Lord’s day: All the Poor and Powerless

full_thirteen-practical-steps-to-kill-sin

Google

This is one of the great paradoxes of the gospel. It is the poor he makes rich, the weak he makes strong, the foolish he makes wise, the guilty he makes righteous, the dirty he makes clean, the lonely he loves, the worthless he values, the lost he finds, the have-nots who stunningly become the haves — not mainly in this age, but in the new creation to come. David Mathis

Today, I’m reading, maybe for the third or fourth time this sermon on David Brainerd, one of my favorite missionaries. He struggled with depression, loneliness and hardships and died at 29 from tuberculosis-and left us a diary which is one of my favorite books as well… 

Happy Saturday !

home

Pinterest

“”Home is the grandest of all institutions.”
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

What I am thankful for today…

  • Passion fruit tea
  • That I get to spend the weekend at my parent’s home
  • Getting to help my sister for her high-school project: usually, it seems to me that her maths lessons are so hard that I can’t, even at 22 years old, help her out with that. This time her project is about vitiligo so that should be fun to be working on…
  • A rainy day and the fact that my mother decided by royal decree that we were having a pyjamas saturday today
  • naps
  • An hour-long conversation I had with one of my dear friends in US last week via Whatsapp
  • The National Geographic website.

You look like my first love

lewis

“Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the hours with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you- you, the individual reader, John Stubbs of Janet Smith. Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s. All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction. The Brocken spectre “looked to every man like its first love” because she was a cheat. But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it-made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.”- CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain.

An unglorious end ?

“even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” John 1:27 John the Baptist

“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”Matthew 11:11, the Lord Jesus talking about John the Baptist

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”-John 3:30, John the Baptist 

“He sent and had John beheaded in the prison” Matthew 14:10

Those verses greatly encouraged me this evening. I often struggle with pride. Reading those verses, I realized something. If I told you that the president of the US, or Kate Middleton, or a very important person was my friend, you would expect me to be very well-dressed, living my best life now, having an impressing status in this world. After all, not everyone gets to have the number director of the White House or the Duchess of Cambridge as a best friend, right ?

If I had impressive friends, you would expect me to be some kind of VIP, someone likely to be popular. A cool person. With what society would call a brilliant future.

Every now and then I think of John the Baptist. The cousin of the Lord Jesus.

the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” So often I’ve been too proud to take on tasks that were too humbling. Yet, to untie the strap of the sandal of Jesus-Christ, says John, was an honor, something he was not worthy of. The weight of the glory of This Divine Person is such that to untie the strap of His sandal was too great an honor. As I am typing those words, I am humbled. I never really thought about it.

And Christ called John the greatest man born of a woman. I have so many thoughts, so many things I would like to extrapolate from the life of John the Baptist, so many parallels I would like to draw, but one thing I wonder- the greatest man born of a woman, said that he must decrease, and that Christ should increase. He did not use his cousin status to work his way up “through the company” to gain popularity. He did not finished his life in a palace. He was beheaded in the end.

I’m so thankful for the story of John the Baptist. It gives me hope. The one that Christ called the greatest man born of a woman was not puffed up with pride but rather knew his place. He was not trying to steal Christ’s place or get in the inner circle. And his death, was not what the world would call a glorious, peaceful death. Maybe, from the world point of view, his life was totally wasted. It was not. He lived for His Master. And if the Master be of such importance that untying the strap of His sandal is a privilege, and that this Master came down and humbled Himself, I have no reason, absolutely no reason, to boast about who I am, what I’ve done- but I pray that every day I’ll be in awe before the Greatness of such a God who came down, and humbled Himself.

Oh that I might not seek a name for myself, and that though the world might pity me for not living “The Good Life”, I would have the smile and the approval of God…

 

 

Organization: bedtime and morning routine

I finished the first semester exams a few weeks ago and without the few days of break we used to have the previous years, I started right off the bat the second semester, and my number one struggle, these days, or, to be more exact, this year, is organization.

