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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 11:18 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 12, 2016
Of Promise, Patience and Prize, Part 3

By Answers2Prayer 
 In our series on how problems come visiting in a believer before fulfillment of a Divine promise, let's focus on the life of the greatest King in Jewish History...

Ruler...

"I would have to live in harsh environs of many a cave for many years before entering the cool comforts of the palace" was the thought that would have never crossed anointed young shepherd boy David's mind as he was being nationally feted after his heroic feat of slaying mighty Goliath (I Sam 18:6-9). But envious King Saul fuelled by murderous rage, much like the envious brothers of Joseph made life miserable for poor David chasing him all around the country making the poor innocent hero-turned fugitive change 15 locations whilst escaping for his life.

Then come two opportunities for fugitive David to slay his unjust enemy (who would even propagate lies in regards to David...oh how lies and injustice go hand in hand. See 1 Sam 22:6-8) but David used those two chances to showcase his godly patience (1 Sam 24/26) instead.

In both the instances, even as his mates in trouble urged him to wield the sword to finish off his foe who was out to mercilessly snuff out his life, David wielded something else...something really wondrous at a time none may have Scripturally (Exo 21:24) faulted him for his act of revenge, for was not "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" the norm then? I reiterate, he displayed much to even his enemy's amazement godly patience (oh-so-precious to the Lord) letting go of his foe even while patiently bidding his time to become the King in God's own appointed time. And when that time of coronation finally came, he went on to become Israel's greatest King wielding (wielding again eh) total control from River Euphrates in the north to the borders of Egypt in the South (2 Sam 8) which was actually God's original geographical promise for Abraham's descendents (Gen 15:18-21/Joshua 1:3-4) but was sadly not brought to fruition by not-so-godly, not-so-obedient Jewish leaders before David. 

Next week, in the concluding part of our series, let's look at what made Jesus the Saviour of the World. Were His unparalled wise teachings the cause or His astounding miracles or "something else"...

Prayer: Father, grant us Thy grace to trust Thee in the midst of all my difficulties, knowing that they are contributing to my spiritual growth. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 11 Mar 2016, 11:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 10, 2016
Of Promise, Patience and Prize, Part 2

By Answers2Prayer 
  In the second part of our series on how problems precede fulfillment of a Divine promise in a believers life, let's have a look at the life of the greatest Prime-Minister of Biblical history, as a case in point... 

Prime-Minister...

"Here comes the dreamer" hissed his envious brothers' contemptuously even while plotting his murder as they saw Joseph in "designer attire" of his times from a distance riding "majestically" towards them on a donkey (Gen 37:17-20). About 1650 years later, "someone" who "rode majestically" on the back of a donkey into Jerusalem (Matt 21:1-9) also figured in the murderous conspiracy of his envious "elder brothers" in Ministry (Pharisees and Saducees-Matt 26:4).

Now what exactly were Joseph dreams' which amongst other reasons contributed to his elder brothers' turning green with envy? To quote verbatim from the Scriptures and its interpretation thereof..."my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. " and "this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." ...meaning virtually, he would be a high and mighty ruler one day with even his kith and kin being his subjects (Gen 37:5-11).

Well did Joseph's dreams come to pass immediately. Well they had go through the pit-Potiphar's house (den of temptations actually)-prison-before stepping into the palace, as it were. In the process consider what "all" transpired...let the Scripture take over at this stage...

"There in prison they hurt his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar until God's time finally came—how God tested his patience!" (Psalm 105:18-19 TLB)

Let Scripture continue to speak...

"Then the king sent for him and set him free. He was put in charge of the entire king's possessions." (Psalm 105:20)

Lessons to be learnt apart from the all-too-obvious fact...Patience pays? Firstly, the good Lord in His sovereign wisdom permits lies and injustice, yes I reiterate lies and injustice to triumph at the expense of His chosen ones, which would be a quite a bitter pill to swallow for His loved ones bred as they have been from childhood onwards on societal cliches such as, "Truth triumphs and lies lose". "What's happening, Lord" is the question which would initially pop-up in the confused minds of the devout lot even as slowly but steadily the final beautiful design of their lives prepared by the Master artist emerges before their eyes. As the full scope of His grand tapestry is revealed slowly but surely (Rom 8:28/2 Cor 3:18) to His loved ones what other choice is there to them other than to mouth loud Hallelujahs in this World and the Next.

Some of course tragically as the Scripture bears out did not quite co-operate with the Master trainer and lost out...consider this Scripture: "And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." (Deu 8:2-3)

Quite unjust of the Lord to let us go hungry opined the majority lot (the ones which came out of Egypt and were travelling towards their prized Promised Land) when confronted albeit only temporarily with hunger pangs. They rebelled against Him with tragic consequences (Numbers 11). Though this may not have been recorded in the Scriptures, we can safely presume that for the likes of godly Joshua or Caleb (even while rubbing shoulders with the disgruntled lot off to the Promised Land) rebellion against the Lord's will was never a possibility. They patiently took a stand borne out of love reasoning all the while that "man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" meaning that the Lord's presence with them was more important than any presence or absence of food. If that be so, make a note ministers of God of 21st century...Thou shall not live by any earthly appreciation alone but by His approval of thy ministry done for His glory!

Next week, in the penultimate part of our series, let's consider the plethora of problems which came visiting an innocent shepherd boy turned national hero...

Prayer: Father, you know the beginning from the end, grant us Thy grace to co-operate with Thee in Thy training process of moulding us into Your Son's image. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 9:31 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 8, 2016
Of Promise, Patience and Prize, Part 1

By Answers2Prayer 
  It is quiz time folks! Name the fourth element in the nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Of course, the first three-Love, Joy and Peace- reel off our mouth instantly but the fourth one (very vital one at that) doesn't come to our mind just as easily. Well, Patience as the oxford dictionary defines it is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Spiritually speaking it is all that and more for it can even pass off as the twin virtue of love which bears all things...endures all things (I Cor 13:7).
 
In this Series of 4 parts, I would like bring to the fore how the Almighty develops in us the virtue of patience through some painful ordeals even while placing a prize before us all with an aim of moulding us into His Son's image (Romans 5:3-4). Talk of metamorphosing an ugly caterpillar (when we come to him "warts and all" at the point of salvation) into a beautiful butterfly...(2 Cor 3:18, 2 Peter 1:5-11).

In this Series, let's look at some men and even the Son of God donning the human vesture who for the prize that was placed before them took "everything" in their stride "patiently" (Heb 12:2). What is common among the greatest Prime-Minister in Biblical history, greatest King of Israel and the Saviour of the World is that promise of something "juicy" was not immediately followed by it falling on their lap but them obtaining it only after exhibiting oodles of patience in waiting and even suffering for it.
Let's get into "action" straight-a-way next week, by looking at how the Almighty in His sovereign wisdom allowed a series of debacles in the life of a young "dreamy" oriental Easterner before transforming him into the greatest Prime-Minister in the Biblical history.
Prayer: Father, grant us Thy grace to take the debacles of our life in our stride, acknowledging that everything which happens in our life as per Your will is designed for our welfare. 
Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Mar 2016, 11:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

March 5, 2016
In the Face of a Miracle, Part 2
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
"And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." (Matt 13:58);

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Gal 5:1)

Last week, we discovered that God's miracles in our lives are not always permanent, that they are dependent upon faith and trust, and that when we begin, even for a moment, to attribute them to other sources, we risk losing those same blessings. This is clearly illustrated in the life of Samson. We also saw that Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, found the secret of what to do in the face of a miracle: She separated herself for five months so that she could focus on giving glory to God for her miracle. 

How can these important lessons be applied to our lives today?

When I was saved some years ago, I was immediately delivered from one of the two addictions that had plagued me my entire life. However, the second one, gluttony, continued to defeat me on a daily basis, and frankly, 20 years later, I was pretty tired of the dominion it had over my life. 

Throughout this time, I have often written about the freedom that comes to us through Christ; yet why did this same freedom elude me? And how could I go on preaching Freedom in Christ, when I continued to be fettered by my appetite that was never satisfied? 

To be perfectly honest, however, I'm not sure that I can say God didn't deliver me years ago. 
I can distinctly remember about 12 years ago when the temptation to overeat completely left me for a few weeks. God got the praise initially, but as time went on, it began to seem "easy" to not overeat. I began to ask myself why "I" hadn't done this years ago. I fell right into the traps that eventually brought Samson down, and it wasn't long before I was once again completely overcome with gluttony.

There was another time, about 6 months ago, when I went through an entire next week without even a tiny temptation to overeat. But I must admit that I doubted the permanency of the miracle, for it hadn't lasted the last time. 

Is anyone surprised that it didn't? 

