Seeing Trials as Opportunites, Blessings, and Real Fulfillments

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). The question often comes, “Why didn’t He help me sooner?” It is not His order. He must first adjust you to the trouble and cause you to learn your lesson from it. His promise is, “I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” He must be with you in the trouble first all day and all night. Then He will take you out of it. This will not come till you have stopped being restless and fretful about it and become calm and quiet. Then He will say, “It is enough.”
God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. They are intended to educate us. When their good work is done, a glorious recompense will come to us through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in them. He does not regard them as difficulties but as opportunities.
–Selected.
Not always OUT of our troublous times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN–deeper IN–to our one sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
–Annie Johnson Flint
We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have never forgotten: “When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary.”
There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of Divine grace. Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way. Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
–A. B. Simpson
– Streams in the Deserts, Vol. 1, for September 7th
“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Ps. 4:1).
This is one of the grandest testimonies ever given by man to the moral government of God. It is not a man’s thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering. It is a thanksgiving that he has been set free through suffering: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” He declares the sorrows of life to have been themselves the source of life’s enlargement.
And have not you and I a thousand times felt this to be true? It is written of Joseph in the dungeon that “the iron entered into his soul.” We all feel that what Joseph needed for his soul was just the iron. He had seen only the glitter of the gold. He had been rejoicing in youthful dreams; and dreaming hardens the heart. He who sheds tears over a romance will not be most apt to help reality; real sorrow will be too unpoetic for him. We need the iron to enlarge our nature. The gold is but a vision; the iron is an experience. The chain which unites me to humanity must be an iron chain. That touch of nature which makes the world akin is not joy, but sorrow; gold is partial, but iron is universal.
My soul, if thou wouldst be enlarged into human sympathy, thou must be narrowed into limits of human suffering. Joseph’s dungeon is the road to Joseph’s throne. Thou canst not lift the iron load of thy brother if the iron hath not entered into thee. It is thy limit that is thine enlargement. It is the shadows of thy life that are the real fulfillment of thy dreams of glory. Murmur not at the shadows; they are better revelations than thy dreams.
Say not that the shades of the prison-house have fettered thee; thy fetters are wings — wings of flight into the bosom of humanity. The door of thy prison-house is a door into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged thee by the binding of sorrow’s chain.
–George Matheson
If Joseph had not been Egypt’s prisoner, he had never been Egypt’s governor. The iron chain about his feet ushered in the golden chain about his neck.
–Selected
-Streams in the Desert, Vol. 1, for September 8th
~Brittany

Be Still My Soul

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We sang this hymn during church the other week and it, along with the message from Pastor Pappas that perfectly coinsided with it, has been such a blessing to me.  This rendition is very peaceful.  I hope it will bless some of you as well.
Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Faith, Love, and Perfect Gifts

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The Lord is so faithful to provide encouragement through His Word for every aspect of His children’s lives.  As I have felt very needy of His presence and aid, He has blessed me with precious passages to meditate on, promises to hold on to, and verses to give me strength and courage.  I hope that these passages will be a blessing to some of you as well, in whatever the Lord is placing before you.
~Brittany
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
James 1:2-8,12

“Be not faithless, but believing.”
John 20:27

Some Useful Code For All Android: You Need To Know

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##4636##
This code can be used to get some interesting information about your phone and battery. It shows following 5 menus on screen:
  • Phone information
  • Battery information
  • Battery history
  • Usage statistics
  • Wifi information
Menus might differ for different mobile phones. Check out following video which shows the above code in action:
*#*#7780#*#*
This code can be used for a factory data reset. It’ll remove following things:
  • Google account settings stored in your phone
  • System and application data and settings
  • Downloaded applications
It’ll NOT remove:
  • Current system software and bundled applications
  • SD card files e.g. photos, music files, etc.
PS: Once you give this code, you get a prompt screen asking you to click on “Reset phone” button. So you get a chance to cancel your operation.
*2767*3855#
Think before you give this code. This code is used for factory format. It’ll remove all files and settings including the internal memory storage. It’ll also reinstall the phone firmware.
PS: Once you give this code, there is no way to cancel the operation unless you remove the battery from the phone. So think twice before giving this code.
*#*#34971539#*#*
This code is used to get information about phone camera. It shows following 4 menus:
  • Update camera firmware in image (Don’t try this option)
  • Update camera firmware in SD card
  • Get camera firmware version
  • Get firmware update count
WARNING: Never use the first option otherwise your phone camera will stop working and you’ll need to take your phone to service center to reinstall camera firmware.

