At “Wits’ End Corner”

I’ve had my paperback version of Streams in the Desert devotional for years. It is probably my favorite devotional book. As you can see, I have read it so many times that I need two heavy-duty rubber bands to hold it together. It’s difficult to see, but the photo on the left shows the blue one that holds a big section of pages together. The pink one keeps the binding from slipping off.

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I received an iPad as a 2013 Christmas gift from my children, so I now have an extensive Kindle library on it, including a digital version of this book. And of course, I’m reading it again this year. When I read the May 23rd devotional, this poem leaped out at me as if I’d never seen it before. My eyes leaked as I read it, and I’m guessing yours will too. 

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner,”
Christian, with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?
Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner”
Is just where God’s power is shown.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner,”
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner”
Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner”?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner”
The Burden-Bearer stands.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner”?
Then you’re just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who fails you not: 
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at “Wits’ End Corner”
Is the “God who is able” proved.
-Antoinette Wilson

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So Do Not Fear

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So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
—Isaiah 41:10

When I was a little girl, I was deathly afraid of dogs because one day a large dog chased me home from the corner store. I remember my terror while running with that dog right on my heels. I glanced back once to see his huge jaws open and those sharp teeth exposed.

As I got closer to home, I began yelling for my Mom to open the front door. I don’t know that she heard my words but she definitely heard me calling for her and was at the front door when I appeared. I darted past her and she quickly slammed the door shut.

Several years later, I started taking piano lessons from a woman who had the cutest little dog. Although the dog was cute, it was still a dog and I was as frightened of that little thing as I had been of the big dog who chased me home. My piano teacher couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid of her dog until I told her what had happened with that other dog. Once she understood my fright, she made it a point after every lesson to bring her dog over so I could get used to it. Several months later, I finally felt comfortable with her dog and learned to enjoy her sweet little face and cute ways.

As an adult, until a few years ago there was always a furry canine friend or two in my life and I know what it is like to feel the love and trust of these special creatures.

God works in our lives to alleviate our fears much like my piano teacher did. She would take my hand, place it gently on her dog’s back, and together we stroked that soft fur. Eventually I got up the nerve to pat the dog myself—first her back, then her head and finally I trusted her enough to let her lick my hand.

Beloved, God guides us through times of fear and uncertainty by slowly but surely filling us with the confidence that only He can give. You can always count on Him to keep a firm hold of your hand to carry you through those fearful times because He promised to do so.

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Memorial Day 2015

Teaching our children about the significance of Memorial Day

By Ann Brasco, NJ.com

It was almost five decades ago that the last Monday in May was declared a federal holiday in remembrance of the men and women who have died in wars or in service to their country.

As much as Memorial Day remains a day of reflection and honor, its meaning is often overshadowed by summer barbecues, shore traffic, mega-store sales, blockbuster movie releases, and the long, awaited three-day weekend.

Our children, whether they are age four or fifteen, will understand Memorial Day in the context in which we present it. We owe it to both those who have honored our lives with great sacrifice and to our children to let them know that Memorial Day means much more than a celebration of the unofficial start of summer.

In a country rich with decades of examples of heroic sacrifice, honor, and bravery, it becomes our tasks as parents and caregivers to highlight information that means something and pass it along to our children.

Here are some unique ways in which we can remember those we honor on Memorial Day:

Read more here.

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Your Marriage is Not a Hollywood Romance

I’ve been writing a column titled “The Marriage Triangle” for The Relevant Christian Magazine (TRC). I like to share articles I find about marriage in between publication of The Marriage Triangle articles. This is a good one from The Intentional Life

Your Marriage is Not a Hollywood Romance

It may seem a paradox, but marriage is more important than love. Why? Because marriage is the normal situation out of which true and abiding love arises. The popular notion, championed by fiction and motion pictures, is that love is primary, and marriage is nothing more than a dull anticlimax. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve found that real love hardly exists outside the context of marriage. How could it? Real love is a slow growth coming from unity of life and purpose. Love is a product. It is the thing to be created by mutual service and sacrifice.

Read more here.

Please check out the The Marriage Triangle tab here to read more articles about marriage. BlogSL2-smallest

Perilous Pride

Perilous Pride

By Patricia Knight

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When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).  

In Old Testament times, Naaman was the military commander of the Syrian army, a valiant soldier, highly respected by his associates and enemies alike. Although Naaman’s military career was soaring, he suffered from leprosy, a chronic infectious skin disease characterized by skin sores, pain, and disfigurement. Leprosy alienated victims by defining them as social and religious outcasts.

