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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Jun 2019, 6:10 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 22, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Over the past couple of devotionals, we've learned some powerful lessons in church unity from the interesting bell miner, also known as the "bellbird".

I must say, however, that the first fact I learned about bellbirds didn't come from the internet. It came directly from the lady in the campground reception office who checked us into our cabin that day in Eden, NSW where I first heard the "bells". When I asked about the pretty tinkling noise, she rolled her eyes, and the tone of her response dripped with disdain. But I didn't get it. I was enjoying the silvery bell-like calls. What was there about this warm-blooded, flying "carillon" that made the campground receptionist so annoyed?

A quick internet search revealed that she wasn't the only one annoyed by these little birds, and after just 24 hours in the region, I began to understand...The bell-like call rarely ever ceases, and once a bellbird colony "moves in" to a neighbourhood, it rarely ever leaves. As much as I love birds, I had to admit that if I had to hear that bell-like call 24/7, it would likely drive me crazy. There is just one thing that can be said for certain: The call of the bell miner will not be ignored!

In "The Bellbird, Part 1", we learned that Jesus specifically mentioned unity at least four times in the pastoral prayer given just before He went to Gethsemane. The reason Jesus gives for requesting unity, however, is worthy of special mention: "I pray that they will all be one...so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:21 NLT). Jesus' reason for praying for unity is none other than--evangelism!

Remember that Jesus does not wish for any to be lost ("...He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9b NLT). His desire is that everyone be saved!

The incessant call of the bell miner may be annoying to those who have to listen to it, but it teaches us a powerful lesson. What if we were to be as incessant about evangelism as the bellbird is in making its bell-like call? What if we were to spread the gospel every chance we got? We would most definitely be noticed!

Of course, the bellbird call is annoying; and if we were to incessantly talk about God, it would likely be seen in the same light. There are, however, many other ways to preach the gospel, and only a few of them require that we open our mouths. Here are a few examples:

1. We preach a powerful sermon in our unity alone: "I pray that they will all be one...so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:21 NLT).

2. We preach a powerful sermon when we love one another: "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." (John 13:34 NLT). When we reach out to others in love, they notice, and it isn't annoying to them. Isn't Jesus the perfect example of Someone who showed incessant love? Aren't we called to follow His example? "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." (Eph. 5:2 NLT).

3. We preach a powerful sermon when we care for one another: "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" (Matt 25:40 NLT). When we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give clothing and shelter to the cold and homeless, provide means for education and medical care, etc., we go a long ways in evangelising the world.

Remember the Sermon on the Mount? "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matt. 5:16 NLT). This is what the bell miner does 24/7. This is what we are called to do as well.

Let's learn from the bellbird. Let's stand in unity beside our fellow believers. Let's pray for them, strengthen and encourage them and help them in their times of need. But let's also be incessant about spreading the gospel to a lost and hurting world by showing love and support, feeding the hungry, encouraging the discouraged, comforting the hurting and providing shelter to the cold and homeless. In doing so, our good deeds will shine out for all to see and everyone will praise our Heavenly Father.

(If there are any bird enthusiasts out there who are interesting in actually hearing a bell miner bird, click here. If you live in Eden, NSW, or any other place where there are colonies of bellbirds, I will understand if you don't choose to click this link...)

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the last part of "The Bellbird" mini-series. If you have missed any part, you can access the entire series by clicking here, or by email me.
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Jun 2019, 10:31 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 20, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 2


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us The bellbird is actually a member of the miner bird family, and is more correctly known as a "bell miner". Last Tuesday, in "The Bellbird, Part 1", we learned valuable lessons in unity and selfless giving from these interesting birds; but as I continued to read up on the bell miner, I would learn other inspiring facts about the specie...

Apparently the bell miner aggressively and communally defends its colony against any and all other insect-eating birds who might compete for their favorite food, the psyllid bugs that feed on eucalyptus sap. It made me think: What if we, like the bell miner, were to also aggressively and communally defend the church from intruders?

I'm not referring to human intruders here, for we are told that our battle is not against flesh and blood: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12 NLT). Rather, I am talking about the various and serious attacks of the devil.

This would, of course, include every temptation that comes our way. Imagine how strong the church would be if we were to stand up with one another and fight against any temptation that our fellow brothers and sisters in the church might be facing. If we could stop being judgmental, we would create an atmosphere where those who are weak would feel comfortable sharing their struggles with us. It would open the doors to being able to pray for them and to encourage and strengthen them in their faith. When we stand by one another, when we pray for one another, we are building each other up, we are making each other strong, we are encouraging each other, we are assisting each other in defeating temptation.

Is it for nothing that we are told multiple times in the New Testament alone to encourage one another? "So encourage each other and build each other up..." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT; See also Heb. 10:24-25; Eph. 4:29; 1 Cor. 14:26; Rom. 14:19, etc).

Of course, temptation isn't the only tactic used by our spiritual oppressors. Illness is another of their favorites, and this is why the bible teaches that we should pray for the sick: "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16 NLT). What if we were to take lessons from the bellbird and band together to pray against this "predator" that is trying to claim the wellbeing, even the very lives, of our fellow brothers and sisters?

Another type of spiritual attack is addiction. Most of us don't feel comfortable admitting we have addictions. We are afraid others will point the finger and we will be criticized and ostracized; and maybe we are just a bit too proud to admit our weaknesses. What if we were to remember the bell miner? What if we were to join together in prayer instead of pointing the finger at those who are bound by addiction? What if we were to reach out in spiritual warfare and battle alongside these victims of the devil's oppression? What if, instead of judging one another, we were to encourage each other? What if we were to fight the good fight side by side? Imagine how empowered those with addictions would feel! Imagine how encouraged, how better able to rise up and fight!

The list could go on, but the point is, the bell miner's habit of aggressively and communally defending its colony against intrusion teaches us a valuable lesson in aggressively and communally defending the church against spiritual intruders!

Think about it!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
Announcement:
We would only stayed in Eden, NSW, one night, but it was enough for me to personally experience a somewhat annoying fact about the bell miner... Please join us on Saturday for the final part of "The Bellbird" mini-series, to see what their one "annoying" trait has to teach us...

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Jun 2019, 2:57 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 18, 2019

The Bellbird, Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     We were entering a campground in Eden, a small town on the southeast coast of New South Wales in Australia, when we first heard, in the air all around us, the silvery tolling of tiny bells. When we looked around, however, there were no bells to be seen...

I asked the lady at the campground reception about the source of the silvery sound. She rolled her eyes in response, and her one-word answer dripped with disgst: "bellbirds!"

Ever since we landed on this beautiful continent, finding new sorts of Australian birds had become a bit of a hobby, and my interest was pricked. I was especially excited, later that day, to have the privilege to seeing and photographing the little "carillons" as they flitted about, feeding in the local gum trees and sending forth their incessant silvery calls.

Once back in our rented cabin, I looked the bellbird up on the internet, and I was immediately inspired by what I learned...

The bellbird lives in colonies, yet despite the fact that the colonies tend to be large, there are general only 3-4 pairs of birds that are nesting. The non-breeding colony members will apparently spend their days assisting the breeding pairs by gathering food and helping to raise the young! I couldn't help wondering how different our local churches might be if we took some lessons from these creatures. What would happen if we all banded together? Rather than looking out only for ourselves and our own advancements and happiness, what if we were to spend our time helping our fellow brothers and sisters? What if we were to bring each other food? Help each other with the raising of our children? Be there to comfort and encourage each other in our troubles?

Wait. I'm being a bit idealistic, aren't I? We are far too busy with our own lives to give of ourselves to each other all the time. And besides, is it really all that important anyway?

One look at Jesus' famous pastoral prayer would firmly answer this question...

The evening before His arrest, Jesus' prayer revealed what was nearest and dearest to His heart. Isn't it interesting that one of the major themes of His prayer is none other than unity in the church? "Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are." (John 17:11 NLT). It is said that when God is really trying to hit a point home, He repeats Himself; and Jesus went on to pray for unity in the church three other times in the same prayer (see vs. 21, 22, 23)! Shouldn't this speak to us about the impo rtance of unity? Of taking care of one another? Of being one, just like Jesus and the Father are one? Just imagine what this might look like in the church!

How do we achieve this unity?

It all begins with unselfish love. We need to love one another as Christ loved the church. He put aside His own ambitions to come to this earth, to die on a cruel cross, all because He loves us that much (See 2 Cor. 8:9). Just like most of the bellbirds in a colony must put aside their own ambitions so that they can help each other, we must also put aside our own desires and plans in order to help one another.

But wait. There are bellbirds who do not put aside their own ambitions. Remember that there are usually 3-4 breeding pairs in each colony!

In the same way, we will find that just as there are seasons for helping others, there is also a season for receiving help from others. What this means for us is that our primary focus needs to be on the unselfish giving of our time, our talents and our resources to help our fellow brothers and sisters; but when the time comes when find ourselves in need, we can be sure that God will also provide for that need!

Let's take lessons from the bellbird. Let's put aside our personal ambitions in order to be able to reach out and help one another. Let's strive to be the church that Jesus prayed for just before He went to the cross. Let's strive to live together in unity and love...

