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NUGGET Today's Devotional

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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 18 Aug 2013, 10:24 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 17, 2013
You Shall Also Make a Lampstand of Pure Gold: Wilderness Instructions, Part 7
By Answers2Prayer
 
Last week, in Wilderness Instructions, Part 6, we learned that the table of acacia wood, with its showbread drizzled with Frankincense, serves as an important reminder to us today of God's provision, sustenance, hospitality, and His ability to guide us towards purity and renewal.

Our lesson today takes us to Exodus 25:31-36, the construction of "The Lampstand": "You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold..." (Ex. 25:31a) 

Unlike the Ark of the Covenant and the table for the showbread, the lampstand was to be made, not of wood overlaid with gold, but of pure gold. And God was quite specific about its design:

- It was to be one piece: "the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece." (vs. 31b NKJV);

- There were to be branches on the lampstand: "And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side." (Vs. 32).

- On the top there were to be three almond blossom-shaped bowls: "Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower--and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand." (Vs 33 NKJV);

• On the lampstand itself, there were to be more bowls: "On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower." (Vs 34 NKJV)

• Besides the ornamental flowers, there were to be knobs: "And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand." (Vs. 35)

Quite impressive, isn't it?

And what was the purpose of this elaborate lampstand? 

To hold up lamps! "You shall make seven lamps for it..." (vs. 38a NKJV)

The lamps were to be set in a special way: "and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it." (Vs 38b NKJV. See also Numbers 8:2). 

Thus, the lampstand was practically designed to be a source of light for the rest of the tabernacle, to cast light upon the Table of the Showbread, the Altar of Incense, and the veil. 

The lamps were to be kept burning continually, and their oil was to never run out: "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually." It has also been suggested that the fact that the lamps were to be kept burning perpetually was to be a reminder of the burning bush through which God manifested Himself to Moses.** 

Through the ages this Lampstand has become known as the "Menorah", and it is considered to be a symbol of Judaism at large. Jesus used the symbols of seven Menorahs in the revelations He gave to John (See Rev. 1:12) as an indicator of the fact that the message was for the global church at large. 

These are all interesting facts, but what does it mean to us today? Why do we need to read about the lampstand of gold, and what place does it play in our heart-temples?

First of all, let's remember that throughout Scripture, oil is often used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit (See Matthew 25). This is our first lesson today. We are nothing without God's Spirit! 

Secondly, just as Israel was instructed to never let the oil run out, we, too, must always have the refreshing of God's Spirit in our lives and churches. Otherwise we can quickly be overtaken by spiritual darkness: "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'" And like the 5 foolish maidens, that it will not be said to us, "Assuredly I say to you, I do not know you..." (See Matthew 25)

Finally, let's remember that the lampstand's practical purpose was to produce light in an otherwise dark place, and it was specifically stated that the lamps were to shed their light in front of the lampstand. Thus, the lampstand represents illumination. Isn't this one of the important ministries of the Holy Spirit, to illuminate scripture, to increase our understanding of God and His presence? Isn't it the Holy Spirit who opens our spiritual understanding? 

So the next time you read the instructions for building the lampstand, remember that this important piece of furniture serves as a reminder us of the need of God's Spirit in our temple-hearts to refresh our lives and our churches and to illuminate scripture and give us a greater understanding of God and His presence. 

Please join us next week for Wilderness Instructions Part 8: Clear Oil of Pressed Olives for the Light.

In His love,
Lyn
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.


** Archaeological Study Bible, Copyright 2005 by the Zondervan Corporation, p. 153, The Tabernacle and the Ark and p. 133, Commentary on Vs. 25:37. 
 

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Plagued by prejudice?  Join us on Tuesdays in August to find out what the Bible has to say about prejudices, in Operation "Eliminate Prejudice", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 17 Aug 2013, 12:00 am

Welcome to the Nugget
August 15, 2013
House Plans: Homeward Bound, Part 3
By Answers2Prayer 
Let us discover what else follows self-righteousness when the Sons of God marry the daughters of men. What is the sequence of events when true belief is compromised?

It is violence and corruption. 

It is all there is chapter 6 of Genesis, and today the big words in almost every newscast every day are violence and corruption. They seem to be found at every level of administration, whether religious or secular, and in every country. 

So we live in a world that, as Jesus said, is like it was in Noah's day (See Matthew 24:38 and Luke 17:26).

Jesus points us back to Noah, so let us go where Jesus said we should go. In Noah's day, God said the earth was corrupt and filled with violence (Genesis 6:11), and God said to Noah, Verse 17, "I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die." (Gen. 6:17) 

No secrets. Total destruction. God told Noah exactly what would happen and how to escape total wipe-out.

He told Noah to build an ark, planned so that all creatures of earth could go into it. Noah did so and after the creatures went in, then Noah went in with his wife and sons and their wives. He followed the same sequence as man's first home in the Garden of Eden, the creatures were there first, then man.

Mankind is never saved without family or without creatures. This is the point that amazed me when I realised what God did with Noah. He did not save mankind without the creatures he had created. Remember, the creatures were created before man, and man was placed in the Garden surrounded by every living thing. 

Even today, how often do you see a family travelling and the family pet is in the car with them? How often do our household creatures suffer or cry for us when we leave them?

So they went home into the ark in the same sequence and they came out of the ark to continue the journey, in that sequence. 

The new home was a world totally altered by flood, but still a home Noah shared with all creatures. Yes, there is enmity between some species and man but there are also remnants of our very first world. 

God's covenant with Noah after the flood is similar to the words he spoke to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28) They were to have dominion over the earth, and he said similarly to Noah, "And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you: and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth." (Genesis 9:9,10).

So is it your desire to go home? And what are your house plans?
Elizabeth Price

Please join us next Thursday for Homeward Bound, Part 4. 
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness!   
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 14 Aug 2013, 8:01 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 13, 2013
Operation "Eliminate Prejudice", Part 2
By Answers2Prayer 
 
In the previous part of the series on "avoiding prejudice", my dear friends would remember me focusing on two Scriptural instances of "Prejudice in operation", which caused "great emotional pain" to the innocents. Today in the second part of the series, we shall train the spotlight on some more Biblical instances... 

Isolation

Though not idolaters, Job's friends weren't "qualified Prophets" nor were the nine half tribes on the Western side of River Jordan (about whom we have reflected already).  But truth be told, even very great, "qualified prophets" seem to fall prey to this "disease of prejudice", vulnerable as they are, in the moments of their discouragement. "Lord, none cares for you in this defiled land of Idol worship except me" seems to be in essence the complaint of Elijah the mighty prophet in 1 Kings 19:14...Seemingly isolated. It is interesting to note God's response to His prophet who obviously had no reservations on blowing his own trumpet. Without harshly dismissing his cocky claim, the good Lord goes on to say that there are still 7000 men who loved him intensely (same chapter Verse 18). Only that a mortal Elijah with finite abilities did not see them, while an omnipresent God with an infinite capacity did. For all we know the "bread and meat" to Elijah beside the Kerith Brook may have been carried by ravens from some of the "clean homes" of these "undefiled 7000" (1 Kings 17:1-6).

Coming to economic and social favouritism...yet another draconian head of prejudice!!! While looking at James condemnation of social & economical favoritism (James 2:1-7) it is pertinent to notice his observation on "poor people blessed richly in faith", necessitating yet another round of honest introspection oposing our opinion about those from lower strata of society. Great spiritual accomplishments are surely not beyond their reach. A Sister in faith once confessed to me of having cast a prejudiced look at a vegetable vendor (also a lady) who joined her prayer group, lately. Only after hearing prayers of this poor lady, which spoke as eloquently about the prayer group needs, as it did about the spiritual maturity of the person who prayed (a prayer it is said is a dead giveaway of the spiritual condition of the pray-er), did my acquaintance humbly cry out to God for forgiveness for her prejudice. 

"Lord, tell this lazy sister of mine to help me in the kitchen, instead of wasting her time at thy feet" was Martha's grouse (to put it succinctly) to our Lord about her devout sister Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Prejudice that great "time-saver" to the fore again! Time-saver because it "facilitates" us in the process of jumping to conclusions on an issue without even wanting to seek God's perspective on the related issue. Well, our Lord loving rebuke in response may have been an eye-opener to Martha. At the cost of serving Him, was she not missing out on a more paramount call of worshipping Him?

No isolation, please, of any group or individual. So without being judgmental in our disposition, let's resolve to build each other up (Galatians 5:15/1 Thess 5:11). 

Prayer: Father, enable us always devoid of all prejudice to be in "construction gang" rather than being in "wrecking crew". In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:
Do you find yourself far away from home?  Do you even know where home is?  Join us on Thursdays through August and September for "Homeward Bound", a mini-series by Elizabeth Price.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 11 Aug 2013, 5:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 10, 2013
You Shall Also Make a Table: Wilderness Instructions, Part 6
By Answers2Prayer 
 
Last week, in Wilderness Instructions, Part 5, we learned that the symbols of the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat are to be a constant reminder to us that God resides in our Heart-Temples, that He is there for us, that He longs to guide us and direct us, that He longs to be with us. 