I thought I was disciplined ! Well, the main problem when you are on your own for the first time is setting a routine and sticking to it. Since my brother left for another university, I had to set a schedule but I have trouble following it… I never go to bed early, my mornings are just hectic, it seems I can’t focus at work and in class, I am often eating on the go and therefore lacking energy and so on.

One of the things that keeps me motivated to persevere in a habit is having the necessary tools at hand. Today, while I was looking for practical ideas on how to deal with that problem once and for all, I landed on the Artful Homemaking blog which had some really good tips on that. It gave me the idea of an evening and morning basket.

panier

Pinterest

Actually, two of them. One for bedtime, and one that I’ll use upon waking up.

Evening basket:

  • My pyjamas
  • Herbal tea and a cup
  • Lavender essential oil-
  • Lipbalm, creams #justgirlythings
  • Socks
  • My diary
  • One or two books (like a devotional, a book about animals- at least something that does not have something to do with pharmacology)
  • And a list of encouraging verses and reminders I like having at hand

The morning basket will be similar: clothes for the day, to-do list, etc.

Why I think this would be useful is because, not only you have everything you need in one place but also, it keeps you from being distracted: for example, how many times I used my Iphone to read something before going to bed and ended up on Facebook, Instagram, and had a completely counter-productive, not relaxing at all evening ? Checked e-mail for no reason ? Worried instead of meditating ? That’s why I’m trying to put the phone away after, maybe, 8-9 pm after I finished studying.

If you have any others ideas, I’d be glad to hear from you !

martha.JPG

A few of my favorite things: My diary, herbal tea, coconut oil as a makeup remover, tea tree essential oil for blemishes, mango butter to keep my locks hydrated and Martha Stewart. I just love everything homemaking.

Lord’s day

naturel

Pinterest

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:1-8)

The good shepherd

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:7-15)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)

 

I Need Thee every hour

dear-diary.jpg

 

 

I was sitting on the couch, reflecting on the past year.

My brother and I are both pharm students. He is finishing his last year. I still have one year and a half to go. Our common study field led us to move in together. Live together. Study for endless hours, together. While I would prepare the spaghettis, he would wash the dishes and we would chat about our day’s happenings. Nearly four years of university, with all the memories we’d created together, made us more than best friends.

And then came the time, last year, for my brother to leave for another town for a 6 month internship, followed by, this year, an internship of a year: he had to move the other end of the country so I rarely get to see him.

This year of loneliness taught me a lot about God, people, myself and things in general.

  • I remember C.S Lewis once said something that goes like this: “In a sense, you are alone with God”. Gosh, Lewis was right. While my brother was here, I needed God. Now, as I am typing this post, alone in the room, I need God, more than ever. In a way, though human relationships are good and essential and even vital, they will never be a substitute for God. I once read a sermon by McCheyne titled “Human regarded but God despised” where he explained that often, we give great honor to our humans fellows while not giving God a single thought or a minute of our days. This year made me realize something: I need others. I really need them. But God comes first. And you know what ? I’ve also learned the following lesson the hard way:

