When a Rock Sunk Slowly-Jon Bloom

Hello everyone !

Yesterday, as I was browsing Desiringgod.org online book library, I came across Jon Bloom’s book whose title “Not by Sight” caught my eye. This book is in fact a series of meditations on the topic of faith, beautifully articulated around a part of the scriptures narrated in the form of a vividly described story. The way it is written actually make you feel as if you were a spectator of the story, which I love. I thought I would share one of these meditations with you.

Like lots of other books on Desiring God, you can find it for free online.

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“The day had been another mind-blower for the disciples.

As they rowed toward Capernaum it was hard to stop talking about what they had seen. Five thousand men, plus women and children, and Jesus had fed them all ! With one boy’s lunch! The power Jesus commanded both thrilled and unnerved them.

And they had felt the heady momentum of surging public support when the massive picnic turned into a “Jesus for king” rally. The people had begun to understand! The Messiah had arrived! The kingdom was beginning to emerge right before their eyes.

And then it had all ended so strangely. Surprisingly, Jesus was visibly disturbed by the crowd’s enthusiasm and he moved quickly to douse it with hard, confusing words. The people’s support soured to disillusionment.

Jesus could be so hard to figure out.

And why had he been in such a hurry for them to get to Capernaum that he had them row by night? And why were they to leave without him? They had taken the last boat on the shore. If Jesus intended to join them in Capernaum by morning, it was going to be one whale of a walk.

Then the wind picked up and the waves grew stronger, pushing against every pull of the oars. This was going to add hours to the trip. Adrenaline-fueled discussion was replaced by fatigue-fueled irritability. One of them commented that at this speed, Jesus would probably beat them there on foot.

Just then another shouted, “What’s that?” All eyes strained sternward. A form was approaching in the murky dark. Peter stood up on the small rear deck and looked hard. It could not possibly be what it looked like. But soon it was unmistakable. Someone — or something — was walking toward them across the water! An unearthly fear seized the men. One spoke in a hushed panic: “It is a ghost!” The rowers found new energy.

But a familiar voice called to them, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Jesus? It sounded like Jesus. But he was walking on top the water! Maybe a spirit could do that, but not a human! Peter motioned to the rowers to stop. It was Jesus. Mouths hung open but no one had words.

Except Peter. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Every astonished face turned to Peter. No one else had even thought of that yet. Jesus responded, “Come.”

So Peter sat on the gunwale, swung his legs over the side, and carefully put his weight on what should have engulfed him. Then stood up. There was a collective gasp from the boat. One degree of surreal to another. Then he began to take tentative steps toward Jesus. The others held their breath.

Suddenly Peter froze. He looked down at the waves drenching his legs. There was panic in his eyes. Then he began to sink, as if into mud. He reached out toward Jesus and cried, “Lord, save me!” Jesus stepped forward, reached out, grabbed his arm, and pulled him up. Peter, looking intensely at Jesus, was breathing hard.

Jesus said to him with affectionate firmness said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”


Peter showed remarkable faith in asking to follow Jesus out on to the water. No one else did.

But when he began walking, what held him up? We might quickly assume it was his faith. But that’s not accurate. Peter’s faith wasn’t keeping him afloat. Jesus was. Peter knew that. That’s why he didn’t just leap out of the boat on his own. He asked Jesus to command him to come. What Jesus did was honor Peter’s faith by commanding the water to bear his weight.

Lesson #1: faith is not faith in our faith in Jesus, it’s faith in the power of Jesus’ word.

But once Peter was outside the safety of the boat, on uncharted waters, everything started feeling precarious. Why? Well, because people don’t actually walk on water. We may be so familiar to the story that the ridiculousness of walking on water doesn’t strike us. But it struck Peter at that moment.

And he started to sink.

But have you ever noticed that Peter the Rock didn’t sink like a rock? The last time you jumped into a pool, how gradually did you sink? There’s something profound going on here.

Peter began to sink when his faith shifted from the firmness of Jesus’ word to the instability of his circumstance. And when he did, it was Jesus letting him sink — slowly. And for Peter that was a grace.

Why? Because Peter’s sinking produced his cry to Jesus. It quickly got Peter to stop looking to the world or himself as the source of truth and salvation and got his focus back on his Savior. When he did that Jesus pulled him back up.

Lesson #2: Jesus’ word is truer and stronger than what we see or feel, and when we doubt that, sometimes he graciously lets us sink to help us refocus.

Trusting in Jesus and his word over our perceptions is difficult to learn. That’s why the Lord takes us through so many different faith-testing, faith-building experiences.

And when he does, it is never for just our own benefit. He’s displaying his power so others’ faith will be strengthened too. And, like the rest of the disciples, once Jesus and Peter were back in the boat, we end up saying to the Lord, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).”

 

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A new chapter

Hy everyone !

First of all-happy new year ! I finally get to sit down to write a post, my ! This blog has been collecting dust ! Well, it’s time to give it a second chance because it will be a much needed tool if I don’t want to become a hermit by the end of the year.

