Kicking off the day with Oswald Chambers:

“The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else. “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord”;…  The Highest Good—The Pilgrim’s Song Book”

O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want-Psalm 34:9

We need not be afraid to come

He declares himself to be a fountain of living water; yet why is he a fountain but that we may come unto him, and drink? He tells us, “I am the bread which came down from heaven;” but why does he speak of himself as bread, whereof if a man eat, he shall never hunger? Why, because he wants us to partake of him! You need not, therefore, be afraid that he will refuse you when you come to him. If a man praises his wares, it is that he may sell them. If a doctor advertises his cures, it is that other sick folk may be induced to try his medicine; and when our Lord Jesus Christ praises himself, it is a kind of holy advertisement by which he would tempt us to “come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” If he praises himself, it is that we may fall in love with him; and we need not be afraid to come and lay our poor hearts at his feet, and ask him to accept us, for he would not have wooed us by unveiling his beauties if he had meant, after all, to trample on our hearts, and say, “I care nothing for such poor love as yours.” -Charles Spurgeon

Held as in a vise

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.

Oswald Chambers

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 ?

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

How to pray

At a Christian Conference I attended this summer, my mom bought me a bunch of books on various topics, and among them, she picked “How to Pray” by R.A Torrey

 

how to pray

So far I had read books on nearly everything, theologically speaking but strangely never on prayer. 

Reading this short book has been a tremendous encouragement to me and makes me want to spend more time in prayer. For a long time, prayer has been one of the areas in which I had most of my spiritual struggles, and this little book, short and really based on the Scriptures, is definitely renewing my vision of prayer.

I wanted to share a quote that really spoke to me and guess what; I copy/pasted it. Because it is available online ! As I said, it’s a really short book and it’s totally worth reading !

“Oftentimes when we come to God in prayer, we do not feel like praying. What shall one do in such a case? cease praying until he does feel like it? Not at all. When we feel least like praying is the time when we most need to pray. We should wait quietly before God and tell Him how cold and prayerless our hearts are, and look up to Him and trust Him and expect Him to send the Holy Spirit to warm our hearts and draw them out in prayer. It will not be long before the glow of the Spirit’s presence will fill our hearts, and we will begin to pray with freedom, directness, earnestness and power. Many of the most blessed seasons of prayer I have ever known have begun with a feeling of utter deadness and prayerlessness, but in my helplessness and coldness I have cast myself upon God, and looked to Him to send His Holy Spirit to teach me to pray, and He has done it.”

Back to the good ol’times: handwritten letters ! #1

handwritten

Pinterest

Hi readers ! It’s been a long time already and God willing I will maybe write a post or two on some reflections I had this summer. We were privileged to spend three beautiful weeks in USA, two at my aunt’s in Florida and another in Pennsylvania. Lots of happenings there led me to go back to my “first love”, writing. For years, I kept a diary, and every day after school, since the age of 16, I would let my thoughts ripe on the paper. Really, paper is my second brain and during the 4th year of universtiy, it happened for some reason I don’t quite remember that I stopped writing and it was a bad idea. A bad one. I thrive on writing.

During my stay in the USA, I talked to a relative and other girlfriends and realized something: we are in an age of rush. Of social media, of things-to-do lists. Some will be leaving for college and leave their parents behind, and sometimes, it can be quite overwhelming. They won’t always have the time for phone calls and answering emails and will be heavily disturbed when WhatsApp/Snapchat sends a “Ding !” while they are studying for their next quizz/test. Yet they need some presence. The warmth of those they love.

I wanted to stay in touch with these girls. Some of them cousins, some of them friends, sisters in Christ, older women at times. And yet, I, too, am getting crazy with the social media tornado that dominate our lives: you either choose to be an active member of it or, you socially die, forgotten of everyone !

It was upon these considerations that I have decided to buy a good, thick block of paper, a stash of envelopes and while decreasing my time on social media, to take the habit to write a letter once a day (while I am on vacations) but to have, at least, a special time, every week, to sit down with my tea on my little round table and to pen a few words.

The art of handwritten letters brings unique things…

The one who writes will see his/her thoughts unfold on the paper in a way that writing them on a computer won’t -there is no erase button after all… and it’s such a pleasure to go to the post office and print stamps to send your thick stash of letters. It’s usually hard to get me out of my appartment unless for shopping for groceries. My parents keep telling me, “Go out for a walk”- but this time I think going out on the Rue Nationale will be a much awaited time of the week !

The one who receives the letter will have the surprise of receiving something personal- all handwritings are different- and you get to have something that is specifically written for one person. And, unlike notifications, you get to have something that you can read at any time and requires your attention, yet is not as interrupting as those !

What’s not to love ? As I was sending an email a few minutes ago, I found, on my mom’s desk, a small adress book.*This is a siiiignnnn*. I just can’t wait ! And since I’m taking the train every Monday and Friday, I hope to, when I don’t want to study, to make it a tradition to write in the train.

Post #2 to follow !

