Transforming Power

“Simon he surnamed Peter.” – Mark 3:16

In a gallery in Europe are shown, side by side, the first and the last works of a great artist. The first is very rude and most faulty; the last is a masterpiece. The contrast shows the results of long culture and practice. These two names are like those two pictures. “Simon” shows us the rude fisherman of Galilee, with all his rashness, his ignorance, his imperfectness. “Peter” shows us the apostle of the Acts and the Epistles, the rock firm and secure, the man of great power, before whose Spirit-filled eloquence thousands of proud hearts bow, swayed like the trees of the forest before the tempest; the gentle, tender soul whose words fall like a benediction; the noble martyr witnessing to the death for his Lord. Study the two pictures together to see what grace can do for a man.

It is not hard to take roses, lilies, fuchsias, and all the rarest flowers, and with them make forms of exquisite beauty; but to take weeds, dead grasses, dried leaves trampled and torn, and faded flowers, and make lovely things out of such materials, is the severest test of skill. It would not be hard to take an angel and train him into a glorious messenger; but to take such a man as Simon, or as Saul, or as John Newton, or as John Bunyan, and make out of him a holy saint or a mighty apostle – that is the test of power. Yet that is what Christ did and has been doing ever since. He takes the poorest stuff despised and worthless, outcast of men ofttimes and when he has finished his gracious work we behold a saint whiter than snow. The sculptor beheld an angel in the rough, blackened stone, rejected and thrown away; and when men saw the stone again, lo! there was the angel cut from the block. Christ can take us, rough and unpolished as we are, and in his hands our lives shall grow into purity and loveliness, until he presents them at last before the throne, faultless and perfect.

Streams in The Desert

I trust in thy word” (Ps. 119:42).

Just in proportion in which we believe that God will do just what He has said, is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
God delights to exercise faith, first for blessing in our own souls, then for blessing in the Church at large, and also for those without. But this exercise we shrink from instead of welcoming. When trials come, we should say: “My Heavenly Father puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something sweet afterwards.”
Trials are the food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children.
But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which faith is exercised and thereby increased. There is the reading of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Are you able to say, from the acquaintance you have made with God, that He is a lovely Being? If not, let me affectionately entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire His gentleness and kindness, that you may be able to say how good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do good to His children.
Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us. And when trial comes, we shall say:
“I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured He will do it.” Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before the world, and thus we shall strengthen the hands of others.
–George Mueller

The Bulls**t of Anti-Welfare Christians

Pat:

How very true!

Originally posted on Revolutionary Faith:

Warning: In this post, I intend to call a spade, a spade. Which means there will be strong words that don’t normally appear on this blog. My use of these words won’t be excessive, but if you find such language offensive, it might be best to skip this piece.

There have been several reports in the news lately about states that are seeking to place further restrictions on their food stamp programs (called SNAP). The argument is that welfare recipients shouldn’t be able to buy certain items or shop in certain stores if they’re receiving government funds. Aside from the fact that these new limitations will only serve to further deprive and humiliate the poor, SNAP fraud is already the lowest of any government program, at less than 4 percent. The little bit of fraud that is committed usually occurs on the retailers’ side.

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The Stuff That’s In You

Pat:

Awesome Word! Enjoy!

Originally posted on Java With Jehovah:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12: 2 KJV

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is so amazing.  How can something so plain, ugly, mundane, and unsightly as a caterpillar turn into such a beautiful creature as a butterfly?  All a caterpillar does is eat and eat and eat, until one day it just stops. Then it hangs itself upside down and spins itself into a cocoon.  No one can see what is going on inside that crystallized outer shell lined with silk, but transformation is taking place. Here’s brief overview of what is taking place inside the cocoon:

First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the…

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Streams in The Desert

Consider the lilies, how they grow (Matt. 6:28).

I need oil,” said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. “Lord,” he prayed, “it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” prayed the monk, “my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee.” And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. “Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues,” cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.

Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. “I, too, planted a little tree,” he said, “and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. ‘Lord, send what it needs,’ I prayed, ‘storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.'”

Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow–
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the, dew–
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night–
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light–
Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
‘Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
‘Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him–for you are His care.
You, you know.
–Selected

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Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake

Pat:

If you enjoy Good Sweets you must check out this site!

Originally posted on Chelsweets:

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I received a cake order for something chocolaty and nutty, and ended up with this: A Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe modified from one of my favorite bloggers, and my standard chocolate buttercream recipe.

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease three eight inch cake pans. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa…

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Remind Us to Rest

Pat:

Good Encouragement! Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Author’s Daughter:

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Being a whole person can feel like being an overwhelmed person. Time is two sided. It can be swift, and it can be sluggish. On days when our to-do list, responsibilities, and commitments weigh heavy; time is more elusive than enjoyable. Remind us to slow down, Father. Busyness can be a form of escape. Illuminate that in us which we are running from God. Help us to pause long enough to respect the discomfort that dwells within our souls. We know being restless leads us to resolving and resolving to reaching for a remedy. This is dangerous behavior, Father because it maximizes our sense of control and minimizes yours. With ourselves, our children, our spouses, and our families allow us to rest. For rest is not idleness; it is intelligence. Open our strained hands and slow our tired hearts, Father. Remind us in each moment of panic, you are the…

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Everything Works Together

Originally posted on The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel:

I heard this song tonight and wanted to share with you. We all go through trials and tribulations and it’s hard to understand why we have to endure the struggles that come with this life… until God reveals His greater purpose.  Please listen to these lyrics… “The trials in my life I misunderstood… until I learned to love the Lord.”

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Streams In The Desert

The people kept their distance, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. (Exod 20:21)

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God’s face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you.

—Selected

“Hast thou a cloud?

Something that is dark and full of dread;

A messenger of tempest overhead?

A something that is darkening the sky;

A something growing darker bye and bye;

A something that thou fear’st will burst at last;

A cloud that doth a deep, long shadow cast,

God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?

It is Jehovah’s triumph car: in this

He rideth to thee, o’er the wide abyss.

It is the robe in which He wraps His form;

For He doth gird Him with the flashing storm.

It is the veil in which He hides the light

Of His fair face, too dazzling for thy sight.

God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?

A trial that is terrible to thee?

A black temptation threatening to see?

A loss of some dear one long thine own?

A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?

A mystery that unsubstantial seems:

A cloud between thee and the sun’s bright beams?

God cometh in that cloud.

Hast thou a cloud?

A sickness—weak old age—distress and death?

These clouds will scatter at thy last faint breath.

Fear not the clouds that hover o’er thy barque,

Making the harbour’s entrance dire and dark;

The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,

Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold.

GOD cometh in that cloud.”

As Dr. C. stood on a high peak of the Rocky Mountains watching a storm raging below him, an eagle came up through the clouds, and soared away towards the sun and the water upon him glistened in the sunlight like diamonds. Had it not been for the storm he might have remained in the valley. The sorrows of life cause us to rise towards God.

catch up on Streams in the Desert in our Archives.

Streams in The Desert

They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and astounding are your deeds, Lord God, the All-Powerful! Just and true are your ways, King over the nations! (Rev 15:3)

The following incident is related by Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, who was a great sufferer for more than a quarter of a century:

“At the close of a dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on; and though all was bright within my cozy room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the Hand which I knew held mine, and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked,

“’Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’

“These fretful questions were quickly answered, and through a strange language; no interpreter was needed save the conscious whisper of my heart.

“For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of the oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window.

“’What can it be? surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night.’

“Again came the faint, plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke our wonder. My friend exclaimed,

“’It comes from the log on the fire!’ The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart!

“Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all was well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old since then, and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody, until the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness, and the vehement heart of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice. ’Ah,’ thought I, ’when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed we are purified, and our God is glorified!’

“Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log, cold, hard, insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds, were it not for the fire which kindles around us, and releases notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with His will.

“’As I mused the fire burned,’ and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set forth before me.

“Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.”

catch up on Streams in the Desert in our Archives.