But the Bible records Paul's response: "But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed." (Acts 28:5 NLT)

There are many more stories of Paul bravely standing up in the face of mortal danger with peace. Why? Let's remember that Paul had seen Jesus (See Acts 9:3-6). He had personally been healed of his blindness (See Acts 9:9). He had been delivered from prison (See Acts 16:16-40). He has, himself done hundreds of miracles in the name of Jesus. Paul has experienced God's power through him so many times that the wind and the waves, even the snake, have no impact on him whatsoever! Paul knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God will take care of him, and as a result, he is kept in perfect peace.

And what about Peter?

Peter was thrown in prison, and the Bible records that he was changed between two guards. What is very interesting is that Peter was...asleep! "The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers." (Acts 12:6 NLT). The fact that he was actually asleep would speak to his level of peace! Of course, we know that he was miraculously liberated (see Acts 12:7-10), but at the time, Peter didn't know that! Peter had, however, experienced many miracles. He had seen the lame walk. He had seen the blind see. He had witnessed Jesus risen from the dead. He trusted the One whose message he preached, and just like Jesus slept in the boat on the storm at sea, Peter slept between his two prison guards!

But these are both New Testament stories of people who lived at the same time as Jesus. What about the Old Testament?

The Bible records many, many stories of people in the Old Testament as well who stood up in the face of danger with perfect peace: Daniel in the Lions' Den (see Dan. 6); Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego in the midst of the burning furnace (See Dan. 3:16-28); David at Goliath (See 1 Sam. 17); Noah and the ark (see Gen. 5:32-10:1); Esther and the King of Persia (See Esther 1-10); Elijah on Mt. Carmel (See 1 Kings 18:16-45); and the list could go on and on.

But maybe you haven't been the recipient of fantastic miracles. Maybe God has never done a miracle through you. Does this mean you can't access the same peace that Peter and Paul accessed? Does that mean that the peace of Daniel, Shadrach, Mishack, Abednego, David, Noah, Esther and Elijah is not available to you?

Not at all.

You see, not all of these people had personal encounters with God prior to their moments of peace in the face of trouble. They did, however, have one thing in common: They had the witness of God's protective power throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.

Not a Bible scholar?

No problem! You and I have access to the same scriptures as Daniel and David and Esther and Elijah and Paul and Peter! We know the same stories they knew; and in many cases, so many more, for we have access to the New Testament stories as well. What we need to do to choose God's peace is to meditate on His past and present miracles. Let's remember that God doesn't change: "I am the LORD, and I do not change." (Mal. 3:6 NLT). The God that saved Daniel from the Lions is the same God who delivered Paul from the snake and Peter from prison. He is the same one who saved Esther and the Jewish people. He is the same one who instructed Noah to build the ark and then carried him through the flood. And that same God will carry you through as well!

Thus, the best way to access that peace of God, the peace that Jesus came to give us, is by meditating upon Scripture, getting to know the power, strength and love of our God. When we meditate on these stories of God's power, when we keep our minds fixed -- not on our problems, but on the Problem-Solver -- our trust will grow and His peace will fill our hearts.

Jesus' Peace is His gift to us for Christmas. Let's access it, accept it, and make use of it throughout the upcoming Christmas season, and especially, all year long!

This is the last part of the Jesus' Peace: Experiencing the Peace of Jesus...ALL YEAR LONG mini-series. If you have missed some of these lessons, you can access them by clicking here, or you can email me and I will send them to you. God bless you as you access the peace of the Christ Child this Christmas, and all year long!


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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I heard the bells of Christmas day
their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet the words repeat
of peace on earth, good-will to men!

~ Longfellow ~


Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here
 
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Dec 2020, 11:47 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional 1clipa11


Jesus...ALL Year Long! Part 3
December 10, 2020
 
 


 
On Tuesday we saw that the prerequisite for accessing Jesus' Peace is to give our hearts to Jesus. If you have never done so, we urge you to do so now. It is the only way to having that permanent tranquility, that peaceful state of mind, that is only achieved by Jesus resolving the root of the problem in your life. Before you read any further, please take this vital step. We would love to help you do so, and we invite you to click here.


But maybe you didn't just now give your heart to Jesus. Maybe you have already experienced the peace of salvation, the peace of knowing the debt of your sin is already paid. Nonetheless, your life doesn't seem very peaceful in any other way! Where is that perfect peace that is yours, a fruit of God's Spirit in you?


Let's go to God's Word and see what it has to tell us about accessing Jesus' peace....


Isaiah gives us the first clue for how to access Jesus' peace. "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you..." (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) Once we have given our hearts to Jesus, our next step for accessing that peace is to put our trust in Him!


This makes sense, doesn't it? When we trust in the One who can carry us through our problems, we can have that peace, even in the midst of our problems!


Having faith in the midst of the storms of life can be a difficult thing, and if this is where you find yourself, I invite you to go to a series of studies on this topic to receive some tips on how to put our faith in God in the midst of our circumstances: Mountain Moving Faith!


Isaiah does go on to give us an important clue on how to trust God no matter what. He goes on to say, "You will keep in perfect peace...all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3b NLT). Thus, this peace that Jesus has to offer is available to everyone whose thoughts are fixed on Him! Isaiah is telling us that keeping our thoughts on Jesus will keep us in peace!


This thought is repeated in John 14:27. The amplified version says this: "Jesus says, Peace I leave with you: My [own] peace I now give...to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27 AMPC)


Jesus' wording here is interesting. He says, "do not let your hearts be trouble, neither let them be afraid"! This would suggest that we actually have a choice in the matter. Those agitated and disturbed feelings, that sense of intimidation, feeling unsettled, etc., are something we have permitted ourselves to assume!


It makes sense, doesn't it? When we are focusing our thoughts on Jesus and His gift and sacrifice, it is pretty hard to even notice the hustle and bustle going on about us. When we are meditating on Jesus, there is no room in our minds for the struggles going on around us. But when we permit ourselves to focus on the things that are unsettling, troubling, etc., that peace leaves!


Now, I admit, it is pretty hard to keep our minds on Jesus all the time. However, what this text tells me is that when those worries start to creep in, I can still have God's peace -- if I choose to turn my thoughts to Him!


This definitely becomes easier by spending time with God. If He is only our Sunday go-to, we will find it hard, indeed, to experience His peace. But the more time we spend with Him, the better we know Him, the more we naturally gravitate todays making Him our refuge (See Ps. 46:1). And the more we make Him our refuge, the more we live in that promised peace.