Do you still write, or am I the only squealing Jane Austenish gal out there?

 

 

An interview with the former Victoria Secret model Kylie Bisutti

Note: This short interview was published in 2013 on my former blog, and was translated to French. Three years after deleting my blog, I just rediscovered this interview with the former Victoria Secret’s model Kylie Bisutti, who left her career to follow Christ. She is such a humble, kind mom of two and I enjoy following her on social media, and seeing her grow more and more spiritually. I hope you enjoy this (short) interview and if you are interested in knowing Kylie’s story-more in depth this time, I’ve read her book and I think it would be a great, great encouragement and testimony for young teens… and older ladies.
KylieBisuttiBook
 
1) Hi Kylie ! Thank you for having accepted this interview. First, can you describe your family and faith backround, before you became a model ?

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home so I was not a believer when I started modeling at the age of 14. The first time I attended church was when I was almost 16 and then I got baptized shortly after that!

 2) What really motivated you to get into the modeling industry, at 14 ? What was your parents stance on this ?

My parents were very open to letting me pursue my dream of becoming a model. I was motivated by worldly things though. I wanted attention. Fame. Acceptance. Value. I thought that modeling would fulfill me… I wanted to prove to people that I was worthy. God showed me though that there is no happiness in trying to find value in worldly things. He is the only way to true happiness and a fulfilled life.

3) How was your relationship with the Lord, what did you knew about Him at this time ?

I didn’t know anything about The Lord when I started modeling. Even after I started going to church I didn’t have the right view of Christ and what it means to live for Him. I just believed that his desire for me was to have health wealth and prosperity and that he was here to bless me with it. He has changed my view of him and my heart so much though from the vain place it used to be!

 4) The pinnacle of your career was when, of course, you became a VS model. How did it all happened ?

When I was 19 I auditioned for the Victoria’s Secret 2009 runway angel competition along with 10000 other girls. I ended up being a top ten finalist to compete for the spot and ended up being voted the winner by America!

 5) Thousands of girls are looking at VS runaways and wondering, how does it feel to be a model of that level. How does it really feel ?

Lonely. Empty. Vain. Truly insecure. The night I was named the vs runway angel was one of the most insecure nights of my life. It’s the opposite of what most girls think and I talk about all of the details and emotions in my book, I’m No Angel.

 

6) When you got married, what was your husband stance on your job as a model ?

He didn’t really know much about the modeling industry. He had no clue who Heidi Klum was and what the VS fashion show was. So in the beginning he didn’t think much of it. He didn’t really become aware of it all until I started working for VS.

 7) One day, you announced that you were leaving VS. What happened, in your life so after having worked all your life to reach such a coveted position in the modeling world ?

God changed my heart. He showed me that I was on a downward spiral of insecurity and loneliness. He showed me that I wasn’t honoring my marriage by posing in provocative lingerie. He showed me that I wasn’t promoting a healthy body image to young girls and most importantly he showed me that I was not living my life for Him.

8) Looking at your Twitter, I was greatly encouraged by your walk with the Lord Jesus, and so are a lot of people, the way you seek to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Can you describe us how’s your relationship with the Lord ? How he changed your life ?
 

I am so much closer with The Lord now. I no longer look at him as a “magic genie” who desires to bless me with money and prosperity but as a gracious savior who died for my sins and who longs to give me love and promises to guide my life for His purposes. I am way more secure and confident now and so much more fulfilled in my life!

 9) You recently launched your book, “I’m no angel”, in which you tell your story, your past insecurities. A lot of girls feel so insecure because of what they see in the modeling industry, what would you say to them ?

Please read the book! I was insecure too. Super insecure. But I found hope and I found confidence and I talk about that in the entire book!!

  10) Do you have a word to say to the male readers who might read this interview ? 

The pictures you see in magazines are FAKE. They are airbrushed, photoshopped, and look way different than the model who came in to the shoot with no makeup, hair extensions, and a magic computer program that can give her a smaller waist, a bigger bust, and perfect lips.

Giving God the crumbs…

Today, I received in the mail a copy of A.W Tozer’s book, Experiencing the Presence of God, and, as Randy Alcorn, who prefaced it, be prepared to be pierced by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. 

I read the first chapter, and, quickly looking at the second, stumbled on the title Giving God the crumbs. Reading those words alone appealed to my conscience and I went on reading.

“The simple fact is that God gets the leftovers, never the main meal. God never gets anything new. He gets the hand-me-downs. We give to God that which we do not need instead of giving to Him that which we need, and thus earning a crown for ourselves. If we were concerned with our spiritual condition as we are with our homes and our businesses and our income, we would go forward spiritually at a great rate. The beautiful thing about it is that we would not neglect our homes to do it, and we would not neglect our businesses to do it. You do not have to choose between making a living and going forward with God. You can do both. There is time to do both. You do not have to choose between keeping your house decent and cooking your meals for your husband, and going on with God. You can do both”.

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:

bread.JPG

 

  • 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 !