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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 12:24 am

Welcome to the Nugget

November 7, 2019

How to See God's Hand in our Darkness

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Some friends and I sat at a table in a local restaurant. "Hi Amy!" I said looking in the direction of my friend's three-year old little girl. "Did you like your visit to Disney World?"

She didn't answer.

"Honey," her mommy said, "Mrs. Eckles can't see. You have to say yes out loud, not just nod your head."

We chuckled.

"Close your eyes," her mom said. "That's what Mrs. Eckles sees."

We continued our visit, her mom and I chatted about silly stuff during the meal. Then suddenly Amy's mom paused. "I'm sorry Amy; you can open your eyes now. And go ahead and eat your food."

We hadn't realized during the whole time we were talking, she still had them closed, and the plate of food, untouched, sat before her.

Setbacks and Disappointments
That reminded me when the sting of setbacks, the jolt of disappointment closed the eyes of my heart. And in the darkness of my pain, I missed God's banquet set before me.

We all do that sometimes. The rehashing of negative details blocks the view. And dark memories of the wound cover the path to healing.

Blind to all that goodness, we test God's patience. How often must He whisper, Open those eyes and check out the banquet of blessings I placed before you. Look at the possibilities. Take a peek at what I have prepared for you.

It's all for us.
He offers and invites us to see what he designed. He longs to show us His hand at work right now. At this moment. In our current situation. And in the midst of today's heartache.

In each of them, He's preparing something new, something good and beautifully unexpected. He warns not to look back; but focus ahead. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

Our days shine with hope, with fresh beauty, and with delight when we choose to perceive what God is offering.

Let's Pray: Father, open my eyes to see beyond my circumstance, beyond the hurt. And instead, help me to look at the colorful horizon painted by your love for me. In Jesus' name, amen.

What might God want you to see in the midst of your situation?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Would you like to make a difference in the world?  Why not join the Answers2Prayer Ministry team?  We have many volunteer positions.  By joining in, you can help in carrying out the Great Commission: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in Heaven and on Earth have been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matt. 28:18-20 NIV)

The time is right and we are in need of many laborers.  "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord f the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:37-38 NIV

If you feel compelled, let us know by sending us an email.
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Nov 2019, 11:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 5, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 4
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    In the concluding part of our Series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and the church, His bride, today we come to four more areas where we find stark similarities...


Transformation...

It is the kind of trials and tribulations which the Bridegroom endured that would eventually shape the bride to be as beautiful as Him. Let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope..." (Romans 5:3-4 ESV).

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

Not willing to bear the cross is a serious sin, for it would mean not co-operating with the Holy Spirit in the "moulding" process (See 2 Peter 1:5-9).

Hmmm...No pain, no gain!


Resurrection...

Boy...the similarities continue...if Jesus rose from the dead, we would also one day rise from the dead ("But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." 1 Cor 15:20 ESV. See also 1 Thess 4:16) with His resurrection on the first Easter. Notice this is described by Apostle Paul as "First Fruits", thus portending the resurrection of countless Christians in the future.


Ascension...

If Jesus ascended after He was resurrected (Acts 1:9), in our spiritual journey as well, ascension would follow resurrection at the rapture: "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and s o we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:16-17 ESV)!


Adminstration...

If the resurrected, ascended Bridegroom would one day soon come down to the world at His Second Coming and rule both the men of the World and the angels of the spiritual realm, then oh boy the risen and the ascended bride would also come along with the Bridegroom and rule the not only the World but also the angels alongside Him ("The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." Rev 3:21 ESV See also Rev 20:4/1 Cor 6:3).

Mind-boggling indeed are the similarities between the Bridegroom and His bride in many areas of the spiritual realm; but never more so than in the matter of receiving crowns after enduring the cross! So take heart Christians...remember the Pauline declaration: "And if we think that our present service for him is hard, just remember that some day we are going to sit with him and rule with him." (2 Tim 2:12a TLB)

Prayer: Father thanks for initiating the process of moulding us into Your Son's image right from the time, we are "born again". Keeping Eternity in view, enable us to co-operate with You in the moulding process. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
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Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.... (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: ...For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.... (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 02 Nov 2019, 10:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

November 2, 2019

The Inseparable Duo, Part 3
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    Coming to the penultimate part of our series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and His bride, the church, today we shall focus on two more areas where we find stark similarities...


Persecution...

If the Bridegroom was subjected to the persecution of rejection (in the "proclamation" stage of His life -- See Mark 6:1-12/John 5:43), then His bride, who He has "called out of the World" is bound to undergo the same painful treatment: "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19 ESV. See also 1 Peter 4:4).

Crucifixion...

Subjugating the cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life was step one in the life of the Son (in the early part of His life) in the matter of enduring sufferings for the Father's glory, and experiencing painful rejection was step two in the said process. In the same way, submitting Himself to the excruciating ordeal (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) of the Cross was the final frontier (allowing Himself who is the Truth to be a victim of lies and injustice) that the Son had to cross before He would be conferred the honor of being the Saviour of this world and its ruler: "For it was fitt ing that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Heb 2:10 ESV. See also Phillippians 2:5-11/Rev 3:21).

In the life of a Christian, there is also three stages. Conquering the first two stages of overcoming temptations and enduring rejection may be comparatively easy, but to be crucified with Christ (to be a silent victim of the injustice and lies to which he is called -- 1 Peter 2:21-23) takes some doing. Without total reliance on the energizing, joyous presence of the Holy Spirit, it wouldn't be possible: "so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..." (1 Peter 1:7-8 ESV). The Saviour, too, through the Eternal Spirit alone, could accomplish the task that was set before Him ("how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Heb 9:14 ESV).

When the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me..." (ESV), the pertinent question to be addressed here is this: which "Christ" is indwelling him? The Christ who triumphed over the temptations of the wilderness? The Christ who took the painful rejection in stride? Or the One who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself on the Cross? The key to unlocking the answer lies in the key-operative words, "crucified with Chr ist". It is that same Christ who endured the Cross through the Eternal Spirit who was living in Paul now, strengthening him from inside, to fight the good fight till the very end (See 2 Tim 4:8). Cheer up Christian, when it comes to the crunch, the Saviour would strengthen you from within to be the overcomer like Him. He supplies the strength even as you supply your will.

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

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Join us on Tuesday for the conclusion of "The Inseparable Duo".
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 1:00 am

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
October 26, 2019

A Single Day in Your Courts...

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 14: Psalm 84
 bible
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us   
 

Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have mentioned that the book, subdivided into five parts, was seen by Israel to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised of Psalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God, and the second book, comprised of Psalms 42-72, focussing on God's deliverance.

The third book is comprised of 17 Psalms, 73-89. David wrote only one of these, Psalm 86. Many these are attributed to Asaph, a descendant of the musical guild in the temple known as the Asaphites, while the rest are attributed to the Korahites, members of the branch of temple singers who were descended from Korah. This third book is thought to parallel the book of Leviticus. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that most of the Psalms were written by Levitical priests to be sung by the temple choirs. The overriding theme of these Psalms is the holiness of God, reminding us that we must remember our place before Him, coming into His presence with reverential fear.

A key example of this theme can be found in Psalm 84. Written for the choir director by descendants of Korah, the introduction states that it is to be accompanied by stringed instruments, giving us the impression that the intent of the writer was for the song to be sung in the temple choirs. The Psalm helps us to understand one important fact: God, in His holiness, needs to be our #1 priority.

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
     O Lord of Heaven's Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
     to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
    I will shout joyfully to the living God." (Vs. 1-2 NLT)

Only when God is #1 in our lives, when He is our first love, should we come into His presence. Only when He holds this place in our hearts will we long to come before Him!

This theme is further revealed in the next few verses:

"Even the sparrow finds a home,
     and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
     O Lord of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!" (Vs. 3-4 NLT)

Coming before God for any other reason than because we desire to be in His presence would be a mockery to Him. He loves us infinitely, enough to die on a cruel cross so that we can be with Him (See Rom. 5:8-10). His ultimate desire is that we long for Him as much as He longs for us (See Is. 30:18).

How can we know if our priorities are aligned properly? Here are some clues:

"What joy for those who can live in your house,
     always singing your praises.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
     who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem." (Vs. 5-6 NLT)

When God is our #1, His praises will be spontaneously on our lips. We will be dependent upon Him for our strength, and our hearts will be set on spending time with Him.