Trusting in God, however, doesn't always mean that we will get what we think we want. It doesn't mean that our problems will just go away. What trust means is that we set our hearts to trust in God's love and goodness towards us, no matter what happens. And when we truly trust that God has our best interest in mind, that He will carry us through, no matter how turbulent the waters, that peace can be ours for the taking.


In Part 1 of this series, we saw that God doesn't just promise to give us peace, He is peace. And if God is peace, then the closer we draw to Him, the more we can enjoy His peace. Thus the way to access Jesus' peace, that peace that transcends problems, that is with us even in the midst of the worst circumstances, is to draw near to Him, to keep our hearts and minds focussed on Him, to make Him our refuge at all times. In the midst of the stress that has become synonymous with the holiday season, in the midst of the stresses that will be ours in the upcoming new year, God's peace can still be ours. We can experienced the Peace of the Christ Child, ALL year long!


But if this still seems a bit abstract, you're in good company. Just how does one draw closer to God so that we can enjoy His peace? Join us on Saturday for the final part of "Jesus Peace: Experiencing the Peace of the Christ Child...ALL Year Long! 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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I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story,
singing the Christmas songs and living the Christmas spirit,
we can bring happiness and peace to this world.


~ Norman Vincent Peale ~


Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here!  http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html
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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Dec 2020, 10:49 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Jesus-15

Last Saturday we saw that the difference between the world's definition of peace and the way God defines peace: While the world's peace is temporary, achieved by removing the symptoms of strife, we see that Jesus' Peace is a permanent tranquility, a state of mind that can be ours even amidst problems. It is achieved by resolving the root of the problems, sin itself, and it is a gift, a gift to you and to me, one vital aspect of Jesus' greatest gift of all, the gift of leaving heaven to come to this earth as a tiny baby, that greatest birthday ever, the one we celebrate this season. This is Jesus Peace, the Peace of the Christ Child, the Peace that Jesus came to this earth as a tiny baby to give us.

And this is also the peace that we are admonished to delight ourselves in: "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Ps. 37:11 NKJV); it is the peace that Jesus leaves us: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you..." (John 14:27a NKJV), so that we can truly, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27c NKJV).

But wait. We would all love to follow that admonition. We would love for our hearts to never be troubled, for us to live lives where we are never afraid. We would love to delight ourselves in the abundance of peace. But what do we do when the peace always seems to elude us?

Let's take a look at what the Bible has to tell us:

"ForChrist himself has brought peace to us..." (Eph. 2:14 NLT)

This means that the peace we seek comes...from the Christ Child Himself!

Do you know Him as your Lord and Saviour?

If not, that could be a prime reason why you don't feel at peace this Christmas.... Or any time of the year, for that matter! If we want His peace, then we must first allow Him to be the Lord and Saviour of our lives.

As an example to help us understand this concept, let's say I run a homeless shelter that supplies beds and hot meals in the heart of the homeless territory of my city. Yet, every night, there are hungry and cold people huddling against buildings up and down the road. I would love to help them, but I cannot give them that warm bed and hot meal if they won't come in. It's the same with Jesus' peace. It is ours for the taking, but we must "come in".

The reason for this is that peace is a fruit of a union with Christ Jesus. It is something that comes to us when we receive the Holy Spirit: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace..." (Gal. 5:22a NLT). Peace is, then, a product of having God's Spirit residing in us, which we actually receive the moment we are saved: "And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy spirit, whom he promised long ago." (Eph. 1:13b NLT).

Thus, the prerequisite for having Jesus' peace is that we must first accept His gift of Salvation!

Is this where you find yourself? Have you never given your heart to Jesus? If that is you, then the bad news is, the peace you seek will continue to elude you. There is a way, however. The prerequisite for receiving His peace is to first accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. If you have never experienced Salvation, we invite you to do so today by clicking here. Once you've given your heart to Jesus, we are counted as righteous. Your sins are forgiven, and God's peace becomes available to us for the asking. We must simply choose to access it!

Some of you may be wondering if you deserve Jesus' gift of Salvation, His gift of peace. Let's look at Revelation 22: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' Let anyone who hears this say, 'Come.' Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life." (Revelation 22:17 NLT). Notice that the verse doesn't specify a select group of people. Rather, it says—four times!—anyone!

Friends, there is no sin so great, absolutely nothing that can keep you from Jesus' great gift.... Except, our choice to not do so! Once again, if you have never given your heart to Jesus, we invite you to click here now!

For those who have just given their hearts to Jesus, you will experience that initial peace that comes from having your consciences wiped clean of sin. Once you fully realize that you will no longer be charged with the crimes your sinful self has committed, you have peace. Not as the world gives peace, but Jesus' peace, that permanent tranquility, that state of mind, achieved by Jesus resolving the root of the problem, sin itself. And this peace is a gift to you and to me, one vital aspect of Jesus' greatest gift of all, the gift of leaving heaven to come to this earth as a tiny baby, that greatest birthday ever, the one we celebrate this season.

But, you say, I gave my heart to Jesus years ago. I know He has covered my sin. I have that peace that I am saved, that I do not have to pay for my sin. But my life still doesn't seem very peaceful in any other way! Where is that perfect peace that is mine, a fruit of God's Spirit in me?

Join us on Thursday for some clues on how to access that peace: "Accessing Peace… JESUS PEACE: Experiencing the Peace of the Christ Child…ALL Year Long! 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, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

 
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Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill,
to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas

~ Calvin Coolidge ~

Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here! http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html
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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Dec 2020, 7:33 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Bethle14

Peace. It is a word that we so often hear, it is something we long for, yet it so often slips through our fingers.

But just what is peace, anyway?

According to the dictionary, peace is:
- Freedom from disturbance;
- Tranquility; a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended;
- Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions;
- Harmony in personal relations; a state or period of mutual concord between governments.

When used as a verb, peace is defined as:
- to be;
- to become;
- or keep silent or quiet.

As I look at this definition, it occurs to me that peace is a fleeting concept, one that we may experience briefly, but one that always flits away. I mean, we all experience freedom from disturbance at times, but it never lasts. Treaties are signed between countries, but that state of peace is usually transient at best. How many of us always have harmony in personal relations? How long does our restfulness, quiet, silence, stillness, seclusion, solitude, etc. last? Without argument, it can be said that the world's fleeting peace is completely dependent upon our circumstances.

Why is this?

Because when the world tries to achieve peace, it does so by trying to fix the symptoms. For example, lack of peace results in hunger, crime, war, etc. The world's response is to feed the hungry and punishes criminals and runs up white flags. But it does not--and cannot!--fix the root of the problem, which is sin itself.

