Prayer request…

Dear readers,

Would you please join your prayers to mine ? I read the following news this morning and though I never met Nabeel Qureshi, I read his book and I’ve been watching lots of his speeches. God used him as a tremendous influence as a Muslim converted to Christianity. Please pray, and pray for Michelle, his wife, and Ayah, his baby daughter.

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Dear Friends and Family,

This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit. My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.

Unfortunately this means I am no longer able to engage in traveling ministry for the time being. I am canceling almost all my speaking events, with a few exceptions. From this point on until such a time as the Lord might choose to heal me, I intend to blog or vlog about my journey with cancer, transparently offering my heart, thoughts, and struggles in case they might encourage others and glorify God. I will no longer be with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, though it has been an absolute privilege to be on the team for the past 3 years. My third book, No God But One: Allah or Jesus?, launched today, and I still intend to write my next book, 20 Questions Muslims Ask and the Answers that Convert Them. Beyond that, the Lord knows.

Friends and family, may I ask you to fast and pray fervently for my healing? I do not profess to know the will of the Lord, but many of my close friends and confidants are convinced that this is a trial through which the Lord intends to bring me alive and refined. May His will be done, and may I invite you to seek Him in earnest, on your knees, fasting on my behalf, asking our Yahweh Rapha for healing in Jesus’ name.

And as you pray and fast, “I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:18-20)

For His Glory,
-Nabeel

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The blind men and the elephant

Tonight, I am sharing an interesting paragraph of Timothy Keller’s book, “The Reason for God”

Elephant with large teeth approaching - Addo National Park
Elephant with large teeth approaching – Addo National Park

 

“Each religion sees part of spiritual truth, but none can see the whole truth”.

Sometimes this point is illustrated with the story of the blind man and the elephant. Several blind men were walking along and came upon an elephant that allowed them to touch and feel it. “This creature is long and flexible  like a snake”, said the first blind man, holding the elephant’s trunk. “Not at all- it is thick and round like a tree trunk”, said the second blind man, feeling the elphant’s leg. “No, it’s large and flat”, said the third blind man, touching the elphant’s side. Each blind man could feel only part of the elephant- non could envisage the entire elephant. In the same way, it is argued, the religions of the world each have a grasp on part of the truth about spiritual reality, but none can see the whole elephant or claim to have a comprehensive vision of the truth.

This illustration backfires on its users. The story is told from the point of view of someone who is not blind. How could you know that each blind man only sees part of the elphant unless you claim to be able to see the whole elephant ?

There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to (all others)… We have to ask: “What is the (absolute) vantage ground from which you claim to be able to relativize all the absolutes claims these differents scriptures make” ( quote from Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society)

How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have ?

Today’s diary

In my camera roll…

More beautiful cakes seeing in Vienna, coffee beans that make plain candles smell good, my beautiful mama and me by the Danube in Austria !

 

Listening…

To the noises of the fridge and the fan. How melodious ^^ But nothing says home like the “white sounds” you only hear there right ?

Starting…

Arabic. Last week, I met a Korean man who spoke Arabic ten times better than I do, and it encouraged me to start writing and reading in my mother tongue ! Youtube videos are so convenient (I watch “Learn Arabic with Maha”, which is really good by the way)

Feeling…

Grateful for a safe arrival in France after a week in Vienna; for the beautiful memories I made last week. And thankful for my blog

Wanting…

I need a new computer after 5 years with a decent one that is too heavy to carry around, so if you have any suggestions of computer under 600 euros/dollars (i.e, no Macbook for me now) let me know !

Planning…

The three last days of my internship; my registration for my master’s degree that starts on Friday; calls I have to make before leaving the hospital

Anticipating…

A productive school year, God willing; a life free of clutter and more minimalism when it comes to buying, organizing and lifestyle in general.

Laughing…

My parents missed the plane because they thought theirs was on Sunday while it was on Saturday. I should not be laughing, I know.My mom is usually the most organized person when it comes to traveling, a plane is like a second car for her yet my parents and my sister managed.to.miss.their.PLANE. Is it not SO EPIC ?

Highlight of the day

A very interesting conversation in the plane (which I did not miss as you can see ^^) with a lovely lady who now has my blog adress so if you are reading this HELLO 🙂

 

 

 

Our conference in Vienna !

Hi girls !

I am sitting in our hotel room right now in Vienna and I thought I would share some pictures and happenings in Austria. I’m going back to University next Friday God willing, and I have a lot of things to finish before my internship ends… so now is the perfect time to write before life becomes busy again !

We were blessed to spend a week or so in a Christian conference that started after a fun encounter. My parents and my sister, two years back, spent the New Year’s Eve in Vienna and it was in Church that they met a Christian Arabic family living in Israel. Together, they decided to start a conference that would gather, every summer for a week, Arabic speaking believers. It is the second year I come to the conference and I have been enjoying a lot and, this being the second conference I attend this summer (the other one was in Pennsylvania) I was really blessed by the things I have learned.