This semester, the last of my studies, has left me running around, trying over and over to get an internship. I sent tons of resumes and cover letters, and, at some point, I almost had to quit: I did not find a suitable one, nor did my professor, until that long awaited moment when the phone rang and, after a 40 minutes interview, voilà ! I was accepted in a French pharmaceutical company. Just like that ! Nope, I’m kidding. It was a true miracle. This story will probably be for another blog post.

For now, I’m ELATED that they have asked me to join them in the sunny area of Toulouse, in the South. For now, I’m not really nervous and I don’t plan to get nervous either, but my mother is starting to get emotional as her second baby is about to leave the nest. I used to live only an hour away from my parents home, so visiting them every weekend was no problem, which will not be norm now I’m moving 5 hours away. I admire you guys, especially in America, because you often leave the house at a young age to go to college-I count myself lucky to have spent 6 years by my family’s side.

The Lord has really been gracious. The whole “behind the scenes” preparation that it took to get into this master’s degree and in order to be accepted for this position came with lots of tears and discouragement, but, in it, I saw the hand of the Lord, who led me in an adventure far more different than what I expected.

So this is it, friends ! I’ll be leaving Tours by the end of January and will start a 6 month journey, or, who knows, longer, in Toulouse, and I hope to chronicle my happenings here.

 

“Do not worry”

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25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

Put your hope in God, not wealth !

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?” Matthew 6:27

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

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

Bowing your head before eating that burger

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Policemen praying before a meal-Pinterest

Note: This post is not meant at all to draw attention to myself and to my prayer life. I’m just sharing some insights I recently had on the topic of prayer in public.

Truth to be told, I often eat at home because in the cafeteria there’s way too much food on the tray and the consequences of eating too much at lunch time are usually seen in the afternoon: in 6 years of uni I took more naps in class than I can remember. However, yesterday, for the first time in a long time- a very long time, I had to eat at the cafeteria with some friends. As people sat and start eating their entrées and undertook the task of gobbling down their cheeseburger, I looked at mine. What do I do ? I want to thank God. The first Person that I want to thank, and honor before that meal is the Lord. I rested my head upon my hand, said a quick prayer in my head and as always, people started asked me questions: “Are you okay ? Do you have a headache ?” “I’m okay, thank you !”. Though I have the habit to pray silently when I’m alone, I sensed that I had taken the posture I usually adopt when I try to “shrink”, to hide; had anybody seen me he would have never known I was praying. Yet I pray even when I’m alone- I am not trying to display it in public for the sake of being seen. Prayer is an integral part of my life. After the last lecture of the day, I tried to recollect my thoughts.

Continue reading “Bowing your head before eating that burger”

“In due time”

“God’s Holy Spirit and man’s sin cannot live together peaceably; they may both be in the same heart, but they cannot both reign there, nor can they both be quiet there; for “the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” they cannot rest, but there will be a perpetual warring in the soul, so that the Christian will have to cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But in due time the Spirit will drive out all sin, and will present us blameless before the throne of his Majesty with exceeding great joy” -Charles Spurgeon

My (very blessed) (really cool) week in pictures !

This week was one emotional week, packed with celebrations, friends and new happenings. This week, on Thursday, I skipped class to attend my brother’s doctoral thesis defense and, in the small room where he presented his thesis, was overwhelmed with emotion as we heard the professors award him the summa cum laude honor !!! My parents, friends and I were so proud as he pronounced the oath of Galen !

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My best friend, study buddy, inspiration and partner in crime, is now a PharmD !!!

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Celebrating our champion at the restaurant, a few hours later ! 

Seeing my father bow his head in prayer as my brother pronounced the oath was something incredible to see. I’m extremely grateful for all the joy that my brother has brought to my parents, not only during the graduation ceremony but also during his life. My brother has been so good to me during the time we lived together as students and grew to be a strong man during these years. Seeing the pride, relief and happiness on Dad’s and Mom’s face, during that night, is something I will never forget. They worked so hard to help us make it through these years of pharm… We are definitely blessed with godly, wise, caring, generous, extremely loving parents.

 

raclette

After the celebration and a good night of sleep, my brother had to return at his workplace for an early Christmas Party-which left me a few hours to study some immunology before I celebrate something else. Ummmm, in fact, there was nothing in particular to celebrate, it’s just that my friends and I never have the time to catch up, being in different programs, so it was about time that we gather again for our kind of food, raclette. Bring on the cheese, the cheese, the cheese, the cold cuts, and, I almost forgot to mention, the cheese. And the baguette. And the pickles. And the potatoes. And the mannequin challenge !! We ended the night with a hilarious mannequin challenge, and obviously one of the girls had to crack up every time I almost caught a perfect scene on camera.