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head...It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." (Ps. 133:1-3 NIV)

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
Further internet research revealed that the bellbird colonies had another important lesson to teach us all about what a unified church looks like. Please join us on Thursday, for "The Bellbird, Part 2".
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received,  freely give."
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Post  Admin on Sat 15 Jun 2019, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 15, 2019

A Pleasing Aroma...
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "These offerings are given as a special gift to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to him." (Num 29:6 NLT)

If you were to simply read this text out of context, your thoughts might go something like mine did: Wow, that offering must be fresh bread or cinnamon rolls! Definitely something that smells nice!

When you read the text in its entirety, however, you see that this is not the case. Consider the preceding verses: "It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects...In addition, you must sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord. These special sacrifices are in addition to your regular monthly and daily burnt offerings, and they must be given with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings." (Num 29:2b-6a NLT)

The "offering", then, that has such a "pleasing aroma", is nothing more than animal sacrifices...

Now I don't know about you, but having been raised vegetarian, the smell of any meat cooking is not "pleasing" to me. I do understand that the majority of the world would not agree; however, this passage isn't talking about just cooking meat. It's talking about burning it! I believe most of you would agree that the odor of burning flesh does not smell "pleasing"!

Taking this a bit farther, I would have to say that even if the odor of burning meat was a pleasant one for me, what is there about slaughtering bulls and rams and lambs that is "pleasing"?

Yet this phrase, "pleasing aroma", is used multiple times throughout the books of Moses, and the context is always that of slaughtering animals for burnt offerings (See Ex. 29, Lev. 2-4, Num. 29, etc.)...Just what is so pleasing about burnt offering?

I am currently reading the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible. I have been asking myself this question throughout the books, but it wasn't until I arrived at Numbers 29 that I began to understand...

Let's remember that the Bible teaches us that sin separates us from God: "Listen! The LORD's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." (Is. 59:1-2 NLT)

Let's also remember that: "...without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22 NLT). Thus the animal served as a substitute. It died in the place of the sinner.

When God said that the animal sacrifices were a "pleasing aroma" to Him, could it be that He desired for their sins to be covered? That He desired for there to be nothing separating Him from His people? That He desired to walk with them? To talk with them? To have a relationship with them? Did the odor of burning sacrificial meat simply signify to God that the sins were covered and the door was open for relationship? Was this why God called the sacrifices, "a pleasing aroma to Him"?

The Truth of the matter is, God wants to be with us!

It is true that the sacrificial system was not adequate as a long-term solution, for: "...it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Heb. 10:4 NLT). Thus these sacrifices could only "cover up" the sin, so to speak. And since God wanted a permanent fix to this sin problem that caused Him to be separated from the ones He loves, He further proved His love and His desire to be with us by making a better way: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:19 NLT). God sent His own Son to be the sacrifice that permanently removes our sin. And since, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13 NLT), doesn't this serve to prove His ultimate desire to be with us? To spend time with us? To lavish His love upon us?

The next time you smell burning meat, remember this lesson from the mosaic laws: The reason God considered the stench of burning meat to be "a pleasing aroma" is because it signified that their sins were covered and He could commune with them. Let's all let that stench be a reminder to you that God wants to have that relationship with each of us, too, and in order to ensure that it would be even easier, He sent Jesus...

Hum. Maybe my neighbour's burning barbeque doesn't smell so bad after all...

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
Many of you have written in asking about my recent experience with Breast Cancer, and I want to thank each of you for caring, and especially for your prayers. I recently had my first follow-up with Oncology, and I am pleased to report that it went very well! You are invited to read some of the highlights of my ride with God through this valley of my life at Cancer Experiences.  Or if you prefer the whole story, email me and I can tell you how to access the it...
 
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jun 2019, 10:49 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 13, 2019

When Fear Attacks

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "I took my small dog for a walk one night," my friend Ian said. "The area was dark except for a light near the big fountain in the courtyard of the apartment complex."

"I heard my neighbor yell from her second-floor balcony. But the sound of the water in the nearby fountain drowned her words. So I returned the greeting. Since it was Christmas time, I assumed she had yelled out Merry Christmas."

"Then her shout became louder, 'Look behind you, Ian'!"

I turned. And my eyes caught the glimpse of a big, furious javelina charging at me and my small dog. Heart thumping, with one swoop I scooped my puppy. And I took off like a bullet. That's when I had my Forest Gump moment. My neighbor shouted, 'Run, Ian, run!'"

Ian had his neighbor, but we have the Lord shouting to our soul, "Run, run as fast as you can." When would He say that? Each time we're being attacked by the beast of fear.

You're been there, haven't you? During dark nights, out of nowhere, with no warning, fear charges at you. Fearful that money will run out. Fearful our kids won't grow up like we want them to. Afraid of losing our health. Fearful to be alone. Afraid to stay with the wrong person...afraid to leave them. Afraid we'll never heal from the heartache.

Goodness gracious, God is shouting to you and me, "Run, run from that spirit of fear."

And with the same authority as David did, with the same assurance and assertion, we declare: "The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1, NIV).

Father, how foolish to be afraid, knowing you're the stronghold of my life, of my decisions, of circumstances, relationships and my future. With your power working in me, I have the strength, the courage and the authority to defeat any attack of fear. In Jesus's name, amen.

Janet P. Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
God is concerned about even the minutest points of our lives, and if we let Him, He will guide us into the right decisions, 100% of the time! Our only job is to seek His guidance every step of the way. Visit us online for the previously-published series, "God Guides"!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 08 Jun 2019, 10:07 am

Welcome to the Nugget

June 8, 2019

Famous People
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I discovered that there had been someone famous in my office...

As a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in an active stroke rehabilitation program, it is standard for family members to accompany their loved ones to speech therapy; and when a new stroke survivor showed up in my office with his out-of-town son, I thought nothing of it. It was only about five weeks later that I would learn from a completely different source that this stroke survivor's son was actually quite famous.

I knew this information should not have made any difference whatsoever in the way the speech therapy sessions went, and I worked hard to ensure that it didn't. There was definitely a difference in my nerves, however. They zinged with anticipation, and I found myself with added internal motivation to do my best and to showcase my patient's improvement.

But wait. Why should the knowledge that this person was famous have made any difference whatsoever? Shouldn't I have always attempted to put my best foot forward? Shouldn't I have always been encouraging my patients to do their best? Shouldn't every patient and every family member who ever entered my office have always inspired me to give outstanding speech therapy?

We've often heard it asked, "Is that something you'd do if Jesus were sitting beside you?" Usually that question is prompted by the fact that you might not be thinking/saying/acting in a way that is Jesus-like; but isn't God omnipresent? Doesn't He see all things? Isn't He always with us? Doesn't this mean that we should always think/act/say the things that would bring honor and glory to His name?

The incident with this stroke survivor's famous son also made me think a tiny bit more. You see, I didn't have even the slightest clue that this particular patient's son was someone famous. He acted in exactly the same way as the hundreds of other caring adult children who have accompanied their parents to my office through the years. There was nothing haughty about his demeanour, nothing different in the way he obviously cared about his dad's wellbeing and looked to me for advice with his dad's communication difficulties...

It made me realize that we all "famous" in our own rights. We all have talents. We all find ourselves in the position, at least occasionally and to one degree or another, in the position where people look to us seeking advice or acceptance. How should we act in those situations? Should we place ourselves above others, looking down on them because we know something better than they do? Or should we act, like my patient's son, as if there is nothing different about us at all?

Jesus, our perfect example, gives us faultless advice: "So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him." (John 13:4-5 NLT). Jesus, the only One who totally and completely deserved our reverence, got up and performed the job of a servant!

This shouldn't surprise us, however. His entire time here on Earth was spent performing the job of a servant, and this role took Him even to the cross: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed..." (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

Famous people walk among us daily. In fact, to others, each one of us is in a position of authority from time to time. Our job is to follow Jesus' example of humility and treat everyone equally, as Jesus did. When we do, then learning that a particular stroke survivor's son is famous will not affect our behaviour in the least, for we will have always treated that particular patient and his son, and the countless others along the way as well, in the manner merited by royalty.

It certainly gave me food for thought throughout the rest of my career...

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
What lessons do the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation have to teach us?  Check out the recently-published mini-series: Studies on the Seven Churches of Revelation!  
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 10:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 6, 2019

Dixie
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:11-12, NLT)

On a cold, snowy day in March my cat, Dixie died. I walked into the bathroom to find her lying motionless. I stroked her head, and gently held her in my arms. Then I carried her to the woods behind my house to bury her. I tried not to cry as I walked. She had lived sixteen years, after all. I knew her health was fading too. Always a skinny cat she had been eating less and less lately until I could feel her bones through her gray fur when I petted her. Still, the tears fell.

Dixie like most cats was quite a personality. She enjoyed napping in the sunshine on top of my desk by the window and after I would make dinner I would often find her sneaking a snooze on the still warm kitchen stove. She loved attention but only on her own terms. She didn't like to be picked up but would climb on my chest when I was in bed, curl into a ball, and fall asleep. She would walk off if I tried to pet her but would later curl into the crook of my arm and purr while I read in the evenings. She would never meow unless she could get food out of it and sometimes she would sneak in like a panther on the prowl and steal the food right off our plates. She disliked our house full of dogs and spent her time either irritating them or hiding from them. Yet, she will always have her own special place in my heart and I know I am going to miss her.

I have lost so many dogs and cats in my half-century of living. It is one of life's cruel ironies that we get to live so many years and they get to live so few. In spite of the loss, hurt, heart-break and tears, however, I couldn't imagine myself living without them. They have taught me again and again that you have to live this life with an open heart. You have to love and keep loving even when it hurts and even when you lose the ones you love. You have to know that the love and joy are worth the pain. That may be one of the greatest lessons that God has for us to learn here. I am just glad He gave us dogs and cats to help us learn it. Keep loving then, always!