Last week, God impressed the message of "In the Face of a Miracle, Part 1" upon my heart. I didn't realize it would have a "Part 2" at the time, nor did I see any connection between this and my lifelong archenemy, gluttony. That day, as I was driving to a nearby town, I felt compelled to put myself in the presence of God. Then in my mind, I saw Him reach out His hand to me. "I have a gift for you," He heard Him say, and as I reached out to receive it, I felt something like electricity going through my stomach. I realized that God was giving me deliverance from gluttony, but my mind immediately went back to the last two times. Would this be temporary, just like before? 

I was immediately impressed with the stories of Samson and Elizabeth, the stories I had just written about, and I knew what God was trying to tell me: The permanence of my deliverance depended totally on my faith that He had delivered me. I decided then and there to follow Elizabeth's example: I began praising God for my deliverance. Every time my mind began to go down the habitual pathways of gluttony, I praise God that He had delivered me, and as I did, the temptation to overeat, to even contemplate eating, instantly fled. 

Is the deliverance permanent this time? 

Yes.

Was it permanent before?

I believe the answer is "yes" to that as well. I believe that God did delivered me of gluttony when He delivered me from the other addiction. My problem was that I was too much like Samson and too little like Elizabeth. I took the credit myself, I didn't spend time giving God the glory He was due, and in so doing, it was like I threw His gift back into His face. 

But God is faithful and loving, and by His grace, He kept giving me back the gift until the day that I finally realized what was going on and fully accepted it for what it was: A gift of God, a miracle, something that I cannot achieve on my own, even after 20 years of trying.

What will I need to do to retain the deliverance this time? 

I will need to continually meditate on the miracle, on how I proved over and over again that I could not control my own eating, but with God, all things are possible. I will need to keep reminding myself of how big and powerful God is, and I will need to continually put my total trust in the Truth: Jesus delivered me from gluttony when He died on the cross. 

Praise 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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Gates in the Bible  Curious about the meanings of gates in the Bible?  Check out the Gates in the Bible series published through the Nugget.   
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 1:41 am

Welcome to the Nugget


March 3, 2016
Why is Your Heart Empty?

By Answers2Prayer 
  Have you ever walked through the empty valley of life?

I have. When tragedy struck. When blindness set in, hope vanished. Hope seemed only a word, foreign and elusive. I dabbed tears during sleepless nights as the empty echoed in my sorrow.
But the pain finally ended when that emptiness was filled by the empty tomb. Jesus came back alive. He rose gloriously to fill the emptiness that aches. To bring back the hope. He's alive to echo a promise for a better tomorrow. To speak of the grace He will pour. The love He will give. The healing He will extend. The forgiveness He promises. And the failures He will restore.

He's alive to fill the emptiness of the moment, the yearning for the season and the longing of a lifetime.

I wish you a Happy Resurrection Day not only because the tomb is empty, Jesus is alive but because He spoke, He promised and He guaranteed He's coming back!

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.  
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 11:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
March 1, 2016
Life in the Slow Lane

By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us  "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matt 6:25-27)

I walked into the living room and turned on the radio early this morning. The old rock song, "Life in the Fast Lane" blared loudly out of the speakers because my son had left the volume turned up too high again. Startled, I jumped back then reached over and turned the radio back off again. "I think I prefer life in the slow lane," I said to myself.

I really do prefer life in the slow lane. I decided long ago to let the Jones keep up with themselves. Instead, I prefer taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I enjoy taking the time to watch the sun climb over the mountains in the morning and I am never in too much of a rush to say "Thank You" to God for it either. I enjoy taking the time to sip my coffee and savor every bite of my breakfast. I enjoy taking the time to pray in the morning and all through the day.

I've found that life goes best when you fill both your stomach and your soul. I enjoy taking the  time to hug my children, talk to my friends, write letters to my family, and share smiles with strangers. I enjoy taking the time to say a kind word, do a good deed, and offer a helping hand. 

I've found that these investments in love make our hearts grow rich and our souls grow strong. I enjoy taking the time to read a good book to nourish my mind, cook a fine meal to nourish my body, and pet a happy dog to nourish my spirit. I enjoy taking the time to count my blessings and to make new ones as well.

Why do so many of us live our lives in the fast lane on a road to nowhere? It is the slow lane that leads us to love, to joy, and to God. Slow down and enjoy your life then. Slow down and smile.

Slow down and live, laugh, and love. You can't hurry your way to Heaven. You have to let God lead you there one slow and steady step at a time.

Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Feb 2016, 1:32 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 27, 2016
In the Face of a Miracle, Part 1
bible
By Answers2Prayer 
After two weeks of nights where I averaged about three and a half hours of sleep, I was getting desperate. I needed to sleep, and to sleep well. How happy I was when my husband and boys prayed over me one night. Immediately afterwards, I felt impressed to make myself a high protein snack complete with poppy seeds. I figured this was from God, and I ended up sleeping six and a half hours. Wow! 

As I went through the day, God got the praise. After all, He put the idea of the protein snack and poppy seeds in my mind. Somehow, however, I couldn't fathom the idea of a simple miracle...

Needless to say, the next time I went to bed, I had the same high protein snack with poppy seeds. My older son also prayed for me, but I had convinced myself that it had been the snack that had helped me to sleep well. Anyone surprised that I only slept about 3 hours that night? 

I don't know about you, but this is so typical for me. When I finally get what I've been praying for, I do give God some of the praise, at least for a while. But after a while, it becomes ordinary almost--ordinary! 

Samson had this problem. He was blessed with being the world's strongest man. I know that this term is not found in the Bible, but the facts speak clearly: Strong me of today cannot lift two entire city gates and their gateposts, and then transport them on their shoulders to the crest of a distant mountain (See Judges 16:3)! 

Of course Samson's strength was not of human origin. His parents had been told since before his conception that he was to be raised a "Nazirite", and his hair was never to be cut: "And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb..." (Judges 13:5). But did Samson really look to God as the source of his strength? 

Judges 16 tells the sad story of how Samson's girlfriend, Delilah, begged him to know the source of his strength. Three times Samson lied to her, and each time, Delilah had the enemy lying in wait to capture Samson as soon as his strength was broken. Why is it that Samson, after these three experiences that made her impure intentions very pure, went ahead and told her the truth? (See Judges 16:17).

The reason "why" is best answered in vs. 20: "So he awoke from his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!' But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him." (Judges 16:20). 

Samson was not afraid to tell Delilah his secret because he no longer believed that God was the source of his strength. He believed he could deliver himself! 

What can we do to "safeguard" ourselves from forgetting the source of our answered prayers?

We can learn from Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary.

Elizabeth had been barren her entire life. No doubt she had prayed fervently that God would give her a child, but by this time, she was past the time when women can conceive. Notice, however, what Elizabeth did as soon as she became pregnant: "Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months..." (Luke 1:24)

The Bible only gives one reason that she hid herself: "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on [me,] to take away my reproach among people." (Luke 1:24-25). Elizabeth recognized the hand of God on her life, and in hiding herself, she separated herself from everything that could possibly distract her. She had 100% time to praise God, to assure herself beyond a doubt that this was a miracle of God and no other source. 

Perhaps Samson could have learned some important lessons from Elizabeth. Perhaps, had he not become so "comfortable" with his strength that he forgot it was from God, perhaps he would have retained his eyes (See Judges 16:21-30).

And perhaps I, too, could learn some lessons from Elizabeth. Perhaps if I had spent some quiet time praising God for the six and a half hours of sleep, I would have given God the complete praise instead of putting it on the protein drink with poppy seeds. 

So what should we do in the face of a miracle?

We need to follow Elizabeth's example and spend some quiet, alone time with God, giving Him the praise and the glory, and we need to never, ever try and attribute the miracle to any other source but God. 

Join us next Saturday to see how this excellent lesson helped me with something more important than temporary sleep problems... 

In His love,
Lyn

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

Post  Admin on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 7:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 25, 2016
Biblical Paradoxes, Part 4

By Answers2Prayer 
 Finally today, we come to the concluding part of our series on the Biblical Paradoxes:...

Conspicuous...

"...For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10)

What do Christians do when they are buffeted by Satan-driven storms or troubled by a Satanic "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor 12:7) paradoxically permitted by our Lord Himself sometimes for own spiritual welfare? The answer is as simple as it is spontaneous. Hang on oh so much more closely to the Lord who gives us -- even the weaklings -- the strength to endure the ordeal. Is He not after all the vine and we the branches (John 15:1-5), who get the "spiritual strength" (Eph 3:16-17) from Him and Him alone? Now what would be effect of all these (we patiently enduring what the devil throws at us) on the watching World? Salutary? Yes, for it would be clear as crystal to them that we are being sustained by His infinite power (and not by our limited strength) and some souls like the Philippian Jailer may be won over to the Lord (Acts 16:16-34).
 