This isn't only for the good times, either:

"When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
     it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
     They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem." (Vs. 6-7 NLT)

These verses help us understand that God's blessings are especially for when we are suffering. It is the autumn rains that will clothe us with blessings, and it is those who are suffering who will grow stronger, and who will be granted the ultimate of blessings: to appear before God!

Another sign that God is our #1 priority is we will want to be with Him:

"A single day in your courts
    is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
    than live the good life in the homes of the wicked." (Vs. 9-10 NLT)

And why shouldn't He be our first priority? Why shouldn't He merit our utmost praise and reverential fear?

"For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
    He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
    from those who do what is right.
O Lord of Heaven's Armies,
    what joy for those who trust in you." (Vs. 11-12 NLT)

There are times in my life when God seems abstract. I've noted however, that these times all have one important thing in common: They always happen when I have allowed something to avert my eyes from Jesus. Maybe some earthly thing has captured my desire, or some bad circumstance seems to be robbing me of my blessing. Or maybe I am simply too busy with the mundane responsibilities of life to even remember there is a God. The point is, whenever we take our eyes off of Him, we risk becoming apathetic, completely blinded to the joy that is ours when we enter into true, reverential worship of our all-powerful, ever-righteous Creator, our all loving, just, Almighty God.

When you find that your heart isn't necessarily yearning for the presence of the Lord, I urge you to meditate upon Psalm 84. I guarantee that you will come away completely changed, with your priorities realigned in the Heavenly direction and with your heart filled with reverential fear of the Lord.

Hey, my priorities may need some realigning at the moment. I am perhaps a bit too focused on an upcoming move. Maybe I will take a few moments and meditate on Psalm 84 as well…

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
Announcement:
In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 7:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 24, 2019

Your Wake-up Call
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    What wakes you up in the morning? Perhaps it's an alarm clock or your smart phone; the family pet or hungry children; or maybe even a neighbor asking to borrow half a dozen eggs for an omelette which you won't get a bite of!

At our house, we don't need anything electronic or human to arouse us from sleep. We are blessed, and I use that word loosely, with a plethora of natural, God-made wake-up devices. These include magpies, a squawky bird with a mean disposition, squirrels that enjoy feuding over acorns, robins perched on rooftops looking for mates, and for us the most outlandish of all, a pair of Mallard ducks!

We all know that on a farm or rural property, roosters are famous for their sunrise cock-a-doodle-doo wake up call. But here in our suburban neighborhood, our peaceful slumber occasionally ends at dawn by incessant quacking. Imagine my surprise when I groggily peer out the bedroom window and see Mrs. Duck on my fence, her anger over some sort of waterfowl issue abundantly clear! I glance left and observe her mate; a green headed male hunkered in the grass by our bird feeder, nonchalantly waiting for the verbal tirade to cease.

Being forced to rise early initially caused me to feel angry, but then I noticed blue sky, white puffy clouds and other songbirds in the nearby trees. As my temperament softened, it was then I stopped to thank God for a new day, for the blessings of salvation through Jesus, a cozy bed to sleep in and all the good things I've been blessed with; and yes that includes backyard ducks at 5 am!

Our lives are busy and filled with demands, worry and often outright fear. I find that sometimes it's easier to start my day with grumbling to God over un-answered prayers for what I don't have, rather than praising Him with gratitude and thanksgiving for what I do have.

So the next time you wake up prematurely by some unexpected means, think of these words from Psalm 5:3: "In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." (NIV)

Starting your day with gratefulness to God sets your brain in the right direction and aims your focus to where it should be, squarely on Jesus. It's a morning habit I certainly need to work on, and one I'd encourage us all to strive for.

Let the quacking begin!

Paul Smyth 
Announcement:
Did you ever wonder what is truly meant when the Bible speaks of Jesus as the "Bridegroom", and the church as His "Bride"? Join us next week for the mini-series, "The Inseparable Duo", asSuresh Manoharan helps us to better understand this unique relationship. 
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 9:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 22, 2019

What you Need to do in Order to Live Secure...

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    My Mom held a broken piece of metal in the air. "Look at this," she said.

She and my Dad had gone to get their car washed. And when they returned home, they found the car door handle had been broken. Those responsible, rather than admit their guilt, had tossed the piece on the driver's seat.

With broken piece in hand, we headed back to the car wash.

"We have to view the video cameras," the manager said. "Unless we see it, we can't take responsibility."

End of story. They glued the piece back. Cameras come in handy, don't they?


Real Life

But in real life, we're all also watched, closely and constantly. He who watches us is the loving Father, with care in His hart, compassion in his approach and forgiveness in His plan.

I'm glad He's watching, aren't you? This way, we don't have to remind him of how hard the journey is. Or we don't have to point out the areas that need fixing. He already knows, and as He closely watches us in action, we can rest and declare out loud that He has this.

And since He has all under control, working to bring the perfect solution, we, in our busy world, in our flawed ways, have an important task–to pay attention to our heart. What does it contain? Our heart is what holds the emotions that can either break us or the emotions that keep us running the race to victory.


5 Coaching Points

And since that race run is fueled by our heart's content, here are five coaching points right from God's Word:

1. Empty your heart of sin, or wipe out junk that doesn't please God or resentment from the past because "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:19).

2. Let go the material stuff, the superficial longings and desires of what you think your life should be. Instead, "...store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:20-21).

3. Once dark emotions are tossed out, fill your heart with life-giving praises: "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High" (Psalm 9:1-2).

4. Though the darkest valley might cover your security, can you be bold enough to echo these words? "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me" (Psalm13:5-6).

5. With unwavering faith, fill your heart with God's truth and speak His promises upon your life. "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance" (Psalm: 16:5-6).

Complete security comes when we receive that delightful inheritance. And when our heart rejoices, the enemy retreats. When we search our heart, God speaks healing. When we guard our heart, evil flees. When we equip our heart with God's Word, triumph is already there.


Let's pray.

Father, thank you that right now, you're watching my every move. You know well how often I let my heart be broken, shattered by adversity. But now I know that when it's filled with what you tell me, my heart will not fear, my life will not be ruined. And my future will not be dim, but will be secure, hopeful and bright. In Jesus' name.

Will you take time today and examine your heart?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder why the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove?  Check out the recently published mini-series, "Dovetailing Some Dove Facts", and find out!  
 
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Post  Admin on Fri 18 Oct 2019, 8:06 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

October 17, 2019

Our Daily Bread
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Give us this day our daily bread..." (Matt. 6:11 ESV)

The last few months have given me a lot of trouble with my transportation. First my old car finally became so rusted out that I had to trade it in and buy a much younger used one. Then my other car that I had hoped to keep for several more years needed multiple repairs. This caused my hard earned savings to shrink closer and closer to zero. I found myself stewing about it some.

I was angry at life and its many problems. I was tired of having to deal with one thing after another. I was upset that no matter how simply I lived my savings never seemed to last for long this world. All of this anger too was distancing me not only from my own love and joy but from God as well.

Today I was praying quietly hoping for a bit of peace. I started to say the Lord's prayer. When I reached the part about "Give us this day our daily bread" I stopped. I felt an aching in my heart and a moistness in my eyes. I realized at that moment that Our Heavenly Father had always given me my daily bread. He had always given me just what I needed to survive and to thrive in this world. He had taken care of my material needs so I could be free to focus on loving others. Yet, in my stupidity and selfishness I had forgotten this recently. I had been so intent on being mad at past problems and wishing for future riches that I had forgotten to live and to love today.

Thankfully, God loves us all and forgives us when our minds and egos get in the way. He gently reminds us again and again of His love for us until we return to love ourselves. He gives us each day our daily bread so that we can share with others our daily love. Give thanks to God today then. Offer up your problems to Him and trust that He will guide you to the right answers. Allow His love to live through your life today and tomorrow will take care of itself.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Oct 2019, 10:42 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
bible
October 5, 2019

Flowing Springs? Or Cracked Cisterns?
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I am always amazed when I think about a bubbling stream or a mountain creek. I find the sound so soothing; yet this same soothing water can support life, and when moving fast enough, it can produce enough power to run vast mills, generate electricity and carry objects for incredible distances at incredible speeds.

The Bible often refers to God as being "living water". Jesus makes this reference when speaking to the woman at the well: "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." (John 4:10 NLT).