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sat 01 Jun 2019, 9:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 1, 2019

The Home Mini, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     
Last Thursday I discribed the Google Home Mini my son gave me for an early Mother's Day. I outlined how I had initially been quite disappointed with the machine due to its lack of ability to do the things I was asking it to do. I was sorely tempted to put the thing back in its box; but I didn't. Instead, I allowed my son to set it up on the counter, and I began learning what it is good for. In so doing, I learned a powerful lesson: We cannot simply write people off because they can't do what we want them to do. Instead, we need to accept them for who they are and appreciate about them the things they can do.

It would seem, however, that there was another lesson my Home Mini had to teach me...

You see, when I came so close to throwing the thing out the nearest window, I was passing judgment on the machine. I was declaring it totally worthless, when in reality, it is actually quite useful for the things it is programmed to do. Especially when I lose my phone!

Am I guilty of judging people as harshly as I was judging that little machine?

You know what I mean. That lady really did drive me off the road. She completely doesn't know how to drive! How can the province of Ontario allow her to have a drivers' license at all?

My mom's neighbour really did call the police on my mom for feeding peanuts to the squirrels. Have you ever heard of anything as hateful, controlling, un-neighbourly?

And my workplace did really cut funding to the excellent, necessary programs I initiated and ran for over 15 years. They are certainly and completely without heart!

But wait. Do we truly see the "big" picture?

One of the things that frustrated me about my little Home Mini was its inability to control my lights, thermostat and alarm clock. After all, it was able to do that at my son's house! What I didn't realize was that my son had some additional equipment required to interface his lights, furnace, etc., with his Home Mini. I do not have that equipment at my house, and in essence, I was accusing my Home Mini of not being able to do something I simply didn't have the proper equipment for it to do. I was judging the machine without all the facts.

And if I think about it, when I judge others, I am doing exactly the same thing...

Take, for example, that woman who nearly drove me off the road. What I didn't know was that this mother's vision was completely clouded by tears as she drove to the hospital to identify the body of her only son. She simply didn't see me. Perhaps it really wasn't safe for her to drive in that state of mind; however, the offense hardly dictated that she have her drivers' license revoked. It certainly didn't merit the judgment I passed on her...

And my mom's neighbour? What I didn't know is that her daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts. The squirrels left traces of my mom's peanuts on her porch, the little girl got into them and nearly died. The neighbour's reaction, as harsh as it may have seemed, was simply a "knee-jerk" reaction resulting from the motherly instinct to protect her child. Sure, sending in the police instead of making an effort to talk to my mom may seem unneighbourly, but it certainly didn't merit the judgment I passed on her...

Then there was my place of work. What I didn't know was that if they hadn't found ways to save money, hundreds of their employees, including, perhaps, myself, would have soon found themselves without a job. Yes, the decision closed the door to helping some of the people in the community; but it ensured that a vast number of others would continue to receive the help they needed. Did they merit the judgment I passed on them? Probably not... 

The point is, when we judge, we usually do so without seeing the full picture. Just like I judged my little Home Mini as "useless" when I actually didn't have the equipment it required to do what I was asking, we condemn people without knowing where they are coming from. Perhaps it is time to try to see thing from their perspective. Perhaps we need to forgive them, even when we don't understand their actions. Perhaps we need to love them, even when they do wrong. In so doing, we just may learn to see the good in people, even in those who hurt us. Is it for naught that the Scriptures teach us:

1. To not judge? "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged." (Matt. 7:1 NLT).

2. To forgive? "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Col 3:13 NLT).|

3. And to love our enemies? "You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:43-45 NLT)?

Hey, I think I found another excellent use for my Home Mini. It makes a great object lesson about passing judgement...

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Tue 28 May 2019, 4:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 28, 2019

Seven Truths to Hold onto when You Feel Attacked

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     When evil attacks, our soul wants to shrink in pain, our heart shatters and our mind fills with gloom. Unless we run to God's promises for refuge.

We need His protection because often as unexpected as rain on a sunny day, adversity pours. And when it does, we're stunned at the reason why. Why us? Why now?

I asked those questions years ago. When my boys were small, I had wiped the kitchen counter and mopped the floor for the umpteenth time. I folded laundry, fixed meals, calmed cries, changed diapers and picked up toys off the floor as I did every day. The routine, the monotony and the endless chores sometimes pushed me on the couch, wanting to scream, "I need a break."

That break came when in a matter of 18 months, a retinal disease robbed my sight completely. And facing the horror, the sorrow and the desperation, I sat on that same couch, wishing, oh wishing so badly that those "monotonous" days could come back.

Have you done that? Complained and ranted about how life is, hard, routine and so difficult? Then, suddenly a wave of bad news crashes your life. And pain enters your world. Then those days of routine, mundane and filled with tasks are ones you wish to come back. In fact, you'd do anything to go back to what you had before. Anything to be relieved from the current pain.

And to make it worse, we're attacked by regret, sorrow and anguish.

But God knows. He has the protection from those attacks. He has the shield from the arrows that pierce our peace. And He has the promises, the specific instructions, the powerful path for us to follow all outlined in Chapter 54 of the book of Isaiah.

1. When life's unfairness flogs our heart, we're tempted to give up. "'...but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,' says the LORD your Redeemer." (Isaiah 54:8b, NIV)

2. When you wonder if He's the same as He was long ago. He says, "'To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.'" (Isaiah 54:9, NIV)

3. When you question the power of His love, He assures "'...Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.'" (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)

4. When you wonder what will your future look like. What will the new chapter hold? He states, "'Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.'" (Isaiah 54:11-12, NIV)

5. And when you wonder what will your legacy hold? He gives the answer: "'All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.'" (Isaiah 54:13, NIV)

6. When you question what will be next, what you can expect, He addresses that too: "'In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.'" (Isaiah 54:14, NIV)

7. When you ask for constant security. He says, "'If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.'" (Isaiah 54:15, NIV)

Though blindness has been part of my life for over 30 years, these promises shined a constant light of beautiful hope. And they will for you too. If storms crash your life and bring rain of heartache, know that these same promises prevail over the winds of fear. His Word hushes the thunder of sorrow. And as you wait patiently, His voice speaks to turn your adversity to joy.

Which promise speaks to you in the storm? I'd love to hear your answer.

Thank You, Lord, for your great comfort that surround us continually, even when heartache and turbulence enter our lives. May we be ever mindful of Your promises to turn our adversity to joy. And trust in Your great faithfulness as we wait on You to fulfill those promises. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

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Post  Admin on Sat 25 May 2019, 10:23 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
May 25, 2019

The Right Kind of Praise...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 9:
Psalms 100
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In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.


This month's Lesson from the Psalms comes from Psalm 100. But first:


Interesting facts From the Book of Psalms:

Today's interesting fact from the book of Psalms is that in Judaism, the book is traditionally broken up into 5 different sub-books and is known as the "five books of David". We still see this division in many of our current Bibles.


Today's Psalm:

Today's lesson from the Psalms focuses on Psalm 100, a Psalm that provides a formula for praise.

As an introduction, please go back in time with me about 10 years, to a time when my family had been instructed to pray about which high school our oldest son, "D" would attend. There were three candidates, one of which was the local public high school, Centennial high. Join our family around the breakfast table one Saturday morning...

Mom: "So did you all pray about the high school?"

Younger brother shrugs...

Dad starts to answer but is cut off...

D: (Jumping in) "Yup! God gave me Psalms 100!"

Rest of family, staring blankly for a full minute, then finally, as one: "And? What does Psalms 100 say?"

D: "uh...I didn't read it..."

Mom, speaking forth what the looks of puzzlement around the table are all trying to communicate: "How do you know that God spoke to you through Psalms 100 if you didn't even read it?"

D: (Grinning) "Don't you get it? Psalms 100? What's the French word for 100? 'Cent', right? God was telling me I should go to 'Cent'ennial High!"

It's an amusing story, one that illustrates how God can speak to us in different ways; but when I went back to actually read Psalm 100, I realized something powerful about motivation for prayer, something that might have helped us in our dilemma about the high school, had we made the effort to follow the guidance of Psalm 100...

First of all, Psalm 100 is an outline for how we are to praise God. It says:
 
1. "Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!" (vs. 1 NLT);
2. "Worship the Lord with gladness." (vs. 2a NLT);
3. "singing with joy." (vs. 2b NLT);
4. "Acknowledge that the Lord is God!" (vs. 3 NLT);
5. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving..." (vs. 4a NLT);
6. "...praise His name." (vs. 4b NLT).

Most of us don't get quite this "into" our worship. We may sing, but do we shout? Do we sing for joy? Do we acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord? Do we have thanksgiving on our lips? Do we sing our praises because of His glorious name? Or do we praise God as an adjunct to our list of prayer requests?

I don't know about you, but my tendency is the later...

The Psalm goes on to tell us who should praise Him: "...all the earth." (vs. 1 NLT). Notice that it doesn't specify that only those with answered prayers should praise Him. It tells us that we all must praise Him, no matter what our circumstances!

The Psalm then tells us where to praise Him:
1. "Come before Him..." (vs. 2b NLT);
2. "Enter His gates..." (vs. 5a NLT);
3. "go into His courts..." (vs. 5b).