Cede...

"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt 16:25)

And when it finally comes to the crunch! After our time is up on Earth and we have completed all of the divinely ordained purposes in our life (John 21:15-19) and martyrdom with all its attendant implications of physical agony looms before us. What is going to be our response or rather what ought to be our response? Thankfully we should accept martyrdom all for His glory (Romans 14:8) fully believing all along that "sunset" (our end) in one place is "sunrise" (a glorious beginning) in the other. Incidentally, if our martyrdom inspires some brethren, strengthening their faith, then so be it. Didn't somebody say "aspire to inspire, even when you expire"? By the way, how can a Christian discern, his time is up and it is time to cede to his killers without any struggle? The indwelling Holy Spirit is the teacher in all matters including this dicey issue (2 Peter 1:14).

Finally, for those who are willing to lay their life at the altar, the reward by way of a Crown promised is not one of incorruptibility (1 Cor 9:25) or rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19) or glory (1 Peter 5:4) or righteousness (2 Tim 4:8); but paradoxically, the one of Life (Rev 2:10). Hallelujah!!! No wonder that great martyr Jim Elliot observed, "He is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose." Hallelujah...
 
Prayer: Father, even in death enable us to bring You honor and glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 24 Feb 2016, 11:50 pm

[size=40]Welcome to the Nugget[/size]

February 23, 2016

Don't Strike Back



 
I think the word 'Fox' became very popular after the brothers from Norway put a significant effort of making a groovy song, 'What does the Fox say?' Now the word 'Fox' in Norwegian simply means Marijuana, and I assume if anyone takes the 'fox', they goringa-dinga-ringa-dinga, but let's not get too much into that song or its appealing music. In the internet world, 'fox' also means an attractive woman. It is always interesting to know and to learn that there are quite a lot of metaphors used to express and widely communicate. 

Now you may ask why 'Fox' has become the centre of our devotional.

To understand it better let's read Nehemiah 4:3: "Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, 'What they are building--even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!'" 

Nehemia,h who heard from God, had initiated the work to repair the desolated walls of Jerusalem. At first he found favour in the eyes of the King, and then he was released to do the work what God intended him to do. In Nehemiah chapter 2 he takes the second step to inspect the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:12 says: "I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem." He was just satisfied with what he heard from God. He did not heed to any man's opinion or schemes. With much spirit and boldness Nehemiah instructs the builders to rebuild the wall but there strikes the opposition to the reconstruction.

Tobiah, who was at his side, insults him by saying: "if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!" 

Here are some interesting Fox Facts:

A fox's den is normally a burrow underground. The sharp, high pitched screaming noise can sound very terrifying. Apparently a fox weighs between 12-14kgs. 

The scenario is much beyond humiliation, embarrassment and insult. Now the questions to ask are: Can a 12-14 kg animal bring down a wall of stones? Can a Fox destroy a wall that was asked to build by the Almighty God? No, absolutely not! He is a powerful God. 

Nehemiah could have easily retaliated and fought against Tobiah's words of insult. He could have easily proved that Tobiah was wrong that he could not merely do anything. 

But what touched my heart was that Nehemiah did not retaliate. Rather in vs 4 we read that he went back to God and prayed, "Hear us O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads." (Nehemiah 2:4)

Take away:

Do you have times at your office, school, college or even at church where people insult you, humiliate you to the core and you are smacked by scoffers? Don't strike back! All that you have to do is get back to God and pray for those who insult you. The Lord will turn it in your favour. Nehemiah always prayed, "Remember me with favour O my God!" I think that should be our heart beat. Cheer up! Because God's favour is on you!

Thanks, 
Sam


 

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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 11:43 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 20, 2016
New Wineskins

By Answers2Prayer 
  There are few people in this world as stuck in their ways as I am. If you want to see my usual carefree, happy-go-lucky spirit morphed into a ball of anxiety and stress, then simply mention the word "change."

This has been particularly bad this winter. It seems that the winter storms are always scheduled to arrive when I have plans. Now I do respect the dangers of being on the road during a storm; but rather than let it change my plans, I simply decide to drive accordingly. My husband, on the other hand, cancels all plans. It's true that the automobile club and the regional police side with him; but I can't help but remember how many times we've end up staying at home, only to find that the weatherman blew everything out of proportion. 

Last weekend a major storm was predicted to dump our region with 30 cm of snow, beginning early Sunday afternoon. My son needed to get back to university that afternoon, and I needed to take my mom for her monthly shopping. When my husband mentioned to me the night before that our plans might have to be changed because of the storm, I was irked; and when nary a flake was falling from the sky Sunday morning, I was already stubbornly putting down my foot when God began to speak to me about annoying things such as flexibility and submission to those in authority over me. 

In the end, we cancelled going to church, my husband took charge of getting my son on the bus headed to university, and I took my mom for her monthly shopping in the morning. How frustrated I was when the storm didn't hit until early Monday morning. We missed church for--nothing? 

It was only later that I learned the storm hit hard in the university town where my son lives about an hour after his bus arrived... 

On Wednesday of that same week, the weatherman began predicting another major storm for the upcoming weekend. When my husband wondered if we would need to cancel three medical appointments that we had on Saturday, my ire skyrocketed. 

God's response? He simply asked me if I thought that He was no longer on His throne...In other words, if the medical appointments were meant to happen on Saturday, He would make a way; but either way, the worry wasn't mine to carry. 

As it turned out, we were able to attend all three appointments, no storm. 

That same evening, the Weather Network began predicting an ice storm for Sunday, and my husband began talking about the potential dangers of going the church the next morning, as well as for taking my mom for her weekly shopping afterwards. 

I apparently have a very short memory, for my stress again escalated. That's when God began speaking to me in earnest: "no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, 'The old is better.'" (Luke 5:36-39, NIV2)

The meaning was clear to me. While God was giving me "new wine" (read "winter storm"), I was busy trying to pour it into an "old wineskin" (read "Stubbornly sticking to my 'plans'"), and I was stating loudly to anyone who would hear that "the old is better." Meanwhile, God's "new wine" would "bust the skins;" the "wine" would "run out" and the "wineskins" would be "ruined." 

I saw it clearly then: It wasn't about whether or not we went to church, it was about me learning that God is God, even when the circumstances don't go my way, even when "I" can't see the end from the beginning. I have a new prayer today, and I pray anyone who can relate to my inflexibility and my problems with change will pray this prayer with me: 

God, help me to stop fighting change. Help me, instead, to surrender to Your will, ever understanding that You are still God, that You see the end from the beginning when I do not. Help me to stop stressing over change and instead, to begin embracing that "new wine" by pouring it into "new wineskins." 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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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 12:05 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 18, 2016
Biblical Paradoxes, Part 3
bible
By Answers2Prayer 

Today, we come to third part of our series on "Biblical Paradoxes"...

Church...

"…Be innocent babies when it comes to planning evil, but be men of intelligence in understanding matters of this kind."  (1 Cor 14:20 (22)

Oh yes, there has to be awe and spontaneity in worshipping the Almighty, but all in the name of exercising diverse gifts of the Holy Spirit in worshipping the Creator, there was virtual bedlam in the Corinthian Church. So the Apostle Paul gets down to some serious business of instilling order in their worship. All of the 14th Chapter in his first epistle to the Corinthian Church is devoted to worshipping the God of order (1 Cor 14:33) in an orderly way. The above-captioned paradoxical Scripture is the punch line to his argument of maintaining order in a Church service. 

By the way Church leader, is there order in your Church service? Needless to say, striking the balance between spontaneity and systematic sequence in the order of service is the key to effective worship.
 
Charity...

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24)
 
Now how is this possible? One steeped in human rationale may ask for in the worldly realm, the more you save, the greater your savings, the fatter your bank balance and so on and so forth? Let me herald the fact that impossible is possible only with God (Matt 19:26). Now hear this testimony from the horse's mouth (Yours truly): When I was about to quit a lucrative, highly-paid job to take up full-time spiritual ministry in answer to the Master's call ten years ago, several questions popped up in my mind with regard to my future charity. I was also supporting some Christian ministries financially when I was holding a job. Would or could I continue doing the same being a full-timer also was a question which creased my forehead before I took that "leap of faith"? Truth to tell, by His Grace and empowerment alone, my financial support to Christian ministries increased much more after coming into Full-time Ministry. Why? Did I solicit funds and get them? Never! The Lord provides faithfully by "stirring up the hearts of men" (Exodus 35:21--the cornerstone verse of George Muller's peerless orphanage ministry). Oh yes, a Christian's Bank balance at the end of the day may not be "overflowing", but his spirit will become richer with time, even as his "Heavenly Bank account" will be swelling (Matt 6:19-20). In Ministry, the golden rule is: "If you run after Jesus, all the needed resources come 'chasing' you." But tragically, if one runs after money, he would eventually find himself stranded "high and dry" (1 Tim 6:9). Shipwrecked...ah that's the word!
 