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed bu increased.”- CS Lewis

  • How true is that ? How many times I have neglected God in order to invest more time and more energy into my relationships with others and things turned sour ? Because only God can teach true, selfless love, forgiveness, patience, forbearing, compassion.
  • This year also taught me, and it is with lots of sadness that I am writing that, that often the motives of my actions were not as pure as I thought they were. Let me give you an example. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17). Alright. In lots of place in the New Testament it says to do everything for the Lord. It says “Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:7–8)”                                               Many times I thought I was doing things for the Lord but the test came. When you meet a boss or coworker that does not respond to your “good deeds”, who is not grateful for all the pains you are taking to do your work the right way, when there is no one around to watch you and say “thank you”. What do you do, in that case ? Do you grumble, do you complain ? I know I did. Lots of time, in my heart, I thought it was not fair and one day, when I read those verses, I realized I was not seeing things with the right perspective. I began, more and more, to understand that under the pretext “I am not valued and acknowledge enough in my work” (at least in my case) was hiding a crave for praise and approval and admiration from others. I was not always doing the task out of “pure motives”. Instead of going to the Lord, I was craving high opinions of others about Stéphanie. So this year revealed to me, that as someone (guess who) said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.
  • Prayer. I never realized I neglected prayer that much until that year. And how casually I treated prayer. One preacher once said, as he was speaking to a youth group, that young people love this “pray at all times, throughout the day” mode of prayer. (i.e, You are walking in the street ? Eating a burger ? Pray at all times !) yet they were not massive fans of the prayer time “mode” when you resolve to set aside a particular time “in your closet” in order to devote yourself to prayer. I am this kind of girl. For a lot of time, I would carry prayer as a snack, while waiting for the bus, before meals of course and when I was bored, and would say a few words in my head to thank God before going to bed. Lately at church, the pastor who preached gave his New Year resolution: since he is a dad of two kids and kids keep you very busy during the day, he resolved to wake up earlier and set a time for prayer and no matter what happened, this time was not for starting to do chores and whatnot but for prayer only. I thought it was a good idea.
  • Lastly, Jesus-Christ is my Righteousness, not a concept, not an idea, not an ideal created by a human mind which we try to attain because being like Jesus will merely make you a good citizen… but no. He is our Righteousness. He is the Bread of Life, and I need it everyday just like I need to eat everyday. I need His words. I need him as an Advocate everyday. I need His love -my craving for validation by others often results from my lack of meditation of His love: The Son of God, the Creator of This World, The King of Splendor, came to die for me. Had his hands and feet pierced, for me. How dare I think I am not loved, how dare I think I am not cherished ? I need Him. He is the missing piece that solves the puzzle of my soul. Though human company is good, I need Jesus-Christ. Not a substitute of Him. I need Him.

 

 

 

 

In the kitchen: vegan mayo

 

silhouette

 

Most of the time when I cook vegan/vegetarian “meat” with tofu, I don’t try to persuade people it tastes something it does not.Oh, of course, I once had tofu which, after a little trip in a plate full of flour and then into a frying pan, tasted like chicken nuggets but to be honest -it was a special tofu, stuffed with crow garlic that made it-well, special.

Tofu is tofu. Soy milk is soy milk. You can’t have your cake and eat it too (as a Frenchie I never got the point of that expression, I am buying the cake to eat it- what’s wrong with English guys ?!).  You become a vegetarian, though there are more and more bloggers that aim at recreating a “dupe” recipe of something, you either have to have a lot of time, imagination, exotic ingredients and perseverance to create a perfect replica of an authentic chicken. 

Today, my opinion on that slightly changed. I woke up at 5 AM and had a very busy day. My mom, who by the way is from Middle-East, saw that after the exams I shed a few pounds sent me a ton of food including real chicken. I had to have mayonnaise with it. And just for the challenge (and also because I never tried a real mayo-only the store bought one, which is a shame for a French), I wanted to try a vegan mayo; and for one of the first times, I had a vegan product which not only tasted exactly like the real mayo, but it was better: lighter yet still creamy. No picture here because the lighting was not good enough though ! I made the first recipe here and added a bit of pepper and garlic powder. To be honest, I think anyone who will try this recipe will never come back to the store-bought mayo.

Lord’s day: He is precious

 

UNTO BELIEVERS JESUS CHRIST IS PRECIOUS. In himself he is of inestimable preciousness, for he is the very God of very God. He is moreover, perfect man without sin. The precious gopher wood of his humanity is overlaid with the pure gold of his divinity. He is a mine of jewels, and a mountain of gems. He is altogether lovely, but, alas! this blind world seeth not his beauty. The painted harlotries of that which, Madam Bubble, the world can see, and all men wonder after her.

This life, its joy, its lust, its gains, its honours,—these have beauty in the eye of the unregenerate man, but in Christ he sees nothing which he can admire. He hears his name as a common word, and looks upon his cross as a thing in which he has no interest, neglects his gospel, despises his Word, and, perhaps, vents fierce spite upon his people.

But not so the believer. The man who has been brought to know that Christ is the only foundation upon which the soul can build its eternal home, he who has been taught that Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, the author and the finisher of faith, thinks not lightly of Christ. He calls him all his salvation and all his desire; the only glorious and lovely one.- Charles Spurgeon, Christ Precious to Believers