In the book of Revelation, we are told that this living water flows from the throne of God: "Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Rev. 21:1 NLT). Ezekiel expands on this to show us that this living water that flows from God's throne becomes deeper and broader the farther it goes: "The man brought me outside the wall ...There I could see the water flowing out through the south side of the east gateway. Measuring as he went, he took me along the stream for 1,750 feet and then led me across. The water was up to my ankles. He measured off another 1,750 feet and led me across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through." (Ezekiel 47:3-5 NLT).

According to Ezekiel, this living water brings life to dead places: "I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river. Then he said to me, 'This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows.'" (Ezekiel 47:6-9 NLT).

Unfortunately, not all water is "living". We have all also experienced the quiet pools of water. These may be serenely beautiful, but they have no power, no propulsion, no soothing sounds, and at least here in Canada, they are havens for mass breeding of mosquitos. And if that pool of water does not have an outlet, it tends to stagnate to the point that it cannot support life.

As you contrast these two bodies of water, the flowing water is constantly giving. It gives sound, it gives power, it gives propulsion, it soothes and calms the spirit. The quiet pool, on the other hand, primarily acts as a place to hold water.

It is interesting to note that God doesn't ever compare Himself to a quiet pool. In fact, idolatry is compared to a cistern—a place to hold water: "...they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!" (Jeremiah 2:13b NLT). In other words, when we pursue something other than the living God, we are exchanging the fountain of living water (See Jeremiah 2:13a) that does nothing but give unconditionally, for something that only takes and as such, cannot support life.

In the days of Jeremiah, idols were pretty easy to identify. They were made of wood and stone, and people bowed down to them, brought them sacrifices and openly worshipped them. Idols still abound, but they are not quite so overt in our day and age. Our idols tend to be innocent-looking things like our jobs, certain relationships, control, schedules, etc. Basically, our idols are anything that can occupy our attention and keep us from depending upon God.

Just like idols in Jeremiahs day could be compared to cisterns, receptacles of water--and broken ones at that--the "idols" that we worship in our day are also self-serving, taking continually and never giving. While we pursue our careers, while we allow our spouses to be our primary focus, while we put forth all our efforts to be in control at all times, we are only feeding a "broken cistern". We will never be able to give to others, we will never even be able to rejoice in the waters we are so trying to harbor.

Meanwhile, God calls us to abandon our broken cisterns and to come to the springs of living water: "Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!" (John 7:38a NLT) And when we do, that water will not just nourish us, it will flow through us to nourish others as well: "For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" (John 7:38 NLT).

What will it be? Stagnant pools of our own idolatry? Or flowing waters that come from the throne of 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 03 Oct 2019, 10:32 am

Welcome to the Nugget
October 3, 2019

Dinner
 
By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it." (Prov. 15:17 ESV)

When I was a boy growing up, after church on Sundays, we would always have a delicious Italian dinner. My Nana’s slow cooked sauce was the key. In it were cooked potatoes, chicken, steak, and meatballs. Mounds of spaghetti would also be boiled and dropped into the red sauce. We also had loaves of homemade Italian bread covered in butter. Every now and then there were also big chunks of Provolone cheese. We would all eat, talk, and laugh until both our bellies and hearts were full.

After Mom and Nana passed away my Dad would still make the sauce from time to time and invite me and my brothers over to his little home for a dinner full of fine food and happy memories.

When my Dad died he passed the family recipe on to me and my daughter. We often made the sauce for dinner but for some reason it never tasted quite right. At first I thought we had gotten the recipe wrong but one day I realized what was missing. On that day right before dinner I closed my eyes, opened my heart, and imagined my Dad, Mom, and Nana all sitting at the table around me with smiling faces. Then I placed the pasta on my fork and slowly slid it into my mouth. It tasted perfect just as it always had when I was a boy growing up. The secret ingredient was, of course, what it had always been: Love!

Love is the secret ingredient that makes all of life taste better. Love is the meal that God wants all of us to feast upon. In the book of Proverbs it says: "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it." (Prov. 15:17 ESV)

Make all of your meals with love. Fill all of your days with love. Live all of your life with love. Share your love with everyone you meet. Then you will be truly ready for the reunion dinner that awaits you in Heaven.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Sep 2019, 12:05 am

Welcome to the Nugget
September 21, 2019
The Hunt
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When I opened my fridge 4 days ago, I was assaulted with a smell that I knew shouldn't be there. Something in the back of my refrigerator was beginning to rot.... But I was busy and there was no time to clean the fridge. I ignored it. Maybe it would go away....

By yesterday, the smell was so strong that it was beginning to permeate through the milk and bread, and even the lettuce came out initially smelling like rotting food. I couldn't put off the cleaning any longer....

Imagine my surprise to find that the source of the stench was an unopened bag of kale! 

Wait. I only brought that bag home four days ago, and kale is one of my husband's favorite salad ingredients. If I threw it out, what would I use in his salads?

Nonetheless, my fridge would never smell sweet again unless I threw it out...

So many of us have a "stench" in our lives that shows its ugly head from time to time. This "stench" is oppression. In me, it generally manifests itself as depression, but it could also manifest itself as anxiety or fear or a host of other things. Now I am not a psychologist and do not pretend in any way to be an expert on these problems. I believe there can be a clinical root to these types of oppression, and it is important to see a doctor. It has been my personal experience, however, that this oppression may also be rooted, at least in part, in the spiritual realm. It is one of the weapons that the enemy of our souls uses against us.

For me, whenever depression begins to show itself, it does so gradually; and just like I was initially ignoring the bad smell emanating from my fridge, I often try to ignore it.

Ignoring my fridge didn't make it smell any better, however, and neither does ignoring my depression make it go away. Instead, it grows so strong that everyone around me can see that I have fallen, once again, into its vicious clutches.

Just like I had to take the time and effort to go through my fridge, I also need to sit down with God and allow Him to do a thorough "soul" search to identify the "root" of my depression. Generally speaking, it is a surprise to me that I have once again gotten entangled by unforgiveness, inability to relinquish control, disappointment, worry, or sometimes even anger at God.

Once God has shown me the root, however, have to choose to give it up, to hand it to God. Remember that I really didn't want to throw out the kale. In a similar fasion, I often find I don't want to hand over whatever is at the root of my depression. After all, why shouldn't I be disappointed when my dreams come crashing down? Don't I have a right to be angry at ______ for treating me so unjustly? Shouldn't the fact that I just received a bad medical diagnosis be disheartening?

Nonetheless, it didn't matter that kale is my husband's favorite. I had to throw it out in order for my fridge to smell nice again. In the same way, whatever it is that is at the root of our oppression, we have to get rid of it completely or it will continue to contaminate our lives.

Whatever the oppression may be, we need to recognize that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against: "...the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12b NIV). Here are some suggestions for dealing with these things from a spiritual standpoint:

1.  Understand the urgency with which we are admonished to: "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). This means we need to immediately go to God the moment there are signs of the oppression and allow Him to help us trace it to its roots.

2.  Once the root is identified, we are told: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6,7 NIV). We need to humbly give God the situation that causes us to worry or to be disappointed. We need to repent of our efforts to be in control and acknowledge the supremacy of the all-knowing, all-loving God of the universe. We need to let go of our anger and forgive.

3. Finally, we must: "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Eph. 6:10-11 NIV). It is only when we are free of the root of the oppression that we can stand up in the power of God's might and claim victory over it in Jesus' name: "But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 15:57 NIV; See also Ps. 3:8, Prov. 21:31).

Got a "stink" in the "fridge" of your soul? Go on a "stench" hunt! Allow God to help you trace it back to its roots, give those roots to God, and then walk in the victory He has given you!

Oh, and when my husband sniffed that bag of kale, it's safe to say he didn't want it anymore...

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 19 Sep 2019, 10:42 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

Sepbember 19, 2019

An Incredible Truth
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Do you know what amazes me about our Savior?

It's the astounding truth that because of the cross, that by His death and resurrection, Jesus makes possible the free gift of salvation by grace through faith! Sometimes I have a difficult time wrapping my head around the Lord's willingness to die for me and I feel undeserving of His sacrifice. Do I see you nodding your head because you can relate?

As a Christian, I know I'm saved because I accepted Jesus into my heart and into my life. In the book of John, Jesus tells us this, "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." (John 5:24 NLT)

Read that through a dozen times and let this truth fill your heart. We don't have to be perfect. We can't earn our salvation, nor can we buy it. We simply have to listen to the gospel message and believe in God who sent his only Son to earth with one incredible task...to save souls!