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Today is a study day ! It might sound basic to a lot of people-especially if you are someone who is really organized and who plans everything in advancee, but I started to plan the day ahead as soon as I wake up. It takes a few minutes but saves you a lot of time and discouragement- I used to do homework and work on projects without much planning and scheduling and as the end of the day was nearing, I found myself discouraged, because I did not have a clear of idea of the progress I had done that day. Crossing items of your list definitely gives you a motivational boost !

me-running

Call CNN, Fox News, BBC, everyone !! I took up running ! In fact, I’m taking up crossfit-my brother runs marathons and IronMan and every sort of competitions; it was not always this way, however. We are not a family where physical exercice was something that important, and it was not until his 3d year of university that my brother started going to the gym, running, etc. Since we have flat feet, we have a small disadvantage when it comes to training but my brother is not the kind of person to find excuses and slowly but surely, began to run. 20 minutes. 40 minutes. 1h30. And then, a few years later, crossed the finish line of two marathons after 5 hours of running non-stop. He oftens says that he would get depressed without running, and today for the first time, I took advantage of the beautiful, foggy weather (nope, as an autumn lover, these words are not antonyms to me lol) and went for a run in the local part that is 5 minutes away from my home. It felt SO GOOD ! I went back home  energized, and wondered why I never started before ! If you have never done it, go ahead- you can thank me later.

Running across flamingos, peacocks, ducks and a wallaby makes the experience fantastic…

… And makes returning to work easier.

Thankful for this week mercies ! Have a beautiful weekend y’all !

Good morning y’all

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Good morning everyone ! I’m blogging from the bus stop right now. We are slowly transitioning from a soft autumn to cold mornings here in France, and when you exit the house, it’s still dark, and you come back, well, it’s darker !

yay for autumn and French bakeries 🙂 

I’ve never been more grateful for my handmixer that now allows me to have a daily dose of fruity goodness every morning (smoothies are so cool lol). Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day but this year I rarely get to sit down and eat it so- why not drink it instead ? Here is the green smoothie recipe  I whipped up this morning: 2 bananas (1 would have been enough- see how the whole mixture splattered everywhere ?, 1/2 avocado, 1 cup of vanilla soy milk (or any milk of your choice plus something to sweeten it).

Daily diary

After two weeks of “vacations” at my parents home- I’m back in my appartment, ready for another week of school !

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Vacations with quotations marks since of course, I’ve been studying a lot and right after I post this short entry, I’ll be back at my desk. Though difficult and filled with tons of concepts and tons of “actors”, i.e cells and the way the interact with each other, overall, immunology is enjoyable. And while I’m talking about school, I have to mention that I’m really excited  for this week ! My older brother will defend his doctoral dissertation and, God willing, will become a Pharmacist ! I’m a proud sister, and my parents are overwhelmed. My parents called a friend who owns a restaurant and booked a table for the evening, are getting everything ready, from the camera to the chocolates for the professors, they are just so involved in the process, and getting all emotional about it ! It’s really a huge transition for my brother: right after his final internship in a pharmaceutical company, they hired him so he had the luck to find a job right after his studies, which he is really happy about, yet I think he is going to miss university. So will I. I have one month of school yet and then, I’m off to a 6 months internship.

mujaddara

In the kitchen ! Lately, I was reading a culinary blog in which the author gave advice about finding your style in the kitchen and one of them was that it is better to stick to one type of cuisine rather than have all the ingredients, exotic and not so exotic, not use them a lot and , in the end, waste food. As basic as this sound, it definitely makes a difference when you’re learning to cook and to stock items in your pantry. So I decided that from now on, being Lebanese and Syrian, I would stick to traditional Middle-Eastern cuisine. Not that I refuse to cook something different every once in a while but it feels so much better, especially when you are trying to live with less and incorporate minimalism in your life, to have just the basic ingredients and fresh items and stick to a few dishes. Pictured above is Mujaddara, a dish of rice and lentils. It is traditionally served with fried onions and a tzatziki.

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Yesterday, I started reading a God-Entranced Vision of All things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, by John Piper and Justin Taylor. You can find it for free on PDF, by the way, something that Desiring God Ministries do with most books they publish. Jonathan Edwards is one of my favorite authors and I think I will post a few of his quotes online throughout the week. His words are stirring my affections for Christ, which, lately, at times, I have to confess, have been growing cold. I have been mourning over my sin-I realized that at times, I have desired the approval of men more than the approval of the Lord Jesus and I’m not as disciplined when it comes to the reading of the Scriptures and putting God first in everything than I used to be- a lack of discipline which has caused me a lot of grief. I told my mother this morning, that I did not want to be so anymore. Sin makes false promises. It’s alluring, it’s tempting, and then, it kills you. I was reading something in that book that caught my attention:

“Many Christians think stoicism is a good antidote to sensuality. It isn’t. It is hopelessly weak and ineffective. And the reason it fails is that the power of sin comes from its promise of pleasure and is meant to be defeated by the superior promise of pleasure in God, not by the power of the human will. Willpower religion, when it succeeds, gets glory for the will. It produces legalists, not lovers.”-John Piper

And

Self-denial will also be reckoned amongst the troubles of the godly. . . . But whoever has tried self-denial can give in his testimony that they never experience greater pleasure and joys than after great acts of self-denial. Selfdenial destroys the very root and foundation of sorrow, and is nothing else but the lancing of a grievous and painful sore that effects a cure and brings abundance of health as a recompense for the pain of the operation.-Jonathan Edwards

So this week, I’ll be fighting for true joy. True Joy that is found only in Christ. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11). I will fight for it, and I know that the Lord will be my help in this fight, that I won’t be alone.