But God's wilderness tabernacle instructions are far from finished. Our lesson today takes us to Exodus 25:23-29, the instruction given for the construction of "The Table": 

"You shall also make a table of acacia wood...you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold all around. You shall make for it a frame of a handbreadth all around, and you shall make a gold molding for the frame all around. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that are at its four legs.. you shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them." (NKJV)

Isn't it interesting that the first instructions for the table are very similar to the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant. Both are to be made of acacia wood, a wood that is hardy against insects and rot, thus reminding us that God's presence in our heart-temples will stand the test of time; both are to be covered in gold, a precious, valuable and beautiful mineral, which reminds us that God's presence in our heart-temples is the most precious gift we have ever received; and both are to have rings fashioned at the corners, and poles of acacia wood, again overlaid with gold, for carrying purposes, thus reminding us that God wants us to understand that He is always with us, that we can carry His presence and His power with us into every situation we face. 

But if there are so many symbolic similarities, why does God specify another piece of furniture? 

To find the answer to this question, we must look to the purpose of the table. We begin to get a hint of its purpose as we read vs. 29: "You shall make its dishes, its pans, its pitchers, and its bowls for pouring. You shall make them of pure gold." (Ex 25:29 NKJV); and in verse 30: "And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always." (Ex25:30 NKJV). 

The Bible further describes the table's purpose in the book of Numbers: "On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it." (Numbers 4:7 NKJV) 

Thus we understand that the purpose of the table was to hold up the showbread!

But what is this "showbread" and why was it important to the temple? 

We get a bit more information about the showbread in the book of Leviticus: "And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD." (Leviticus 24:5-6 NKJV) 

The showbread, then, was to be baked in 12 cakes. 12 cakes for 12 tribes of Israel. And each cake was to be made with exactly the same amount of flour, which would suggest that God does not play favorites. He saw each of the tribes as equal in His sight! 

Bread is also symbolic in other ways. It was a staple for Biblical times, representing sustenance and provision. Thus, the bread signified to the people of Israel that God was the One who sustained them. Fittingly, Jesus calls Himself the "Bread of Life" (See John 6:35). 

Bread is also a key ingredient in social settings. Whenever the Bible refers to believers fellowshipping together, it uses the phrase, "They broke bread together" (See Acts 20:7). Thus, bread also served to remind Israel of God's desire to commune with them, that they were free to enjoy His hospitality!

The Bible then gives further instruction: "And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD." (Let 24:7 NKJV)

Frankincense was used in the temple in many ways. First of all, it was burned, representing the people's prayers being carried to Heaven. The actual Frankincense crystals burn with a bright white flame. This signifies the purity and light of Jesus. 

Frankincense was also used as a substitute for sacrificial offerings on the altar, thus it reminding us that Jesus is the "substitute" sacrifice for our sins. Medicinally Frankincense produces a calming, restorative effect, and research is now being done on its abilities to cure cancer. This it is symbolic of producing a spiritual uplifiting and renewal in our lives. **

So what does this table with its bread and frankincense mean for us today?

It serves to remind us of the following: 
1. God resides in our heart-temples;
2. God desires to commune with us and for us to enjoy His hospitality;
3. God wants to have a relationship with us; 
4. God is the one who sustains us, both physically and spiritually; He is our provision; 
5. God does not play favorites. He sees His relationship with each of us to be equally important; 
6. And finally, it reminds us that Jesus is the substitute offering for our sin, the one that will bring us purity and renewal.

Let's try and remember this lesson the next time we read about the table in the wilderness, for through it, God teaches us important lessons about our heart-temples! 

Please join us next week, for Wilderness Instrucitons, Part 7: The Lampstand. 

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.

* http://planetholy.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/why-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh/  

** http://ferrel.wrytestuff.com/swa119876.htm  
 Announcement:
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Aug 2013, 8:02 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 8, 2013
The Fork in the Road: Homeward Bound, Part 2
By Answers2Prayer 
 
Noah challenges me. He went through a long and busy time of getting ready for the world's destruction. To him, it was the end of the world, and there is no question that the world he knew was about to be altered beyond recognition.

Noah grew up in a near-perfect world, he had never seen drought or storms. Vegetation was lush, fresh water was always there, food was plentiful, and animals were probably still friendly to man. Oceans were not the dominant feature of the world they are today, the scenery was magnificent, and humanity was of incredible health and strength.

Noah faced two distinct trends of belief handed down through Cain and Abel, and they exist to our present day. 

The first is belief is dependence on a God-given Sacrifice for eternal life; and God took the skins of innocent animals to make covering for the nakedness of Adam and Eve (See Genesis 3:21). It foreshadows Revelation 13:8 where John writes of "the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world."

The other distinct trend of belief is self-righteousness, commonly known as righteousness by works, and was demonstrated by Cain. He believed he was, in today's vernacular, "a good bloke", and I have no doubt he was. He worshipped and gave his offerings to the Lord (See Genesis 4). Tragically, by his own efforts, he believed he secured the Lord's favour.

On the other hand, Abel knew he was a sinner and believed a Saviour would offer to die in his place and accept the blame for his, Abel's, sin-infected nature. He offered the Lord a sacrifice as evidence of his belief that he was dependent on a life that would be offered in place of his own infected life. 

Paul confirms Abel's belief and said, "he was made sin for us..." (2nd Corinthians 5:21).

There are only two roads that matter and the first two brothers demonstrate a fork in the road. They made their offerings to God and their offerings demonstrated their beliefs. Cain offered the work of his own labour and Abel offered a sacrifice of a creature created by God. Cain's offering was not accepted by God but Abel's was. 

Cain was angry about it and God asked him why. God said to him, "Why art thou wrath? ... If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." (Genesis 4:4-7). 

Cain remained furious, and he was so infuriated that when he and his brother were out in the field, he rose up and killed his brother, Abel. 

So the first religious war was fought.

Abel's belief was taken up by his younger brother, Seth, and for centuries, the world was carved into two camps of two distinctly opposing beliefs. 

Eventually the two ideals began to meld, described as "the Sons of God marrying the daughters of men..." (See Genesis 6:2). In other words, true belief was compromised. Perhaps the descendants of Seth thought that if they could soften their beliefs a little, the two beliefs could integrate and they could all become one family again.

Perhaps the Sons of God began to believe that "being a good bloke" earned them the right to eternal life and they could earn the Lord's favour by their good works. 

Matthew 7:22-23 takes on reality when Jesus said many will come to him and claim they have done this and that, and many wonderful works, in his name.

The brothers demonstrate there is a fork in the road and the world is divided into two separate roads.

One is self-righteousness and it eventually leads to total destruction.

The other is that if anyone is to live through a time of total destruction, it is because he believes in the Lord's sacrifice for him. If the Lord had not intervened, self-righteousness would have completely destroyed the belief that we need a Saviour. 

In the time of Noah there were obviously two roads. One was a boat that you could choose to board. The other was to swim in your own strength. 

The same question is asked of every person in every age, "Will you come on board?" There was no other way man could survive then, and there is no other way man can survive now. The alternative is total wipe-out.

God promised Noah, "with thee I will establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons and thy wife, and thy son's wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh..." (Genesis 6:18,19).

Will you come on board to come home?

Elizabeth Price
Please join us next Thursday for Homeward Bound, Part 3. 
Announcement:

Plagued by prejudice?  Join us on Tuesdays in August to find out what the Bible has to say about prejudices, in Operation "Eliminate Prejudice", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Aug 2013, 8:19 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
August 6, 2013
Operation "Eliminate Prejudice", Part 1
By Answers2Prayer
 
One of the proofs that this World has been cursed by the Fall (Romans 8:20-23) is that in it defilement spreads by contact, whereas holiness doesn't (Haggai 2:11-13). By the same token, disease is contagious, whereas sadly good health isn't. A Chikungunia epidemic (in the Indian context) can spread by a mosquito bite, but wholesome health doesn't. Stretching this analogy, further, it has to be said that prejudice is "infectious", whereas appreciative opinion about an acquaintance isn't!

Coming to the Biblical realm, through this Series of three parts, I intend to bring to the fore some Scriptural instances of prejudice to be seen in...can you believe it...Godly people!...not the idolaters!!! As "all" Scripture is God-inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), with a view to teach us of the contemporary age "object lessons" (1 Corinthians 10:11), it would serve us well to learn some lessons from these incidents encapsulated under five sub-headings. Even as we go through this series, let's resolve to not replicate those serious errors of judgment. Up the curtain (going in chronological order) and what do we see...Welcome to one of the oldest books in the Bible...Job!

Tribulation

One doesn't have to look beyond the friends of Job to arrive at a conclusion (No prejudice against them, please!) that prejudice not only deeply hurts, but that it is also contagious. It has been jocularly said that with the kind of friends Job had, he did not need enemies. Weren't they by his side, in the first place, to comfort him in the midst of all his sorrows? (Job 2:11). Whoever may have asked these "worthies" to play the detective in finding the root cause of Job's difficulties, there they were, magnifying glass and all, surmising that his cup of woes was running over only because of his sins (Job 22:4-11).  How wrong, since God himself had certified him to be the most righteous person on planet earth (Job 1:8)!

"Good men rejoice, while the wicked suffer at the hands of a just God" is the plaintive observation of not only the simple at heart, but also that of (it should be added) "simpletons" in faith. 

Coming back to Job's friends...An honest prayer to God seeking the main cause of Job's problems would have made them come to grips with the truth that Job's problems galore were an offshoot of a cosmic contest being "fought" in the spiritual realm. However, the "heart of the matter" with respect to their disposition, was that they showed "no heart" to pray & seek an answer from God about Job's pitiable condition. On the other hand, they showed no qualms in applying salt to his copiously bleeding wounds, as it were, by way of their prickly accusations. 