This, however, is not the type of peace that God promises. In contrast, God's peace is permanent. It heals the root of the problem, sin itself; and thus, God's peace is different from any peace that we can find in this world.

The word "peace" in English is a translation of the word "Salom" in Hebrew. Salom has a broader definition, and it includes the ideas of totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well-being. Thus, the peace that God brings is not necessarily freedom from conflict and problems; rather, it is a state of tranquility and security in the midst of conflict. Isn't this what Jesus meant when He said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 ESV).

In other words, the peace that God gives us through Jesus Christ does not take us out of a sinful world. Rather, it gives us His peace while we live within it.

It is interesting that all other religions attempt to achieve peace with God by doing works and following rules. Jesus' peace, by comparison, comes to us as a gift: "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." (Ephesians 2:14 ESV)

The peace of God is something that is actually congruent with His character. Check out this text: "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely..." (1 Thess 5:23a ESV -- See also Judges 6:24, Romans 15:33, 16:20, 1 Cor. 14:33, Phil 4:9, etc.). In other words, God doesn't just give peace, He is peace.

Still seem a bit abstract?

Let's look at a couple of examples of Jesus' peace in the Bible. The Gospels record two different stories about storms on the Sea of Galilee. Both times the disciples were panicking. They were sure they would go under. Meanwhile, where was Jesus? During one storm, He was asleep in the back of the boat (See Matt. 8:23-27), and in the second storm, He was out walking over the top of the waves (See Matt. 14:22-33)! Jesus' Peace is so secure that in the midst of a storm, Jesus could both sleep and overcome!

Jesus' peace is also permanent: "'For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10 ESV)

What then, is Jesus' peace? It is a permanent tranquility, a state of mind that can be ours even amidst problems. It is achieved by resolving the root of the problems, sin itself, and it is a gift, a gift to you and to me, one vital aspect of Jesus' greatest gift of all, the gift of leaving heaven to come to this earth as a tiny baby, that greatest birthday ever, the one we celebrate this season.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Sounds like something you want. You already know it is a gift, yours for the taking.... But somehow it continues to elude you.... It's like there is a prerequisite for this peace, and you don't know what it is!

Join us on Tuesday for "The Prerequisite for Peace... JESUS' PEACE: Experiencing the Peace of the Christ Child ... All Year Long! Part 2"

In His love,
Lyn

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

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God gave us Christmas
to give us hope and peace in our hearts.

~ Catherine Pulsifer ~

Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here! 


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Post  Admin on Thu 03 Dec 2020, 8:26 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Baptis13
Yes, it is that time of year again, the Christmas season. And the Christmas season is a season of peace, right? After all, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)!

Although this was prophesied years before Jesus was born, a similar message was preached by Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, just months before Jesus would begin His earthly ministry: "Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace." (Luke 1:78-79 NLT)

It's great news, isn't it?

And Jesus peace--along with His other Christmas gifts to us (salvation, joy, etc. See Isaiah 9:1-7; Isaiah 11) aren't just for the month of December, either. They are for every day of our lives!

Why is it then, that we are so stressed out? Why are our souls so void of peace? Especially around the time of year when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Christ Child? Could it be that we have replaced the Christ Child with santas and reindeer and elves and snowmen? Could it be that we have become so ensnared with our trials and negative circumstances that we can't even see the Christ Child and His gifts anymore? Could it be that we simply do not know the Christ Child? That our relationship with Him has grown cold? Could it be that we've never experienced the Salvation and the peace that the Christ Child brings?

Welcome to JESUS PEACE! Experiencing the Peace Joy of the Christ Child--ALL Year Long!

Throughout the month of December, we will be exploring these questions and looking for Bible-based answers and solutions. Our goal is that your feet will be guided "to the path of peace," and not just for the upcoming Christmas season, either; but for the New Year, and for the rest of your lives.

But before we go on, perhaps it would be good to define this "path of peace" that John the Baptist announced at the River Jordan (See Luke 1:79)...

The Gospel of Luke records: "That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! ... Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (Luke 2:8-11, 13 NLT)

And the "Peace on Earth" they were announcing was this:

"...Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:12 NLT)

Jesus, the Messiah, the Lord, born as a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger is our "Peace on Earth". He is our "Path to Peace". He is the "Prince of peace"! In other words, this "peace" is rooted in none other than Jesus, the Christ Child, whose birth we celebrate this month.

But this isn't a new idea, is it? Going all the way back to the books of Moses, we find that one of God's gifts to us is that of peace: "The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:26 ESV); and "I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid..." (Lev. 26:6 NKJV)

The book of Psalms has many references to God's gifts of peace as well: "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Ps. 37:11 NKJV); "He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me." (Ps. 55:18 NKJV); and "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble." (Ps. 119:165 NKJV)

The theme is then taken up by David's son, Solomon, "For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you." (Prov. 3:2 NKJV); as well as the prophets: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Is. 26:3 NKJV); "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children..." (Is. 54:13 NKJV); and "...I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth." (Jer. 33:6b NKJV).

In other words, we are promised peace throughout Old Testament history!

But it didn't stop here. Jesus spoke of peace during His ministry on Earth: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27 NKJV) ; and "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world..." (John 16:33 NKJV).

And the theme was taken up by future New Testament writers: "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7 NKJV); and "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6 NKJV)

There are many, many other Biblical references to peace in the Bible, but I believe you get the picture. Jesus' Peace is ours, thanks to the loving sacrifice of the Christ Child!

So if peace is ours, how can we bring peace back into Christmas? And most importantly, how can we live the peace-filled lives the Bible speaks of--all year long?

A good place to start with developing an understanding of the concept of peace. Join us on Saturday for "What is Peace, Anyway? JESUS PEACE! Experiencing the Peace of the Christ Child -- ALL Year Long! 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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May the humility of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the joy of the angels,
and the peace of the Christ Child
be God's gifts to you and yours
this Christmas time and always.

~ Traditional Moravian blessing

Looking for Jesus Peace for Christmas? It all starts by giving your heart to Jesus Christ and accepting His Christmas gift to you. To do so, please click here! http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Dec 2020, 10:04 pm

"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." (Ps. 121 ESV)

It was the middle of December several years ago. I had some old Christmas records playing. A light snow was falling outside but I didn't mind. I was getting ready to head to my daughter's college to bring her home for the holidays.