We may not have a physical temple with gates and courts anymore, but we are the temple of God, for His Spirit dwells in us (See 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:17-18, etc.). When we go to the Lord in our quiet place for prayer, for meditation and reflection, to simply sit at Jesus' feet, we are, in essence, entering "...His gates..." and going "...into His courts...".

Finally, the Psalm also tells us why we should praise God...
1. "He made us..." (vs. 2a NLT);
2. "...and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture." (vs. 3 NLT);
3. "For the Lord is good..." (vs. 5a NLT);
4. "His unfailing love continues forever..." (vs. 5b NLT)
5. "...His faithfulness continues to each generation." (vs. 5c NLT)

Of especially special note is that the primary reason most of us praise God is not listed in Psalm 100: It does not tell us to praise God because we want something from Him or that He has just answered some prayer. In fact, unlike many of the Psalms, there are absolutely no reference to prayer requests in this Psalm whatsoever!

It all made me think...Does praise even get 50% of my prayer time? I seriously doubt it...

I believe the vital lesson to be learned from the lack of "requesting" and the total focus on praise in Psalm 100 is that when we praise God, we should be doing it out of love and adoration, because of His goodness and mercy. We are to praise Him, as stated in the Psalm, for His goodness and love and faithfulness, not because we are trying to turn His hand.

This is what I realized when God spoke to my son through the Psalm title. We are to go before the Lord in thanksgiving and praise--without any other agenda. Perhaps if we had all not been so busy seeking God's guidance, we might have been more inclined to spend time praising God for Who He is. Then we would have been open to His voice speaking His wisdom to us. Fortunately, there was someone in our family that day who had this insight...

Friends, stop seeking God with to-do lists. Instead, put aside for a bit your own concerns and seek Him in the Psalms 100 way: With nothing but praise and thanksgiving on your agendas! I guarantee you will be blessed beyond imagination.

And--quite probably--you will also receive the guidance and blessings you seek...

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.  
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most. For previously-published Lessons From the Psalms, please click here.
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 04 May 2019, 9:52 am

Welcome to the Nugget

May 4, 2019

Covered Bridges:
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 13
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     There is something powerfully nostalgic about a covered bridge. Being one of the few remaining windows into our past, the structures were not only romantic and beautiful, but useful as well. They spanned the world's waterways, completed roads and provided shelter from the elements for passers-by. They kept water out of the wooden joints where it might freeze during winter or cause rotting during the summer, they kept the bridge from drying out in very hot weather, and they kept the snow off the road. And finally, since the horse, the primary means of transportation in the covered bridge era, didn't particularly like crossing rushing rivers, the cover gave the bridge enough of a "barn" appearance that the animals were more likely to enter calmly and volitionally.

Why are bridges no longer covered?

Because their reasons for being covered are no longer valid. Bridges are no longer made of wood, they are no longer used by horses, etc., and the remaining covered bridges are but a sad reminder of what used to be.

On our way home from Cape Breton, we happened upon the Baker Brook Covered Bridge. Like what has happened to so many, this particular one is closed to motorized traffic and has been replaced by a larger, stronger concrete bridge that is much better suited for the quantity of heavy, fast traffic that now crosses the Baker Brook.

From our vantage point at the southern end, both the old bridge and the new one beside it were clearly visible. As I stared at the two, I couldn't help thinking that the new bridge is nothing but an eyesore. After all, why do we continually have to change things? What's wrong with the way things used to be?

This is a familiar sentiment to me in other parts of my life. Not being someone who deals well with change, the smallest problem or the tiniest interruption to "my" plans is not welcomed in the least. I believe that many of you can sympathize, for when a particular set of bad circumstances makes something that has been important to our lives redundant or perhaps no longer available, we grieve the loss. Maybe it is the child who grows up and moves away; or maybe it is the medical issue requiring that a body part be removed. Perhaps it is when a spouse decides he or she no longer wishes to be part of the family, or perhaps there has been a death in the family. Whatever it may be, just like the covered bridges of the past, the so important part of our lives has somehow been redeemed "redundant" and has been removed.

But let's not forget that when the Baker Brook Covered Bridge was closed, a new bridge was built. These two bridges over the Baker Brook serve to teach us a powerful lesson: When circumstances remove something of vital importance in our lives, we can trust God that our needs will still be met. Hasn't He promised to take care of us? "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 ESV). Even when our car is totaled and we are left without transportation; even when we are fired from our jobs; even when death has taken our loved one: God has promised that He will never forsake us: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deut. 31:6 ESV). Though there may no longer be a "cover" on the "bridge", God is and always will be,
"...my hiding place and my shield..." (Ps. 119:114 ESV).

Hasn't He said that even when we are going through terrible times, He is our shepherd (See Ps. 23)? Doesn't He promise that we will want for nothing (vs. 1)? Doesn't He give us rest? Provide for our needs (vs. 2)? Doesn't He leads us to Salvation and a future with Him (vs. 3)? Doesn't He promise to be with us through the car crash, the bad medical diagnosis, the broken relationships (vs. 4)? Doesn't He promise us comfort and nourishment (vs 4b-5)? That no matter where life leads us, His goodness and mercy will always be there, and at the end, we will dwell with Him forever (vs. 6)?

Will we miss the "covered bridges" of our lives?

Yes, naturally we will.

Do we need to worry about the future without them?

No. God is all we need.

Interestingly, when compared to the old covered one, the new, modern bridge over the Baker Brook is much stronger and much more able to withstand the quantity, speed and weight of modern-day traffic. Is it possible that one of the reasons the "covered bridges" of our lives are being "decommissioned" is to show us that God may have something even better in store for us? Though things will never be the "same" as before, perhaps God is in the business of making things more functional: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28 ESV).

I'm happy that those decommissioned covered bridges still stand, for they are a vivid reminder of past joys; but I thank God that when those "covered bridges" of our lives need to be decommissioned, He provides new and stronger ones for us to use!

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 02 May 2019, 6:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

May 2, 2019

Tell-Tale Signs
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8, NIV)

The children had a great sleepover and I was just getting around to making the bed and cleaning up. I thought I felt a pebbly bump under the sheet. Checking more closely, I found one lone Cheerio lodged about halfway down - a clue that our toddler grandbaby had crawled up in bed with the other kids sometime earlier that morning.

A single tell-tale sign gave away the story of her presence there, just as the rainbow at the beach yesterday told us it was raining back to the east.

There are a myriad of ways to share the gospel, the good news and love of Jesus Christ. Many of those ways have simple, ordinary tell-tale signs such as a smile, a listening ear, ready hands to help, joy. You may have heard the saying, "You may be the only Bible someone reads."

Mother Theresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love". In the early thirteenth century, St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

St. Francis is also quoted as saying, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where ther is sadness, joy."

All tell-tale signs, sharing the Gospel and hope of Jesus. The cross of Christ comes to mind, the tell-tale sign of the immeasurable mercy and grace for all people. What incredible good news.

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy 
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Apr 2019, 12:44 pm

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April 30, 2019

The Secret to Spiritual Warfare...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 8:
Psalm 3
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In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

This month's Lesson from the Psalms comes from Psalm 3. But first:


Interesting facts From the Book of Psalms:

Last month we learned that the book of Psalms is actually a compilation of songs, written by many different authors over many hundreds of years. An interesting fact about the Psalms for this month is this: It is believed the songs were compiled into their existing order during the lifetime of Ezra in the fourth century BC. We do not know why this order was chosen. All we know is that it was not assembled based on author or chronology, for the songs of the different writers are intermixed throughout the entire collection.


Today's Psalm:

Over the past 8 months, we have looked at eight individual Psalms and how these powerful songs can empower us, rendering our prayer life stronger and increasing our faith. Today's lesson comes from Psalms 3, a Psalm of David, from the time period when David fled from his son, Absalom. This Psalm provides us with an excellent model for spiritual warfare:


Step 1: Recognizing the enemy...

"O Lord, I have so many enemies;
   so many are against me.
So many are saying,
   'God will never rescue him!'" (vs. 1-2 NLT)

We've all been there. Perhaps we are there right now.

We need to remember that though our enemies may appear to be either flesh and blood or circumstantial--disease, death, financial difficulties, loss of home or job, etc.--our deadliest enemy is spiritual in nature: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12 NLT). These spiritual forces orchestrate and coordinate the problems and trials of life, using them to weaken us for the full-force attacks of doubt, unforgiveness, discouragement, depression, anxiety, fear, control, etc. Is it any wonder we feel so overwhelmed, so beaten up, so defeated? Is it any wonder we cry out, like David of old, "O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me" (Ps. 3:1 NLT)?

The first powerful lesson is this: We must recognize that the true enemy behind what we are going through is the enemy of our souls (See John 8:44, Matt. 16:23, Rev. 20:1-6, 1 Peter 3:8-9, etc)!


Step 2: Recognizing God's power...

"But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
   you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord,
   and he answered me from his holy mountain." (vs. 3-4 NLT)

Once we have recognized the true nature of our enemy, we need to remember that Christ has already defeated the devil: "For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death." (Heb. 2:14b NLT. See also 1 John 3:8, Col. 1:13, etc). We must remember that in Him, we have access to God's power, for God is our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1-3; Ps. 91:2, Deut. 33:27, etc.). He is our shield (see Ps. 84:9, Ps. 5:12, Ps. 18:2, 2 Sam. 22:3, etc.) He is our glory (see Is. 60:19). When we cry out to Him, He answers us (see Ps. 34:17, 1 John 5:14, Ps. 66:19, John 9:31, 1 Peter 3:12, etc)!