Do I still mess up? You better believe it.

I'm about to become vulnerable here so please be gentle with your reproach. I'm a sinner...my thoughts aren't always pure and I don't always say words that are God honoring. I don't always love my neighbor as myself and yes, I don't always put the toilet seat down! I'm a by-product of a fallen world and a human being in need of a Savior. Aren't we all?
 
The other night when I was feeling especially unworthy of Jesus, I dreamt something that caused me to reflect on the incredible gift of salvation. In my dream stood a long vertical pole running from ground level and disappearing straight up into the sky. Attached to the shaft at eye level was a large bowl. I asked Jesus what was in the bowl and He simply replied, "Your sins." Then the container began to rise and was gone from my sight! And no I don't usually have dreams like that!
I woke up sobbing at the realization that God loves me, that by simply believing in Jesus, I could experience this profound truth. "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12 NLT) Those sixteen words are life changing!

My dear friends, not one of us is perfect in God's eyes. But because of Jesus we can one day be in His presence without fear or condemnation. That's the amazing part of Christianity. So the next time you feel underserving of God's love and forgiveness; remember this, "But 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)
 
Your part and mine is to simply respond to God's invitation with a resounding "YES!" It's then we are made new in Christ Jesus and your heavenly future is secured! How wonderful that our Lord chooses to love us even when we don't deserve it.

Now that's amazing!

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Sep 2019, 10:50 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 14, 2019

Canopy of Webs
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    I had heard about the size, abundance and toxicity of Australian spiders. This was, in fact, the only thing that put any kind of a damper on my enthusiasm for visiting this fascinating continent.

I would learn, however, that the stories were a bit larger than life. During my 3 months stay on the continent, I didn't notice any particular overabundance of the creatures. In fact, when I compare the spiders in any home we stayed in while away to my own home, I believe I may have just as many spiders of comparable sizes!

There was this one spider event, however, that was, indeed, memorable. We were out hiking along the coast of Victoria, Australia, just off the Great Ocean Road, when we came upon a rather large cluster of spiders. It had been my experience that most spider webs are individual affairs, spreading from one inanimate object to another. Not so with this cluster. Each individual web served to connect two or more others to form a huge canopy of webs that was probably 3 m sq. (9 ft sq).

God has recently placed a great burden for my heart for unity in the church, and this has been the theme of several recent Nugget articles. After all, was this not a major theme of Jesus' final recorded prayer before going to the cross (see John 17:11, 20-24)? With this in mind, I had only one thought as I walked away from that canopy of webs: If only the church would be so unified! If we would stop looking after our own individual needs long enough, we might see that we can, indeed, hold each other up, and the result would be a church that not only cares for its own, but also reaches out to cover the world at large!

Recently, as I penned the devotional on unity that appeared in the Nugget last week (Each Tiny Leaf), it occurred to me that understanding the power of unity isn't enough. What we really need to know is how to achieve this unity.

The secret, I feel, lies in 1 Cor. 12:13: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (NIV). We can only be unified when we are all filled with God's Spirit. It is His Spirit that brings unity!

Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit?

The answer is 'yes'! Even though not everyone has received the spiritual gifts recorded in 1 Cor. 12, all true followers of Jesus Christ have been filled with His Spirit: "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ." (Rom 8:9 NIV; See Titus 3:3-6).

Why is it then, that we have not achieved unity?

I would suggest that it is because we aren't all using the power we have been given to attain unity. It's kind of like the barbeque unit on your deck. It may be there, but if you don't use it, you'll never be able to produce barbequed meat!

Here are a few suggestions I found for achieving our potential for unity:

1.    We must pray, like Elisha of old, for more and more of God's Spirit, upon us, and also, on our brothers and sisters in Christ (See 2 Kings 2:9).

2.    We need to love each other as Jesus loves us: "...he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Phil. 2:6-8 NIV; see also John 13:34).  

3.    We need to take lessons from that cluster of tiny spiders in Victoria Australia...We must stop worrying only about ourselves and instead, we need to start supporting our fellow brothers and sisters. (See 1 Thes. 5:11; Heb. 10:24-25, etc.).

4.    Most importantly, let's look to Jesus' example: "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:15 NIV). He spent His time on Earth giving to others. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the broken-hearted and brought hope to a hopeless generation. He even took the role of the servant and washed His disciples' feet (See John 13:5-17); and perhaps the most vivid portrayal of His love and selflessness is the cross itself (See Phil. 2:6-8). 

Interestingly, when I stood under that canopy of webs, I didn't even get squeamish. How could I have been afraid when they had so much to teach us about unity in the church?

Prayer: Father God, may we utilize that power for unity that you have already given each believer. May we follow Jesus' example and humble ourselves, putting aside our own ambitions, our apathy, our complacency, so that we may love one another as Jesus loves us, that we may support each other in every way. May we desire unity as much as You do! In the precious name of Jesus, Amen!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 12:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 10, 2019

Waiting in the Wings
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    I've never been an early riser, but over the past few summer months I've been waking up with the birds. Mostly crows and magpies, their vocal chords are in my opinion not blessed by God with tranquil song. Their abrasive rise and shine squawking begins at the crack of dawn and helps facilitate my personal sleep deprivation. So conceding defeat, I habitually grab my slippers and head to my favourite appliance, the coffee pot. From there I open my patio door and let the morning breeze slip in through the top to bottom screen. But more often than I care to admit, what also slips into my mornings is the tendency to allow my mind to wander down the path of disquieting uneasiness.

I'm not talking about miniscule things like, "did I put the toilet seat down?" I'm talking about big ticket items like, "the physical and spiritual health of my family", "where will I find a job I'm qualified for", or more succinctly, "why do I worry in the first place if I've placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ?" Let's face it; we humans are worrywarts even when the bible says, "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything." (Philippians 4:6 NLT).
 
As I sipped my 6am coffee a few days ago and stared anxiously into the backyard, a pair of blue jays landed in the neighbor's tree and promptly announced their presence with a distinctive jeer. It was then I almost spilled my coffee because it's rare to see them in our neighborhood. Blue jays are one of my favorite birds, and their unexpected arrival instantly shifted my daybreak angst to a spirit of placid joy, and yes, peace.

Since I've always loved birds, I'll go out on a limb here, no pun intended! I believe God reassured me that morning that I need not fear; that when I bring my prayers and petitions to Him, the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Through God's still small voice, my blue feathered friends accomplished just that.

Watching them was a beautiful reminder that my life and circumstances are in very good hands; God's hands. "Look at the birds," Jesus says. "They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them." (Matthew 6:26 NLT). The verse goes on to tell me that I'm far more valuable to Him than the birds are. I don't know about you, but I find that way cool!

When I shared my Jay moment with a friend, she replied with these words, "Keep looking to those blue jays. They are God's little encouragement to you that he hasn't forgotten, and He never will." Her response affirmed what my heart already knew. That when I foolishly pick back up the worries I've already placed at the foot of the cross, God assures me, "Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me." (Psalm 118:7 NLT).

Will there still be mornings when I'm up early and my thoughts are riddled with future concerns? That is most assuredly a given. But as I wait for God to unravel the fears in my life and weave them into something beautiful according to His plan and purpose, I'll keep watch for those divinely orchestrated things that remind me I'm not alone. And if you my friend put your faith in the right place, namely Jesus, I hope you're getting more sleep than me!

Sometimes we have to sit quietly in the wings and wait for God to work his magic before allowing us back on life's stage. And thankfully it's during those desert moments that He promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. So the next time you wake up early and anxiety creeps in, remember if the birds aren't worried about tomorrow, then as children of the living God, why should we?

Now where did I put my binoculars?

Paul Smyth 
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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Sep 2019, 11:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 7, 2019

Animals...ALL Around, Part 3: Too--Commonplace? Camouflaged? Masked by disappointment?
 

By Answers2PrayerSubscribeUnsubscribeDevotionalsContact us    In the previous two parts of this mini-series, we learned that God's blessings and the fullfillments of His promises abound around us at all times. The problem is that we don't always recognize them. Some of the reasons may be because we are rushing through life; because we are expecting things in 'our' timeline instead of God's; or because we are distracted by our busyness or the problems that surround us. But what if we have put aside our busyness and our distractions, and it still seems that our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?