The weather forecast had only called for light flurries and I was an experienced driver in snow so I wasn't worried as me and my two sons put on our coats and walked down to the car. As we got out on the road, however, I realized that the weather forecast had been wrong. The "light flurries" had turned into heavy snow squalls falling fast and covering the roads. The snow plows were rapidly falling behind, and I knew at once that it wasn't going to be an easy drive.

It was a 3 hour round trip to my daughter's college, but I knew it was going to be a lot longer today as I slowed my car to match the slickness of the roads. The narrow mountain road I usually took as a short cut hadn't been plowed at all so I stayed on the main roadways knowing it would add another hour to my trip. Once I was on the interstate, though, conditions only worsened. I slowed down further but four wheel drive trucks sped past me throwing huge showers of slush onto my windshield. I slowed my breathing and tried not to grip the steering wheel too hard.

During the last 20 miles the road switched back to two lanes and I suddenly found myself behind a very inexperienced winter driver. Instead of driving slow and adjusting when he hit a slick spot he was braking hard and swerving all over the road. I braked hard myself to keep from hitting him and slid off the asphalt into a ditch.

I tried pulling out again and again but could only hear spinning tires. I was half-way out in the road and a truck zoomed by us missing the car by inches. I looked at my two sons with my heart pounding in my chest and prayed: "God, I really need your help right now!" I tried to pull out again and miraculously the car stared to move. It felt as if it was almost being pushed out of the ditch. I pulled back on the road and said: "Thank you God!"

By the time I reached the college the sun was out and the plows were beginning to get the roads clear again. I picked up my daughter and slowly headed home. When we arrived the dogs greeted us happily at the door and I could see the Christmas tree lights blinking brightly. It felt so good to be safe and home again. I could feel God's love all around me and within me as well.

In his book, "The Story of the Other Wise Man", author Henry Van Dyke wrote: "He who walks in love may wander far, yet God will bring him where the blessed are." Wherever you go then, and however dangerous your journeys may be always remember that you are watched over by God with a love more powerful and more beautiful than you can ever imagine.

Joseph J. Mazzella

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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Nov 2020, 9:03 pm

Great Falls Montana, built up along the banks of the mighty Missouri River, was once the site of five mighty water falls. Discovered and named by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark in 1805, the falls, as you work your way upriver are known as:

1. Big Falls (also known as the Great Falls), with water falling 87 feet;
2. Crooked Falls, with water falling 19 feet;
3. Rainbow Falls, with water falling 44 feet;
4. Colter Falls, with water falling 6.5 feet;
5. Black Eagle Falls, with water falling 26.5 feet

For a pair of travelers who love water falls, it sounded like the perfect place for us, and we pre-arranged four nights in a nearby campground.

What we didn't realize is that only one of those water falls, the Crooked Falls, still exists in its natural state, and even it is partially submerged.

Why?

Because dams have been built atop three of the other water falls, and in the process, Colter Falls was completely submerged.

Volta Dam was built on top of the Great Falls in 1915, and later renamed Ryan Dam.

Rainbow Dam was built in 1910, submerging Colter Falls.

When Black Eagle Dam was built in 1890, half of the Black Eagle Falls were submerged.

I, for one, was disillusioned. Oh, you could still see the water falls in all their splendor, but the towering dam just at the top of the each doesn't exactly add to the poetic nature of the place...

As I stood at the viewing platform for Ryan Dam and the Great Falls, I couldn't stop the disappointment. I pulled out my camera anyway. Surely there would be an object lesson in this somewhere...And as I raised it to my eye, I realized something mightily important: All the camera saw was the splendor of the falls!

You see, my camera doesn't have a wide enough angle lens to capture the towering dam above! All its current lens could see was the water itself! As a result, the pictures of the Great Falls are beautiful!

It made me think. When problems arise, they tend to overshadow everything and they capture our entire attention. But just like I could see the beauty of Great Falls once I pulled my eyes away from the dam, when we take our eyes off of our problems, we will find that God's blessings still abound.

Has He not promised that, "he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deut. 31:6b NIV)?

Has He not promised that He, "... causes everything to work together for the good of those who love [Him] and are called according to his purpose for them" (Rom. 8:28 NLT)?

Whatever it is you are going through right now, no matter how bleak things seem, try to take your eyes off the storm. Put them instead on the One who is holding you in the palm of His hand. When you do, you will see how the many beautiful signs of His love for you still abound.

And the next time you find yourself in Great Falls, Montana, standing at the observation point for the Great Falls, get out your camera and zoom it to block the towering dam atop the water fall. You'll be amazed at how beautiful the water fall actually is, once the dam is out of your viewfinder!

In His love,
Lyn


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

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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Nov 2020, 10:26 pm

Do you feel insignificant? Like you have nothing to give that will make any difference at all?

I can imagine that the world's shortest river might feel the same way...

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the world's shortest river as the Roe River in Great Falls, Montana. The Roe flows from its source, the Giant Springs, and then dumps 200 feet downriver into the great Missouri River.

As I stood on the banks of the Roe, I couldn't help but be amazed. You see, the waters springing from the Giant Springs are a bright bluish-green in color, and when then join the mighty Missouri, the waters of the Roe are not immediately caught up in and mixed with the Missouri. Instead, its unique color influences the waters of the Missouri for several hundred feet!

No, the Roe is far from being an insignificant waterway. On the contrary, it has the power to influence something as big and powerful as the Missouri River!

You are no different. You may feel that you have nothing to contribute, or that your contribution is too insignificant to make a difference; but is this really the case? The apostle Paul teaches that the church is all "one body": "We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn't matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink." (1 Cor. 12:13 NLT). But that "body" has many parts: "There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ...So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts." (1 Cor. 12:12,14 NLT)

If you have given your heart to Christ, then you are already part of that body. Just like the many parts of the body all have different functions, ever person who makes up the body of the church also has many different functions. Not everyone can expect to be a preacher. Not everyone can teach Sunday school. Not everyone is adept at being a greeter or at working in the kitchen, and not everyone would do a good job as a janitor. But each of these functions is necessary for the "body" of the church to function properly. Paul puts it this way: "Suppose the foot says, 'I am not a hand. So I don't belong to the body.' By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, 'I am not an eye. So I don't belong to the body.' By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body." (1 Cor. 12:15-20 NLT)

And just like a body is handicapped if it loses a leg or an eye, the "body" of the church is also handicapped if it loses a youth leader or a greeter.

But wait. Not everyone has an official "function" in a church.

True enough, but as part of the global body of Christ, you have a "function" nonetheless. You are not here for nothing. Maybe your function is huge; but more than likely, it is small. Yet without you, the global body of Christ could not function.