The second powerful lesson about spiritual warfare from these next two verses of Psalms 3 is that in our time of trouble, we need to recognize God's love, power, strength and supremacy!


Part 3: Lesson in trust...

"I lay down and slept,
   yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
   I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
   who surround me on every side." (vs. 5-6 NLT)

After we recognize who the real enemy is and we remind ourselves of God's supremacy and love, the next step is to put our unwavering faith in the Solution-Giver.

It's easy enough to say we trust God, but the real test is this: Will we lay down 'in the back of the boat', so to speak, and 'go to sleep'? Will we have the confidence that we don't need to do anything, for the Lord is watching over us? Will we have that peace that allows us to sleep during spiritual warfare? This is the kind of faith God seeks, and it is the third powerful lesson on spiritual warfare that Psalms 3 has to teach us: Our faith in God should be so unfailing that we can literally sleep in peace knowing that God is watching over us and knowing that there is no need to fear the 10,000s of enemies surrounding us!


Lesson Four: Taking action...

"Arise, O Lord!
   Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
   Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord.
   May you bless your people." (vs. 7-8 NLT)

When we put our unwavering trust in the Solution-Giver, the One who has already defeated the enemy, then we can rise up with confidence, knowing our prayer will be answered. We can in faith call out to God: "Arise...Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked!" for we are assured that, "Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people." 

Whatever it is you're going through right now, why not take these important steps outlined in Psalms 3:

1. Recognize the enemy;
2. Recognize God's love and supremacy;
3. Put your total faith in Him;
4. Rise up in the power of Jesus' name and claim victory.

Next, take a few moments to pray Psalms 3 over your current problems!

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 Mon 29 Apr 2019, 11:10 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
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April 27, 2019

Behind the Church-Front...Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 12
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 

(In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned have been outlined in this series that is been appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

It was from the Low Point lighthouse near New Waterford, Nova Scotia, that I first saw it perched atop a hill, about 10 kilometers across the harbour. It looked like a church steeple, and pushing my tiny camera to its maximum zoom, I snapped a picture. "Look!" I said, showing my husband the somewhat grainy picture. "There's an old church of some kind over there."

We left Low Point with the determination that we would try and locate that old church upon the hill, and we did. It was not, however, a church at all. Rather, it was the observation post for the Chapel Point Battery Site...

How could I have confused a battery site with a church?

Good question; but if you look at my picture from across the bay (see picture at the top of this newsletter), you may understand my confusion, for the battery's observation tower is shaped very much like the bell tower of a church!

Now I don't know why the observation tower was built to resemble a bell tower, but if I had been so sure from across the bay that this was, indeed, a church, how much more like a church must it have appeared from the perspective of the German U-boats on the rocking waters of the open harbour? They would likely have been farther away than I was, and my modern telephoto lens was likely a bit more precise then their periscopes...Were they, like me, also confused? Would it have caused them to approach more closely than they otherwise might have done, and thus, put them at higher risk of personal loss?

It makes you think, doesn't it? Things are certainly not always what they seem, and there are many times in life when something that seems as innocent as the bell tower of a church turns out to be as dangerous as a coastal war battery can be to an enemy submarine. A particular set of circumstances, for example, may seem positive, and this causes us to make very wrong decisions; a particular place, bunch of people or activity may seem innocent enough, but in the end, this very innocent-looking thing could serve to pull us in, entice us, cause us to sin; the words that sound so true, spoken from the mouths of people we trust, may not actually be based in truth at all, and we are drawn to believe gossip. But perhaps the worst is that the doctrine taught from the pulpit may look and sound very good, but if it isn't based 100% on Biblical truth, we can be very easily drawn to false doctrine.

What can we do to protect ourselves from the bell-tower-turned-battery-observation-posts of life?

Fortunately for us, we don't have to rely on apparatuses that consist of tubes, mirrors, prisms or lenses. There is a better way. The Bible calls it "discernment", and it is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:10). It is also a skill that can be cultivated: "Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong." (Heb. 5:14a NLT).

This particular passage of Hebrews 5 is actually a rebuke to Christians of all times: "There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food." (Vs. 11,12 NLT).

Although this already sounds pretty harsh, it gets even harsher: "For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right." (vs. 13 NLT).

Thus, we understand that discernment, these "trainable" powers, are evident in mature Christians, those who are skilled in the basic things about God's Word.

And how do we become skilled in the basic things about God's Word so that we can be mature enough in our Christian walk to have this discernment?

Accepting Jesus as our Saviour is the vital first step that will make us babes in Christ. But just like we must study and learn to become mature adults, we must also study and learn to become mature Christians. This involves spending time daily with God, the Master teacher. It requires learning to hear His voice. It requires allowing Him to fill us with His Spirit, and it requires spending time in God's Word.

My final piece of advice to anyone wishing to cultivate that spirit of discernment is this: Never, ever take anything at face value. Rather, always remember to compare what you are seeing and hearing to the Word of God, ever asking God to confirm your path.

Want to come with me in search of a bell-tower? Better be careful! It just might be the observation post for a WWII battery!

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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In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets website, with Answers2Prayer Ministries
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Apr 2019, 11:11 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 25, 2019

Castles in the Sand


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal...Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:19, 21 NLT)

Before the sun was up too high and it would be hotter than blue blazes, my grandaughter and I ventured down to the beach.

Right away we noticed a beautiful sandcastle! It had survived the night somehow. Even though it was intricate and had obviously taken some time to do, the rising morning tide would surely wash it away.

We can build our lives on many things. Possessions, money, business, identity. They will all one day be gone,washed away. We didn't bring anything into this world, and we can't take anything out of it (1 Timothy 6:7) -- except our relationship with the Lord. That is forever.

I thought about an action Sunday school song the kids used to sing (Luke 6:47-79):

The wise man built his house upon the rock.........
and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down and the floods came up........
and the wise man's house stood firm.

But- the foolish man built his house upon the sand....,
and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down and the floods came ...,
.....and the foolish man's house went SPLAT!!

So -build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.........
and the blessings will come down.
The blessings come down and the prayers go up........
so- build your life on the Lord!

As beautiful as the sandcastles of our lives may be, they are still just that: sandcastles. How awesome we can build our lives on the love and faithfulness of the Lord and the principles of His Word.

Inspirational Messages by Sally I. Kennedy
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©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Apr 2019, 4:26 pm

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April 23, 2019

The Isthmus
Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 11
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     It was a stormy day on the Atlantic. Though the sun was shining, the winds mercilessly pounded and battered the eastern Cape Breton coastline, driving the crashing the waves onto the drenched sand and rocks of the narrow beach.

But that was only on one side of the isthmus. The water on the other side was calm and quiet...

How could it be so calm just a few meters from the crashing storm?

I have seen isthmuses many times in my life, and the one we visited that day in Dominion Provincial Park, just west of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, looked to be a prime example. I know that the isthmus provides shelter to the water on the non-sea side, allowing for ultimate calm even when the waves pound the other side. Nonetheless, each time I experience the phenomenon of stormy waters on one side and calm waters just a few metres away, I am astonished.

To be perfectly honest, I don't particularly like being in the wind blowing off the sea. The cold, damp air penetrates whatever I'm wearing; my hair becomes hopelessly tangled; and I risk losing any loose articles of clothing, especially my hat. In general, on such days as this, I'd rather just stay indoors!

It all made me think about the storms of life. They batter us mercilessly whenever they arise, and there seems to be nowhere we can go to get out of their cold, powerful current. Sure, we'd like to just avoid the storms, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Wouldn't it be nice to have an "isthmus" during such storms? Wouldn't it be nice, even amidst the worst of our circumstances, to find a spot of "calm waters" in which to ride it all out?

The good news is that we do, indeed, have an isthmus, The Lord Jesus Christ. Here are just a few of the many Bible verses that prove it:

"This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary." (Heb. 6:19 NLT);

"'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them." (Ps. 107:28-31 NLT);

"Jesus responded, 'Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!' Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm." (Matt. 8:26 NLT);

"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you." (Ps. 9:9-10 NLT)

As I stood atop the isthmus that stormy day in Dominion Park, I realized that I had a choice to make: I could either walk on the side of the crashing waves, or I could walk on the side of the calm, clear waters. And even if I decided to walk in the storm, it wouldn't change the fact that just a few feet away, over the top of the isthmus, there was calm waters.

During the storms of life, we also have the same choice to make: Our "Isthmus" is always there. If we choose to live as if He is not, then there is nothing to keep us from the pounding winds and waves of worry, stress and regret. If we choose to let Him carry us and our problems (and I mean all of them, including the impossible consequences!), then in the same way I experienced calm waters with no wind that stormy day in Dominion Provincial Park, we can also experience calm amidst the storms of our lives.

Which side of the "Isthmus" will you walk during your "storm" today?

In His love
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the 12th of a 13 part mini-series based on a fantastic trip that my husband and I made to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia in the Fall of 2017.This 3 week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned have been outlined in this series that has been appearing sporadically through the winter and Spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Apr 2019, 9:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

April 18, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 4
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Coming to the penultimate part of this series, we now focus on some more instances in the scriptures to see how the good the Lord has brought about amazing turnarounds for his glory.