When it comes to Charity, we can be either like clean waters of a "flowing river" or like that of a dirty, stagnant pond...perfect hoarders...opps sorry, I mean perfect haven for mosquito breeding (sic).
 
Prayer: Father, transform us into Your channels of blessing to the World, so that watching crowds would discern Your love flowing through us into them. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 18 Feb 2016, 12:03 am

Welcome to the Nugget
February 16, 2016
Watching the Sun Come Up

By Answers2Prayer 
  If you have never taken the time to watch the sun come up in the morning then you really should do so. It is so good for the soul. You need to go out early when the night sky is still dark and full of stars. Then find yourself a comfortable place to stand or sit and take it all in. 

The black sky will slowly begin to transform into a dark blue while the dimmer stars and then the brighter ones fade from view. Then as the air warms the blue will begin to lighten and red, pink, and purple clouds will magically appear. It will look like God is finger painting them Himself as they float across the sky. And just as you finish welcoming this beauty into your heart the sky will change again. The blue will turn to orange and then yellow and you will find yourself transfixed as the sun slowly climbs over the horizon and showers the world with its light. Next the birds will begin to awaken in their nests. Some will sing with joy and others will take to the sky, flying through the heavens and taking your spirit along for the ride. And as you watch them the morning breeze will kiss your face while it makes the leaves dance and the trees wave. Few people can watch something this miraculous without feeling blessed with peace and without feeling loved by our Heavenly Father.

Take the time to watch the sun come up every chance you can then. Keep it shining in your soul too all the day through. Be a sunrise unto yourself as well. Send your light when you pray, laugh, and sing. Spread your light when you stretch out your fingers to offer a helping hand to another. Scatter your light when you offer your smile, your kindness, and your compassion to others. Shine your light when you connect to the glorious energy of love and share it with the world. Do the good you were meant to do. Be the person God meant for you to be. Live the life you were meant to live. Be a giver of God's light in this world and in the next.

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-16)

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Feb 2016, 12:26 am

Welcome to the Nugget

February 13, 2016
Ultimate Rest, Part 6

By Answers2Prayer 
     In this series, we have seen that our ultimate rest comes from resting in Jesus, from giving Him all of our problems, our worries, our cares. But as we've seen through a study of the conquest of Canaan, this doesn't necessarily mean all of our problems will simply be removed. We have seen that God sometimes leaves "Canaanites" in our lives in order to teach us powerful lessons in trust, in submission, in humility and in faith. 

To conclude this series, I would like to go back to the book of Hebrews, chapter 4:

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Heb 4:1-3)

Notice that in the first line of this chapter, there is a warning to anyone who does not enter into his rest: "Let us therefore fear, lest...any of you should seem to come short of it." 

Take note that there are consequences for not entering into our ultimate rest in Jesus. We also see that it is not necessarily an automatic thing to receive rest in Jesus, it is a gift that we have to accept and put into practice in our lives. 

What is it that keeps us from entering our ultimate rest in Jesus? The text is clear: "but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." (Heb 4:2). 

Let's remember that Israel could have entered the Promised Land about 40 years earlier than they did. The reason they did not do so was simply because of their lack of faith in God. They became scared by the reports of the Canaanites, the walled cities, the giants in the land. They forgot the miraculous Exodus. They forgot the miracles of food and water in the wilderness. All they could see was the negative reports of the spies: "'Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South...'" (Numbers 13:28)

The good news is this: "For we which have believed do enter into rest..." (Heb 4:3). The difference in being able to enter into our ultimate rest in Jesus or having to stay out and possibly even being penalized for not entering in is one simple word: Believe. "We which have believed do enter into rest..." 

This doesn't mean that God will simply remove every obstacle. Remember that Israel had to fight those walled cities and giants, and even after the miraculous initial conquest, God still left nations in Canaan for Israel to continue to expel. Instead, God uses these obstacles to draw us to Him, to teach us how to trust, to grow us in our courage and our faith so that when even bigger obstacles come our way, we will not despair, but we will remain in our rest. 

So here we find ourselves, standing at the edge of the proverbial Jordan River. We know that God has promised us ultimate victory and rest, but all we can see are the "walled cities" and the "giants" (read trials, fear, persecution, illness, relationship issues, addictions, etc). We have the choice of putting our trust in God and Him alone and entering into that rest, ever trusting Him to subdue each of our giants. Or we have the choice of staying out. But in so doing, we will never enter into our ultimate rest...

Please join me in resolving to: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt 11:28-30).

If you have missed any of this series, please click here: Ultimate Rest; or if you do not have access to the Internet, please email me here


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:

Does the Bible seem to be full of absurd or contradictory statements and propositions? Not sure how to explain them? Join us on Thursdays in February for "Biblical Paradoxes", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 12 Feb 2016, 9:40 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 11, 2016
Biblical Paradoxes, Part 2
By Answers2Prayer
Now coming to the second part of our Series on Biblical paradoxes...

Comforter...

"...The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:31)

Now this is a paradox that that has to be experienced to be believed, for "fear" and "comfort" are not in the worldly logical sense "bedfellows". However, in a Christian's life, the Comforter--the Holy Spirit (John 14:16 KJV)--which the Saviour, sends into believer's heart at the point of the latter's regeneration, instilling a healthy balance between "Reverential fear towards God" (Isaiah 11:2) and "Heavenly Comfort" (Gal 5:22-23). Yes, there is ever-abiding fear of stirring up divine wrath and facing the consequences thereof in a Christian's heart, which acts as a deterrent to licentious living, but at the same time, there is Heavenly joy that at once makes walking in God-honoring ways "as burdensome as flying is to a bird or swimming is to a fish". Oh, the Master's yoke is light indeed (Matt 11:28)!

Where there is the Christ-sent Holy Spirit, there is neither legalism nor license (both extreme forms of behavior), but only liberty! Hallelujah!
 
Character...

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matt 10:16) 

Is a Holy Christian really a combination of a serpent and a dove? A spiritual "Jekyll and Hyde"!...the uninitiated on the subject are perfectly entitled to question...permit me to add here...even with a loud, protesting voice. Before we take even one proverbial step forward, I would like all the rationalists to focus on the Saviour's word choice of "wise" in connection with the Serpent. Is there any mention of "poison" there? Not by a long shot. Let's also understand that these words were spoken in the context of a Christian's evangelistic ministry outside the Church, where he is bound to come across several dangers to his life and limb. What does an earless snake do on sensing the forest floor's vibrations triggered by an approaching herd of wild buffalos or elephants? It instantly seek the refuge of the rocks or the safety of its pit. Likewise, Christian's are supposed to have their "ear to the ground" on approaching dangers, and pro-actively "flee" danger (Matt 10:23). 

Let the Scripture speak for itself in connection with wise Paul's danger-evading tactics... 

"When many days had passed, the Jews[ plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket." (Acts 9:23-25) 

Was the Apostle "spitting venom" at the plotters of his life? No, he merely, like a "wise" serpent, evaded danger. Add to that his non-retaliatory, peaceful Dovelike posture towards his foes, and the picture of "being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove" emerges with no shades of grey. Hey, a dove has no gall bladder, hence there would be no release of "bitter bile" into its circulatory system at any time. It is this "bitter bile" that causes irritation or anger in other avian species, or for that matter, in mammals,including humans. 

Now let's address two related "bigger" questions...

a) Why do dangers come visiting the Evangelists who are trying to rescue souls lost in the darkness?

b) Should a "bold" Christian flee danger in the manner of a serpent?

Firstly question one...at this stage, it would serve us well to recall the words of the Shepherd David, recorded in 1 Sam 17:34-35 (NIV) which goes thus:

"But David said to Saul, 'Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me...'"
 
Friend, when you are trying to deliver the souls from the "jaws" of the "roaring lion" Satan (I Peter 5:8), what else can be expected other than a fierce attack from your adversary? Cheer up, even while being like David in trusting God to protect you, be sure to use your God-given wisdom to ward off danger. 

This begs the second question...as paradoxical as it can get, some may well say...Should a "bold-like Lion" Christian flee danger? 