I was sitting quietly on a bench one day, watching for birds. The only ones that seemed to abound, however, were the Australian magpies. I dismissed them as far too commonplace. It's too bad, for if I hadn't written them off, I might have been blessed by their warbley song and by the intelligent manner in which they flit about doing tricks and being clowns...

God's blessings may seem mundane as well. You may be grieving the loss of a beloved spouse, for example, and all you want is a hug. Your purring cat jumps on your lap and begins to lick your hand; but you push her away. Wait. Maybe it isn't the physical hug you were wishing for, but is the comfort your cat is trying to give any less of a blessing? Is it any less of a sign that God loves you and sends you comfort in any way possible?

That same day when I chose to ignore the magpies, I was sitting quietly and watching intently; yet other than the magpies, all I could hear was the ruckus of a bunch of crows. I was pretty discouraged. Where were all the beautiful, exotic Australian birds? After a while, it occurred to me that I was so focused on my discouragement that I had stopped looking for birds. I began to concentrate on the sounds around me, and gradually I began to notice that the "crow" calls were actually not coming from crows at all. Rather, they were coming from a flock of...cockatoos! But wait...I didn't see any white spots in the tree the noises were coming from. Instead, the "bumps" littering the branches were—black! Then I began noticing the white tails and cheek patches on those "bumps". My "bunch of crows" was actually a rare flock of Carnaby's Black Cockatoos!

In the same way that I was so focused on the disappointment that I almost missed the flock of cockatoos, when we focus only on the negative, we risk missing the potential blessings God has for us. Paul tells us to, "...give thanks in all circumstances..." (1 Thess. 5:18a NIV), because when our minds are occupied with thanksgiving, our hearts will be open to seeing His blessings. Remember that: "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Phil. 4:8 NIV).

There was one more lesson that our non-productive animal hunt in Australia had to teach us about recognizing God's blessings. We were on the Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk near Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia. I was walking quietly and watching all around, but 1/3 of the way into the walk, I still hadn't seen my first wild creature. We came upon a family then. The kids were excitedly calling out something about seeing a lizard, and their dad was bent over the rail pointing towards the forest floor. We searched the ground carefully where he was pointing, and to our surprise, there was a huge lizard, about 1 metre (3 feet) in length and at least 40 cm wide. We didn't see him because he was well camouflaged onto the forest floor, and we didn't have the experience in knowing how to find lizards in their natural habitats!

In a similar way, we were involved in a non-productive search for Koalas one day when we came across an arrow on the trail that someone had fashioned in sticks. When we looked in the direction the arrow was pointing, sure enough, there was a koala high up in a gum tree.

These two experiences illustrate another vitally-important clue for learning to recognize God's blessings. We may not have the experience to know how to find them in our lives. Sometimes we need to rely on others to point them out to us. As we accept their assessment of the situations and praise God for His hand of comfort and strength, we can then pass that comfort on to other people: "who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Cor. 1:4 NIV)

Friends, just like the animals and birds did abound in Australia, God's blessings and the fulfillment of His promises abound in our lives as well. Our job is to focus on the positive, to praise Him in our troubles, to learn from others, and to understand that God can use anything that catches our attention to pour out His blessings upon us.

Why not take some time today to identify a few of God's blessings, and then stop to give Him praise? I believe you will find that your own problems will begin to diminish in the face of the love of God poured out continually all around you.

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
Announcement:
This is the final part of the "Animals...ALL Around!" mini-series. If you have missed any parts of this series, you can access the entire series by clicking here. if you do not have access to the internet, email me and I will be happy to send you any parts you have missed. God bless you as you learn to identify God's abundant blessings in your life today!
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Sep 2019, 8:45 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

September 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

Here are a couple of examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart. 
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Join us on Saturday for some ideas in "Animals...ALL Around, Part 3: Too--Commonplace? Camouflaged? Masked by Disappointment?"
 
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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Aug 2019, 11:47 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

August 3, 2019

What a Friend, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In the concluding part of our series on "Friendship"; today we focus on the final two dimensions of Friendship...


Comfort...

For a moment, let's remain in the realm of inter-personal relationships within the Church. Jesus, our greatest everlasting friend, "...comforts us in all our affliction..." (2 Cor 1:4a ESV), then should we not do the same in our earthly relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? Of course: "...so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Cor. 1:4b ESV) 

A true friend is one who will love us at all times (See Prov. 17:17), and especially by comforting us during adverse times. Now, who do you think would go out and search for David the fugitive to comfort and encourage him whilst he was fleeing from the murderous and envious King Saul? You guessed it, it was Jonathan (See 1 Sam 23:16-18)!

The same could also be said about a certain man named Onesiphorus. If you're having a hard time recalling who he is, don't worry about it. He may not be as well-known as, say, Paul, or Peter, but his actions deserve to be noted here! The Apostle Paul himself issues a "friendship certificate", so to speak, to this resident of Ephesus. According to scripture:

"As you know, all the Christians who came here from Asia have deserted me; even Phygellus and Hermogenes are gone. May the Lord bless Onesiphorus and all his family because he visited me and encouraged me often. His visits revived me like a breath of fresh air, and he was never ashamed of my being in jail. In fact, when he came to Rome, he searched everywhere trying to find me, and finally did. May the Lord give him a special blessing at the day of Christ's return. And you know better than I can tell you how much he helped me at Ephesus." (2 Tim 1:15-18 TLB)

On the subject of comfort, on the flipside are the so-called "friends" of Job. It has been said that with the kind of friends Job had, he did not need any more enemies (although they did eventually repent for their misdeeds, and thus, that is a different matter altogether. See Job 42:7-10). Rather than comforting Job in the midst of his severe troubles, there they were attributing Job's woes to his "secret sins" (See Job 11:14-15), virtually rubbing salt into his wounds. No wonder Job called them "miserable comforters" (Job 16:2 TLB)!

Time for an introspective; do we belong in Jonathan's calibre of friendship, or should we end up in Job's "friends" category?


Confide...

There should be no secrets hidden between friends. Do you have any pressing problems in which certain details must not be revealed to anyone of this World? Then look to what Joseph Scriven, the writer of "What a Friend we Have in Jesus", did and bring it in prayer before your most trustworthy friend, Jesus.

Conversely, does God hide His plans from His friends? Of course, He doesn't!

"Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him," declares the Psalmist. He goes on to add, "With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises." (Psalm 25:14-TLB ).

Our Heavenly Father would not hide His plans from His friend Abraham (Gen 18:17/2 Chro 20:7/James 2:23), nor would Christ, who elevated His disciples from the position of mere servants to that of His friends: "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15 ESV).

On the meaning of our friendship with the Lord, St. Augustine of Hippo wisely declared that "The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them." As our Friendship with our Lord grows deeper and deeper more and more treasures within it become accessible to us, making us fall even more in love with the Almighty One (Dan 2:22)!

Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! Besides just comforting us at all times, He also confides in us his Heavenly matters--even as we grow in Him! Hallelujah!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are eternally grateful for treating us as Your friends and confiding many spiritual secrets with us. May we always be grateful to Thee who loved us first, even while we were Your enemies. We glorify Thee out of love borne out of gratitude. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
This is the final part of the "What a Friend" mini-series. If you have missed any of the previous parts, you may access them online by clicking here. Otherwise, email me and I will be happy to forward them to you.

In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets (www.scripturalnuggets.org ), with Answers2Prayer ministries (www.answers2prayer.org ).
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 01 Aug 2019, 6:00 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 1, 2019

What a Friend! Part 2
 
By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us   
 
In the second and the penultimate part of our series on the Biblical perspective of "friendship" today we focus on 2 more aspects of Friendship...

Covenant...

JPrince Jonathan entered into a covenantal relationship with the lowly Shepherd boy named David by symbolically donating his robe and armour (See 1 Sam 18:1-4). In the same way, our Lord does the same thing when we receive Him as "Lord of our lives" (Rom 10:8-10 ) by entering into a covenantal relationship with us through a "donation" of His Holy Spirit, which He then deposits into our hearts ("and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." 2 Cor 1:22; See also Eph 1:13-14).
 
It is by this marvellous arrangement that we see the regeneration of a christian, and that the Lord provides the christian the essential resources to fulfil the terms of their eternal covenant. And what is this eternal covenant? Simply put, is all about living as per His will at all times: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31 ESV).