Let's take the young man, for example, who was about to commit suicide. Someone walks by and offers him a smile. That smile is a tiny, simple thing, and the one who offered it may have felt like he or she wasn't doing anything worthwhile, anything that would make a difference. But that smile encourages the young man. He doesn't jump from that bridge. Instead, he seeks help. During his search, he comes to know the Lord and gives his heart to Christ. He finds himself filled with purpose, and he becomes a mighty evangelist, someone who brings thousands to the Lord. And it was all because of that tiny smile!

Just like the unique color of the world's shortest river influences the color of the Missouri for several hundred feet, everything we do has the potential of influencing someone...for the good, or for the bad.

The next time you are tempted to feel insignificant, remember the tiny Roe River and its power to influence the mighty Missouri River. Remember that you are part of the body of Christ, and without you, the body would not function as well. Remember that what we do makes a difference.

Go out and be a Roe River today! Smile. Lend a hand. Be a prayer warrior. Sing a song. Shake a hand. And just know that when you do, be assured that your efforts are having far more of an influence than you will ever know!

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 21 Nov 2020, 6:52 pm

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I've come to love the fall season is the abundant days of Indian Summer. Now, if any of you are like me, originally from places that don't really have seasons, then this may be a new term to you. Basically, Indian Summer days are those rare days in the fall of the year when it seems like summer has returned. You can tell it's fall. Don't get me wrong. There is just a fallish "nip" to the breeze. But the sun is out, and though the temperatures aren't up in the 20s C. (80s F), it makes you want to get out and do things outside.

Of course, you can see Indian Summer days in a completely different way, and I'm ashamed to say I am guilty of this in the past. You can see those Indian Summer days as a sure sign that winter is on its way, and if you are "in love" with winter (the way I am NOT!), then it can be very depressing. This, of course, is because I tended to look at Indian Summer as a sign of what would be coming, rather than appreciating it for the beautiful day that it is. I suppose it is the "glass half-full/half-empty" kind of thing....

If you think about it, however, you realize that everything in life has both positive and negative sides. Those irritating optimists will always seek the positives in things, even if they have to dig and scratch and stretch, for in their minds, every cloud has a silver lining! And then there are the depressing pessimists. The ones who seem to have a black cloud hanging over their heads. They will find something negative in every situation!

Where do you fall on the optimist/pessimist continuum?

I don't know about you, but I tend to be pretty optimistic about many things, but the moment troubles come my way, I definitely swing towards the pessimistic side...

I have to ask myself, however: Is pessimism the way Jesus envisions that we will live? Is that what brings us the freedom Jesus came to give us (See John 8:36)?

Not at all. The Bible tells us that when we become followers of Christ, God dwells within us: "and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." (1 John 4:16 NLT); and "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them." (Rev. 21:3 NLT). The Psalmist also tells us that God's presence doesn't bring us pessimistic sadness. Rather, it brings us...joy! "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever." (Ps. 16:11 NLT). In fact, we are told to not be sad: "Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!" (Neh. 8:10b NLT)

Of course, it isn't always (or ever?) easy to choose to not be sad..., however, the Bible gives us some advice on how to achieve this: "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Phil. 4:8 NLT). This text gives us the feeling that we have the choice to be optimistic or pessimistic, and the way to undulate from one to the other has to do with controlling our thoughts! When we make ourselves focus on what is true and right and pure and lovely, etc., we will naturally begin to feel that joy of the Lord that He has promised us!

Could this be why Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow? "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (NLT). Is this because He knows tomorrow will bring us problems and He wants us to focus on the joy in the moment?

Indian Summer? A beautiful day to be enjoyed? Or a sign that winter is on its way? I say, let's make the decision to follow Jesus' advice and live in the moment, focusing on the beauty of the day and leaving the worry about upcoming winter to God.

But let's not limit this to Indian Summer days! Whatever it is you're going through is no different! Let's make the choice to follow Jesus' advice in all of our situations! Let's focus on what is good and leave the worry to the One who has the strength and love and desire to carry us through!

And I think I'll go out and plant some bulbs today while the sun is shining. That way, when Spring arrives, it will be signaled by beautiful tulips and crocuses and daffodils in my yard!

In His love,
Lyn

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

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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Nov 2020, 5:52 pm

While I was praying, simple conversation with God, I found myself asking for something. Again.

I thought, "I am constantly making requests! Wouldn't you think the Lord would get sick of that? I just waltz in, any time of the day or night I feel like it, and pray. I thank Him and praise Him, often ask for something and assume He is listening."

Many years ago, as a mom of young children, I would try to stop and listen to my kids when they would come to me to ask, or tell, me something. I usually did, but not always. Our Father God made us for fellowship with Him. And yes, He is thrilled and delighted for us to come to Him, with requests, conversation, thanks, or just come to enjoy His presence. And yes, He listens. Always.

Among the thousands of promises in the Bible are those which declare God hears us, and answers. A few are: Jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you." (NIV); Psalm 17:6: "I call to you, God, and you answer me. Listen to me now, and hear what I say." (NCV); Psalm 6:9: "The Lord has heard my cry for help; the Lord will answer my prayer." (ICB); Psalm 91:15: "They will call to me, and I will answer them." (ICB)

There's never a time the Lord won't stop and give us His full attention. In fact, He is just waiting for us to 'waltz in'.

That's good news.
Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy

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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Nov 2020, 11:10 pm

The great plains of Canada and the United States once teemed with wild Bison. The bison had been hunted by the first nations people of the plains for hundreds of years, but the settlement of the plains by white man marked the beginning of the end of the plains Bison. By the 1870s, the great plains were virtually free of the giant mammals. The creatures were near extinction.

During one of the last great hunts in Montana, four orphaned bison calves followed a horse belonging to a First Nationals man named Samuel Walking Cayote to his home. Walking Coyote captured and raised these calves, and in a few years, his four had increased to fourteen.

Two Metis men purchased Walking Cayote's small herd, and over a few decades, they managed to raise a herd of about 350 bison, which they grazed on the Flathead Indian Reserve. When parts of this reserve were opened up by the US government for white settlement, however, the Bison had to go.

The herd was offered to the US government. Some reports say that the government couldn't commit to such a purchase. Others say the government couldn't offer them as much money as they hoped to get for the animals. Still others say that they felt personally insulted by the US government and their reaction to the offer. Whatever the reason, when the Canadian government offered to buy the bison, every last animal possible was rounded up and sent across the 49th parallel into Canada.