There were no treatments available for leprosy. Naaman knew he would only respond to a miracle. With his opulent chariots filled to the brim with gold, silver, and elegant clothing, Naaman thought his proud, commanding presence would impress the Israeli prophet and influence his healing with gifts and grandeur. But when Naaman’s entourage pulled up in front of Elisha’s modest dwelling, the prophet didn’t show Naaman the proper hospitality by greeting his visitor. To demonstrate to Naaman that it was God, not man, who healed miraculously, Elisha refused to appear to Naaman, instead sending instructions by his servant. “‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan {River} and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleaned’”(2 Kings 5:10)

The directions were repulsive to Naaman, especially the thought of dipping in the notoriously muddy Jordan River. Furious, Naaman stormed off toward home in a rage at the ludicrous directions. Naaman was a decorated commander in Syria. He had even gained some victories in warfare over Israel, so Naaman naturally expected royal treatment. Naaman’s attitude came through in a blaze of arrogance; of personal entitlement due to his military rank and wealth.

God hates pride, but promotes humility. Pride is defined as excessive self-esteem. Pride is the difference between what you are and what you think you are. —J. Vernon McGee

Man’s pride runs counter with God’s plan. Whenever the two attitudes meet, there is repulsion, similar to the rejection of two like magnetic poles. Pride is a conceited sense of one’s superiority. Naaman defined pride in its best form.

Naaman was beyond human help. There was no cure for leprosy, the dreaded skin disease that created outcasts of its victims and panic in fellow citizens. Only a miracle could save Naaman from shame and disfigurement. Because Naaman was too proud to accept such a simple, but humbling method of healing, he stomped off and headed home.

God was requiring that Naaman reset his priorities. Even though Naaman was desperate for healing, he hadn’t reached the point of complete submission to God and his will. Until Naaman could yield totally to Jesus’ value system, he tightly held onto his self-assuredness. Naaman was willing to conform to Jesus’ ways as long as he could remain in control of the circumstances.

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After Naaman’s traveling servants held a motivational discussion with their master, Naaman hesitantly relinquished his pride. Once he followed instructions to dip seven times in the Jordan River, Naaman was healed. Radiant and with pure skin once again, Naaman stood before Elisha and said, “‘Now I know there is no god in all the world except in Israel’” (2 Kings 5:15).

Humility isn’t a natural response; it seems we must first assume arrogance. Then when pride proves useless and embarrassing, we recall the examples and teachings of Jesus. No one personifies humility more than our Savior. He was born in humble circumstances, lived an unpretentious life, and died on a shameful cross (but arose in glory) as the supreme example of humility.

“God hates pride but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Humility magnifies modesty and meekness, all personality traits of our heavenly Father. Humility is freedom from arrogance or pride; the knowledge that all we have and all we are is a gift from God. By ourselves we are inadequate, without dignity and value. There is never cause to boast of our own accomplishments. Yet because we are created in Christ’s image, we have infinite worth and dignity. True humility does not produce pride but gratitude to the God, who is both our Creator and Redeemer. Our righteousness and existence depend upon Him.

As Naaman learned, no human effort can contribute to our salvation; it is the gift of God through His grace and mercy. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:4-5). There is no provision for pride in that formula!

Humility is an important component of discipleship. We must humble our will in submission to Jesus, then deny self—realign our desires and impulses to totally trust Jesus’ values.  We are to love, but avoid judging others; to think of others more highly than ourselves, and to realize each of us has much more growth and knowledge to acquire in our Christian walk. We cannot accomplish humility by ourselves, but only in Christ, as we demonstrate lowliness of mind and heart, inspired by the love and grace with which Jesus lavishes us.

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Amazing things occur when we humble our hearts before our merciful Lord. “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). And, that provides us with the instruction for a proper relationship with our Lord.

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Knowing God as Father

Many Christians who love God without reserve struggle with the idea that God loves them infinitely more than that. They cannot grasp the thought of God as their Father—the Father—because of the poor example of their own fathers as they grew up. If their earthly fathers have been absent from their lives or they have suffered physical or sexual abuse from their fathers, the whole concept of “father” is skewed for them. They think of themselves as damaged and unlovable and this leads to difficulties in viewing God the Father as their own “Abba Father” who loves them beyond measure.