Treasures...
Before going any further, I would like to draw to your attention to some scripture portions-- notably Exodus chapter 17, Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19, then First Samuel chapter 15. You would observe that the "common factor" in these chapters are the Amalekites, the arch-enemies of the people of Israel! We see how they came to war against the people of Israel when they were on the way from Egypt to Canaan. Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19 sums up their cruelty by mercilessly slaughtering the weak and the feeble amongst the people of Israel. Many years later, God, who had said that vengea nce is mine (Deu 32:35), gives a special task to King Saul, a task which could be labelled as "Operation Amalekite Annihilation"; to finish them off lock, stock and barrel. When we actually consider the extent of the Amalekites' wickedness, the sentence of Almighty God who is fair appears perfectly just (Rev 16:4-7). In this connection, I want to share with you on what I learnt about the Amalekites savagery in my correspondence with the Jewish Rabbis--especially the brutality they exhibited towards the Jews in the Wilderness. Deu 25:17-19 gives us only a faint idea of their wholesome wickedness.

I learnt that when these barbaric Amalekites slaughtered the "feeble and the weak amongst the Israelites"; they were so barbaric, that they cut off their private parts and threw them into the air to mock their Saviour with these taunting words: "If you are really there, protect these Jews!" That is the extent of their wickedness and King Saul was given a special task of annihilating them from under the sky. Now was he obedient? Many of us know the tragic story of how he not only coveted the wealth (read livestock, which was a measure of one's wealth in the Biblical age- Job 1:1-3/1 Sam 15:19) of the Amalekites but he also spared "Mr. Wicked" himself, King Agag (1 Sam 15:33). By the time prophet Samuel came and finished off king Agag, we can be very sure that some of the descendants of that wicked king escaped. After 600 years, do not we see the descendants of Agag raising their wicked head once again like a hooded cobra in the form of Haman the Agagite (the Second in Command to King Ahaseureus the Mighty Medo-Persian Emperor) in the Book of Esther (3:1)?

We see how this Haman the Agagite was planning to exterminate all the Jews on account of one Jew named Mordecai, who was not as servile as his other colleagues and officers in the King's court (Esther 3:6). While a massive Jewish genocide was planned and approval of by the King (Esther 3:7-14) for settling his personal score with Mordecai, however, Haman built gallows for the former. Being the "Blue-eyed boy" of the Persian King at that time, all he had to do was go and make a request to the Persian king to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:9-14); and that would be the end of the "Benjaminite" Mordecai (word "Benjaminite" is being used advisedly).

We see that the wicked Haman was on the verge of pulling the trigger, by persuading the King to put Mordecai to death, but at the very beginning of chapter 6, we read amazingly "that night king had trouble sleeping." Praise God there were no TVs or Smart phones in those days; otherwise he would have switched on the TV or SP before trying to go back to sleep. Instead, he wanted to read the Royal Chronicles, and lo and behold; therein he comes across the account of how Mordecai saved his life (Esther 2:21-23/Esther 6:1-2)! Precisely at that time comes Haman with a request to hang Mordecai, and the King asks Haman, innocently keeping Mordecai in mind, "What should I do to honor the man who pleases me?" Haman, ever the egotist, thinks that the King is alluding to him and hence says that he should be given royal treatment, he should be paraded on the royal horse all over the city so on and so forth and then the king orders "go and do this to Mordecai." Dear friends, don't you see the complete turning of the tables, how God intervened to save the life of Mordecai? It is not explicitly stated that God worked, but you can certainly see His hand. You may still be asking "How?" Well, in Esther chapter 6 verse 1, it states: "that night, the king had trouble sleeping." Therein lies the answer. That was the sovereignty of God in action. You can see His hand, and from there on out, we see a chain reaction. It not only saved Mordecai at that time, but it also eventually ensured that Haman "fell into the very grave he dug for Mordecai" (Esther 7:10).

Now who was Mordecai? A Benjaminite, as I stated earlier. And who was King Saul? A Benjaminite as well. We have just witnessed the settling of accounts by God! Providential usage of the Benjaminite Mordecai to complete the work, which the Benjaminite king Saul had left unfinished. It included in its ambit now the one of killing of all the sons of Haman the Amalekite on the very day the Jewish genocide was to take place (Esther 9:1, Esther 7-10). Now brace yourself for the climax of climaxes....the rich Haman (PM of mighty Medo-Persian Empire with ostensibly vast wealth) and his sons were killed but their vast property was not so much as touched by the Jews under Mordecai's leadership. These Jews had learnt the lessons from the past, for the greed for property of Agag the Amalekite had been t he bane of King Saul (Esther 9:10).

Table...
While continuing to ponder on the paramount matter of choosing between greed and generosity, it would serve us, as the present generation, to learn and apply lessons from the past and to be inspired by the total turnarounds that the good Lord brought about in the lives or circumstances of people for His glory (1 Cor 10:11). Those of us who have been struggling with inherent covetousness in our lives for instance, would do well to remember the "turning of the tables" in the life of one who craved for money seated at the tax-collector's table. If greed gave way to generosity in Zaccheaus's life (Luke 19:1-9) courtesy of the transforming power of the Saviour, then why not in our lives too, as we depend more on His indwelling Spirit to bring about the needed victory over sin (Rom 5:5/1 John 4:4). By the way, no Christian official should at any time be linked to any "under the table" (sic) transactions!

Prayer: Father, strengthen us to stay away far from the love of money, whereby we bring glory to Your Holy Name in the marketplace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Important Announcement!
We sincerely apologize for the technical difficulties that resulted in some of you receiving an incomplete Nugget on Tuesday. This problem did not seem to be consistent; but we are aware that many of you were unable to read, "Turning the Tables, Part 3" in its entirety. If you would like to have the complete mailing, please click here. Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience. May God bless you abundantly as you grow to know Him more throughout this passion week.

In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.answers2prayer.org  .   
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Apr 2019, 11:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
April 16, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 3
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Before coming to the third part of my Series on the theme of "turning of the tables", I would like to step into a world of fizz and tell of a true account about 'ambush marketing' in the Cola world.

Most of the Cricket lovers would know that the second ICC Cricket World cup staged in the subcontinent was in 1996. (The first was in 1987). However, even before the mega event symbolizing 'war' for cricket supremacy commenced, there was a 'war' for corporate cola being fought furiously on the sidelines between two cola giants: Coca Cola, and Pepsi, for the title of the "Official drink of the tournament". Coca Cola, flexing greater financial muscle, outbid Pepsi, and clinched the coveted title. Logically, this win would act as a springboard to enhance Coca Cola's sales volume rapidly during the prestigious tournament. But unfortunately for them, they had underestimated Pepsi's infinite creativity in its advertising department.

Despite losing the 'war' of becoming the 'official' drink, Pepsi turned the tables squarely on Coke, by coming out with what many advertising gurus still reckon as one of the most creative punch lines in the Indian advertising history--especially considering the adverse circumstances during which it was coined. "There is nothing official, about it." This one punch line (still lingering in our memory) turned the Cola war on its head, as everyone simply bought into it excitedly resulting in Pepsi's sales booming during that period like never before. Besides enjoying a bottle of Pepsi, just about everybody started using that punch line with a relish even in normal conversations. This was so much so, that I remember reading in a sports magazine that in an English county game after the WC 1996, the person who stood in for a sick official scorer and compiled the scores in the latter's absence was nicknamed, you guessed it: Pepsi, because there was 'nothing official about him' (sic)
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Welcome to the Nugget

April 13, 2019

Turning the Tables, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Continuing our focus on the theme of "Turning of the Tables", we come to two more instances in the Scriptures, where we see distinctly how the good Lord "turned the tables" on seemingly adverse situations.

Tongue...
The farewell message of Moses: the children of Israel reaching the threshold of the Promised Land is what the Book of Deuteronomy is all about. The amazing aspect of Moses's moving speech does not lie in his ability to take a lengthy inventory of his followers' obedience graph in the last 40 years, nor does it lie in his frequent and fervent pleas to the people of Israel to walk in the "straight and narrow". While they do punctuate the passionate content of Moses's speech, the most amazing thing about that parting speech is who is actually telling the speech itself! Many years ago, Moses cited his "stammering" disability as a disqualification for taking up any leadership role (Exodus 4:10). But here we see the same Moses, "the stammerer", giving the longest recorded speech in the Bible! We see Moses speaking through 33 of the 34 chapters in Deuteronomy with eloquence, which was at once unmistakable! Now if this does not leave one speechless, then what would?

The words of scripture tell us that God transforms the weakness of His faithful ones into their strength (Heb 11:34). This notion never rings more true than in the case of a man with a speech impairment giving the longest recorded speech in the Bible after being divinely strengthened! In God's service, it is the availability, more than the ability, which counts. Once we give ourselves to Him, with all our innate frailties, His strength will flow through us in overflowing measure for the world to marvel at (2 Cor 12:8-10)!

Thorn...
Bearing the pain of a prickly thorn in the flesh constantly (akin to a "painful situation like being a victim of injustice" - 2 Cor 12:7-12) becomes possible only when one clasps the liberating truth (John 8:32) that these "thorns in my flesh" are actually helping me spiritually, rather than harming me.

Apostle Paul turned the tables on an adverse situation in his life by looking at it from the Lord's wise perspective that the "thorn in his flesh" is actually keeping him humbly dependent on the Lord, instead of hindering him.