Yes, especially when his "time" on Earth is not "up" (even for Christ's death on the cross was there not an appointed time? -- John 7:30/8:20), and he is to yet yield fully "dividends" on his Master's "heavy investments" on him. Let it be said that from the time of a Christian's salvation brought about by priceless the sacrifice of the Saviour (1 Peter 1:18-19), the Redeemer starts "investing" in the saved one by constantly showering them with His inestimable love and patience, all with an aim of shaping him up into a Christ-like, supremely useful vessel (2 Tim 2:20-21)...to be used fruitfully for His glory. Should a child of God with a stupid, reckless "hara-kiri" mindset contemplate "exiting" this World just to have the "halo of a martyr" before he has accomplished all of the Divine purposes in his life? No way! It would be akin to burying one's "talents" in arousing the Master's anger (Matt 25:24-30). Make no mistake: if we are going to live on His terms, it follows that we have to die on His terms only (Romans 14:7-8).

Prayer: Father, enable us to yield abundant fruit in return to all the faithful and patient "gardening", You have done on our souls. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries
Announcement:

The book of Job has many valuable lessons to teach us. Over the past two years, several studies have been published in the Nugget on the book of Job. If you have missed any of these studies, please click here, and may God bless you abundantly as you learn the valuable lessons God has to teach us in this thought-provoking book.  
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Feb 2016, 6:51 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 9, 2016
Deliverance Through...Knowledge!

By Answers2Prayer
  There are certain things that we know that we know that we know. We know that spring will eventually come. We know the sun will come up in the morning and go down at night. We know that a bed or a couch will hold us up. We know that if we are hungry, food will satisfy us. We simply do not doubt these things. 

Why?

Because we've experienced them. We've acquired a knowledge about them. 

What about the promises in the Bible? When we read them, are we just as sure that they are true? Can we rely on them in the same way we rely on the fact that the sun will come up in the morning and go down at night? Or do we tend to think, "Hum...That verse must not have been written for me because God just isn't coming through in that way..." 

Maybe you've been praying for a financial miracle or for a miracle of healing, or maybe you are waiting for God to pour out to you that "abundant life" that Jesus promised. These things are all promised in the Bible, and yes, you believe; but it just doesn't seem to be happening. Maybe that promise isn't for you. Maybe you've been "cut off". Maybe you've done something really bad and God won't--or can't--bless you in this way. But what have you done? Aren't we forgiven by the blood of Jesus?

And the doubt continue to flow.

Proverbs 11 gives us an interesting bit of insight: "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered." (Prov 11:9, NKJV)

Did you catch what will deliver the righteous? Knowledge! Our knowledge of God will deliver us!

Knowledge is a word that we use regularly, but out of curiosity, I looked up a quick definition on Wikipedia: "Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something...which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning." 

Thus, knowledge isn't something that we are born with. It's something we have to work to have. Therefore, our deliverance isn't just a gift of God. It comes through knowledge, which we have to work to receive. 

According to the above Wikipedia definition, we acquire knowledge through experience or education, which comes from perceiving, discovering and learning. 

In other words, our knowledge of God is what delivers us, and this knowledge must be acquired through our experience in perceiving, discovering and learning about God. It comes from perceiving His presence, recognizing where He is at work, learning about Him through His Word, through His past record, and discovering personally how He is at work in our lives. It comes from a deep-rooted desire in our hearts to want to know Him more.

What does this mean for us in the face of these promises of the Bible that seem to be passing us by?

Simply this: We are delivered from our trouble by our knowledge. If it seems that God isn't keeping His promises, it is because we simply have not acquired the knowledge necessary to see things through His eyes.

Let's put it more simply. While camping last summer in the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan, my husband and I spent hours doing one of his favorite activities: Hiking in the dunes.

Now I don't dislike hiking in the dunes, but I certainly don't like going three steps forward, only to slide back two-and-a-half, and as we hiked through those seemingly-endless miles of shifting sand, I found myself looking down, keeping my eye out for--Rocks!

Why? 

Because I had a knowledge about rocks. My past experience told me that a rock would not slide out from under my foot, and by stepping on rocks, I would expend a lot less energy. There was no doubt in my mind because of my past experience, my knowledge of rocks.

We are told many times in the Bible that God is our Rock (See Ps. 18:2, 31, 19:14, 28:1, 31:2, 42:4, 78:35, 89:26, 61:2,6,7, etc.). The question is, have we acquired the knowledge that God is our Rock? Have we ever experienced Him as our rock? If we have, then we can be assured that our knowledge of God as our Rock will deliver us. But if we have never taken the time or effort to acquire that knowledge of God, then when we read promises in the Bible, we will be faced with doubts such as, "This couldn't have been written for me;" or "I must have fallen out of God's grace, because..." 

With an acquired knowledge of God, however, we will look at our seemingly hopeless situations and say, "I know that this promise is for me. I choose to stand upon the unmoving Rock of my Lord and Savior."

Having doubts about God? 

Maybe it's time to begin to work on acquiring that knowledge about Him, because whenever there are doubts about God, it is because we simply are ignorant of Him. 

Oh, and if you don't particularly like walking in sand, seek out those rocks! 

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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Feeling burnt-out? Stressed-out? Unable to go on? Like there is no rest in sight? Join us on Saturday for the concluding edition of "Ultimate Rest", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 11:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

February 6, 2016
Ultimate Rest, Part 5

By Answers2Prayer 
  Last week, in "Ultimate Rest" Part 4, I told the story of how God delivered me from one addiction, but left me struggling with the other for many, many years. Just like in the initial conquest of Canaan, God had left some "remaining nations," and through this continuous struggle, I learned what it means to totally rest in Jesus. 

Today's lesson is yet another example of how leaving behind the nations in Canaan was all part of God's plan: "See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the nations I defeated." (Joshua 23:4)

When I had my very first Oncology visit and was told by my Oncologist that the risk of me redeveloping cancer was very small, I understood how Israel felt after the conquest of Canaan: God had completely delivered me from my "enemy", cancer, and I was free to possess my ultimate rest from worry about this menace that had so uninvitedly invaded my life. 

My second Oncology visit also came and went, and then the third, complete with its now-yearly (thanks, cancer!) mammogram, all with the same message: I was cancer-free. 

As I approached my fourth oncology visit, roughly 18 months after my diagnosis of cancer, I began noticing some strange health symptoms. Concerned, I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, there was a very slight chance it could be a sign of return of cancer. My oncologist assured me the chances were slim indeed; however, just to be on the safe side, I was to go for some tests. 

Wait a minute, God, when you healed me of cancer, wasn't that a complete healing? Why these strange symptoms?

Sure enough, the test results were negative, I was still cancer free. 

As visit number five approached, I had to go for yet another mammogram. Imagine my shock when they called me back in for a repeat mammo and ultrasound. 

Why, God! Why all these scares?

It's about that time that God showed me the Truth in Joshua 23:4: When God gave Israel the land of Canaan, He didn't drive out ALL of the Canaanites..."See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations..." (Joshua 23:4). Instead, He promised to continue to drive them out. "...The LORD your God will drive them out from before you and remove them, so you can occupy their land as the LORD your God promised you." (Josh 23:5).

After working these verses into my spirit for a few days, I began to understand. God had promised complete and total deliverance, but He hadn't promised it would be all at once. There would still be "canaanites" (read cancer-related worries) that I would have to deal with; but through these, He promised to "...drive them out from before and remove them, so can occupy land as the Lord God promised ."

When I finally got the results of the repeat mammogram and ultrasound, the news was, in general, very positive; yet there was still room left for doubt, for the results were not completely conclusive. I now have to go for ultrasound follow-up in 6 months, and I was assure that I would probably always have questionable mammographic results. 

As I contemplated this, I realized that this was a "remaining nation." For a moment, I was tempted to be discouraged. Then I remembered the rest of the verse: "...The Lord your God will drive them out from before you and remove them..."

Why didn't God just heal me once and for all?

I believe it is because He still has lessons of faith to teach me. He wants me to realize that in the same way I learned to trust Him through cancer, I can trust Him through these scares as well; and more than that, I can trust Him through every single problem that life throws my way. 

That promise isn't just for me, but for each one of you. Let's resolve together to put each and every problem back in His hands and let Him carry us through, for isn't He our Rock?

"from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy." (Ps 61:2,3) 

Please join us next week for the conclusion of "Ultimate Rest."

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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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:58 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
February 4, 2016
Biblical Paradoxes, Part 1
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By Answers2Prayer Subscribe Unsubscribe Devotionals Contact us
Before focusing upon the Biblical paradoxes, let's focus upon what the Oxford Dictionary has to say about the word "Paradox". It defines the same as "a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true." Are there paradoxical statements in the Bible? Hmmm...many, but in this series of 5 parts, I want to train my spotlight on only eight of them. Firstly...