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Posing with one of those famous horses in Vienna !

Two preachers/missionaries from Egypt preached during the whole week and one of the topic was the justice and the salvation of God in the book of Romans. A lot of things impacted me. I learned that often, when we talk to people about the Gospel, sometimes out of fear and maybe shame, we tend to hide the name of Jesus under a vague, generic name of God… to make it less scandalous and more “acceptable” to people. But as Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We should never be ashamed to present the gospel as it is because though we are privileged to carry the Word of Life, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7). The power comes from the Lord, and there is no salvation apart from Jesus !

 

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The legendary Austrian cakes ! Yum !

I was also deeply, deeply encouraged by the love and the work of some brothers and sisters toward the lost, especially the Muslims. Being Arabic, they have that unique opportunity to help Middle-Eastern people, especially the refugees. Some Muslims attended our services, and it warmed my heart to see the brothers at the conference doing everything in their power to help our Muslim friends to settle in Vienna and to assist them both materially and spiritually with a loving heart. I pray that their heart would be opened to the Gospel and that they will come to know Christ who loved them and died for them. We heard testimonies of how some of our brothers and sisters came to know the Messiah, and, while I was playing with a 14 year old girl, she told me that the Lord knows how to refresh our enthusiasm and rekindle our courage by such testimonies. How true !

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Some sisters singing hymns

Also, the conference was a beautiful occasion to spend time with younger sisters and little girls. I noticed that sometimes, I think I am the only one to not have an assembly or Christians friends in the area where I live. I learned that I was not the only one and that from now on, it was important to encourage one another, even if we are a thousand of kilometers apart. Even as Young women, we have the ability to encourage and nurture younger ones (Titus 2:5) in various areas, and to be a good example to them. As we sat in Subway, I really enjoyed sitting with two 18 year old and one 21 year old as we discussed struggles, thoughts and encouraged one another. Pray that the Lord would help you in the life of another girl !

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That gentleman Lazarus caught all the ladies attention ! Can I have an “aww ?”

The last night of the conference, the same brother who explained the book of Romans wrapped up the week by preaching… on the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Everyone was all ears while we heard the Word of Life preached on the things to come. The imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The urgency of making the Lord known. And I want to say a few words about this…

I feel like the Lord Jesus is at the door. We all see it and feel it, in view of the events in the world. Even unbelievers can sense something is going wrong with this world. We have been blessed, we sinners, to hear the saving, Healing, powerful word and Gospel, the GOOD NEWS that Jesus-Christ came to die for sinners, horrible sinners as we were. Let us not faint. Let us not be afraid. Let us spend more time in the Word, and less time in things that would make us afraid of what people might say about us. If we are spending lots of time in social media and trying to look cool and to please people, and not to offend anyone by “watering down” the Gospel of Christ, we are making a great mistake. Let us get on our knees, for we have no power in ourselves. The power comes from the Father. Christ’s return is soon. very soon. Watch and pray. I learned that we are not going to change the world by being conformed to it. If today you lack courage, please- go on your knees and in the Word, and ask the Lord that your will would be aligned with His, and that He would give you what you need in order to honor Him: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 jn 4:4).

Get ready with me: heaven’s edition

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This picture was not planned, and neither was this post !

Tomorrow, I am going, for the first time, to travel alone. I took the plane alone once but my mom brought me to the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris and picked me when I returned but so far, I never went through the whole “thing”.

So tomorrow, for the first time, this 23 years old girl who looks 18 without makeup will take two trains and register her bag and wait at the gate for the boarding. ALONE. ALL BY HERSELF.

I WANT MY MOMMY NOW. Continue reading “Get ready with me: heaven’s edition”

Contentment

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Pinterest

I just found this acronym in a pdf on the topic of singleness. I found it helpful not only in the area of singleness per se but also in others ! 

Confess the difficulty- it is hard to give up the desires of your heart (“I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23)

Overcome the « greener grass » mentality- don’t assume that the grass is greener on the other side (“But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that“1 Corinthians 7:28)

Nourish a hear of gratefulness (Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Treasure your identity in Christ (For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3)

Expect God to give you a ministry- God desires to use you in the lives of others (Humm… This one is too long to post lol ! Read it for yourself) (Romans 12:4-17)

Nurture a family of friends (A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity- Proverbs 17:17)

Trust your future to God (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you-Matthew 6:33)

1000 gifts: count your blessings

  • A beautiful devotional with my family
  • time with my brother who just visited
  • my sister’s love for the Lord, for the Word and her maturity
  • my loving parents
  • a peaceful home
  • food
  • a vacation in Florida that allowed us to relax
  • The gentle discipline of the Lord
  • Tons of new books my mom got me at a Christian conference
  • The new affections the Lord has put in my heart
  • New clothes
  • My upcoming registration for my Master’s degree
  • Godly older women that are here for me
  • A “no” from the Lord that spared me much heartache
  • New friends
  • The opportunity to write letters
  • Safety during our travellings
  • Fellowship with believers
  • The end of my internship on August 31
  • One of my dear friends has been cleared of cancer…
  • The good times I had with cousins this summer

Do you capsule ?