Wouldn't God have revealed the "truth" to them about the "cosmic contest" if they had humbly sought His counsel in this matter, thereby "clothing" them with a much-needed humane spirit, even as they sought to counsel & comfort their saintly friend? The unsaid "dress code" at that sensitive juncture required that they don not a customary apparel of 'sackcloth & ashes', but a more fitting (to the occasion, that is) "clothing" of care. But prejudice held sway, and the end result? They inadvertently aggravated the problems of a grieving soul and ended up being ripe for God's punishment. It was only God's grace and Job's timely intercessory prayers, guided by a forgiving spirit, that saved them from a just Divine comeuppance (Job 42:7-11). 

"Altar"ation

"Alteration of the altar location" (permit me some alliteration please) by the Trans-Jordan tribes led to an altercation between them and other tribes in the early part of Israelite history (Joshua 22:10-30). Originally the Brazen altar for offering of the sacrifices was there at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) as a part of the Revered tabernacle. But the Trans-Jordan tribes whilst going to occupy their land on the Eastern side of River Jordan after a 14 year "Conquest of Canaan" with an honest intention had constructed yet another altar resembling the Brazen one hoping it would "unalterably" serve as a :memorial of their Jewish antecedents for all posterity". 

However, their motives were not sought initially and the other tribes simply wanted to wipe em' out for "blasphemy". Fortunately wiser counsel prevailed eventually, and their motives behind such a "brazen action" of coming up with a replica of the Brazen altar were sought. When God-honoring reasons were doled out by these tribes at the receiving end of accusations, the anger of the other nine and half tribes was pacified.

Dear Christian friends, do we also on "slightest suspicion" of immorality/wrong-doing by our fellow brethren sound our "war buglers", or do we care to thoroughly check-out the facts first (1 Timothy 5:19) before defaming them publicly?

Prayer: Father, we pray that you would always give us discretion to check all facts before confronting fellow-believers in sin lest we cause great spiritual damage to the innocent ones. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries 
Announcement:

Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness! 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 11:39 am

Welcome to the NuggetAugust 3, 2013
The Mercy Seat: Wilderness Instructions, Part 5
By Answers2Prayer 
Last week, in Wilderness Instructions, Part 4, we learned by looking at the instructions given for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant that God wants us to understand that our ultimate rest and salvation is His first priority. He wants us to be assured that His presence will never leave us, it will stand the test of time, and it should be seen as our most precious possession. The Ark of the Covenant is a reminder that our God is an all powerful, all-knowing, always percent God, whose greatest desire is to spend time with us! 

But God gave a few more instructions involving the Ark of the Covenant, this time focusing on its cover: "And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat." (Ex. 25:18-21 NKJV)

The Bible depicts these winged creatures as guardians. Biblical cherubim are analogous to the supernatural gatekeepers of the ancient Near East, for cherubim secured the way into Eden after the fall (See Genesis 3:24). They are also considered to be closely associated with God's holiness, sovereignty and purity. Archeology shows us that cherubim were creatures who were also known outside of Biblical literature. Some ivory panels unearthed in Samaria depict a composite figure having a human face, a four-legged animal body, and two elaborate, conspicuous wings, and similar carvings of winged sphinxes adorned the armrests of royal thrones in many parts of the ancient New East, including in Israel (see 1 Sam. 4:4, 2 Sam. 2:6, 2 Kings 19:15; Psalms 99:1). Thus, these winged creatures were considered to be symbolic attendants that guarded the "throne" of the Lord's Kingdom,** and God had them placed on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, guarding the Mercy Seat, because this Mercy Seat was to be where His presence would reside! 

Consider this text: "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the Ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." (Ex. 25:22 NIV)

Thus the purpose of the Mercy Seat was to provide a place for God's presence to meet with Moses, and the cherubim were chosen to "guard" this symbolic "throne of God"!

But why would God's presence need to have the "box", the Ark of the Covenant, under it? I mean, technically, God's presence doesn't need anything, so why is it so specifically laid out that God's presence is to sit upon a gold-covered box of wood that doesn't easily succumb to bugs, fashioned with rings for carrying it? 

Just this: The Ark of the Covenant, designed to help us remember that God is the source of our ultimate rest and salvation, that He is all-knowing, always present and all-powerful, that His presence will always be there, that it will stand the test of time, provides the base for God's actual presence, which is at the Mercy Seat! 

Think of it this way: How can we ever put our hope and trust in God's presence if we don't believe in God's power to save? In God's ability to give us ultimate rest? In His omniscience? 

The Ark of the Covenant: Just some ancient box full of Old Covenant symbolism? 

Far from that! It is a constant reminder to us today that God is real and tangible, and that He resides in our hearts! 

Please join us next week for Wilderness Instructions, Part 6, to find out what the table for the Shewbread has to teach us! 

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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. ** Archaeological Study Bible, Copyright 2005 by the Zondervan Corporation, p. 1529, Angels and Guardian Spirits in the bible and the Ancient Near East and p. 132, Commentary on Vs. 24:18-20. 
 
  
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Aug 2013, 12:03 am

Welcome to the Nugget
August 1, 2013

The Everlasting Covenant: Homeward Bound, Part 1
By Answers2Prayer 
 
 On one of my many trips home, I was flagged down at a 'drive and revive' stop point. I was handed a cup of tea through my open window and the gentleman who gave it to me asked courteously, "Where are you going, Ma'am?"
My thank-you smile broadened, "I'm going home!" I declared emphatically, having been away with work for a week.
Home is where we walk in the door feeling "it's good to be home". There is an atmosphere there. It is where we are with people who reflect the same atmosphere, it is where we are accepted. It is where we live by the household rules and we follow them almost by instinct because they have been written into us from childhood.
It is where we are in the company of those who have similar ideals and give time to each other. We do our tasks and meet regularly either over a meal or when the week's work is done and we can take time just for ourselves.
We live comfortably inside the home circle when we live within the household boundaries. When we go outside the boundaries, we have a lingering unease.

Long after I was married and had many loyalties and others to love, I still loved to go home, because going home is always in the context of a place to live, rules to live by, and others who are of the same basic mind. 

So if ever I should go home and my Father should say to me, "do you love me with all your heart and mind and strength?" I would say, with good Australian emphasis, "You bet I do!"
My Father would never demand love without the context of a place to live and rules to live by. And isn't that exactly what our God did when he established our context and met with us in the evening where, "they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day"? (Genesis 3:8)

And isn't it exactly what he was talking about where he said, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength"? 

This is found in the Old Testament, Deut. 6:5, and Jesus quotes it in Matt. 22:37, also saying that everything else hinges on love to God and treating your neighbour as yourself. The ideal house rules are rules of love.

You see God knows exactly how we feel because he created us to feel that way. He created us under an everlasting covenant and home was not an accident going somewhere to happen. It was made for habitation and had everything we needed in the company it provided, the food we ate and the surrounds we enjoyed. 
  It had colour and song, and yes, even laughter because the Kookaburras were there and their laughter is loud and often. They are in the garden around me and I know the sound of their personal chatter to each other, of their call to me when they want food, and of their exuberant outbursts of laughter. They put a smile on my face.

Colour in its varying shades was there in plenty in the pinks, reds, blues and greens of birds' feathers, and in vegetation, in trees and crops in flower, as well as in all creatures. Then every living creature was given blessing and jurisdiction and told to multiply in their kinds. 

Man and woman were brought into this planned home, given blessing and authority, and even more, the opportunity to meet and talk with the planner.

It was all legal and binding, no trespassing, and God refers to the whole plan as 'The Everlasting Covenant.' He made the covenant before he made man and even angels were not involved so when Adam and Eve went outside the covenant and lost the 'image of God' they put God's plan under threat and so they lost the ability to live in that perfect environment. 

After the plan came under further threat from a destroying flood, God put up the rainbow as the symbol to himself and to Noah.

To Noah it was a symbol of a covenant that the earth would never again be under total, wipe-out flood, but to God the rainbow was a symbol of a covenant made by God with God, - Father, Creator and Holy Spirit.

Even if mankind should rebel and betray again as they did in the beginning, Genesis 3, and prior to the flood, (Genesis, Genesis 6), the rainbow would remind God of his original ideal to make man like himself and give him a perfect home.

The rainbow guarantees it. When God looked at the rainbow he said, "I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."  (Genesis 9:16).

God shares his thoughts with us so that we also will remember the everlasting covenant. 
When somebody asks you courteously as you pause at a "drive and revive" station, "where are you going?"

I hope you smile and reply, "I am Homeward Bound"!

Elizabeth Price
Please join us next Thursday for Homeward Bound, Part 2. 
Announcement:

Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness!   
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 31 Jul 2013, 1:15 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 30, 2013
20/20 Vision
By Answers2Prayer
 
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

There it was, all shiny and new, attached to the wall by the bathroom counter. My husband had kindly put up the oversize magnifying mirror I'd bought. Now I could actually see to apply my make-up. Wonderful!