In Scripture there are many different names used to describe God. While all the names of God are important in many ways, the name “Abba Father” is one of the most significant names of God in understanding how He relates to people. The word Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy.” It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.”

Today’s post is a devotional from John MacArthur’s book, Daily Readings from the Life of Christ.

Knowing God as Father

“‘“Our Father who is in heaven . . .”’” (Matthew 6:9).

Only those who have come to God through Christ can call God “Father.” He is the Father of unbelievers only in that He created them (cf. Mal. 2:10; Acts17:28). It is only those who trust Jesus who have “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12; cf. Rom. 8:14; Gal. 3:26).

In the Old Testament, faithful Jews saw God as the Father of Israel, the nation He elected as His special people. Isaiah proclaimed, “You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name” (Isa. 63:16b; cf. Ex. 4:22; Jer. 31:9). Many of them even saw God in an intimate way as their spiritual Father and Savior (Pss. 89:26; 103:13).

But because of their disobedience toward God’s commands and their embracing of false gods around them, most Jews of Jesus’ time had lost the true sense of God’s fatherhood and viewed Him as only the remote Deity of their ancestors.

These six words at the beginning of the Disciples’ Prayer reaffirm that God is the Father of all who trust in Him. Jesus Himself used the title “Father” in all His recorded prayers except one (Matt. 27:46). Although the text here uses the more formal Greek pater for Father, Jesus likely used the Aramaic abba when He spoke these words. Abba has a more personal connotation (cf. Mark14:36; Rom. 8:15), equivalent to the English “daddy.”

Because saints belong to Jesus the Son, they can come to God the Father (“Daddy”) as His beloved children.

Ask Yourself

Certainly in our decadent day and age, many are increasingly growing up in homes where “father” is a person to be feared, a person who rejects, a person who demeans and devalues. How does God’s identity as “Father” fill the holes left by even well-meaning dads who fall short of what their role requires?

Please visit John MacArthur’s site, Grace to You.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

1http://www.gotquestions.org/Abba-Father.html

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The Ascendancy Of Evil

If you’re one of the many who are worried and frustrated by the horrid things that are happening in our world lately, you’ll want to read this great commentary by Jack Kelley from the GraceThruFaith blog.

The Ascendancy Of Evil

Commentary by Jack Kelley

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:7).

The number of emails I receive from people who are discouraged, frustrated, even despondent, is steadily increasing. They point to current conditions in the world and wonder how much worse things can get.

You no longer have to be an astute observer to notice how rapidly our world is changing. It wasn’t that long ago when the standard measure was a comparison between what was acceptable to people in their time with what was acceptable in their grandparents’ time. Now we only have to compare what’s currently acceptable with what was acceptable just a few years ago to see measurable change. Not only are things changing, but the rate of change is accelerating.

A person with discernment can’t help but see a supernatural component in all this. It’s true that the heart of man is incurably wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) but these days society seems to be under a compulsion to see just how wicked they can become. All around us we see God’s Laws being conspicuously broken, His word being stifled, and His people, both Jewish and Christian, being persecuted. It’s like it doesn’t matter how twisted something is, as long as it’s a slap in God’s face, it’s bound to catch on.

This obviously couldn’t be happening without man’s active participation, but I’m becoming convinced there’s more to it than a natural progression of things. I think there’s growing evidence of a malevolent power accelerating this and to me that means the time during which the restrainer holds back the secret power of lawlessness (2 Thes. 2:7) is rapidly drawing to a close.

Read the rest here.

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When You Choose to Forgive

Forgiving others is often difficult, especially if they have done something that hurts you to the core. Jesus is the ultimate example of how we are to forgive, because He forgave our sins by taking our punishment on Himself in our place.

This is a wonderful piece about the value of forgiveness by Carol Round from ASSIST News Service

When You Choose to Forgive (Writer’s Opinion)

By Carol Round – ASSIST News Service On May 17, 2015

Forgive, and you will be forgiven”—Luke 6:37 (NRSV).

Upset she had cheated my son out of $30, I didn’t want to forgive her. I was also mad at myself because I had been used in the process. I guess it’s because I trust too much, trust others to do unto me as I would do unto them. However, I failed to remember not all people are trustworthy.

My son had agreed to purchase two items through an online site where people buy, sell and trade merchandise. Because the seller lived in a community closer to me, and because my son works odd hours sometimes, he asked me to contact her, set up a time to meet and pay for the merchandise. I agreed.

Read the rest here.

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