In the kitchen: Indian food !

Since I don’t have a lot of time to post these days… Just sharing tonight’s dinner- butter chicken and an Indian bread I baked this week, chapati- this bread is definitely worth a try since it is easy, without yeast so no rising time; it is baked in a skillet without oil or butter; and it is pretty amazing AND filling with Nutella too ! I now keep a bag of that dough in the fridge for mornings when I am in a rush. The recipe in the book only calls for whole wheat flour/salt/water-easy peasy !

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Lord’s day sermon

CH-Spurgeon-Preaching

 

To be guarded from stumbling throughout a long life, is not of ourselves. It is not to be found in our own experience—not even in the means of Grace alone. That same power that made the heavens and the earth, and keeps the earth and heavens in their places, is needed to make a Christian, and to keep him standing before the sons of men. “Unto Him that is able to guard you from stumbling.” God has this power. He has power over all circumstances. He can so arrange the trials of your life that you shall never be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. He has power, also, over Satan, so that, when he desires to sift you as wheat, the Lord can keep him back. God will not allow him to overcome you. Best of all, God has power over our hearts. He can keep us alive with holy zeal. He can keep us so believing, so loving, so hoping, so watching, so fully obedient that we shall not stumble at His Word, or stumble at anything else. Jude speaks of “the only wise God,” so that, God’s power is joined with wisdom. He knows your weakness and He can guard you against it. He knows your tempters and He can thrust them aside, or help you to overcome them

Full sermon here: “Saints guarded from Stumbling”

 

A walk in nature

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Welcome to Vendôme, my hometown

Go out for a walk.

Seriously. Heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Today was not a perfect day. I found myself fighting and struggling with some thoughts and sins in different areas and, by the grace of God, I am learning to not get discouraged but to pick myself up and to run to God instead of running away from Him. So right after I finished my shift at 12:oo AM at the hospital, I headed for the local garden, a beautiful paradise we are lucky to have right in front of the hospital.

And so I took a long walk and it seems that there, time stops and you have all the time to reflect and pause. I love that place.

I watched the graceful mandarin ducks gliding on water. The beautiful peacock with its long train. Talkative littles budgies and colorful parrots of various breeds. Flamingos. Bamboos. Flowers of all kinds. A little farm with chickens and goats.

And honestly, somebody has to write a PhD or a dissertation about why nature feels so good. In my studies, I had the chance to study plants and their properties and recently, I took, for my sleeping troubles Passiflora Incarnata, which is the passion fruit flower: it works !

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Google images. What a stunning flower, too.

The genius of God never ceases to amaze me. Nature is such a beautiful theatre, a quiet place, a solace of rest and it’s no wonder the perfect early days in Eden took place in a garden.

If you are tired, maybe it’s time to turn off computers, grab a thermos of tea and go out for a walk. Honestly. It is a neglected medicine…

This week’s thoughts and happenings

  1. I have sent, a few weeks ago, a handwritten letter to a 16 years old young girl. Her answer landed in my mailbox this week and I learned a lot of things through that. She thanked me because I called her “My Princess” and she told me she was really touched because I thought of her, because she was on my mind. Her letter brought me a lot of joy and it made me more conscious of the fact that we, older women/ladies, can be mentors and friends to younger ones. What a pleasure, too, to receive a handwritten letter ! It is SO much more personal than a mail or a quick “hello” on Facebook Messenger…
  2. It’s almost the end of the year. I have two exams left ! It will be my last year of community pharmacy before, God willing, I start my Master’s degree in immunology next year. I can’t wait !
  3. My friendship with a Muslim fellow student, whom I dearly love, taught me a lot of things. My parents are Syrian and Lebanese so through language and culture, I think it is easier to talk to a Muslim-still, I learned that you might be the only Bible a Muslim will ever read. Arabs are very, VERY attached to hospitality and I remember, when I invited this lady for supper along with other friends from the faculty, that she was touched that I had planned a meal that was suitable for her to eat. She was also surprised that my choice of dressing modestly came from the Bible’s teaching; so I am learning that hospitality, and obedience to the Lord in our daily acts can open a door for a discussion about the Gospel.
  4. Often, we don’t know. That very classy girl dressing in Chanel might have no friends at all. People, at the end of the day, no matter their backround, are in need of the Lord and of love. And we are in society where girls are experts at gossiping and making fun of each other, sadly. Be a lady of integrity. Be known for not having that tendency to gossip, and to divide frienships.
  5. Singleness is not an inferior status. In the past, singleness, for example in Corinth, was sometimes seen as something superior spiritually, and in our times, we often, even in the church, pity singles. I think there is a problem with both approaches. And to be honest, it can lead some who were content with their status to start wondering: “is there anything wrong with me ?”-no. You are not odd. It’s ok to be single, you are not suffering from leprosy, it’s perfectly fine. And I am tired of seeing society and even some Christians depicting marriage as the ultimate goal. Sure it is a good thing. Sure longings to share life with someone are good. But you know ? Marriage won’t last forever. In heaven, we will all be singles. And marriage is temporary, and might be very short ! I have a friend of mine, who after two years of marriage, and one or two msicarriages, her husband died and it made me think: her marriage was “made in heaven”. Madly in love, with each other, and with the Lord. And it ended after two years. As beautiful as it is, as a God given institution, will not necessarily look Pinterest-y and is not guaranteed to last 60 years. I read today, on Desiring God, that, “Christian hope is the confidence that an amazingly good future is securely ours”. Thanks to Christ, that good future is secured. We might not have all what we wish here on earth, but we have received, in Christ, the greatest Good. Eternity is bigger than anything.