My eyesight has never been that great. At seven years, I started wearing glasses. Not too many kids that age wore glasses, and I got teased about them. After I turned forty, well, suffice it to say my vision didn't improve any. Then one day I discovered a local shop selling magnifying mirrors. It doesn't make my vision 20/20, even with glasses. But it's way better

In Genesis, it says "They made man in Their image and it was very good." Not just "good", but "very good". When God looks at us He sees us as we are, with 20/20 vision. At the same time He sees us as we will be, with 100/100 vision. That's perfect. And very good news.

Inspirational messages, Sally I. Kennedy 2013
Announcement:

Prejudices abound.  They control our decisions, the way we treat one another, they control our very lives.  What does the Bible have to say about this "disease"?  Join us on Tuesdays in August for "Prejudices -- The Contagious Disease", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Mon 29 Jul 2013, 1:55 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 27, 2013
And You Shall Make an Ark: Wilderness Instructions, Part 4
By Answers2Prayer 
 
Last week, in Wilderness Instruction, Part 3, we saw that our hearts, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, need to be fashioned after the heart of Jesus Christ. Only then can we truly experience God to the fullest. 

But just how do we fashion our hearts after the heart of Jesus? 

One important way God has given us for learning specific, deep aspects and attributes of Jesus is to contemplate the ancient instructions for the wilderness tabernacle. By studying the tabernacle we can come to know Jesus and the work that He has done in a much more profound and thorough way, and thus, we can gain invaluable instruction on how to construct our heart-temples! The next few devotionals individually address each set of instructions, in order to outline for us the important aspects of Jesus that God would have us to contemplate in the construction of our Heart Temples. 

The first specific instruction comes to us from Ex: 25:10: "And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height." (NKJV) 

The word, "Ark" appears in one other Bible story prior to this one: Noah is instructed to build an 
"ark" for the saving of the people from the flood. But the actual Hebrew word used to describe the Ark of the Covenant is "aron", which is a different word from the Hebrew word used to describe Noah's ark. "Aron" is actually the same word that is used to describe the coffin that Joseph was buried in. Thus the Ark of the Covenant symbolizes a final resting place! 

This is to remind us that we can rest in Jesus! He is our ultimate rest! When we let Him carry our problems, we can truly rest in Him, ever knowing that the God who allowed us to go through the trials of life has already created a way out! "...but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1Cor 10:13, NKJV) 

Friends, Jesus is our ultimate rest! And this fact is also God's first priority! 

This special chest was not to be made of just any kind of wood. It was to be made of "acacia" wood. Acacia wood, also called "Shittim", comes from a gnarled and thorny tree commonly found in the Sinai Peninsula. It is a hardy wood, darker and harder than oak, and is known to be avoided by wood-eating insects. 

God chose this type of wood to symbolize for us that our rest in Jesus, our ultimate Salvation, is something that will stand the test of time! It will not rot!

"And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around." (Ex. 25:11 NKJV)

Imagine a smallish, rectangular box, completely overlaid in pure gold. Now wouldn't that be a hard box to miss, even in the dark! And of course, we can't overlook the value of gold. This ark was of immense value! 

This symbolizes to us that Jesus, our ultimate source of rest and salvation, is the most precious gift we could have ever been given!

"You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it." (Ex 25:12-15 NKJV)

This system of rings and poles was of utmost importance. This was how the Ark of the Covenant was to be transported. Whenever the camp of the children of Israel moved, the Ark of the Covenant, along with the rest of the tabernacle parts and furnishings, moved exactly in the centre of the group, and while in camp, the Ark of the Covenant was the exact centre of the camp. 

This reminds us that God is always with us. We can carry His presence and power into every situation we face, no matter how intense or ugly or delicate!

Finally, we know that the Ark of the Covenant was a chest, one that would later store important items. The tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments were stored there, for one thing, along with Aaron's rod that budded, a jar of manna, and various other items throughout Israel's history. These things were put there to remind Israel of God's power and might. 

This serves to remind us that God wants us to always remember the specific examples of His power and might! 

Friends, the next time you read about the Ark of the Covenant, try not to think of it as just a piece of furniture for a temple that is no longer necessary. Instead, remember this:
1. God still wants to have an "Ark of the Covenant" in our heart-temples!  He still wants us to understand that our ultimate rest and salvation come through Jesus, and they are His first priorities!
2. Jesus' presence will stand the test of time.
3. Jesus' presence should be seen as our most precious possession.
4. Jesus will always be with us, no matter what! 
5. And finally, let's let Jesus' presence in our heart-temples be a constant reminder that our God is an all powerful, all-knowing, always perfect God whose primary desire is to spend time with us! 

Join us next week, for Wilderness Instructions, Part 5, to learn what lessons the Mercy Seat can teach us about Jesus!
In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.
 
  
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jul 2013, 12:01 am

Welcome to the Nugget
July 25, 2013
Lights, Camera, Action! Part 4
By Answers2Prayer 
 
After having gleaned lessons from the "Negative events" of two action packed Books of Joshua and Acts in the previous part of the Series, today in the concluding part of the same we come back to the positive lessons to be learnt from these two glorious Books... 

GLORIFICATION... 

Joshua never took the glory for the mighty deeds wrought through him nor did the Apostles. Nearing the end of his life, in his rousing farewell message Joshua makes a proclamation giving glory where it is due... 

"The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God." (Joshua 23:9-10) 

By the same token, consider this Scripture culled from Joshua 14. After their first missionary what did Paul and Barnabas do? 

"On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" (Vs 27). 

At the end of his third missionary journey too, Paul sings the same song: 

"Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry" (Acts 21:19) 

When it comes to evaluation of our God-ordained Ministries toeing the Pauline line would serve us well...

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me--and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. (1 Cor. 15:10) 

DEDICATION...

If Joshua and his generation were faithful till the end, so were the Apostles.
Even at the cost of sounding repetitive, I would like to reiterate here that all throughout his life, barring a minor blip here and there (for which he cannot be wholly blamed...like falling for the Gibeonites' guile) Joshua who stepped into the huge shoes of Moses was an exemplary leader. He led the tiring conquest of Canaan, literally and figuratively speaking "from the front". Not for him, the cool shade of a tent, faraway from the blazing war front (Joshua 6-12) when his soldiers were shedding their blood and sweat in fighting the enemies. No wonder then, even towards the end of his life we see him coming up with an exemplary, emphatic statement in his rousing swan song speech "...as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)! Leading from the front and setting an example was this great leader, even as it were, with his dying breath (he would die very soon Joshua 24:29)! Die, he did soon, but are not His words immortalised in that they adorn the rooms of innumerable Christian homes even today enshrined invariably in a scenic plaque? What would be Joshua's declaration, had he been living today? Do not regard my words as those making up a mere decorative ornament, rather take em' seriously! 

"I have fought the good fight..." (2 Tim. 4:7), oh how this proclamation of victory by Apostle Paul in the last leg of his earthly journey, still continues to inspire us!!! Not for him any shedding of cold sweat, with execution imminent, rather only expression of concern for the fledgling Churches he had planted. In his final epistle to his young disciple Timothy, we see him exhorting his protege to follow the example of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer (2 Tim. 2:3-7) -- passionately in Christian service! If for Indian Ex-Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri the winning slogan was "Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan" (Hail the Farmer and Soldier), for apostle Paul, it could well have been "Go about God's work like a Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan and a Jai Pehelwan" (Hail the Farmer, Soldier and Wrestler). Do not Paul's Final words heralding victory still continue to challenge us...even after two thousand years...with the truth that the end of the spiritual race is as important as the start, especially when we consider the grim reality, just a few verses away...the fall of Paul's associate in the Ministry namely Demas (2 Tim. 4:10), who had made such a good start (Col 4:14, Phil 1:24)? 

Brothers aspire to inspire, even while you expire...because if you do that, rest assured, you would continue to inspire long after you expire.
Prayer: Father give us the will-power to end as gloriously our "Earthly" walk with Thee like we begin it, so that long after we are gone, people would remember us as those who glorified Thee both in living as well as dying. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Suresh ManoharanJ and SM Ministries  
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Plagued by prejudice?  Join us on Tuesdays in August to find out what the Bible has to say about prejudices, in Operation "Eliminate Prejudice", a mini-series by Suresh Manoharan 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jul 2013, 12:35 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 23, 2013
The Blessings of our Lord
By Answers2Prayer 
Every now and then I need to pause, take stock of my life, and count my blessings.
Today was one of those day. Then, the Lord stamped His approval during my Bible reading.

"When He (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.'" (Luke 5:4-5 NIV)

They obeyed the Lord, cast out their nets, and "caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." (vs. 6). Peter and his friends were blessed. They obeyed Jesus and pulled in a large number of fish, nearly swamping the boats with the abundance.

I love that story. It is a story of Jesus' love and compassion and of the disciples' faith and obedience. It provides a number of lessons for us. My favorite is noting that Jesus encourages us to let down our nets into His abundance of blessings, too. Paul wrote the following verse to the Christians in Philippi, but I believe it applies to us as well: "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

He showers us with a love far greater than we can ever imagine. He fills our daily needs and shares the beauty and delights of nature with us. When we trust in Him, He gives us peace in the midst of our trials and the strength to bear them. When we have more questions than answers, He gives us the wisdom to sort things out, teaches us what is best for us, and directs us in the way we should go.

He provides a refuge when we are in distress and creates a stronghold in times of trouble. He comforts us in sorrow. He gives us confidence when we are afraid, encourages us when we are discouraged and rejoices with us when things are going well. When we laugh, He laughs with us. When we cry, He cries with us.