While covering this subject, it would serve us well to understand the meaning of the word "covenant" and clearly distinguish it from the very similar term "contract". Though these are thought by many to be synonyms, this could not be any further from the truth. While both words have conditions to be fulfilled between those who are tied to it, the word "contract" is usually used to typify an agreement between two parties of the same stature (e.g.: a building contract between the landowner and a building contractor). On the other hand, "covenant" signifies a binding agreement between two unequal parties, one of whom is surely greater than the other. While in the Biblical context, the agreements between that of a prince and a shepherd fits this definition. So does a marriage or a will left behind by a father. I think it would be safe to say that the relationship between a Saviour and a sinner also perfectly matches the definition of a cove nant in the earthly realm.

Digging a little deeper into the covenant between Prince Jonathan and the shephard boy, David, we can observe that while Jonathan would frequently keep his promises even by putting his own life in danger at times (See 1 Sam 20:1-34), David would fulfill his vows as well at the proper time by adopting Jonathan's son named Mephibosheth as his own and granting him all the privileges that went along with it (See 2 Sam 9). By the same token in our Saviour-Sinner covenant. Our eternal Saviour-Friend-Christ has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Heb. 13:5b). we at no point of time, ought to turn our backs to Him ("but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul ha s no pleasure in him.But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls." Heb 10:39 ESV).


Charity...

In response to the Saviour's act of genuine friendship, it would serve us well to examine our own relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ--especially those who are new to faith. Our friendship should be marked by absolute humility (the ingredients of genuine love -- See 1 Cor 13:4-5), and even a lack of envy if by chance they were to, say, surpass us in our spiritual growth.

I believe that the Jonathan-David relationship can be easily compared to that of our Lord Jesus Christ and his "senior" in both age and ministry, John the Baptist. With the advent of David and Jonathan's ever-growing bond, morale amongst the masses may have possibly dipped as a result. Beforehand, Jonathan would single-handedly slaughter his enemies one by one (1 Sam 14:1-15); but now, he would instead stick with David through the thick and thin of battle and would even put his own life on the line for him (1 Sam 20:1-34).

Similarly, John the Baptist, though older and with more ministry experience, would wisely observe that Christ must become greater than himself: "The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:29-30).

In stark contrast to this exemplary friendship stands the eyesore of a relationship that David had with the fiendish Saul, Jonothon's senior. Actually, this type of negative connection can also be seen between the senior Jewish religious leaders and Christ!

It seems like history likes to repeat itself! Coincidence? I don't think so!

Sometimes we see cases of the Cain vs Abel relationship being replayed throughout history. A good example would be the Pope vs. Martin Luther; with the senior one exuding envy and rage. Thankfully, however, we also see cases of Jonathan and David being replayed inside the Church; those of quiet, yet admirable grace. In the Indian context, the Bakth Singh graciously mentoring the younger, albeit rapidly maturing Church members whom he is mentoring.

When it comes to the newer, more popular Christians who are receiving more attention and fame than us older ones, are you acting like a "fiend" towards them? Or like a "friend"? Take some time to carefully reflect upon yourself.

Prayer: Father, grant us grace to always behave graciously with younger Christians who may be more talented than us. In all our interactions, may your Name be always glorified. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
Announcement:
Are you looking for that rest, peace and security that everyone says comes from Jesus? Visit the mini-series, "Eternal Music" and find out! 
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Jul 2019, 9:54 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 30, 2019

What a Friend, Part 1
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     With regards to the state of the world in recent times, and how governments across the planet are being driven further and further towards globalization, an image of a complex and intricate spider web begins to slowly take form in my mind. Even the slightest touch or ripple can cause the entire structure of the web to vibrate in due course. This analogy certainly held true back in July of 1958, when the small country of Paraguay pioneered the first ever "Friendship Day", which would later be fully recognized by the United Nations. On April 27th, 2011, the UN officially declared that "World Friendship Day" would be held on every July 30th. The UN even declared that the new celebration would have its own mascot: the adorable and largely iconic Winnie the Pooh! In India, we celebrate World Friendship Day on every first Sunday of August.

However, long before the world ever thought of celebrating friendship, the immortal song "What a friend, we have in Jesus", which was written by a faithful Christian named Joseph Scriven, was released nearly a century beforehand (specifically in 1856.) While during his own personal tragedies, and under the guise of that memorable song, he let his sentiments flow out from deep within his heart and thus, had experienced the Lord’s almighty embrace (See 2 Cor. 1:3-4).


What makes the Saviour our unique friend? Well, at a time where the world celebrates World Friendship day, yours truly will bring to you a three part series that will show the unique traits of friendship with Christ the Redeemer and the responsibility that comes our way by being the beneficiaries of it.


Conquer…

Let it be said that it takes a great act of selfless love to win over the heart of a person. Our Lord’s friendship credentials of sacrificial love is best captured in this Scripture portion which states:

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." (Rom 5:10)

We have all heard and seen tales of legendary heroes who are born, or chosen to defeat great evil. For example, Indian Scriptures are overflowing with tales of avatars being chosen by deities for the sole purpose of destroying malevolent forces. But on the other hand, we have the sinless, eternal and almighty God donning flesh and blood specifically to die for His enemies who wouldn’t hesitate to crucify Him themselves! How’s that for a role reversal?

When hearing about these deeds and sacrifices, people would naturally wish to seek friendship with such a compassionate and loving individual, who would go to any extent for ensuring the welfare of others. I am no exception to this either. On October 16th, 1983 as the nuances of the Gospel were being explained to me, I sought and sealed my own "Friendship pact" with the one who was willing to stoop to such low levels (See Phil. 2:4-11) in order to conquer my heart.

Prayer: Lod Jesus, I can never adequately thank Thee for delivering me from my hapless state of sin. Let me always display gratitude for loving me first at a time, I was your enemy. I magnify Thee for the display of Your everlasting love. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries  
Announcement:
Do you have a prayer request? Do you know someone who needs to be prayed for? Prayer works! The Bible confirms this in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) Send your prayer request here and let us pray in agreement with you! Matt 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV) Hallelujah!
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Jul 2019, 4:07 pm

Welcome to the Nugget


July 16, 2019


The Appalachian Trail


By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  Guide to the Appalachian Trail


I settled in the back seat of an Uber car the other day, folded my white cane, and stuffed it in my bag. As I usually do, I began a conversation with the driver. As expected, we became friends. That's because I ask questions that prompt them to share and keep sharing about their lives.


This last driver told me about his brother who wrote the guide for the Appalachian Hike. I learned this adventure can take from 5 months to 10 years to complete. Gulp. But with the help of the guide, the hike is doable. In it, he details all the challenges, the best gear to bring, places to avoid, potential dangers, list of easier routes, best places to eat, how to find laundromats, lodging, etc.


Whew! Sounds like more than I can handle...




The long hike called life


But whether we like it or not, we're all, indeed, on a long hike called life. And the path is often filled with challenges, unexpected turns and obstacles. The good news is that much like the guide for the Appalachian trail hike, God wrote the guide for us to follow and reach the destination called peace.


Not sure where you are on that hike? Or maybe peace is a foreign word in the midst of this world's chaos? Good news; the guide to finding that peace is free, available and in the language any hiker can understand.




Let's conquer obstacles


With that guide in our hearts, we're ready to conquer obstacles of any kind.


We need a companion. We need encouragement. We need a comforting word. And we desperately need someone to tell us that all will be okay. That's why God's peace comes through this truth: "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted that have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death." (Psalm 72:12-13 NIV)


Oh, those difficult and unexpected turns of heartache that barge in. Most are out of our control. Some crash in because of other's sins. Yet, God knows the oppression against our soul, and right when we cry out for help, "He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." (Psalm 72:14 NIV).


Fear visits. We fear we won't make it to the finish line. When we grumble about the sorry turn of events and the unfairness, when we long for His presence, peace fills us because, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)


Gloom hovers over. When no one understands. When most cannot help, peace conquers sadness. "You are sad, I'm listening, and I will save you from your troubles." (Psalm 34:6 NIV)


Helplessness invades. But God offers His peace through this invitation: "When clouds of grief try to overtake you, ask Me for consolation and relief. Cry out to Me in your times of trouble, and I will save you from your distress." (paraphrased from Psalm 107:19).


Frustration won't let up. When we walk in circles around the same mountain of adversity, tears blur our vision; the path looks crooked and rough. That's when His guide instructs: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)


Better days are coming, hang on to the guide; the One who wrote it is with you. He never abandons or leaves you. And with Him by your side, there is no fear. There's only strength for each step. Reassurance for every turn. And He ushers the peace that carries power.