Once in Canada, the Bison were sent to various reserves, and where human folly nearly destroyed the Bison in the 19th century, it is now estimated in Canada alone that there are at least 10,000 bison on public lands, and many more are farmed privately.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I'm being hunted to extinction. I had a day like that today. Every time I turned around, my thoughts went down the wrong paths, paths of jealousy and self-pity, frustration and depression. The most interesting part, however, was that the things that were rousing all of these negative parts of me were all -- lies! For whatever reason, however, I stepped into those traps time and time again. I felt like I was being "hunted" by the demons, that they were attempting to break me down, to drive me to "extinction". But just like there were a few who worked to preserve the bison, God always makes away of escape for us: "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13 NIV). He is always busy at work, reaching out to us, encouraging us, sending us comfort.

I knew this today. I could even see His hand upon my day. But just like those 4 orphaned bison had to choose to follow the horse to the ranch of the native American, I had a choice to make: I could accept God's help, or I could continue in the traps the demons were surrounding me with. At one point, I cried out to God. I told Him that I wanted to be free, but I was too weak to break free. Immediately God put the words of 2 Cor. 12:9-10 in my mind: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (NIV). I said, "God, I am very, very weak right now. I don't know why, but 'why' doesn't matter. What matters is that You are strong! You have promised that your strength is perfected in my weakness, and Lord, I need your perfect strength right now!"

Instantly the jealousy, self-pity peeled away, and where I had been frustrated and depressed, I now felt...joy!

Feeling like you are being hunted down with negative emotions and depression, and you can't find your way out? Remember that God will always make a way of escape, and He will provide you with the strength to take it! The Bison are no longer extinct, and we are no longer slaves to the devil!

In His love,
Lyn


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

 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Nov 2020, 4:40 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Bible210


"Thy strong Word did cleave the darkness; At Thy speaking it was done. For created light we thank Thee, While Thine ordered seasons run. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end!


"They strong Word bespeaks us righteous; Bright with Thine own holiness, Glorious now, we press toward glory, And our lives our hopes confess. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end!"


Words have power. The childhood saying tries to assure us, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," but we know that unkind names and words do hurt. Words both inflame anger and inspire acts of compassion. A word of forgiveness, "a word fitly spoken" (Proverbs 25:11a), can heal a broken relationship.


God's all-powerful Word can do much more. His Word creates, bringing things into existence where nothing existed before. God said, "'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3 ESV). There was no sun yet, no moon or stars, but when God spoke, light appeared, cleaving the darkness. God's Word called the heavens and the earth into being and set creation in order.


God said that His Word, "shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11b ESV). God sent His Son into the world to reconcile this fallen, sin-darkened world to Himself. Jesus, the Word made flesh, accomplished the purpose for which He was sent. Darkness shrouded the land as He hung on the cross, suffering the penalty of death that we deserved. Then, on the first Easter morning, the early light revealed Jesus' empty tomb. The darkness of sin and death fell victim to the risen, reigning Light of the world.


Because Jesus took our sins onto Himself, the mighty, creating Word of God "bespeaks us righteous," declaring us not guilty. As the Word once called creation into existence, so through faith in Jesus, each of us is made a new creation, clothed in Christ's righteousness. God speaks, and things happen! Our sins are washed away in Jesus' blood, and we are dressed in Jesus' perfect holiness.


"Glorious now," dressed in the bright righteousness of Jesus, we press toward the greater glory still to come "and our lives our hopes confess." We use our words, ordinary human words, to bring to others the saving Gospel message. We use our words, our hands, and our hearts to "cleave the darkness" with the love of Jesus, the Word made flesh and the Light of the world.


THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, bless our words of witness and our acts of love so that others will come to know and worship You as their Savior and Lord. Amen.


Dr. Carol Geisler


This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler and appeared in the Lutheran Hour Ministries. It is based on the hymn, "Thy Strong Word," which is found on page 578 of the Lutheran Service Book.


 
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 10:55 pm

You can't visit the state of Montana without encountering the bison. The state was home to literally millions of plains bison, as well as to the Native Americans who hunted them.

Of course, this wasn't my first encounter with the creatures. I had, however, always called them Buffalo, and I was of the opinion that "Buffalo" and "Bison" were synonyms. My visit to the National Bison Range taught me differently...

Established in 1908 to provide sanctuary for the few remaining bison, the National Bison Range, home to 350-500 free-range bison, now serves as the central point for bison research in the United States. It was at the visitor's centre for the range where I would learn that bison and buffalo are two very different species of animals. A true buffalo is found in Asia or Africa, while the creatures that once roamed the plains of North America are actually bison. The reason we have called them "buffalo" all these years is that when the early French explorers came across these creatures, they thought they looked like cattle and dubbed them, bœufs. This French word for "cattle" is pronounced "buff", and the name "buffalo" was born.

What I'd really like to know is how I managed to live in North America for over half a century without knowing that the real name for these massive creatures is not "buffalo" but "bison"!

It makes me think. How many other things have I always "heard", which actually aren't correct? For example, I had read through my Bible many times before I actually realized that the "donkey" was never mentioned in the Christmas story. It had been a shock only a few years earlier to learn that the Wisemen and the shepherds didn't visit baby Jesus at the same time. And the Bible doesn't say that Adam and Eve ate an "apple" from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but a "fruit", and nowhere does it say in the Bible that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

There has been so much tradition mixed into our Christian education that sometimes it is difficult to know what is directly from the Word of God, and what is simply tradition. It makes you wonder, doesn't it? I mean, most of the examples I listed above are not about anything that is critical to our faith. But what if we are following as doctrine the traditions of men? Is this why we are admonished to: "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth..." (2 Tim. 2:15 NLT)? So that we will know the difference between tradition and Truth?

Take, for example, Salvation. Sure, the Bible teaches Salvation by faith, but so many of our churches make it sound like we have to "do" something to be saved. Who do we believe? The church? Or our Bibles?

Friends, what we are admonished to do is to read and study our Bibles for ourselves, and whenever we encounter something that is different from what we've been taught, we need to flag it. We need to do a little Bible study on that subject -- something rendered far easier in our day and age by the internet! We need to find out what the Bible actually teaches!

I don't know about you, but putting Mary on a donkey seems harmless enough. But how we are saved, now that's pretty important to get right!

Don't take what you've always learned at face value. Dig in to the Word of God yourself. Search! Seek Truth! And don't forget that bringing us to knowledge of all truth is one of the Holy Spirit's jobs: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NLT). Never open your Bible without praying for God's Spirit to guide you into all truth! And then, don't be amazed when He shows you something that may be a bit different from what you've "always learned"!