The Psalmist says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:4 NIV)

All these blessing, and many more, fill our nets to overflowing. Yet, I haven't mentioned His greatest blessing. He gave His own life on the cross, taking our sins on Himself so we could be forgiven of our sins and spend eternity with Him. He conquered death, now only for Himself, but for us, too. He rose from the dead, and now dwells in eternal glory with the Father, and He is waiting for us to join Him in Heaven. When we do, He will place a glorious crown of righteousness on our heads. (See 2 Timothy 4:8). Take a moment to think about that. Doesn't your heart swell with love for Him? Mine does.

Is your net overflowing with the abundance of Christ's blessing? I hope so. If not, why not accept Him as your Savior right now. Repent of your sins, ask Him to come into your life and be your Savior. Then dip your net into the sea of His blessings. You will be glad you did.

By Donna J. Howard
 
Announcement:
Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness!   
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Jul 2013, 6:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 20, 2013
An Exact Copy: Wilderness Instructions, Part 3
By Answers2Prayer 
 
Last week, in Wilderness instructions, Part 2, we learned that in order for God to take up dwelling in each of our hearts, we must be willing to give Him the things that are precious to us, the things we hide behind, the things that "spice up" our lives, etc. He must be our number one priority! 

Our text today takes us just one verse farther: "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you." (Exodus 25:8-9 NIV).

And that's it! Our entire lesson for today is summed up in these brief, power-punched words! 

Let's remember that God wants to dwell with us, in our hearts as part of our lives: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV).  But the "temple" He will live in can't be just any structure. It must be modeled after the pattern that He has shown us! 

Okay, I don't know about you, but I see a couple of red flags here. 

First of all, the pattern given to Israel was for a physical temple. The one that God wishes to build in our hearts is a spiritual one. The specific instructions given in the wilderness just don't work here, do they? So just where are we supposed to get the instructions for building this temple in our hearts that is modeled after the pattern that He has shown us? 

Jesus Himself gives us the answer: "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:15 NIV).

This is later confirmed by Peter: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21 NIV) 

The "pattern" that God wishes our spiritual heart-temples to be patterned after is simple this: Jesus Christ! 

Jesus' example while on this earth leaves us no question about how to deal with each and every situation: We are to show love, just as Jesus did! And that loving heart, modeled after our Lord and Savior, creates the perfect heart-temple for God's Spirit to reside. 

But this seems so idealistic. After all, Jesus' challenges looked a bit different than ours. How were we supposed to follow His example? 

Once again, God does not leave us in the dark: "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV). 

The answer is this: It is by beholding that we are changed! 

But what does it mean to "behold"? I mean, that's not a word often heard in 21st century English! 

The thesaurus gives us some ideas: "Observe, watch, see, take a look at, view, consider, regard..." To name a few. Basically what this is telling us is that the secret to knowing how to do what Jesus would do is to study Him! To consider His actions, to meditate on His life, to know His heart! 

It all boils down to relationship again, doesn't it? When we spend time with Jesus Christ, when we study His life, when we pray and listen to His voice, when we become sensitive to the leadings of His Spirit, we learn how to be like Him. Our lives begin to resemble His, we are changed into His image, and our heart-temples become an exact copy of the pattern God has given us in His Son, Jesus Christ!

But there is just one more red flag that waves as I make this rather unorthodox comparison between the temple in the wilderness and God's heart-temples: Why would God care if our hearts are fashioned in the way He says? Shouldn't He just be happy that we want to have Him residing in our lives? Is God so vane?

Let's remember that without Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with sin, sin which is so putrid that it separates us from God: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity." (Isaiah 59:2-3 NKJV) 

Therefore, the reason God needs us to fashion our heart-temples in the way He describes is so that we are not separated from Him, so that He can hear our voice, so that His face is visible to us! God prescribes a certain pattern, because He knows that this is the pattern we need in order to have Him reside in our hearts!

I challenge you today to think about this text this week. Is your heart fashioned after the heart of Jesus Christ? If it isn't, then you cannot fully experience the presence of God in your life. The good news, however, is that by beholding Jesus, our hearts are changed into the image of the heart-temple that God prescribes. 

Why not spend time contemplating Jesus today? 

But if all we need to do is contemplate Jesus, then why do we need to study ancient instructions for a tabernacle that no longer exists? 

Over the course of the next few studies, we will see that each part of the wilderness tabernacle represents a specific aspect or attribute of Jesus. Thus, by studying the tabernacle, we can come to know Jesus and His work much more profoundly and thoroughly, and thus, we can gain invaluable instruction on how to construct our heart-temples. Please join us next week for Wilderness Instructions, Part 4: They Shall Make an Ark...

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.  
Announcement:

Does anyone out there find the Bible dull?  Lacking in excitement and action?  Join us on Thursday for the last part of "Lights, Camera, Action!" A mini-series in the books of Joshua and Acts by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 19 Jul 2013, 7:26 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 18, 2013
Lights, Camera, Action! Part 3
By Answers2Prayer 
 
In the third part of my message on the similarities that exist in the Books of Joshua and Acts, we shall cast the spotlight on some "Negative incidents" to start with. Firstly... 

RETRIBUTION...

Oh yes, there was Achan, who grossly underestimated the omniscience of God, even as greed held sway in his life (Joshua 7) and there were Ananias and Sapphira who too took God's omniscience lightly even while being swayed by that very same lure of the lucre (Acts 5:1-11). The result? A swift retribution sending the guilty ones to an early grave!!! With folded hands, let me plead (I am speaking to myself, too):  A casual attitude towards God in matters of public obedience can cost highly (Lev 10:1)!!! 

COMMOTION...

Oh how much confusion and commotion Joshua and his co-leaders could have avoided by seeking God's counsel in matter of entering into a peace pact with the guileful Gibeonites (Joshua 9:1-20), similarly how much of commotion could Paul and Barnabas have avoided by praying for Almighty's guidance in the matter of deciding to take John Mark or not in their second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-39).  Sadly however, they let their personal egos get the better of them. It is quite another story that the good Lord used even the lapses of great leaders for bringing greater glory to Himself. If it were not for the peace pact with the Gibeonites, eventually that great miracle of the Almighty stopping the sun and the moon in its tracks would not have come about (Joshua 10).  Similarly, except for the parting of ways of Paul and Barnabas, the Gospel could not have reached all those places where it was not preached hitherto, with these estranged leaders going in different directions now (Acts 15:39-41).  Fast forward to Col. 4:10, do not we see a patching-up of differences? 

All said and done, the lesson to be learned here is: Whenever confronted by tricky situations, it would serve the Church leaders better to look prayerfully unto the Lord rather than acting hastily and then repenting at leisure. 

DISCRIMINATION... (Joshua 22/Acts 11:1-18)

In the Book of Joshua, nearing the end we see the Trans-Jordan tribes (with genuine motives) coming up with an alternate altar location (permit me some alliteration) which led to an altercation between them and other tribes (Joshua 22:10-30). Originally the Brazen altar for offering of the sacrifices was there at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) as a part of the Revered tabernacle. But the Trans-Jordan tribes, whilst going to occupy their land on the Eastern side of River Jordan after a 14 year "Conquest of Canaan", had constructed, with honest intentions, another altar that resembled the Brazen one.  They hoped it would "unalterably" serve as a "memorial of their Jewish antecedents for all posterity". 

Their motives, however, were not sought initially, and the other tribes simply wanted to wipe em' out for "blasphemy".  Fortunately, wiser counsel eventually prevailed, and the motives behind such a "brazen action" of coming up with a replica of the Brazen altar were sought. When God-honoring reasons were doled out by these tribes at the receiving end of the accusations, the anger of the other nine and half tribes was pacified. Similarly, knives and daggers were out when the pre-dominantly Jewish Early Church in Jerusalem heard that Peter had visited the "gentile home" of Cornelius (Acts 11:1-3). Calm and tactful handling of the situation, however, by wise Peter, made his critics realize the folly of their ways (Acts 11:14-18). 

Dear Christian friends, do we also on "slightest suspicion" of immorality/wrong-doing by our fellow brethren, sound our "war buglers"? Or do we care to thoroughly check-out the facts first (1 Tim. 5:19) before taking public action?
Prayer: Father, make us doubly careful in matters of inter-personal relationship and also sensitive to the hurts of others. In Jesus' Name. Amen
Suresh ManoharanJ and SM Ministries  
Announcement:

Sometime early in His ministry, Jesus had an interesting encounter with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. We aren't told much about this particular Pharisee, but Jesus' short encounter with him, recorded in John 3:3-20, is packed with essential life-giving nuggets of Truth. Please check out "Jesus and Nicodemus," A Study on Rebirth!
 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 10:03 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 16, 2013
Look Up
By Answers2Prayer 
 
I had to get a new pair of eyeglasses recently. Stigmatism had started to mix with my nearsightedness making things a little bit blurry with my old prescription. Also I had to finally give in to another sign of my aging body and get my first pair of bifocals.

It has taken me several days to get used to the new pair. While it was great seeing clearly at a distance again and wonderful being able to read a book without it being an inch from my face, the combination lenses were a challenge for me. The problem was that whenever I was looking at something far away I had to keep my eyes up or else I got a wave of blurriness when I accidentally looked through the reading part of the lenses. I am glad that my eyes are now getting the hang of it. It is no fun living in a blurry world.