*#*#7594#*#*
This one is my favorite one. This code can be used to change the “End Call / Power” button action in your phone. Be default, if you long press the button, it shows a screen asking you to select any option from Silent mode, Airplane mode and Power off.

You can change this action using this code. You can enable direct power off on this button so you don’t need to waste your time in selecting the option.*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#*
This code opens a File copy screen where you can backup your media files e.g. Images, Sound, Video and Voice memo.*#*#197328640#*#*

This code can be used to enter into Service mode. You can run various tests and change settings in the service mode.

WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth Test Codes:
*#*#232339#*#* OR *#*#526#*#* OR *#*#528#*#* – WLAN test (Use “Menu” button to start various tests)
*#*#232338#*#* – Shows WiFi MAC address
*#*#1472365#*#* – GPS test
*#*#1575#*#* – Another GPS test
*#*#232331#*#* – Bluetooth test
*#*#232337#*# – Shows Bluetooth device address
*#*#8255#*#*
This code can be used to launch GTalk Service Monitor.
Codes to get Firmware version information:
*#*#4986*2650468#*#* – PDA, Phone, H/W, RFCallDate
*#*#1234#*#* – PDA and Phone
*#*#1111#*#* – FTA SW Version
*#*#2222#*#* – FTA HW Version
*#*#44336#*#* – PDA, Phone, CSC, Build Time, Changelist numberCodes to launch various Factory Tests:
*#*#0283#*#* – Packet Loopback
*#*#0*#*#* – LCD test
*#*#0673#*#* OR *#*#0289#*#* – Melody test
*#*#0842#*#* – Device test (Vibration test and BackLight test)
*#*#2663#*#* – Touch screen version
*#*#2664#*#* – Touch screen test
*#*#0588#*#* – Proximity sensor test

James 1 with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary Notes

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As the Lord led me to meditate on this chapter recently I have been encouraged not only by the Scripture, but also by reading Matthew Henry’s concise commentary notes on it.  A little lengthy, but well worth the time.  I hope this is a blessing to some of you, as it was to me.
~Brittany
James 1:1-11
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:  But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.  For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.”
Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God’s love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please GodNo condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.  – MHCC
James 1:12-18
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men’s hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God’s service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.  -MHCC
James 1:19-21
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them. And if men would govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. The worst thing we can bring to any dispute, is anger. Here is an exhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought and affection, as well as of speech and practice; to every thing corrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the word of God, with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it, dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls.  -MHCC
James 1:22-25
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
 If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ’s blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God’s word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer’s soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.  -MHCC
James 1:26-27
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of GodAn unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charityOur true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God’s commands.  -MHCC

Fulfilling Our Divine Mission

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“A life need not be great to be beautiful.  There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great jewel.  A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the world’s eyes.  A beautiful life is one that fulfills its mission in this world, that is what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do. 
 Those with only commonplace gifts are in danger of thinking that they cannot live a beautiful life – cannot be a blessing in this world.  But the smallest life that fills its place well is far lovelier in God’s sight than the largest and most splendidly gifted – yet fails in its divine mission.”
Far better in its place the lowliest bird
Should sing aright to Him the lowliest song,
Than that a seraph strayed should take the word
And sing His glory wrong. – Selected.

-Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

taken from Streams in the Desert, Vol. 2, August 6th

~Brittany

Special visitor this evening

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The children so enjoyed this special turtle that Seth spotted walking down our back lane.  Apparently some other children must have enjoyed it as well, since it came with a special painted shell. 

What fun they had observing and interacting with this turtle.  Little joys of the summer.
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