"Buffalo" anyone? No, I'll take "Bison" -- And I'll take Biblical Truth over tradition as well!

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 29 Oct 2020, 7:00 pm

When I think of the word "gossip", I think of Rachel Lynde from Anne of Green Gables.

She constantly snooped, made judgments, and then scattered her version of the "news" to other people around the town of Avonlea by flapping her unstoppable gums.

But hear what the Bible says: "Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander." (Proverbs 17:4 NLT)

In other words, it's also wrong to "listen" to gossip, and to "pay attention" to slander. We perpetuate gossip not just by speaking half-truths about other people, but by going along with it in silence.

Maybe, we sometimes go along with it because, on some deep, unhealthy level, we want to believe the worst about someone. Or maybe, we just enjoy snacking on someone else's dirt.

And there are other times when we're thinking more clearly, when we know that we don't like it, but simply don't know what to do.

Sometimes, breaking the cycle is as simple as saying, "You know, I'm not sure that that's the whole story," or, "Well, it sounds like a tough situation that we should pray about." That can send the signal that unfounded negativity isn't welcome.

Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.

Prayer: Lord, help us to break the cycle of gossip and to think, speak, and act in a way that honours You and Your people. In Jesus' perfect name, we pray. Amen.

Matthew Ruttan
Barrie, Ontario, Canada


Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author's permission
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 10:27 pm

 
Is there something in your life that's breaking your heart right now? Do you wake up in the middle of the night with your pulse racing because you simply don't know what to do? Do you wonder where the strength will come from to face another day? Let's face it; life isn't always a slab of cherry-cheese cake.

I'm quite sure that each and every person reading these words is going through something difficult. Perhaps you're facing a mountain that seems insurmountable or a lake so deep and cold that you plead with God to part the waters and make a way across. I understand when feelings of hopelessness wash over you. And just because I'm a believer in Jesus, doesn't mean that I don't encounter deep dark canyons too. I've been there more than once throughout my life, as I expect you have.

But let me ask you this.

When it feels like your ship is sinking and the surrounding walls are too slippery to grab hold of and pull yourself out, how do you respond? Do you give up and curl into a ball? Do you draw upon the fortitude of others to save the day? Do you pray? And if so, are you ever prone to raise your fists at God when rapid deliverance fails to happen? Yes, I confess I have this T-shirt.

I know how easy it is to wallow in despair as you fervently wait for God to work out his plan, and he remains silent. Waiting is never fun when events in our lives cause us pain, turmoil and heartache. It's not always easy to stay calm. But that's exactly what Jesus wants us to do with these ten simple words. "The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (Exodus 14:14 NLT)

Do you realize that as a believer, you already possess the resources to pull you through and firmly anchor your tired feet back on solid ground? That energy source is the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ! He alone can provide the strength, the hope, and the courage we need to move forward. We have at our disposal the power of Almighty God to draw upon when challenges before us seem impregnable.

Knowing that God has a purpose and a plan for my life provides such comfort. I know that God is working things out behind the scenes when nothing else makes sense. He is fighting on my behalf and wants me to remain calm, breath deep and wait for deliverance from whatever afflictions brood up. And he wants the same for you!

My dear friend; God loves you and wants you to tap into his limitless power. How do you do that? Well, I'm glad you asked! We access his power by drawing closer to him, by aligning our hearts closer to his. Spend some time today reading the bible. Take a few minutes to pray. Then always remember…

The Lord is fighting for you. Just stay calm!

Paul Smyth

 

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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 8:10 pm

Miracles of Scholarships
October 11, 2020
Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.

~ Genesis 18:14 NIV ~

My whole life today is a testimony.

I have been seeing the hand of God in many ways in this life. Mostly I see that when I am so desperate, with all hope gone.

JESUS IS ALIVE!

I will give two testimonies, one today, and one tomorrow. I work at an international school here in Malawi, and I am a Malawian. As staffs, we are allowed to have our two kids enrolled in school at 10% the actual fees.

This made me more worried when I was pregnant for my third child. I had a workmate who introduced me to this your newslatter, late Rukshana Kunkanga, she told me to trust that God is in control and will make a way for us.

I accepted, but deep down my heart still I had a lot of queries, as honestly, with my salary, there was no way I could have managed to pay fees at an equivalent school. I kept hoping and trusting.

Kids in Malawi start school in this school after turning 4. By the time my third one was turning 4, my first born was in year 11. He had two more years ahead, and it was time to think of his universty! Nothing was adding up.

By this time, my job was at stake, and I had lost all the hope. All along I was so comfortable that, except for this third child, I was taking things for granted. I thought my job was all I needed. BUT, I realised it was God I needed the most. I cried to God. I asked HIm to intervene for the sake of my children, to be there for them as a good father.

Just that year, 2017, there was an advertisement in our local Newspapers for Scholarships. This was just two weeks after this friend [who introduced me to this newsletter for us to be growing in faith] had passed on. I was so lonely, but suprisingly, the daily messages I was receiving through this bulletin kept comforting me as daily they were like they have seen my situation.

According to the advert's requirements, my son was not qualified to stand a chance. With faith in Him who is mighty, I encouraged my son to submit his essy.

He was reluctant. I kept insisting and encouraging him that when we say our God is the God of impossibilities, we mean being God of impossibilities. He submitted his application on the closing day.

One month later, he was called for interviews.

Hallelujah, the third month he was nominated to go study for his I.B [the remaining two years that i was worried of] in Canada on a full schollarship, exept for flights, medical insurance and upkeep.

We got the news on the Easter week. I couldn't afford even the ticket for the flight. I was more confused then.

I started crying so loud that my son, who was 16-years-old then, came to my room and said, "mom, it's okay, I won't go to Canada“. He didn't understand my sorrow.

I changed my prayer request and hoped even more, claiming that the sponsors said they would even be paying for his flight. And I started being happy. Then it was time for the visa application. This was when they sent us another letter stating that they will also cover his flight cost, medical scheme and pocket money there. Wow!

That meant, my third child had room to join the school at the right age, just as her brother left, giving me two kids to comfortably go to school at the fee I could afford. That scholarship covered even the university that I had been fearing!

GOD COMES TO OUR RESCUE ALWAYS WHEN WE DON'T SEE ANY ROOM FOR POSSIBLE INTERVENTION.

I give praise to God.
AMEN.

Prisca Palasa

 
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Oct 2020, 5:11 pm

In the second and the penultimate part of the Series on the Biblical equivalent of the Nobel Prizes story, the parable of talents, today we shall focus on three more lessons derived from said Parable....


