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

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Passing away

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Lake Baikal, Siberia-credits: Pinterest

What I am saying, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who weep, as if they did not; those who are joyful, as if they were not; those who make a purchase, as if they had nothing; and those who use the things of this world, as if not dependent on them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

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.”

At last, I see You

She walked for endless years in the desert of dust

She would cry for help, only answered by the echoes of her voice

Suddenly a light, she enters the crystal palace

And on the chiseled diamond table found a Rose, stained with blood

Holding its stalk

She hears, behind her, the sound of footsteps

Her heart skipped a beat

Faith became sight

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.

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.

He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant

“The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, Joh 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ’s two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn.” Matthew Henry on Philippians 2, emphasis mine

Precious Savior… Out of love for us, for He was not forced to do so, but of His own will, endure the worst sufferings for us. How did I doubt for so long the love of Christ for me ! How sweet is the name of Jesus, no one ever loved like Him !

The Love of Christ

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We love because of loveliness apprehended and perceived, but Christ loved because He would impart His own loveliness to the object of His choice. Even the best of men, doubtless, love in some measure from selfish motives. There is some mixture of self-interest in all human love, but Christ had nothing to gain by loving His Church. He was very God of very God, the adored of angels and the Beloved of the Father, yet He fixed the eyes of His love—mark you, not of His pity, merely, but of His love—upon those whom He had chosen out of the race of men! He loved them, not for anything that He could ever gain from them, for He had all things in Himself, but because of what He would impart to them! They had nothing of good in themselves and were only fit to be loved by Christ because, like empty vessels, their very emptiness fits them to be receivers of His fullness.“- Charles Spurgeon, Christ’s love to His Spouse