I am grateful for this new pair of glasses for another reason too. They have taught me a truth that I will hold close to my heart forever: whenever you need to see the road ahead clearly, Look Up! Too often in my life I have kept the eyes of my soul looking down to the ground. When I did the world seemed like a scary, blurry, and depressing place. When I raised those eyes up to Heaven, though, my vision always became breathtakingly clear. I saw that God loves me. I saw that this is God's world. I saw that life is good and when I help others I make it even better. I saw that no matter what each day may throw at me, I can face it with a loving heart and a joyful spirit.

Whenever your life seems blurry then, look up! Whenever your life seems frightening or overwhelming, look up! Whenever you aren't sure what you should do, look up! God is in His Heaven and He is in your heart as well. Open the eyes of your soul and see clearly just how much God loves you and just how much you can love as well.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love.  We love because he loved us first." (1John 4:18-19, NET)

Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness!   
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sat 13 Jul 2013, 2:13 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 11, 2013
Lights, Camera, Action! Part 2
By Answers2Prayer
 Continuing with our study on the two action-packed Books of Joshua and Acts, we come today to some more similarities...

Qualification...

It is said that God doesn't call the qualified but qualifies the called. Joshua who succeeded Moses was not that great leader's biological son but rather was hand-picked by the Almighty out of His grace alone to replace Moses (Num. 27:12-23). Cannot the same be said of Jesus' disciples? They had no scholarly achievements in their CV nor did they have any great power in themselves, but the good Lord out of His grace alone hand-picked them (Matt. 4:18-22/1 Cor. 15:9-10), in the same way He out of His Grace cured Naaman the Syrian leper at a time other Jewish lepers needing help were there (Luke 4:27) or for that matter the way he cured a paralytic at a time other sick people were there by the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-9). So all the "successful" servants of God would be well-served to divert the public attention to the one who has given them success in the first place out of His grace alone!!! 

Once, the Almighty picks His servants, He not only boosts their morale by assuring them of His constant presence at all times (Josh 1:5/Matt 28:20) but He also expects them to maintain high morality (Josh 1:8). Do you see Joshua or the Apostles ever slipping on the morality front? No way. Then as day follows night, their personal holiness assured and ensured...there would be no disruption of Divine anointing power flowing in and through them at any time. If for Joshua the Divine anointing set him apart as an undisputed leader (Josh 4:14), then the similar Pentecostal anointing (Acts 2:1-4) on the Disciples set them apart as special vessels to evangelize the whole world (Acts 1:8). 

Domination...

None could stand up against Joshua and his armies, ditto the same with the Apostles. If the good Lord crowned every military expedition of Joshua in the Conquest of Canaan with success, He did the same in the case of the "Spiritual expedition" of the Apostles, too, even as they turned the World "upside down" (or should I say they turned the World which was upside down spiritually, the right side up... Acts 17:6). How true is the popular saying, God plus one is a majority, rooted as it is in the Scripture...if the Lord is on our side, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? 

Sensation... 

Miracles wrought through Joshua created sensation in his day (Josh 6:20/10:12-14), by the same token amazing miracles of the Apostles (God working through them-Acts 5:15-16) left both friends and foes of the Early Church stunned. In the Christian context, here it has to be said that signs are for unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22). Miracles ought to be done with the sole purpose of bringing glory to God even while attracting unbelievers for eventual wholesome spiritual transformation, cum healing, which is eternal in nature. Let every Christian minister aspire to be an Apostle exercising every gift of the Holy Spirit by doing signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12), even while accepting the fact that it is the Almighty who alone decides on whom to confer which gift (1 Cor. 12). 

To be fair, some negative incidents are also faithfully recorded in both the books of Joshua and Acts.  Praise God, we can learn from them, too! (1 Cor. 10:11). We shall focus upon them in the third part of this Series.

Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge, we are only as effective in our Ministry as our measure of anointing. Enable us always to rest "our oars" on Thee. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Suresh ManoharanJ and SM Ministries  
Announcement:

Hounded by problems? Have troubles become your "norm"? Do you find it hard to hold on to faith in the midst of dire need? God know! Check out Victory in Trouble, a 4-part mini-series by Lyn Chaffart, designed to help you be victorious through your troubled times.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Jul 2013, 9:22 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 9, 2013
Foot Care
By Answers2Prayer 
"The Lord said...get ready to cross...into the land...I will give you every place where you set your foot" (Joshua 1:1-3)
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Ephesians 6:14,15)

Grabbing a quick bite to eat before getting back in the car, I struck up a conversation with a cheery woman in the cafe. I commented on her nifty silver sneakers. She replied, "They are so comfortable, and I have to be on my feet all day. I used to work with horses, and you know what they always say (I didn't), if you don't take care of their feet then the horse won't be worth anything." I wondered, "How important are good shoes for the wellbeing of our feet, and for us in general?" If shoes hurt my feet, it's a miserable feeling. Plus it incapacitates me getting around. 
Later that morning I was donning my spiritual clothing for the day, the armor of God (Eph 6). When I got to the feet part, it grabbed me -- put on the sandals, the shoes, of peace. 
Jesus Himself is our Peace (Eph. 2:14). When we are walking in His shoes we are living a life of forgiveness, kindness, honesty, love, and peace. 

Taking care of my feet is absolutely important! Not a problem, with the right kind of, right-fitting, one-size-fits-all shoes of Peace.

Inspirational messages by Sally I. Kennedy  
Announcement:

Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness! 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 07 Jul 2013, 9:37 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 6, 2013
Make Me a Sanctuary: Wilderness Instructions, Part 1
By Answers2Prayer 
If any of you are like me, you tend to get bogged down in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. Yes, there are some powerful stories of God's deliverance. Yes, there are beautiful examples of God's power and love. Yes, these are the books that outline the laws of God, the old covenant, the 10 commandments. But they also spend chapter after chapter giving instruction for the building of the wilderness tabernacle, a structure that was of temporary importance in the Old Testament, and of absolutely no importance to those of us under the New Covenant. 

Or so we tend to think. But I firmly believe that there is a lesson to be learned for us today from every verse in the Bible, and so on the next time I read through the book of Exodus, I set out to discover just what those lessons might be. This 14-part series will be focusing on each of the major instructions given for the construction of the Sanctuary in the wilderness, and on what those instructions will mean for us today. 

But there is a question that must be addressed before beginning to study each of the different parts to the sanctuary, and that question is this: Just what possible importance could the tabernacle in the wilderness be to us today? 

God answers this question Himself: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8 NIV)

The purpose of the tabernacle in the wilderness was so that God's presence could live among His people. 

But we're way beyond the tabernacle in the wilderness! There is no longer "a" temple. The New Testament tells us that God's presence resides in our hearts:

"And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22 NIV)

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV) 

No, God isn't out to build physical temples. He's out to build what I will coin, "heart-temples"! 

But if there is no longer to be a tabernacle in the wilderness, if God's temple has become our hearts, then we don't need to pay attention to Exodus 25:1-7, right? 

Oh, but we do! Though the physical building has become a spiritual one, the rules haven't changed. The guidelines laid out to Moses in Exodus are packed full of valuable instructions for how we are to build our "heart-temples"! God's instruction to Moses becomes His instruction to us: You are to make Me a sanctuary! 

What about it friends? As we go through the next 13 lessons of this study, I invite each of you to resolve with me to take the lessons God outlined to Moses in Exodus to heart, so that we, together with God, can build the most beautiful "heart-temples" ever! For doesn't God merit just that?

Please join us next week for Wilderness Instruction, Part 2: Freewill Offerings. 
In His love,
Lyn
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.  
Announcement:

Does anyone out there find the Bible dull?  Lacking in excitement and action?  Join us on Thursdays in July for a new perspective on God's Word:  Lights, Camera, Action!  A mini-series in the books of Joshua and Acts by Suresh Manoharan.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 05 Jul 2013, 12:56 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
July 4, 2013
Lights, Camera, Action! Part 1
By Answers2Prayer 
 
No, not your run-of-the mill Hollywood flicks coming your way, but something infinitely better... Hang on, I would come to the point but firstly... amazing thing about the Bible is that several things which occurred in the New dispensation of grace were either prophesied directly or portrayed through symbolic events in the Old Testament times. Take the prophecy of "Redeemer" Moses (used of God to redeem the Jews from Egyptian bondage) for instance, who prophesied that the Almighty would raise up a Prophet similar to him (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). We see Jesus not only applying that Prophecy to Himself (John 5:45-46), but also by His action of offering Himself as a vicarious sacrifice on the Cross, He paved the way for redemption of not just one nation, but of the entire fallen mankind. And there are more similarities between Moses and Jesus. At the birth of both there was a slaughter of innocent babies. And the Almighty, who said: "vengeance is mine" (Romans 12:19) brought about vengeance by killing the Egyptian firstborn male children on the night of Passover (see Exodus 12:29) and by bringing about an excruciating death of bowel disease to King Herod, a historical fact validated by writings of Jewish historians like Josephus. Continuing with the similarities both Moses and Jesus, both were rejected by Jews in their "First coming" (Exodus 2:13-15/John 1:11), and the lives of both are covered in precisely 4 Books...if Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy cover the life and Ministry of Moses, then the four Gospels penned by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John cover that of Jesus. 