"Cross bears those who bear the Cross" observed the wise Sadhu Sundar Singh, and why not? For we cling to the indwelling, joyous Holy Spirit for sustenance in the wake of purifying painful experiences coming our way! (ah, the Holy Spirit comes into the picture now... He has to come into the picture at some stage or the other when we are speaking about the Christian life...without Him, there is no Christian life in the first place-Rom 8:9).

Where there is the presence of the Lord, there is an indescribable joy. Where that heavenly joy is, there is the strength of the Lord to reinforce our inner self to carry our own crosses to bear (Psalm 16:11, Nehemiah 8:10, I Peter 1:7-8, Romans 15:13, Eph 3:16, 2 Cor 12:7-12).

It would make sense only to the faithful Christians who have also faithfully carried the cross for many years, when I see that Christian character (Romans 5:3-4/2 Cor 3:18) getting built only in the rarefied atmosphere, as it were, of "pressure outside and pleasure inside".

Sadly, some of us attribute power of God to merely just awe-inspiring miracles, like parting of the Red sea, or raising of the dead, without realizing that it is that same power which is equipping us to also bear the "thorn in our flesh" faithfully.

It is not out of place to quote the following scripture portions verbatim, to underscore the point that the words "God's grace and His power" have also been used interchangeably in the Bible...

"And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:33, ESV)

"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9b, NIV)

Joni Earekson Tada, a quadriplegic (paralyzed neck downwards and confined to a wheelchair now for 50 years) and a "great" Servant of God, preaches about "turning the tables" on the "thorns" in her life very effectively, not only through lip but also through her life itself.

"He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace!!! My wheelchair was the key to seeing all this happen--especially since God's power always shows up best in weakness...."

Prayer: Father, You know what adverse situations are buffeting us. Grant us your wisdom to turn the tables for your Glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Post  Admin on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 10:53 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 30, 2019

Of Black Flies and Bug Repellant...Lessons From Cape Breton Part 9
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned have been outlined in this series that will has been appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

When it comes to bugs, I'm not the most squeamish female in the world. I recognize that they are God's creation, put here for a purpose, and I try to leave them alone and preserve them in their natural habitat. That, of course, means, "outdoors", and especially, "not in my trailer"! Sometimes it even means, "Not on my trail!" The problem is that "my" trail passes through "their" forest, and as such, I try to respect them.

But why can't they respect me?

You see, many of these bugs bite. I'm allergic to some of them, and even worse, some of them carry disease.

It's true that most of the usual biting bugs actually tend to leave me alone. Mosquitoes will only go after me if their favorite meal (read "my husband") is not available, and though the deer flies do like to buzz around my head, they will usually choose my son's delicious flesh over my own. Black flies, on the other hand, are a totally different story. They regard me as an ice cream Sunday with fudge sauce, whip cream and a cherry on top, and to get to my delicious blood, they work their way up my sleeves and pant legs and even under the rim of my hat; and they seem to prefer the flesh of my scalp.

With our trip to Cape Breton taking place in the fall, I wasn't overly worried about black flies, for they are primarily a nuisance of the spring. I would learn, however, that while the Cape Breton black flies do die off in the summertime, they re-emerge, hungrier than ever, in the fall. This meant that every time we would stop for breath on the many beautiful trails, the black flies would swarm me incessantly. It got so bad on our first day of hiking that whenever my husband stopped for a breather, I paced circles around him just to get away from my menace. I probably put in twice the number of kilometers, and while he got back to the car without a single bite, I looked more like a pin cushion. How I wished I had taken the bug repellant with me!

In my "hike" through life, I am also bothered by certain "biting bugs". These are better known as temptations.

Just like I am not particularly bothered by mosquitoes or deer flies, there are many temptations that don't entice me in the least. I do have, however, my own little set of "black fly" temptations that get me every time. They come, seemingly out of nowhere, and there seems to be nothing I can do to deter them. Time and time again I stumble and fall into the exact same traps. Oh, God, I need "sin repellant"!

Fortunately, such a thing DOES exist. God promises His own help in overcoming temptation: "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." (1 Cor. 10:13 NLT).

In other words, when we rely solely on God, He will help us overcome those pesky--and dangerous!--"temptation bugs": "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9 NLT).

Just what does God's "sin repellant" look like?

The first "sin repellant" is humility: "...humble yourselves before God." (James 4:7a NLT). We need to humbly admit to God that we need help, that we can't fight temptation alone.

The second "sin repellant" is prayer. We need to ask God to give us a way out of temptation: "And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." (Matt. 7:13 NLT)

The next "Sin repellant" is to resist: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7b NLT).

How do we resist?

This is the final layer of "sin repellant". We need to fight the devil with Scripture: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11 NLT). Let's remember that Jesus Himself resisted temptation by quoting scripture (See Matt. 4, Luke 4). But in order to have that "word in my heart", I need to be diligent in studying God's Word: "Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide." (Psalm 119:97–98 NLT).

The best news is that this "sin repellant" can't be forgotten at home. It is available to all of us at all times, as long as we:

• Humble ourselves and admit we have weaknesses and need God's strength;
• Pray and ask God's help in overcoming;
• Stay ever on the alert for temptation; and
• Diligently study God's Word.

Anyone want some repellant against black flies? I have a good brand; but God's brand of "sin repellant" works even better!

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 28 Mar 2019, 11:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 28, 2019

Delighting in the Law of God...

Lessons From the Book of Psalms,
Part 7: Psalms 1
 bible
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us    In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

An interesting fact about the book of Psalms is that it is actually a compilation of various songs. Though we always refer to them as the Psalms of David, they were, in actuality, penned by many different authors over a span of many years.

Over the past seven months, we have looked at seven individual Psalms and how these powerful songs can empower us, rendering our prayer life stronger and increasing our faith. Today's lesson comes from Psalms 1, a Psalm of David, which teaches us some important facts about relationship with God:

"Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand arhound with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night." (vs. 1-2 NLT)

I don't know about you, but on first glance, it would seem to me that this is in opposition of the teachings of the New Testament which tell us that in the New Covenant, we are no longer under the law and it will not save us (See Acts 15:10, Rom. 3:20, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:20, 2 Cor. 3:7-15, Gal. 2:16-21, Gal. 3:1-23, etc). How then can delighting in God's law bring us bles sings?

When you do a close examination of these first two verses of Psalms 1, however, you see something powerful: "...they delight in the law of the Lord..."

When you delight in something, it is because that something is extremely pleasing to you. For example, I delight in my children. But wait: How can a list of rules be pleasing to us?

It is only by being in love with the rule giver than any list of rules can be 'pleasing'. When we love someone with all of our hearts, we want to please them, and we take delight in doing the things that please them. There's no way we can delight in a set of rules unless we truly love the rule giver; therefore, delighting in God's laws requires that we be fully and completely in love with God, the Rule-Giver!

Of course there are benefits to loving God enough to want to keep His laws. Psalm 1 tells us that God will pour blessings out upon us when we delight in His laws:

"They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do." (vs. 3-4 NLT)

Unfortunately, when we look at these verses, we often see them as a 'recipe' for prosperity: If I keep the Lord's laws, I will prosper! And so we work hard to keep those rules, but the desired prosperity never comes.

I think the problem is that we forget that little word delight. We forget that it's not just keeping the rules that God requires of us, it is in taking pleasure in those rules. While we think the 'recipe' for prosperity lies in keeping the rules, in all reality, the 'recipe' for prosperity lies in being so in love with the Rule-Giver that we delight in His laws! When this is the case, our focus will be on being with God and loving Him, and not on trying to earn His favour. It is only when our priorities are properly aligned that we can delight in the law and receive the promised blessings.

Psalms 1 goes on to explain that though there are many benefits to delighting in God's laws, there are also consequences for not delighting in His laws:

"But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction." (vs. 5-6 NLT)

Isn't it interesting that the "wicked" are defined as those who do not delight in God's laws, and conversely, those who do delight in God's laws are called "the godly"?

Let's keep in mind as we read this Psalm that it isn't about wanting to receive the blessing; it's about wanting that relationship with the Law-Giver for the sole purpose of loving Him and pleasing Him. The given benefits to those who love God enough to delight in His law are just icing on the cake!

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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In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 1:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 26, 2019

How do I Calm my Heartache?

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Stop crying. That's enough! It wasn't that bad. Stop it now.
These are words others used to calm my little granddaughter's cries after a scraped knee.

Being the wise grandma I try to be, I have a different approach. I scoop her up in my arms. Hold her tight, and keep her close. Without saying a word, I rock her gently back and forth. I don't let her go. Her sobs subside. I still hold her tight, while back and forth I rock her. Her body relaxes and she settles in my arms, content as can be.
How do I know that approach works?

God did the same with me. When an unthinkable tragedy broke my heart and shook my world, He held me close. He didn't give instructions. He just held me close. He didn't command I stop my cries. He just held me close. Soon, His promises swept over me like a wave of warm water in a cold day.

Should more scrapes to my heart occur, I know to be still and let Him hold me because "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18, NLT).

Prayer: Father, how loving of you to care for us in such a tender way. Your comfort has no match. And your power to heal holds no conditions. When heartache invades my life, knowing You're ready to hold me tight shines reassurance in me. In Jesus' name, amen.

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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God Calling    by Two Listeners

March 25 - Follow Your Guide

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 32:8

I am with you to guide you and help you. Unseen forces are controlling your destiny. Your petty fears are groundless.