Let's pray: Father, how often, with a restless heart, I've embarked on the hike with my own plans and my own map in hand. Forgive my prideful ways and grant me a heart of humility. Show me how to follow your steps, to allow your guide to lead me. And find peace as I learn to walk on the path you prepared for me. In Jesus' name.


What guide are you using for your hike today?


Janet Eckles


If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
Announcement:
No access to the "guide" in your preferred language? Great news! Answers2Prayer has a webpage offering 68 Online Bibles available in different languages. Please visit us! If you know of an online Bible in a language that we do not yet have available, please let us know by sending an e-mail. Thank you my friends.
 
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Post  Admin on Sun 14 Jul 2019, 1:17 am

Welcome to the Nugget

July 13, 2019

Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers, Part 3
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In the concluding part of our introspective series of examining whether we belong to the "Thermometer" or the "Thermostat" category of believers, today let's focus on yet another "Thermostatic" Saint...


Cell...

Let's dive headfirst into the Scriptures...

"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." (Phil 1:12-14 ESV)

Hey! The Apostle Paul, far from being discouraged at his confinement to a restrictive Roman "cell" (actually house arrest), was a true "thermostat". In addition to "regulating the temperature" (read preached the Gospel with boldness) of fellow Christians outside of his "cell", he also introduced the heart-warming Gospel to the Roman Soldiers who were guarding him (See Acts 28:16).

Speaking of Roman soldiers (on duty on shift basis) who were always in the vicinity of that great Apostle, it is often asked "who was a prisoner to whom?" Was the Apostle Paul a prisoner to the Roman soldier? Or the other way around? The ever present bubbling infectious joy (the words "joy" and "rejoice" are used not less than 11 times in the Epistle to Philippians) in the Apostle, along with the power of the Gospel in his words, were having their needed impact on the Roman soldiers, as the above-captioned Scripture portion testifies.

Say Reader, are you sharing the Gospel with your fellow plane, train or bus "prisoners"? (Opps! Sorry! I mean "passengers"! Remember that for a few hours, those who are seated beside you cannot "escape" from you!) After establishing a common point of contact, say sports or politics (see 1 Cor. 9:20-23), are you filling their ears with the contageous joy of the Gospel?

Did the Apostle Paul's "thermostat" role in the "heat of his fiery trials" remain confined to only fellow Roman Christians outside his jail and the Roman soldiers inside it? Not at all! Boy, it spanned hundreds of miles. From Rome, courtesy his imprisonment (Rom 8:28) he would dictate Epistles (to scribes such as Tertius - See Rom 16:22), which in turn "regulated" the spiritual temperature for the good of Churches in Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and even in the life of an individual named Philemo n. Thanks to his imprisonment, we now have access to the "rich spiritual treasures" contained in these four Epistles.

In conclusion what I would like to say is the God-honoring lives of His Saints like that of the awesome threesome in Babylon, of devout Daniel and of pious Paul would play "thermostat" transcending even time and space. Boy, I for one, had the cockles of my heart "warmed-up" writing about them...thousands of years after their inspirational acts. Say Hallelujah, if reading about them produced a similar effect in you!!!

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for the wondrous heroes of faith who have preceded us in History. Their lives inspire us even today. Enable us to always walk in the straight and narrow of pleasing, while always influencing the World for the better. Help us to be "thermostat" believers instead of "thermometer" believers! In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
This is the last part of the "Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers" mini-series. If you have missed either of the two previous parts, you may access them online by clicking here. If you do not have access to the internet, please email me and I will be happy to forward them to you.
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 7:08 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 11, 2019

Of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers, Part 2
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     In our introspective series of examining whether we belong to the "Thermometer" or the "Thermostat" category of believers, today, in the penultimate part of the series, let's focus on yet another "Thermostatic" saint...

Fast forward by another 46 years (539 BC) from the time of the heroics of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego (585 BC), and what do we see in Daniel Chapter 6? Yet another Royal decree goes throughout the Medo-Persian Empire, only this time the empire was much bigger than the one in Babylon. The book of Esther tells us that the empire covered 5.5 million square kilometers (See Esther 1:1)!

The proclamation this time? "Peace be multiplied to you.  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26 ESV).

Now what was the reason for this Royal Decree?  Now it was on account of Daniel, who in the midst of "fiery trying circumstances", preferred to play a "thermostat" rather than a "thermometer". Rather than being cowed down by the King's orders, given at the behest of Da niel's enemies: "whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions..." (Daniel 6:7b ESV), Daniel, as was his wont, preferred to petition the "King of Kings" three times daily (see Daniel 6:10). The eventual result of it all was not only that God's saving power was amply demonstrated, but also His Name, which had been tarnished courtesy of the Jewish exile in 586 BC, was magnified throughout the world over once again.

And Daniel's enemies? Poor guys, the same ones who had hoped that Daniel would serve as a sumptuous dinner to the famished lions, ended up instead as a delicious breakfast to them! A lesson within a lesson here for us, folks! Never fiddle with God's people (read fellow christians- especially the anointed ones...see Zech. 2:8)!

Hmmmm...Where were Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego at this time of Daniel's "fiery trial"? Jewish Biblical Scholars speculate that they could have used their influence over the erstwhile King Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian's reign itself and got their "postings" in the Land of Israel before 539 BC. As such they, may not have been in the "radar" of Chapter 6 of the Book of Daniel...

Prayer: Father, enable us to overcome the worldly pleasures that come our way to conform us into the World's image. Strengthen us always to walk in the straight and narrow path of pleasing Thee even whilst impacting the World for the better. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Can christians influence those around them, rather than being influenced by the world? Please join us on Saturday for the final part of Thermometer and Thermostat Believers to learn from another powerful Biblical example...
 
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Post  Admin on Thu 04 Jul 2019, 9:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

July 4, 2019

God's Citizenship

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     Poor doggie, July 4th is a torture for him. My friend's puppy had to be protected from the noisy fireworks that blasted his furry ears.

For him they were a nightmare, for me the sound of July 4th fireworks reminds me of a dream come true.

A few decades ago my parents chose to make the U.S. our home. Soon after, we received our residency papers and five years later, the big day arrived. We entered a large court room. The red, white and blue of the American flag covered the front wall.

"Raise your right hand," the immigration official instructed me and my family. And with gratitude bursting in us, we pledged our allegiance to the United States. At the same time, we renounced our allegiance to our native country of Bolivia.

Oh, how I wish I had made that same pledge giving my allegiance to God's plans and His will. I didn't. Instead, I vowed to follow my own.

And, with misdirected passion, I crafted the blueprint for my life--get married, have healthy beautiful children, enjoy financial security, serve God and watch our grandchildren grow up around us with love overflowing.

That was the path to happiness I envisioned, and the plans I designed. But God had a different path. His didn't match my own. And that's when the battle began. I clung to my plans and resisted His.

Have you done that? You formed simple expectations, nothing extravagant, nothing complicated. And when least expected, your world turns upside down with disappointment dragging with it unwanted heartache.

The reason is our plans have great intentions, but flawed expectations. They hold a specific image of what life should be but lack the foresight of what life often brings.

There's good news.

Sweet freedom begins when we let God's will rule, when we allow His will to dictate our moments, order our days and design our future.

To accomplish that, He invites us to step in the courtroom of His love. Raising our right hand, we pledge to renounce those unrealistic dreams, those flawed plans. And turn our allegiance to His plans instead.

And should nights turn lonely and the black of sadness close in, those plans of His speak tranquil reassurance to our soul.

Jesus gave us the secret to that tranquility. He came to His knees with similar sorrow and, in the midst of pain, He said: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

He relinquished to God's Will. He gave up His own. He stepped away from His desires and invited God's instead.

What were the results?

He suffered still, but victory came. He was crucified, but glory followed. He took His last breath, but when he came back alive, He breathed in us life eternal.

Today in the midst of all the ugliness of life, we do the same. We declare, "Not my will, but yours, Lord." And His will takes over. Makes the way. Opens doors. Erases fear. Heals the wounds. Pours grace and makes the impossible possible.

What will it take for you to surrender and pledge your allegiance to God's divine will?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Jun 2019, 10:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 29, 2019

Tremble...In the Presence of the Lord!

Lessons From the Psalms, Part 10: Psalm 114
 

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.