Looking for a counterpart in the Old Testament for the Book of Acts? All action and racy? Then go no further than the Book of Joshua. Welcome to this comparative study of the books of Joshua and Acts, virtually the Siamese twins of Old and New Testament times. In this series of four parts, I will be training the spotlight on lessons from both the positive and the negative events that we see portrayed in these two action-packed Books, which are not a result of some fertile imagination, but Divine inspiration, bearing not fiction but facts. Firstly:

LOCATION... 

The Books of Joshua and Acts begin exactly where the earthly Ministries of two great Redeemers (Moses and Jesus) end. In the Canon, we see the Book of Joshua placed immediately after Deuteronomy, where we see Moses finishing His Ministry (Acts 34:7-12); and Acts begins immediately after John's Gospel (the only Gospel, which records the triumphant cry of Jesus on completing the Redemption plan on the Cross...It is Finished... John 19:30). 

PREPARATION... 

If the main protagonist, Joshua, in the Book of Joshua (the Book that bears his name), was trained by Moses for good 40 years, then the Apostles of Christ--the heroes of faith--in the Book of Acts were intensely trained by Jesus for three and half years. Oh how wonderful it is to be mentored by a faithful, God-fearing leader, for we have an opportunity of seeing first-hand and inculcating the God-honoring virtues conspicuous in them, which would stand us in good stead when we launch into our own Ministries at the time the Almighty says "go". 

Broadly speaking, is not any God-honoring Ministry more of a relay race than an individual race run for self-glory? Throughout Scripture, many a time we see God wanting the leaders of a generation to pass the baton on to those younger ones, whom they have carefully nurtured. Elsewhere in Scripture we also see this wonderful pattern emerging in the case of Elijah and Elisha, and Paul and Timothy, etc.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for all devout mentors who by their example have made us grow spiritually to handle bigger responsibilities. Enable us also to groom next generation of leaders by the time our life draws to an end. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh ManoharanJ and SM Ministries
Please join us next Thursday for Lights, Camera, Action, Part 2, to see how the books of Acts and Joshua compare for -- Qualification, Domination, and Sensation! 
Announcement:

Do you ever wonder how the devil succeeds in trapping so many of God's children? Check out CHECKMATE! A mini-series by Brother Suresh Manoharan designed to help us recognize and avoid the of the traps devil!
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 04 Jul 2013, 12:39 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
June 2, 2013
Follow the Fox
By Answers2Prayer 
One story from the tsunami disaster was the survival of the whole population of a seaside village. The people observed that their animals were instinctively fleeing to high ground long before there was any evidence of danger. By acting on what they observed, they followed the animals and their lives were saved.The train driver tells the story of a little fox who also listened to his instincts. He said, "I have been on early morning shift. I take my heavy freight train down the line through the mountains at the same time every morning, and every morning I have been watching a little fox in the early light. He follows a narrow track that takes him home.It is just on daylight as we drive past his track and we have to wait there for a while for the right signal. Every morning the little fox pauses before he crosses the trainline. He sees that our train is standing still even though it has its engines running and it is ready to move on at a signal. He stops with one paw lifted and he listens. He takes care not to run in front of our moving train so he halts and sniffs the air and when he knows it is safe, he crosses silently over the lines. Then he trots along the narrow track that takes him through dangers and home to his lair in the hills. He keeps to the narrow path and he is safe. He is such a wise little fox, isn't he?"Follow the ways of creatures, be observant to learn wise behaviour, said God (Proverbs 6:5 and 30:25). So we learn the ways of the fox. He finds a narrow, safe track and stays on it. He observes, he tests conditions, he pauses, he looks and listens.There is a narrow track we must travel that leads us through dangers to our home, too. Matthew 7:14: "small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it."
Let us learn to follow the fox. 

Elizabeth Price
 Announcement:
Do you ever wonder about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness?  The books of Exodus and Leviticus spend many chapters describing its construction, but does it hold any relevance for us today?  Please join us on Saturdays in July and August for Wilderness Instructions, a mini-series inspired by the tabernacle in the wilderness! 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 8:55 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
June 29, 2013
Ground-Tied

By Answers2Prayer 
In the days of the old west, it was common for people to "ground-tie" their horses. They would leave the long reins dangling, and if the horse tried to walk forward, he would step on the reins. This would put pressure on the bit in his mouth, which would hurt. The horse would quickly learn to not try to move around. A well-trained horse would stand ground-tied for hours, never moving, until his master returned. 

How, you may ask, does this work? The reins weren't attached to anything! All the horse had to do was turn his head so that the reins are no longer under his feet!

It works because the horse believed he was attached. 

Something similar is practiced in the elephant world. Baby elephants are attached to metal stakes in the ground via a chain that in turn attaches to a metal collar around one of their hind legs. They quickly learn that they can't move about, because they aren't strong enough to break the chain or uproot the stake, and pulling makes the metal collar cut into their leg. They never forget this lesson, and even an adult elephant remains a prisoner to that chain around its leg.

How, you may ask, does this work? 

It works, because the elephant believes that the chain is still strong enough to hold him. 

These facts recently came to mind as I watched my cat. She loves to go outside, and to keep her safe from predators, we keep her on a leash attached to the base of our clothesline. 

The other day the leash broke, up by the clothesline, and the cat was free to roam at will. But she didn't. She remained within the circle of her leash.

Why? 

Because she didn't realize that she was no longer attached. 

These three stories remind me of so many Christians. We feel like we are being controlled by the devil, that we are but pawns in his hands. We are prisoners to chains of addiction, false doctrine, oppression, etc. We feel hopeless and helpless, as if there is nothing we can do but sit and wait for our miracle. 

Why? After all, Jesus came to set us free! "If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31,32). 

If Jesus set us free, then why are we still ground-tied? Why do we worry about the chain on our foot? Why don't we run away with our unattached leash dangling behind? 

Friends, this freedom that Jesus speaks about isn't something that "can be" ours, it is something that is ours! "You SHALL know the Truth, and the Truth SHALL make you free..."

But we remain enchained because just like the elephant doesn't know that he is no longer a prisoner to that chain, we don't know the Truth. Just like the horse doesn't realize it isn't really tied to anything, we don't realize that the Truth has already set us free. We are no longer attached to that addiction, that oppression, that false doctrine! 

Freedom in Christ doesn't mean the chain will be gone. It doesn't cut the reins from the bridle. It doesn't take the leash away. It simply means that those things can no longer control us! 

Let's remember that in our battle with the devil, we are not fighting an undefeated foe! We are fighting one that is already defeated: "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1). One whose only power over us is that which we give him by believing in his chains and leashes and reins! 

It's true that the Bible describes the devil as a "roaring lion" (See 1 Peter 5:8), but let's remember the Bible doesn't say he is a "roaring lion", it says he walks around "like" a roaring lion. In reality, he has no actual authority over believers. He is a liar, the father of lies (See John 8:44), and he wields deception as his strongest weapon. But he wields it well, for as long as he can keep us believing that he has power over us, we give him the power he craves. 

But this isn't truth. Truth is this: When Jesus gave His life on the cross, He redeemed us from Satan's power and dominion over us: "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Col 2:15). Consider also this verse: "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8). 

Friends, the devil will try to control us in any way he can. But let's remember that these chains don't have to control us anymore! They are defeated by the blood of the lamb! 

Let's walk in victory today!In His love,

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 28 Jun 2013, 10:38 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
June 27, 2013
The Beauty of the Spirit
By Answers2Prayer 
 
I was walking towards the store when I first saw her. She was between eighty and ninety 
years old. Her hair was thin, sparse, and as white as the snow on the sidewalk outside. Her face 
was red, chapped, and wrinkled from a lifetime of use. Her mouth was missing most of its teeth. 
Her gnarled hands each carried a bag full of groceries. She wore work boots that had clearly seen 
better days. As she shuffled slowly towards the door she stopped only once to put down her bags 
and button her thin, wool jacket.
 I hurried my pace and opened the door for her. She smiled at me with her few remaining teeth 
and said, "Thank you young man." I touched my gray hair and smiled at being thought of as a 
young man again. Then I watched as this ancient angel slowly walked to the food drive 
collection bin and lifted the heavier of her two bags up to put into it. She made one last stop on 
her way out to say "hi" to a young mother she knew. The mother had her baby girl in her arms 
and the elderly woman gently reached down and tickled the child under her chin. The little girl 
laughed with joy and kicked her feet. The old lady laughed as well in her cracked voice and then 
continued happily on her way. I stood there watching her and thought to myself: "That was the 
most beautiful woman I have ever seen."

I am so thankful to God for teaching me over the years how to see clearly. I no longer look at 
the world through the eyes of society with its plastic surgery view of what is beautiful and what 
is not. God has showed me through His love, His grace, and His guidance to see with the eyes of
my soul and to recognize the beauty of the spirit in each of us.

I hope that lovely old woman continues to touch others with her gentleness, kindness, and joy 
for years to come. May her beauty, love, and light shine bright on Earth and in Heaven.