What of a man walking through a glorious glade who fretted because ahead there lay a river and he might not be able to cross it, when all the time, that river was spanned by a bridge? And what if that man had a friend who knew the way – had planned it – and assured him that at no part of the journey would any unforeseen contingency arise, and that all was well?

So leave your foolish fears, and follow Me, your Guide, and determinedly refuse to consider the problems of tomorrow. My message to you is, trust, and wait.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.    Amen.    Jude 1:24-25

Copyright ©️ 2019 Two Listeners, All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Mar 2019, 8:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 23, 2019

One Man's Junk...
Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Last Thursday we discovered through my 17-year-overdue basement-cleaning process that what is junk in our own eyes is nothing but a diamond-in-the-rough from God's perspective. He doesn't see us as junk; rather, He sees us for what we can become, and He cleanses us of our unrighteousness, freeing us to become that "treasure" in His eyes.

There was, however, one other vital lesson that my basement cleaning process taught me...

You see, when we moved into this house, it was beautiful. Everything had its place, and there was no junk in the hidden recesses of our home. So when I took a critical look at the house after living here for 17 years, I had to scratch my head and say, "Where did all this junk come from? I never wanted to fill my house with junk!"

In the same way, when we fall in love with Jesus, we understand that our slates have been wiped clean (see Ps. 103:12), and we love Him so much that we desire to keep them that way. However, a few hours into our love-walk with Jesus, and we begin to see a build-up of sinful "junk" returning to our lives! We have addictions. We have pet sins. We have a human nature. We have sinful habitual patterns.

Just where does all this "junk" come from?

Unlike me having to pay for the city to come and remove my junk, however, I don't have to pay for Jesus to remove my addictions, my human nature, my pet sins, my habitual patterns, for "...if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (John 8:36 NLT), and "...now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1 NLT).

This doesn't mean, however, that I don't have a role to play. Just like I had a lot of sorting and hauling to do to get the junk out of my house and onto the street, we all have a part to play in the process of keeping our spiritual "junk" at bay. Here are a few examples:

1. "If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9 NLT).

The first step to "junk cleaning" has to do with confession. We need to acknowledge the areas of our lives that God needs to cleanse.

2. "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

We need to ever be on the alert for attacks of the devil. This means we need to be aware of our weaknesses and with God's help, take steps to prevent ourselves from once again falling into temptation.

3. "...Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." (Eph. 6:10-11 NLT)

This means that we need to fully understand who we are in Christ (See "God's Armour" for some clues on how to do this).

4. "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." (Eph. 6:18 NLT)

We cannot underestimate the power of prayer, and we should not only pray for ourselves, but for each other. Everyone is struggling, and sometimes it is our prayers that help prevent others from falling back into the "junk collectors" we all tend to be!

Friends, let's give our "junk" to God. Let's let Him cleanse us from all unrighteousness and remove from us our dross. But let's do our part in keeping a "clean house" by confessing our sins, by staying alert for the devil's traps, by knowing who we are in Christ, and by praying without ceasing! For when we do, that "basement" and "garage" will not re-accumulate its junk!

House full of junk? Give it to God!

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 21 Mar 2019, 9:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 21, 2019

One Man's Junk...
Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Or so they say, and as we began to try and dispose of the 17-years of accumulated junk from our basement, closets, cupboards and garage, this old adage became our reality.

It all started the day we purchased a 20$ "refrigerant" ticket in order for the city to pick up our broken-down dehumidifier. The clerk suggested we not put the ticket on the item until the morning of our garbage pick-up, and she told us to keep our receipt, promising to buy the ticket back from us if someone took the dehumidifier off the street before the garbage truck came.

I was pretty skeptical, but why not try? Upon reaching home, we put the dehumidifier, along with a broken-down basketball net, on the side of the road. Imagine out surprise...and delight!...when they were both gone by morning. We were able to return our ticket and pocket the 20$.

This gave us an idea. You see, I'm not totally for filling land-fill sites with my rejected junk, so we began putting other items that were destined for the garbage pick-up onto the side of the road.

The old, dilapidated tractor trailer was gone before we had even returned to the house, and someone stopped by for the rusted-out, rotten park benches before we could get them to the street. The old pots and pans went, as did the box of old CDs, the old toy box and the old child's bed. Even the port-a-potty and camp chairs were gone by morning. Who would have thought? When the city garbage truck finally comes, there won't be anything left for them to haul off!

My neighbour, who actually took many of our items, helped me to understand how this could happen. He explained that he didn't see the park benches as rusted and rotten, he saw them as items in need of a few new planks and a good cleaning. The old pots and pans were just the thing for his bachelor grandson who was setting up housekeeping, and instead of seeing the old trailer in its dilapidated state, he saw it as beautiful pieces of scrap metal that he could harvest for a toy-hauler he is building...

Wow! Talk about one man's junk becoming another man's treasure!

This turned out to be a vital, two-fold lesson for me.

First of all, we are all sinners ("For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Rom. 3:23 NLT), and as a result, most of us see ourselves as nothing better than a dirty beggar on the street, hoping that God will come along and take pity on us. We don't see any value in what we can do, we don't like ourselves, we don't like what we see. In our own eyes, we are worthless junk, and nothing we do ever changes this fact.

But God doesn't see us this way. The Bible says, "On that day the LORD their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown." (Zech 9:16 NLT) Where we see nothing but garbage, He sees opportunity. He knows that we are all fine jewels, in need of a good cleaning and refining, and He has even supplied the "cleansing" fluid: "...and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7b NLT).

One man's junk is another man's treasure? How about, each man's "junk" is "treasure" in God's eyes!

There is one more vital lesson to be learned from my junk-to-treasure basement-cleaning experience. Join us on Tuesday for "One Man's Junk, 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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Join us on Tuesday for the final part of "One Man's Junk" to see what other lessons we can learn from the basement/garage!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Mar 2019, 2:04 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 16, 2019

A Good Thing? Part 3: Of Jammed Locks and Ruined Birthdays...Lessons From Cape Breton, Part 8c
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     (In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the winter and spring of this year. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)

Over the past two lessons from our Cape Breton trip, we've seen that good always comes out of bad situations, for: "...God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Rom. 8:28 NLT). I firmly believe this, and sometimes I'm known as the "eternal optimist" because I am always looking for the "silver lining" that God has placed in the "black cloud". Sometimes, however, that optimistic attitude does run out...

It was my birthday, and we were officially on our way home from Cape Breton. We were camped outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and I was told it would be a "short" drive to Edmonston, New Brunswick, where we would spend the next two days. That meant there would be plenty of time before breaking camp to visit the many things in Antigonish that we had missed the previous day, and we would be in Edmonston early enough to be able to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday...

We'll just say the day didn't go quite as planned. The road to Edmonston turned out to be 150 kilometers farther than we had originally anticipated, but we wouldn't learn this until AFTER we had spent the morning in Antigonish. As a result, we didn't get to our campsite, which was still a 30 minute drive from Edmonston, until well after 7. As it was nearly dark, I knew that by the time we got our trailer set up, it would be far too late to drive to Edmonston and go out to dinner...

I had anticipated this the moment I learned that Edmonston was farther away than we had thought, and this realization soured the entire afternoon. The kicker, however, came as we were trying to set up camp in the last of the natural light. The lock on the outside storage bin door, the one where we stored the tools required to set up the trailer, was jammed. We couldn't even unhitch without that tool box, and the only way to get to it was to set up the trailer, completely tear out the bed--quite a feat in a 12 foot trailer!--rescue the box, fold the trailer down again, unhitch, level the trailer, and then set it back up properly. Oh, and then of course I would have to completely reassemble the bed...

It all seems pretty trite now, but at the time it was the last straw. There was no silver-lining that day, and I was certain this was the worst birthday ever. Why did all the bad stuff have to happen on my special day? Why couldn't it have happened the day before or the day after? Hey! Why did it have to happen at all?

Isn't that how it seems to go in life? One bad thing piles upon another, and although sometimes we can see the good that is brought out of the bad situations (see Parts 1 and 2), other times we are left to wonder "why"!

But wait. Perhaps this is part of God's ultimate plan after all. When we don't see the answers to our "why" question, we have but two choices: We can convince ourselves that God doesn't care, or we can choose to believe in God's promises, even when we can't "see" any reason or solution.

The first option, unfortunately, leaves us void of hope, cut off from any potential comfort. It leaves us feeling as if we have no choice but to fend for ourselves, producing even more stress at every corner.

The second option, albeit the harder one to grasp, leads to the building of patience, strength, character, faith: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." (Rom. 5:3-4 NLT).

It actually doesn't take much faith to believe God will come through when we see all the answers; but it takes an enormous amount when no reason or solution can be seen. Remember that: "Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see." (Heb. 11:1 NLT). It is through this belief in what we cannot see that we are rewarded: "Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." (Heb. 11:2 NLT).

I believe that though we may not always see the "why", our faith in God's promise that He, "...causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God..." (Rom. 8:28 NLT), will ensure that one day we will see the same trials and circumstances from God's perspective, and we will see how that particular hard time actually works itself into the beautiful fabric of God's plan.

Troubles upon you and no "why" in sight? No matter how hard you search you can't find the "silver lining"? Choose to believe in God's goodness and mercy, and especially in His promise that all things work together for good.

Oh, and don't worry if birthday plans don't go the way you anticipate them to go...There's always tomorrow!
           
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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