the preciousness of Christ

 

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

There isn’t anything greater than to see the Son of God in all his divine beauty and radiance and greatness, and be supremely and increasingly happy in him forever. There isn’t anything greater or more profoundly satisfying than this.-John Piper

Doxology

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

These 2 verses from the book of Jude (v 24 and 25) are some of the verses who have brought me great encouragement in my fight with sin, because it says that God himself is able to keep us from stumbling, present us before His glorious presence… with great joy ! For so long, I have lived in despair and unbelief…. And to read that the Lord will help me in my battle, will perfect me for the day I will see him, and will fill me with joy… To know that He has fought the battle for me and still prepares me, not leaving me on my own… It fills my eyes with tears. The Lord is truly good and our Unique Treasure.

My frugal week

You know, far from being synonymous with a miserable life, I think frugality -making the most of what you have, learning skills in order to save- teaches you a lot. I think it taught me to pause, to stop, and no longer jump from one shopping spree to another. It taught me to work with my own hands, to be grateful for the clothes I had, to take care of them, to cook my own food and be grateful for it, to not take anything for granted… I am no longer in that rush that keeps me thinking, what should I buy next. I am learning to be content with what I have and I feel, honestly, richer that I have ever been, more that when I allowed myself to buy tons of stuff…

Also, I really think that as Christians, frugality is something we ought to aim for, in the sense, that we ought to be good stewards of what we have and not waste things. Think about what the Lord did with the loaves of bread…

Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”  (John 6: 11-13)

 

Little steps I have been taking, and things I have been doing recently in order to save money, increase my creativity and take care of the environment…

 

  •  I started carrying a small fabric tote bag in my purse so I would be able to say “no” to another plastic bag when I buy something
  • I made sushi for my family last week-end.
  • I have started adopting the need it or not ? mentality. Last day, I was considering purchasing on Amazon a makeup palette and I gave myself a few days to think about it. Eventually, I realized that I had tons of makeup and that I actually did not need that palette at all.
  • I am learning to say “no, I’m good” when pressured to buy something.
  • I have started making my own bread. Bread was something I avoided trying as I thought it was something too fancy and that you could not do unless you had a bread making machine… But trust me, it is really easy ! I don’t eat a lot of bread so I thought making my own small breads would be a good alternative:

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  • I used what I have in the pantry to blend my own chai latte mix. In France, we don’t have that Starbucks/Tim Hortons culture so we don’t really have that budget hole due to Frappucinos and other drinks.

 

What frugal steps will you be taking this week ? I would love to hear your ideas !

 

The tragedy of a starved imagination

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Desiring God

“The irony of our time is that, though we have more powerful image-making technologies than ever, we continue to be caught in what the poet Paul Claudel called ‘the tragedy of a starved imagination.’”

“Llosa observes that, in the past, the purpose of culture was edification: building society by civilizing one person at a time, teaching them character and values of good citizenship. In contrast, a culture of spectacle serves mainly to cure boredom: to distract and entertain. The problem with cultures of spectacle is that they fall prey to the law of diminishing returns. One has to find an ever-faster, steeper rollercoaster to keep the thrill alive. The dinosaurs have to be bigger; the destruction has to be on a grander scale. Eventually the spectacular special effects dull our senses to the marvels of the everyday. In addition, all these special effects make the ministry of the word — speaking into air — appear weak and uninteresting.” – Dr. Vanhoozer

My reading today was this article from Desiring God: A refreshing interview where Kevin Vanhoozer explains how our hyper social media culture and all that entertainment diminishes our ability to enjoy God, others and beauty. It was so convicting that I had to send it to my younger cousins…