"So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!" (2Cor 5:17, NET) Joseph Mazzella 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Thu 27 Jun 2013, 11:00 am

Welcome to the Nugget
June 25, 2013
Order, Order, Order!  Part 4
By Answers2Prayer 
 Parousia
In the concluding part of our series, "Order...Order...Order", based on the inspired sequencing of Psalms 22-24, today we come to Psalm 24: "Lift your heads, you gates. Be lifted, you ancient doors, so that the king of glory may come in. Who is this king of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty! The LORD, heroic in battle! Lift your heads, you gates. Be lifted, you ancient doors, so that the king of glory may come in. Who, then, is this king of glory? The LORD of Armies is the king of glory!" (Psalm 24:7-10) 

Verses 7-10 of the 24th Psalm sum up the Glorification doctrine!!!  After the Church rapture the Messiah would come, to defeat the Anti-Christ in the Armageddon War and set-up His Millennial Kingdom. At the Second Coming, He would triumphantly enter Jerusalem from the eastern gate, which is closed now (anti-semitism led to its closure some centuries back) to fulfill the Prophecy of it being "lifted soon". Mind you, Psalm 24 begins with the declaration that everything on Earth belongs to the Lord (Vs. 1). So after temporary domination of evil over good during the horrific tribulation period (Rev. 13:7) as per His Sovereign will, the Lord would be reclaiming what is rightfully His, by entering Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate and ruling the World from that City on the Hill. 

Is the Church Rapture nigh? The Lord told His disciples that just before His Coming, the Days of Noah would return (Luke 17:26). To the regular visitors of my site, even at the cost of sounding repetitive, I want to state that the sins prominent during Noah's Days were "Violence and Corruption" (Genesis 6:11) ... An everyday occurrence now-a-days...many who follow the media would concur... 

To borrow an Aussie slang even Blind Freddy knows that media reports are full of violent events (not a fortnight passes by without a bomb blast/terror attack in some part of the globe).  Boom-boom...Bang-Bang everywhere.  Oh the media overflows with accounts of mafia killings, gang-rapes, domestic violence, terror strikes (now there are female suicide bombers also), feudal, communal killings in real and reel life (minus a smoking gun or a bloody knife the macho-image of any cine hero in a movie poster is said to be incomplete). 

Is Jesus right only when it comes to His sayings such as "Those who live by the Sword, die by it" (Matt 26:52)?  Why shouldn't we take His other Prophecies regarding His II Coming seriously, just as we take earnestly his time-tested ones such as the one quoted above? No cherry-picking please... 

And corruption scandals (Wikileaks or no Wikileaks)? They regularly keep exploding in the process rocking the Parliament proceedings of various counties.

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

Meanwhile on Earth, violence and corruption scenario would deteriorate from bad to worse during the Seven year tribulation "till the gates of Jerusalem are lifted up to usher Him in even as He sets up His Kingdom therein from where His will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" (Rev. 20:4-6). So things would worsen before they become better. 

As Christians, the moot point is this: Are we alert and are we alerting others? 

Amazing is the sequencing of Psalms 22-24.  Encapsulating all of the three foundational doctrines of Christianity in proper sequential order, they virtually symbolize the "whole counsel of God" (See Acts 20:27).  As we had closed the study of Psalms 22-24 by focusing on eschatological events, it would not be out of context here to pose this poser. Now what is the immediate, overarching subject of the last Book (Revelation) of the New Testament? Rapture...Ah the Blessed hope of every Christian which is alluded to in the command given to John at the sound of something resembling a "trumpet blast"..."Come-up" (Rev. 4:1)!!!  Now do you know what are the last words of the last Book (II Chronicles) of the Hebrew Bible (O.T) followed by Early Church in the first Century and followed by Jews to this day?  It is...oh boy...oh boy..."Go-up" (2 Chronicles 36:23 KJV)!!! 

What Cyrus the Persian ruler effectively is telling the Jews is "go up to the Holy City of Jerusalem on a mountain for you do not belong here in Babylon (geographically Babylon is a plain, flat as a pancake), you belong to the Holy City of Jerusalem up on a mountain. Your God in His Holy City is calling you...Come-up"!!!  Has not the World been telling the same of the Church...you do not belong here in this "Earthly Babylon"!  A young girl who had recently become a Christian asked the famous Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon: "What friends do I need to give up now?" The Prince of Preachers replied "Hey, you do not have to give up any of your friends, they would give you up" (See I Peter 4:4)! While we feel that "we belong" only in the Church family, what ought to be our response to anyone who enquires about our faith in curiosity? 

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (I Peter 3:15) 

We always need to reach out and share the love of Christ, even if the World is inherently hostile to us. The New Testament Scriptures have been heralding the fact about "Our citizenship in Heavenly Jerusalem for 2000 years now" (See Philippians 3:20-21/Col 3:2). Oh the alluring chemistry between the Old Testament and the New Testament, which the orderly God in His sovereign wisdom has placed!!! Hallelujah!!! Amen and Amen!!!
Prayer: Father, You desire us to be Eternity-sighted. Enable us to focus on "things above" at all times. In Jesus' Name. Amen
Suresh ManoharanJ and SM Ministries  
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Mon 24 Jun 2013, 2:19 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
June 22, 2013
Winning the Debate: Managing Argument, Part 2
By Answers2Prayer
 Our study of the book of Job thus far has revealed a heated argument taking place between Job and his three friends, Bildad, Eliphaz and Shunem. 

At this point, one would be tempted to ask the following question: If both sides are arguing so heatedly, if both sides are presenting only half-truths, then why does God, in the end, condone Job and condemn his friends? ("...the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.'" Job 42:7,8 NKJV) 

Is God playing favorites here? 

As we move into our study of Job 23 and 24, Job's official response to the second phase of debate from Eliphaz the Tenemite, we begin to see the answer to this question. 

You see, Job's responses to the other debaters has, up until this point, been defensive and aggressive in nature. But here we begin to see a subtle shift, a new pattern emerging, one that does not directly dispute Eliphaz. 

Consider these statements from Job, as recorded in Job 23: 

1. "If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling!...I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say." (vs 3,5). 

Job isn't just presenting angry rebuttals here, as his friends are doing, he is beginning to realize that he needs to seek God for the answers to these things he cannot understand! He is humbling himself before the Lord! 

2. "There an upright man could present his case before Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge." (vs 7). 

Here Job acknowledges God's justice.

3. "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." (vs 10). 

Job recognizes that God isn't just angry with Him. Instead, he realizes he is being tested!

4. "That is why I am terrified before Him; When I think of all this, I fear Him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me." (vs. 15-16) 

Job has come to terms with an all-important Truth: The Fear of the Lord! 

Friends, none of us is perfect in God's eyes. Only when we put on Jesus' robe of righteousness does God see us without our innate faults. Getting answers from God, however, isn't about sticking to our life-long beliefs. It's about humbly acknowledging God's justice. It's about coming to terms with the fear of the Lord, and humbly accepting the fact that God is testing us!

This attitude of humble acceptance is the lesson Job has to teach us today. We are all faced with trials of many kinds. How we respond to them will determine whether or not we "passed" the test. If we adapt the attitude of Job's friends, never even considering the fact that perhaps we may not be 100% right, we will not "pass" the test. Instead, let's adapt Job"s attitude of humility. Let's seek God's justice. Let's acknowledge His sovereignty. Let's humbly appeal to the almighty God of justice. Only then will God's response to those who oppose us be: "...you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant (insert your own name) has." 

Oh, and what kind of an impact did Job's rebuttal have on his worthy opponents? 

First of all, only one of the three original debaters even responds after this! Bildad is the only one of the original three who even dares open his mouth, and this, for only a brief 6 verses! 

And the tone of Bildad's rebuttal? 

Gone are the accusatory barbs and pointed insinuations. Bildad simply begins his refutation by acknowledging God's supremacy! Oh, he goes on to plant a couple of subtle hits, but nothing as direct and biting as his previous arguments..."How then can man be righteous before God?...If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot...?" (Job 25:4-6 NKJV)

Friends, not only is a humble attitude acceptable in God's sight, it also goes a long way toward dulling the barbed intimations of the enemy!

And this is the lesson we can learn from Job today. A humble attitude is righteous in God's eyes, and it helps to calm the fierce tides of quarrels. It's a win/win situation! Why not try it the next time you find yourself in an argument?

In His love,

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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. 
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Re: NUGGET Today's Devotional

Post  Admin on Fri 21 Jun 2013, 7:48 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
June 20, 2013
A New Thing
By Answers2Prayer 
 
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

"Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.  After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers." (Luke 2:41-47 NIV)

The things in the account above may not be new but they are rare. At least, they are rare when compared to the way things are today. Could you imagine a twelve-year-old sitting around talking to his teachers? Today most of them would rather be out playing with their friends, playing video games or many other things. Today we do hear of young people who are super intelligent who have at least one college degree by their mid-teens. We hear of others who are talented in certain areas that are eager to spend time with those who can help them develop their talent further.

The one thing that might be new here is the way Jesus understood what the teachers were telling Him and also the answers He gave to their questions. Why should we be surprised at this? If they had believed He was the Son of God then they would have known that He was the Word of God.

Jesus is the answer to all our questions. We must spend time with Him through reading the Bible and through prayer not just to know the answers but to know the Word of God. We can ask Him anything and He will provide what we need. We can talk straight to Him and not have to go through someone else. We don't have to ask someone else to pray for us. We can go straight to the throne room of God and talk to Jesus ourselves. Jesus told us to ask and it will be given to us. Seek and we shall find. Knock and the door will be opened.

All Christians need to have a time for daily Bible study and prayer. This may be a new thing for you, but it must be done to find out all that Jesus has for you. Just as Jesus spent time with the teachers, each one of us needs to spend time with our Teacher, Jesus Christ, the Word of God.

By Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List.
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