The term “capsule wardrobe” was coined by Susie Faux, owner of the West End boutique “Wardrobe”, in the 1970s to refer to a collection of essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion, and therefore could be worn for multiple seasons. The aim was to update this collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new items of clothing.” – Wikipedia (I know, not necessarily the best ressource but that definition is fine for my post 😉 )

Last week, I took advantage of my free afternoons to declutter my appartment before starting school. I was AMAZED at the amount of things- not only clothes in my wardrobe but plates in my kitchen, products in my makeup bag (I mean box) I had, most of them for YEARS and yet only using maybe 20-30 % of each category on a daily basis.

Not only there were here, useless, but clutter adds a lot of stress, and the “turnover” energy you have to put in daily when it comes to cleaning is important. What I mean by that is simple: the more stuff you have, the more cleaning you’ll have to do.

Which is sad because in the case of clothes, if you wear only your favorite items (20 %-30% of your cluttered wardrobe), you are allowing those you won’t wear to collect dust, eat a lot of space and eventually you will have to wash them and fold them again, over and over. I have folded TONS of clothes just because I had to and yet would never wear them.

That is how I came to get acquainted with the idea of a capsule wardrobe, and a capsule lifestyle as well. Some will take it to extreme lenghts, it’s true. Everyone will have his/her own definition of capsuling and for me, it was having the clothes I loved most and used most… without spending my whole life cleaning around ! Also, choosing carefully your items and getting creative with mixing/matching was an aspect I really wanted to integrate as a part of a frugal lifestyle where you spend more time doing things that count rather than spending lots of money on clothes/items.

I found some illustrations of capsules of Pinterest that I found useful.

If you don’t know how to “capsule”, here is a short article.

An example of an Audrey Hepburn inspired capsule wardrobe- It’s my style basically. I find that neutrals never go out of style (and pearls also, but that’s just a matter of personal taste 😉 )

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Mix and match and voilà !

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capsule

 

 

Self-realization vs knowing Jesus-Christ ?

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…that I may know Him… —Philippians 3:10

 

A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing…that He had come from God and was going to God,…took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).

The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him…” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances. -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Memories of a loved girl to whom God said, “No”. Reflections built around a prayer from “The Valley of Vision” book.

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Pinterest.

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power. -The Valley of Vision

As I watch the sunset by the window, the walls of the houses before me bathed in golden beams, I am reminded of a line of a prayer I read last weekend.

“I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness.”

I am sitting there, as one who has been rescued from an addiction by a Loving Father, as a child who has been kicking everything in his way, screaming and crying, and, after a long time, only to realize, that the deprivation that tortured him was actually his salvation.

“Go on with Thy patient work, answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule.”

I had hard times last year. And instead of turning to the Lord in prayer, I imagined scenarios that exhausted me emotionally. I sought to please man rather than God. I did not ask for the faith that is needed to care only for the present day. Sometimes, although I could not see it, some of my desires that I thought to be godly ones…. Were sometimes hiding lots of pride, conditional love to the Lord, falsehood, unsecurity and fear.

“I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

He disciplined me and I hated it, though I would not say it or even think it, but my whole attitude of dejection, when seeing I was deprived of the said thing I was coveting, betrayed my heart: The Lord was good only when I got the thing. And I thought I hated the prosperity Gospel.

Yet.

“No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin.”

What are we to fear ? What are we to long for ? A instant of fleeting pleasure or the smile of God ?

“If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction.”

Our blessed Lord Jesus was the object of delight of the Father, yet, did He live a comfortable life ? No !

“Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee.”

Yesterday, during my prayer time, I realized how SWEET communion with the Father and His Son is. And I welcomed at last loneliness, and kissed the silence wafting in my room. I have learned to kiss the rock that throws me against the Rock of Ages.

“Then I shall bless Thee, God of jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.”

If you are reading this, and going through a hard time, I don’t know what pains you are going through, and at times we just want a presence, not somebody to give us a sermon of “futile” encouragement. Sometimes the pain is so raging and almost hurts physically. I felt the pain in my chest. I know how it feels. But after 3 years, in my case, of seeing only nonsense about my particular situation, after feeling that the last crumbs I possessed were taken once again from me, one week ago, the pain came to an end. It was over. The Lord made me see why I could not have what I wanted. He took it- so I can be filled with a nectar, with a treasure, that is, Himself. It could not have worked with all my pretenses and facades. Thank you, Father.

“Then I shall bless Thee, God of jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.”