Last month we saw that in ancient Judaism, the book of Psalms were divided into five books and were known as the "five books of David". Today's interesting fact is that ancient Judaism saw these five books corresponding and contrasting with the "five books of Moses". They saw the image of the five books of the law in the five books of the Psalms, and it is recorded that they regarded it as a second Pentateuch, an echo of the first...

Today's lesson from the Psalms focuses on Psalm 114. It is actually not known who authored this song. Though it is often accredited to David, some say it was penned after the division of the kingdom into Israel of the North and Judah of the South. Whether we know the author or not, this Psalm builds us up in the depths of our despair. Consider these first few verses:

"When the Israelites escaped from Egypt--
   when the family of Jacob left that foreign land--
the land of Judah became God's sanctuary,
   and Israel became his kingdom.
The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
   The water of the Jordan River turned away.
The mountains skipped like rams,
   the hills like lambs!" (Psalm 114:1-4 NLT)

This Psalm begins by reminding its listeners of God's almighty power and might by directing our attention to a monumental event in history: Israel's deliverance from Egypt and their conquest of Canaan. If God's miraculous power could accomplish all of this, is there anything He cannot do?

Most of us right now are in the midst of some kind of a bad situation. It seems the troubles are folding in on all sides, and it is tempting to say, "Where's God?" The best thing we can do in the midst of these circumstances is to remember the works of the Lord in the past.

Now no one alive actually was in that party that crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry ground; however every one of us has experienced God in a miraculous way. Maybe He got you into an education program or helped you pass a test. Maybe He arrived just in time to pull your tractor out of the ditch. Maybe He provided a good job. A warm house. A loving family. All you have to do is prayerfully think about it, and you will find multiple examples of God's power in your life.

I would suggest that you then use the format of Psalm 114 and personalize your prayer. Here is one I could easily pray about the time that in my ignorance about Canadian Immigration, I took a job in Canada, put my belongings on a moving truck and sent it to Canada, all before I had my immigration papers signed...

"When we immigrated to Canada--
   when my family left the land of our birth--
Canadian Immigration saw us coming and hurried out of their way!
   The process that should have taken 9 months took 1 hour..."

If we want our faith to truly be supercharged about whatever situation we find ourselves in at the moment, Psalm 114 urges us to then reflect upon the miracles:

"What's wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
   What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
   Why, hills, like lambs?" (Psalm 114:5-6 NLT)

Why not spend some time reflecting on the miraculous nature of God's goodness to us in the past? Again, it is helpful to personalize this. My personal song might continue something like this:

"What's wrong, Canadian Immigration,
   that made you hurry out of our way?
What happened, Embassy,
   that made you approve our applications immediately
   instead of making us wait the prescribed 9 months?"

After reflecting on the miracles, Psalm 114 goes on to glorify the power of the almighty God, our God, the One Who loves us enough to die for us, the One who did everything to make a way. It reminds us that nothing can stand before the presence of the Lord:

"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
   at the presence of the God of Jacob.
He turned the rock into a pool of water;
   yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock." (Psalm 114:7-8 NLT)

Friends, whatever it is you are going through, it cannot stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling! Remember: "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NLT)

Take whatever it is that is before you now, and pray it into these final two verses:

"Tremble, O death of a spouse, O sale of a home, O (insert your current problem here) 
   in the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the MY God.
He allowed us to begin the jobs we had waiting for us in Canada right away,
   And this illness, this (insert your current problem here) is nothing in His presence either!

Feeling weary, filled with doubt and despair? Follow the Psalm 114 formula:

1. Remember God's miracles of the past.
2. Reflect upon them.
3. Claim the Truth that nothing (and that includes your current situation!) can stand in the presence of the Lord without trembling!
4. Challenge your situation to try to stand before the Lord!

Then sit back and make yourself comfortable, because in God's time, He will cause your situation to crumble and fall!

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 Thu 27 Jun 2019, 10:15 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 27, 2019

Family Reunion
 

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     "I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, asYou, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May theyalso be in Us, so that the world may believe thatYou sent Me." (John 17:20-21 Borean Study Bible)

Epiphanies often come to us at the strangest times and wisdom often awakens in us in the most unusual places. It was a late Friday afternoon and my family and I were at the grocery store. We usually shop on Saturdays but the early Spring weather forecast had predicted a Winter snowstorm. Thus, here we were grabbing groceries in time to beat the storm.

Unfortunately everyone else in town had the same idea. The store was both crazy and crowded. Everywhere I turned shopping carts were blocking my path. The more I tried to maneuver the less progress I seemed to make. We were stuck and stressed and it looked like we weren't getting out of the store anytime soon.

It was at this point that somewhere deep in my heart I heard a voice speaking to me. "Why are you rushing?" it asked. "Relax and enjoy this moment. Look around and see who you are with."

Thankfully, I listened to it. I opened my eyes, cleared my mind, and relaxed my heart. I let go of my stress and smiled. It was then that I saw something very beautiful: my family. I wasn't just seeing my own children either. Everyone in the store was my family. The old lady pushing her cart was my sister. The little girl grabbing for her favorite cereal was my daughter. The big guy with the bushy beard was my brother. I didn't know the names of any of them but at that moment we were all one. We were Children of God on a wonderful journey of learning and love. I wasn't at the store. I was at the family reunion. I slowed to a stroll then and spent my time sharing smiles, kind words, and friendly laughter with my family.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much. He created us to love each other as well. He created us to be one family here on Earth. May we always live then as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. May we always live as one.

Joseph J. Mazzella 
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How about looking for ways to treat your neighbours as family today?
 
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Post  Admin on Tue 25 Jun 2019, 11:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

June 25, 2019

One Bad Apple

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us     I was at my desk following my morning routine the other day. The screen reader installed in my computer read Psalm 34 to me. (This is because I'm blind and use a screen reader to operate my computer). So, there I was, delighting in God's Word while I munched on my morning apple.

I noticed the apple was softer than its usual juicy, crispy texture. But focused on what I was listening to, I didn't stop to analyze it.

Moments later my Mom walked in. She grabbed my hand. "Honey, honey. Don't eat that."

I halted my chewing and gave her a look of shock. What could have rattled her so much?

Then my stomach churned a bit when my mom pointed out that I was eating a rotten, really rotten apple. Maybe there was a worm wiggling there. But she didn't say.

But wait a minute! Don't for a moment feel sorry for this blind chica. You might have done the very same thing.

Life is good...or is it?

There you are, following your own daily routine in life, carrying God's promises in your heart. And in your mind, you have engraved His instructions. Life is good.

But then the nightly news comes on. The world looks black. Life brings on a glitch. Relationships fall apart. And the view of our own world brings gloom. Without realizing it, we take bites of stress. We grind our teeth into rotten reminders of past failures. And mix them up with today's pain. Before we know it, we munch on that bad mush of worry and fear.

No wonder we're taking Maalox to soothe the emotional indigestion that burns during sleepless nights.

Been there? God knows we all have. So, we need to change. God's plan is for us to live in triumph. Yes, rotten spots come up, but we can still be victorious. Yes, disappointment visits, but we don't have to let in. And yes, heartache barges into our life, but we don't need to embrace it.

What the victorious person looks like.
And to make it easier for us, the description of the person who achieved all this is found in Psalm 112:6-8:

1. Nothing shakes him. No matter what bad news or rotten circumstances pop up, he lives calm, confident and secure because, "Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news..." (vs. 6,7a)

2. No fear defeats him. When the world fears, He increases his faith. When the world panics, he stands firm. When circumstances become darker, he looks to God's light: "His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure; he will have no fear..." (vs. 7b,8a)

3. Nothing keeps him down. When evil approaches, he declares victory. When attacks pour in, he knows the battle is won. And when his foes gain ground, he gains trust. "...in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." (vs. 8b)

That's what living in triumph means--embracing the promise that God defeated our foes. Welcoming a new beginning. Believing in a greater promise. And anticipating a new tomorrow.

Let's pray: Father, I admit I've chewed on rotten episodes in life, but I thank you for your path to triumph. Thank you for the wisdom to know that in You, I cannot be shaken. In You, I have no fear. In you, my foes are defeated. And in you, my life is secure. 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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You don't care for punishment?  What if you knew it was for your own good?  Join us on Tuesday for "No Pain No Gain", a mini-series designed to help us see why correction is not only permitted but encouraged!  
 
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