Commandments...

"Now the law came in to increase the trespass..." (Romans 5:21)

Talk of automobile accidents increasing after introduction of traffic laws...is this probable? Well, the Mosaic Law given at Mount Sinai to the Israelites, redeemed from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 20), aroused all kinds of forbidden desires in them when brought in contact with their inherent, rebellious Adamic nature. Now let an erstwhile rabid Jew explain his predicament, we pick up action from Romans 7:7-8 (TLB). Over to Apostle Paul...

"Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil? Of course not! No, the law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known the sin in my heart--the evil desires that are hidden there--if the law had not said, 'You must not have evil desires in your heart.' But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong, and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me!"
 
Laws of God coupled with man's innate fallen, sinful nature (inherited from the first breakers of Law--mind you sin is lawlessness...1 John 3:4) makes for an explosive mix. Talk of mixing gasoline with fire...

The "paradoxical" attitude of the Israelites at the same Mount Sinai (they hadn't moved an inch) after receipt of the Laws on one occasion, is proof (if proof is needed) that Divine Laws aimed at man's welfare and his rebellious nature do not belong to the "made for each other" genre. Let the Scripture take over...

"So they were up early the next morning and began offering burnt offerings and peace offerings to the calf idol; afterwards they sat down to feast and drink at a wild party, followed by sexual immorality." (Exodus 32:6) 

Now how's that for a "Rev Party"! If the Law itself leads to death...where exactly is the solution? Let the same, hitherto Jewish fundamentalist named Saul answer it (after he became a Christian, he was christened Paul)...

"Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." (Romans 7:25 NLT) 

Well, then how did Christ the Saviour accomplish it? To save us from our own wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), as it were? Through the "heart transplantation process" beginning with the work completed at the Cross! Welcome to yet another Biblical paradox...

Cross...

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil..." (Heb 2:14)

Now this is how renowned JFB Commentary captures the essence of the above-captioned Scripture portion...

"...that through death--which He could not have undergone as God but only by becoming man. Not by Almighty power but by His death (so the Greek) He overcame death. 'Jesus suffering death overcame; Satan wielding death succumbed' . As David cut off the head of Goliath with the giant's own sword wherewith the latter was wont to win his victories."

By His death, He overcame death...ah those are the key operative "paradoxical" words. Virtually there was "victory" at apparent "defeat". Where Christ's life obviously "ended" at the Cross in the eyes of His earthly enemies, a "new" journey of God's redemptive Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) had begun of saving countless from the clutches of sin. 

All those who believe and accept the Saving Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) are given a "new heart". But isn't this unfair for God to let sinners go free, and say that they are innocent? No, for He does it on the basis of their trust in Jesus who took away their sins...who has already "been punished" on their behalf (Romans 3:26 TLB). 

At the imminent rapture, what would happen conclusively to all those who have accepted God's plan of Salvation in Christ and are living "new lives" (Romans 10:8-10/2 Cor 5:17)?

Let Apostle Paul explain this matter of "life and death"...here he touches upon the "Law-Sin-Death-Saviour's Victory at the Cross" connection: "O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin--the sting that causes death--will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (1 Cor 15:55-57 TLB). 

So how is it that "obedience to God", which was so burdensome to the Jews (Acts 15:10-11), is not so to Christians? Enter yet another paradox...which we shall focus upon in Part 2 of this series.

Prayer: Father, You have saved us from our own wicked selves by transferring the punishment due to us to Thy sinless Son. For this and for sustaining us in our Spiritual walk we praise Thee in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 03 Feb 2016, 11:44 pm

Welcome to the Nugget


February 2, 2016
Five Ways to Overcome Heartache

By Answers2Prayer 
  Are you kidding? Is there such a thing as to actually overcome heartache, the pain that sears at night, and aches during the day?

Hubby held his blue jeans above the clothes hamper. "Be sure to put them in the dryer," he said.
I grinned. Times prior, after washing them, I had just let them air dry. Bad move because the material ended up kind of stiff.

Of course they did. The hot air in the dryer is what prevented them from being stiff. The fabric softener gave them a nice scent and the tossing round and round made them soft. "They'll go in the dryer, big boy," I said.

Blue jeans and I have gone through a familiar adventure. Have you? At times, we go through life, kind of happy, facing no serious problems, no deep heartache or devastation. And goodness gracious, that was me. And I wouldn't admit this to anyone but only to you, dear faithful readers of my blog. In my superficial happy life, I had become a bit stiff with pride, thinking life was in my control.

Then like a sudden wave, I ended up facing heartache. I asked myself what happened. How did it happen?

I think lots of people have gone through this same cycle. Maybe you have, too. And to our surprise, we realize that the heat of adversity, the emotional tossing and the high temperature of pain are precisely the needed thing to soften a hardened heart.

But we all fight it, don't we? We opt for the easy way out of any discomfort we experience. We'd rather just hang dry and hope that the answers, healing and triumph would appear.

But God has a divine way. It may be allowing the heat to increase. Could it be because that is the only way for us to soften enough to receive His healing? It may be the only way for our life to be refined and give off that sweet fragrance, pleasing to Him.

Here are five reminders to help you overcome heartache by enduring the necessary heat:

1. Know the grief is temporary.
2. Each trial has a purpose.
3. Each turn or tumble is a test of faith.
4. The reward comes after the refinement.
5. Although the heat may be unbearable, glory will come through.

God said: "...though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, these have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 16:8)

Father, I ask you to show me how to face each trial, each heartache as a teaching tool to refine my soul. May you find me shining as gold because of your power at work in me. I thank you for the faith to endure, the patience to wait, and the hope to heal. In Jesus's name, amen.

* What heartache are you facing today?
* Is the heat of heartache refining you or is it causing resentment instead?
* How deep is your faith that you will indeed overcome your heartache?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration. 
 
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Does the Bible seem to be full of absurd or contradictory statements and propositions? Not sure how to explain them? Join us on Thursdays in February for "Biblical Paradoxes", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 11:29 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 30, 2016
Ultimate Rest, Part 4

By Answers2Prayer   Last week, in "Ultimate Rest," Part 3, we saw that God purposefully left some Canaanites in Israel. He didn't drive them all out in the initial conquest, and in so doing, he worked a little "test of faith" into the system. It is only when we are under temptation and trials of various kinds that we learn to fully rely on God, that we learn the importance of standing firm and putting on the full armor of God. 

But what does this look like in practical terms?

Having been raised a Christian, I don't necessarily remember the exact day I accepted Jesus into my heart. What I do remember with all clarity, however, is the day I was filled with God's Spirit. Prior to this time I had been struggling with two major addictions. I had tried everything by my own efforts to overcome these, for I knew they were both wrong, but to no avail. The day I was filled with God's Spirit, the addiction that I considered to be the worst just fell away, and to this day, 20 years later, I have not even been tempted a single time to go back. It was exactly like the initial conquest of Canaan: Miraculously wiped out completely, never to return. 

The other addiction was a different story. Just like God left some of the Canaanites in Canaan after the initial conquest, He did not remove this second addiction immediately. In fact, 20 years later, it was a temptation I continued to struggle with many times a day. Did God give me victory? Yes, eventually He did. But that is another story. Before the day of my ultimate deliverance, what God gave me was the strength to overcome, to say "no," to stand firm. Nonetheless, the temptation always returned, stronger than ever, and more often than I'd like to admit, I stumbled and fell. In fact, He did not give me complete deliverance from this addiction until last year.

So why didn't God just deliver me from this addiction when He delivered me from the first one? 

That's a question I had asked myself multiple times over the years; and the only logical answer is that God was using this addiction to teach me important lessons that I might never have otherwise learned. 

What was God teaching me? 

1. The importance of temperance
2. That I cannot be temperate on my own
3. The value of total reliance on God
4. To take every thought captive in obedience to Him
5. The beauty of His forgiveness and grace the times I fall
6. How to give all of my problems to God
7. How to achieve ultimate rest in Jesus.

And there are many, many more lessons that I learned through this addiction, including the secret to ultimate deliverance! But that's another story. The question I have now is this: Would I have ever learned these valuable lessons, had it not been for the fact that He left a "Canaanite" in my life? Would I have ever learned what it meant to achieve ultimate rest?

Probably not, for it is only through the daily victories that God gave me that I learned that ultimate rest isn't simply something that is given to me. It is something I have to learn, to value, to accept as mine, and to make an ultimate priority.

Through the "Canaanite" God left in my "Canaan," I have also learned that God is faithful and trustworthy enough to carry my problems as well. By learning to leave my addiction in His hands, I have also learned to leave all my troubles with Him. I have truly learned what it means to, "Take my Yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul." (Matt 11:28).