"No" Delay...

"The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more." (Matt 25:16 NIV)

No procrastination. Not for the most faithful servant. Put simply, the secret behind his success was his explosive start off the blocks. Taking the Master's assignment seriously, he went about in right earnest straightaway.

Say Christian, is the indwelling Holy Spirit prompting you to send a mail of encouragent to someone? Is He asking asking you to pray for someone? Or for that matter, He may be inspiring you to share your Gospel-based testimony with a friend or colleague. Do not delay! Jump at it with the speed of a lightening bolt....
 

"No" More Delay...

"...the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them." (Matt 25:19 NIV)

"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Rev 22:12 NIV)

Let's take the "Word" (another name for Christ -- See John 1:1) at His Word. On the subject of signs preceding the rapture of the church, didn't He also say, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man..." (Luke 17:26 NIV)? What was conspicuous during Noah's time? "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence..." (Gen. 6:11 KJV). Violence and corruption for you, ladies and gentlemen!

To borrow Aussie slang, even Blind Freddy knows that media reports are full of violent events, for not a fortnight passes by without a bomb blast/terror attack in some part of the globe!
"Kolaveri" (remember the old famous Tamil number of 2011 fame), very much seen everywhere!

Now please do not blame Nobel for this veri for kola. By the way, "kolaveri" in Tamil means rage to kill.

And corruption scandals (Wikileaks or no Wikileaks)? They regularly keep exploding in the process, rocking the Parliament proceedings in our country. Boom boom....Satyam... CWG scam... Adarsh housing...2 G Spectrum... Obalapuram Mining...Boom boom...

"...You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." (Matt 16:3 NIV)

On Earth, violence and corruption scenarios would deteriorate from bad to worse during the seven year tribulation, till His Kingdom comes and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven (See Matt. 6:10). So things would worsen before they get better.

Boom..."Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1 Cor. 15:51-52 NIV). Hey! a trumpet blast (See also 1 Thess 4:12-18)! Post rapture, for Christians (1 Peter 4:7), there would be a time -- in Christian parlance known as Bema Judgment time -- when their service rendered for the Master would be tested and each one would be given whatever is due to him: "If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward." (1 Cor 3:14 NIV). So let's complete all pending works sincerely and keep serving Him passionately in order to hear only those words and nothing else: "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." (Matt. 25:23 NIV)


"No" Success, No Problem...

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things..." (Matt 25:21 NIV)

Wheelchair runners in marathons usually finish last, but the biggest cheers are reserved for them. Why? Is it an acclamation of their running skills? No! The appreciation is for making a statement of their character of perseverance. Ditto the same in the Heavenly realm.

The parable of the talents blasts another myth that God rewards only the successful. No! His rewards are for the perseverant lot who toil faithfully with the talents they have got. Note the words of appreciation of the Master, at the time of rewarding, He doesn't say "Well done, my successful servant", but rather: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21 NIV)!

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos? What is it they have in common? They were all Old Testament, pre-exilic prophets. Did they succeed in their ministry of making the idolatrous Israelites of their generation repent? No! But they went about their tasks faithfully, guaranteeing for themselves rewards from the One who duly rewards all who have "...fought the good fight...finished the race...kept the faith." (2 Tim. 4:7 NIV).

Prayer: Father, we are so encouraged by the fact that You always look at the sincerity of our efforts rather than the results. Enable us to strive faithfully for Your glory always. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
Hyderabad-India
J and SM Ministries
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Sep 2020, 11:42 pm

NUGGET Today's Devotional Raptur10


In the penultimate part of our series titled the "The Faithful One", we come to yet another sub-topic. After having focused on King Cyrus' miraculous victory over Babylon in the third part of our series, today we will consider the imminant rapture and tribulation period. I would like to bring out the similarities between King Cyrus and Christ Jesus, while also bringing out the similarities between King Belshazzar and the Anti-Christ....


Foretold...

Both King Cyrus and the Saviour's names were foretold before their respective births:

"When I say of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd,' he will certainly do as I say. He will command, 'Rebuild Jerusalem'; he will say, 'Restore the Temple.'" (Is. 44:28 NLT);

"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matt 1:21 NLT).


Free...

If King Cyrus was used by the Faithful One of Israel to deliver the captive Jews in exile at Babylon, then Christ would, in His Second Coming, be used of the Faithful Father to liberate the Jews from the besieging forces of Anti-Christ which would be gathered at Armageddon (See Rev 16:16/19:21).


Form...

If the form of King Cyrus defeating the mighty Babylon forces holding sway over Jewish exiles in Babylon was one of relatively "effortless ease", similarly Christ' method of destroying the army of Anti-Christ at Armageddon would also be one of "effortless ease". If, through utterance of one word Christ brought the world into existence (Col 1:16-17), then by utterance of one word, He would destroy the vast army of the Antichrist too (See Rev 19:21).


Fruit...

King Cyrus' attack on Babylon was divinely mandated only at a time when the fruit of its sin had ripened, just as it had happened when Joshua conquered Canaan (the sin of the Canaanites had ripened at that time as well -- See Genesis 15:16). Cyrus' conquest of Babylon did not take place when the Babylonian Empire had some God-fearing, considerate kings like Nebuchadnezzar and Evil-merodach (See Daniel 4:34-35, 2 Kings 25:27-30), but only when it was ruled by a hard-hearted, blasphemous King. Similarly, God's wrath through Christ would not come upon the Anti-Christ when he tries to be a global "peace usher" (albeit through deceitful means -- See Daniel 8:25/Rev 6:1-2), but only when his sins would ripen by way of many blasphemous acts (See Rev 13:1-6).


Facilitate...

After defeating the Babylonian King, King Cyrus, "the Shepherd of Jews", had played the facilitator in the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (See Ezra 1:1-11). Likewise, Christ the "Shepherd", after defeating the Anti-Christ at His Second Coming, would also help the Jews construct the millennial "Ezekiel" Temple in Jerusalem, even whilst ruling the World from that Holy City (See Psalm 2:6-12/Ezekiel 37:24/48:35).

Prayer: Father, being so faithful to the Nation of Israel, You have already prepared for the Jews the "Salvation plan in Christ". Be that as it may, even as we Your children in the New Covenant, expect the imminent rapture of the Church, enable us to herald lovingly on one to one basis the Gospel to our Jewish friends so that at least some would be saved from the imminent tribulation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

Join us on Thursday for the final part of "The Faithful One" as we explore God as the Faithful Father of the Redeemed in Christ... 

 
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