Join us next week for another practical example of how the conquest of Canaan gives us tools for achieving our ultimate rest in Jesus: "Ultimate Rest," Part 5. 

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
 
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Does the Bible seem to be full of absurd or contradictory statements and propositions? Not sure how to explain them? Join us on Thursdays in February for "Biblical Paradoxes", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 4:31 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 28, 2016
For Sure

By Answers2Prayer 
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)

It definitely looked like winter...the foliage was off the trees, the bushes were bare, and things looked rather dead. Yep, wintertime. 

What was going on in the physical realm seemed to parallel what was going on in the spiritual realm with me. I couldn't help but think about the analogy and how I felt as though I were in the dead of winter. 

Probably it is just a dry phase, I figured. Farmers would probably agree that crops have to have a rest. They can't grow continually all the time; they have to rotate their crops and fields. Growing and activity take energy, so in between it is critical there is a resting phase if we want good results.

Several years ago there was a popular song, called The Rose.* An excerpt from the lyrics: "love, it is a flower, and you its only seed. Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes the rose."

If you are in a dry, resting place like wintertime, let me encourage you that spring is coming. For sure.

Thank you Lord.

Sally I. Kennedy

*by Amanda McBroom, popularized by Bette Midler 

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Feeling burnt-out? Stressed-out? Unable to go on? Like there is no rest in sight? Join us on Saturdays in January for "Ultimate Rest", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 11:46 pm

Welcome to the Nugget


January 26, 2016
Truth and Nothing but the Truth: A New Years' Message for 2016, Part 4

By Answers2Prayer 
  Today in the concluding part of series on truth in each of the three cardinal Christian doctrines, today we shall focus on the truth regarding...

Glorification...

"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows." (Matt 24:36)

Be gone date-setters of Christ's second coming, for the truth that no one knows the date (I Thess 5:1-2) has set us free from believing your lies and indulging in many probable hypocritical actions. Out of sheer love for the Master, we are called to live freely a sincere God-honoring life day in and day out without putting up a mask of a Mother Teresa and participating in Charity, which would be the case in the case of many if the date of II Coming were to be publicly known. Quite often, the date-setters trigger several feigned acts of charity amongst their gullible followers.

Even though we do not know the exact date of our Lord's return, is it really on the anvil? Let's consider this Scripture portion in this context...

"When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day." (Matt 24:37)

What then were conspicuous by their presence during Noah's day? Violence and Corruption...ladies and gentlemen (Gen 6:11)! Are we not greeted by terrible news of escalating violence and corruption in the media almost daily? 

Well, when the sin has fully ripened and is worthy of punishment (Gen 15:16), the fair God would then unleash His righteous judgment upon this wicked generation like He did during Noah's time. God took the righteous solitary family of Noah completely out of the “harm’s wayâ€Â. The same, unchanging God (Psalm 102:27/Heb 13:8) can do likewise in taking the "preservative salt" (read the Church with the Holy Spirit – Matt 5:13/2 Thess 2:7) out of the picture before unleashing the seven years of horrific tribulation upon this morally depraved World (Rev 6-19). Now this truth should "set free" a Christian's tongue in proclaiming a loud Hallelujah! 

As for those who have not yet trusted Christ yet but want to be found "in Him" (Romans 8:1), well it's time to come out of fetters of trying to please God through futile human efforts and embrace Christ the truth Himself (John 14:6) and His righteousness which He is ready to impute to you free of cost. If you do it, without any further delay, then truly speaking a joyous, revelatory new year would follow!!!

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 24 Jan 2016, 9:41 pm

Welcome to the Nugget

January 23, 2016
Ultimate Rest, Part 3
By Answers2Prayer 
  Last week, in "Ultimate Rest," Part 2, we saw that through the story of the initial conquest of Canaan, God teaches us that our ultimate rest comes only when we put our trust in Jesus Christ--for salvation, for deliverance, for strength, for freedom from worry, for everything. 

When we read through the story of the initial conquest, however, we see that God only drove out part of the nations: "See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the nations I defeated. The LORD your God will drive them out from before you and remove them, so you can occupy their land as the LORD your God promised you." (Jos 23:4-5)

Wait. Why would God have left some nations in Canaan? God knew that these same nations that would be left behind would cause Israel to sin. He warned them over and over again to NOT have anything to do with them: "Be very strong! Carefully obey all that is written in the law scroll of Moses so you won't swerve from it to the right or the left, or associate with these nations that remain near you..." (Josh 23:6-7)

If God knew these nations would be a snare for the people, why didn't He just expel them all in the beginning?

When we read back through Deuteronomy, we realize that God didn't ever intend to drive out all of the nations at once: "He, the God who leads you, will expel the nations little by little. You will not be allowed to destroy them all at once lest the wild animals overrun you." (Deut 7:22) 

God knew that the land was too vast for the people initially, and that they would actually need those other nations in order to not be overrun by the wild animals. 

There is yet another reason, however, that God may have had in mind when He decided in His wisdom to let these nations remain. Perhaps God was working a little "test of faith" into the ultimate system. 

You see, it is like this: If we are sheltered from all temptation, we will never grow strong in our faith. We will never learn what it means to stand up in the face of adversity. We will never learn how to wield the "sword of the Spirit" and the "shield of faith." We will never understand the need to "stand firm" and to be continually in prayer (see Eph 6:10-18).

What lesson does this have for us today? 

Just this: When we give ourselves to God, He doesn't promise us protection from trials and temptation. In fact, through the story of the initial conquest of Canaan, we can understand that He actually promises to leave these things in our lives, for it is only in going through temptation, through trials of various kinds, that we can learn to stand firm, that we can learn what it means to fight the good fight, to fully rely on God, to have our ultimate rest.

Let's stop wishing away our trials and temptations. Instead, let's embrace the opportunity to learn to rely on God through them; for in so doing, we are entering into our ultimate rest in Jesus. 

This all sounds good in theory, doesn't it? But what is the practical application that it has for us today? 

Join us next week for "Ultimate Rest," Part 4 and find out.

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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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 22 Jan 2016, 11:02 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 21, 2016
A Good Laugh

By Answers2Prayer
  "A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones." (Prov 17:22 NKJV)

It was a bitterly cold, Winter's morning. The snow that had started to melt the day before had frozen again. I was walking my dogs, wishing that I could teach them to use the bathroom indoors. Every breath in hurt a bit and every breath out was a cloud of frozen mist. I looked up and noticed the morning sunrise. Thin pink and purple clouds drifted across the sky. Even with the cold it looked like Heaven was smiling down on me.

I thanked God for this beautiful gift as I took another step in the snow. Only it wasn't snow that I stepped on. It was ice. My feet flung into the air. My body crashed to the ground. My shoe slipped off my foot and I found myself still staring at that sunrise but with an aching butt, my back on the ground, and two worried dogs licking my face. A strange sound was coming out of my mouth as well. It wasn't a moan or a curse. It was a laugh. I lay there for another minute laughing and enjoying the absurdity of it all, before getting up and heading inside.

That wasn't the first time a good laugh had saved me from anger and pain and I am sure it won't be the last. Laughter is one of our greatest gifts from God. It exercises the body. It clears the mind. It lightens the heart. It comforts the soul. It takes the fear out of life and replaces it with joy. It reminds us that no matter what this world throws at us we can overcome it. It reminds us that we can choose happiness over despair. It reminds us that we can live in love today, tomorrow, and forever.

The next time you feel like laughing then don't hold it back. Let it out. Laugh long, laugh hard, and laugh well. See this crazy, confused world for what it is and laugh at it anyway. God made us to love and God made us to laugh. To do both is to truly embrace life. May all of your days be full of giggles and grins. May your soul always sing with the song of sweet laughter.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 5:02 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 19, 2016
Truth and Nothing but the Truth: A New Years' Message for 2016, Part 3

By Answers2Prayer 
  Continuing with our Series on Truth with respect to each of three cardinal Christian doctrines of Justification, Sanctification and Glorification, today let's focus on the truth about Sanctification...

Sanctification...

What is the ultimate purpose of our Heavenly Father in saving us from sin if it is not to make us like His Son (2 Cor 3:18/1 John 3:2) both spiritually and in glorious bodily form? When we come to Him, at the point of salvation, let it be said that we come "warts and all." From then on He starts sculpting us in His Son's image by the Spirit He places in us to lead us in every area of our lives (Gal 5:16). Of course, there is N.T. scripture at hand (Matt-Rev), whose teachings would be very much in consonance with the Spirit's leading; but when it comes to very personal issues like, 'can I view TV Serials' or 'should I take-up full-time work' or 'where should I minister for God's glory'...it is only the Holy Spirit's leading (I John 2:27) that one has to follow.

Also consider the words of the wise Apostle Peter, as found recorded in 2 Peter 1:5-11, which is the very definition of growing into Christ-like image...

Hmmm...moral excellence...knowledge...self-control...patient endurance...godliness...brotherly affection...love...now dear friends these virtues which one needs to add to his/her saving faith (referred to in the afore-said Scripture portion) cannot be bought over the counter in a market place, nor can they be acquired by attending a seminary training in a Bible college for a specific period of time. There is only one way to acquire them. Consistent cross-bearing (Luke 9:23) by walking continuously in line with the Scriptural teaching even while being led by the Holy Spirit on day-to-day basis! What is a Cross anyway that a revered Sadhu Sundar Singh went so far as to say "Cross bears those who bear the cross." 

Remember for a cross (synonymous with pain) to be carried, it necessarily has to be in touch with your being. There lies the answer. The surrounding "unavoidable" irksome circumstances, which one cannot get away from...be it a country where we live (can we leave the Country and flee if communal persecutions break out?), place of education/employment/business, marriage, parenthood or even one's own body all constitute a cross. Surprised? No, I am not saying Holy Marriage or parenthood by itself are a cross, but whatever irksome things comes our way in faithful fulfillment of our responsibilities in these Holy relationships makes for a cross. These are the very ones the good Lord uses to shape us in to His Son's image. Hey, the cross does not merely save us, but it shapes us as well. Realization of this truth will set you free...for "irksome circumstances" viewed with this spiritual vision (Romans 8:28) will no longer seem irksome, just as a bitter medicine tastes no longer bitter to a sick person who is appraised about its curative effects. Oh yes, let's also remember to be thankful for the ever-bubbling joy of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37) within us, which enables us to bear the Cross cheerfully for God's glory in this paramount sanctification process. It is in this rarefied "atmospheric" mix of joy inside-pain outside that a Christian's character gets built until the arrival of that day in the Divine calendar when the child of God would be able to take anything in his/her stride for the Father's glory like the Saviour did in His earthly sojourn. 

Oh there are some (not all) Charismatic souls who look at the Upper room experience (the kind the Apostles had-Acts 2) as a panacea for all ills in spiritual life, and as such advocate the same as a recipe for perfection in a Christian's life. Talk of the partially blind leading the partially blind. Worse, they boast about that experience, displaying disgusting superiority complex without an iota of evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (meekness) ,who in His grace bestowed this experience upon them at once making it obvious to the discerning ones on how much the former really need to grow to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-9)! If they do not wish to "unlearn" on some doctrinal matters when lovingly appraised about the complete truth on Sanctification, what else is there to be done then save sincere praying that these precious ones too would grow adequately in the Lord to realize the truth about sanctification in its entirety? 

While fiery infilling of the Holy Spirit is bound to turn a coward into a someone bold as a lion in the Lord's Ministry, like it did in the case of the Apostles (in OT times too, do not we see similar rush of "spiritual adrenaline" in the case of Charismatic judges like a Jepthah or a Samson-Judges 11:29/14:19/15:14), it's role in perfecting a Christian in relation to the timeless Cross-bearing is at best supplementary but never substitutionary. Verily, Verily I say unto you, there is no substitute to consistent cross-bearing for becoming Christ-like. Want further proof? The apostle Peter, who wrote the above-captioned Scripture portion (1 Peter 1:5-11)...would have known a thing or three about Pentecostal experience, having played a big role on that epochal day. Did it make him perfect? No, as the event mentioned in Gal 2:11-17 still reveal some spiritual deficits in his persona. So is it any wonder that neither he or James (in their epistles), who were present in the Upper room the day the Church was born, did not invite any of their readers to a ten-day fasting and prayer meetings in the Upper-room (yes it was still there when they wrote the epistles) to initiate them into a power-packed Pentecostal experience, so that they can become Christ-like in a jiffy? Boy, if becoming Christ-like were that easy, the Master or his truthful disciples would not have prescribed the way of the Cross at all (I Peter 1:5-8/James 1:2-4). If realization of this truth doesn't set one free from the lie that some ethereal experiences (good in themselves) make one perfect, then nothing else will...

Well, God out of His grace filled me with His "fire" on a rainy July evening in 1989 (six years after I had faithfully walked with Him as a Christian leading a life of complete consecration -- 2 Tim 2:21) when I an erstwhile timid (to public speaking/activities) Christian rose up to deliver my first sermon. So astounding was that experience that after I delivered an authoritative sermon, with an ethereal fire burning in my heart, I was afraid to use even the washroom for some hours for fear of dousing that "holy fire" by some "unholy" act. Did I achieve spiritual nirvana after that experience at once becoming Christ-like? No, I would be lying if I say I did. So even at the cost of sounding repetitive, let me reiterate there is no substitute for faithful, daily cross-bearing with the Saviour's power (I Cor 4:20) on the road to complete sanctification. Salvation is the miracle of the moment, becoming Christ-like is a life-long process.

Prayer: Father we praise Thee for the constant joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit enabling us to bear the Cross cheerfully and thus be moulded into Your Son's image. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
 
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Feeling burnt-out? Stressed-out? Unable to go on? Like there is no rest in sight? Join us on Saturdays in January for "Ultimate Rest", a mini-series by Lynona Gordon Chaffart
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 11:09 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
January 16, 2016

By Answers2Prayer 
  Last week, in "Ultimate Rest" Part 1, we saw that there IS rest in Jesus, and God uses this story of the conquest of Canaan to teach us important lessons about what it means to have this rest. 

But just what does it mean to "rest" in Jesus?

Hebrews 4 is very clear that that Canaan "rest" was not the only rest God was trying to teach us about here: "So God again ordains a certain day, 'Today,' speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, 'O, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day." (Heb 4:7,8).

Take heart, friends, God's promise of rest did not stop with the conquest of Canaan. It is alive and active for us as well. God has promised us rest: "Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. For the one who enters God's rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience." (Heb. 4:9)

Ah! God is talking about the Sabbath rest here. We need to take a day aside each week and "rest" in Jesus...

But wait. The people were given the Sabbath in the wilderness, before the conquest. If the Sabbath day is the only thing being referred to here, then why is it said that the original people, the ones who came out of Egypt, didn't get to enter into their rest? They had the Sabbath day...Or is it possible that our "rest," our "Sabbath" is far more than a simple day of the week when we go to church and spend time with God? 

Let's remember that the first Sabbath was a celebration of God finishing the works of creation. Let's also remember that though the first 6 days of creation are all marked by the words, "There was evening, and there was morning, a _____day." (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31), this statement is NOT made after mention of the 7th day, the Sabbath: "By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing...God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation." (Gen 2:2-3). 

In other words, God's original Sabbath had no marked end. This is because when God finished creation, there was no more to be done. This is why Hebrews 4 states: "For the one who enters God's rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works." (Heb. 4:9). Just like the first Sabbath was a total rest from the works of creation, the "rest" promised us in Jesus is a total rest from our own works!

We're talking about Salvation here, friends. God is calling us into eternal rest, rest in Jesus, a complete and total rest from our own works by putting our trust in Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross. This isn't telling us to set aside one day of the week for God, it's telling us of the need to daily walk in the rest He has already given us! 

What does this entail?

Freedom from the wages of sin, yes (See Romans 6:23), but oh, so much more. Rest in Jesus also means freedom from worry (See Matt 11:28-30) and freedom from the yoke of sin (See Gal. 5:1), including freedom from addiction and even freedom from our sinful natures (See Romans 6:6)! That is the "rest" that God promises, friends. Complete and total rest! 

So why is it that although we have given our hearts to Jesus, we don't have that total "rest?"

For the same reason cited for the Israelites in the wilderness: Unbelief ("So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." Heb. 3:19). We fail to put our trust in God for our deliverance from sin, from addictions, from trouble, from worry in general. 

When Israel finally did put their total trust in God's deliverance, they received the land of Canaan: "The LORD drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you to this very day. One of you makes a thousand run away, for the LORD your God fights for you as he promised you he would." (Josh 23:9-10) 

In other words, when we truly give all of our worries, all of our temptations, all of our weakness to Him, when we truly take every thought captive in obedience to Jesus, only then do we have the promised "rest." 

What do you say, friends? Shall we enter into our rest in Jesus?

But wait. When we read through the story of the initial conquest we see that God only drove out part of the nations. Why would He leave some behind, and what lesson does this have for us today? 

Join us next Saturday for "Ultimate Rest," 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.

 
Announcement:

Join us on Tuesdays this January for an exciting New Years' message by Suresh Manoharan: "Truth and Nothing But the Truth".
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
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