Spiritual Refreshment

Do you know what's amazing about reading the Bible?

It is when you ask God to speak to you through His Word and when You seek more of Him, He will surely reveal His answers to your heart's deepest longings. It is more than finding the light at the end of the tunnel... more than a finding a message in a bottle. It is laying down all your plans at the feet of Jesus and letting His purpose prevail in your life because He knows what He is doing and working in you and through you.

Just like how God used Joshua 1 to speak to me again. I'm familiar with this Bible story yet as I read it again, I got fresh teachings. It spoke to my spirit in a deeper level. The words are now etched in my heart one by one. I was truly joyful when I found what I was searching for a long time.

This is the importance of meditating God's Word and desiring a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is something special and captivating. It is a personal experience.


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I was even able to write a short poem because I could not contain the joy and love God gave me one night. And after posting it on my Facebook page, I happened to see this post from Joyce Meyer ;) Such an amazing moment!



The Camera That Can Bring More Joy

Photography is fun and my passion. It's extra special if one can express the same feeling in photographs as trying to capture the beauty of people, places, nature, and things to create good memories.

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Photo taken in Stockholm last December 2016

I have been using my DSLR for many years and this camera is still reliable. But in my recent vacation, I had encountered inconveniences using it. It's heavy and bulky. Though I can still take good pictures, it's hard for me to photograph during night time or in the low light. So it was easier for me to use my mobile camera anywhere and anytime. I also noticed that most of the tourists were using mirrorless compact camera, lightweight DSLR, or action camera. That's why my next goal is to invest for a new camera - mirrorless kind. I think that it'd a good companion because it's easier to carry during photo walks and visiting museums/indoor locations.

And this is why I like Sony Alpha a5000. The brand claims that this is the world's lightest interchangeable-lens digital camera and it has good features like Picture Effect, Multiple Exposure, Time lapse. The last one is my most favorite for the love of sky timelapse! This camera can sync photos and videos to smartphones since it has built-in-Wi-Fi and NFC. Make some enhancements to your photos and upload your shots to share.

With its Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) Sensor, BIONZ X™ image processing engine, and high sensitivity ISO 100-16000 - I can capture in low light and without flash. This is perfect for my need.

more camera details here

You can also record movies in Full HD which gives you the option if you want a fast or slow setting.

And on taking selfies - it'll be more fun since it has tiltable LCD screen, face detection plus smile shutter; and can enhance photos with soft skin effect,

To fully enjoy this camera, there are different lenses and accessories available in the market.

Can't wait to explore more places and capture sunset/cloud timelapse with Sony Alpha a5000. It's a great camera with wonderful features.

Before 12: Falling in love with sunsets

What do I love about sunsets?

Its colors and warm tones. The texture of the sky as the daylight lets go of its brightness; as well as the night awaits for the stars to come out. The richness and beauty of changing colors proclaim how great our Creator is. He is a magnificent artist. Sunsets inspire me so much.

Soon, I'll be seeing my 31st sunset. ^_^

Each sunset reminds me of what I should be thankful for:
1 I lived and survived another day.
2 I have eyes that can see well and appreciate the wonders of nature.
3 Another opportunity to take good photos or make a painting to treasure its beauty.
4 A new hope. It's a signal that there will be a new day coming soon.
5 A time of waiting and developing its beauty.
I already posted some sunset photos in my blogbefore and I never get tired of appreciating its beauty.

So tomorrow, try looking up to the sky and let the artist in you appreciate what your eyes can see. It's already a blessing to know that you are alive and have a gift of sight. Not everyone is able to see what we can see though not everything is perfect and good for our sight but it's another thing.

What matters now is we adore the creations of the Lord Almighty. God shows His love and care for us through His creations.

I am ending this blog post with some of my favorite sunset photos I took in Sweden. In different seasons, with different kinds of beauty but same wonderful time of the sun to hide its brightness for a while.


Summer

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Autumn

A photo posted by Madz M (@bettercurly) on

Winter

A photo posted by Madz M (@bettercurly) on

Before 12: I Learned to WAIT

It is exactly seven days before turning another year older. I am so thankful for everything I have learned and experienced in life. But until now, I am still a work in progress. I believe that the Lord will not stop molding us until we are made in completion according to His divine purpose.

Waiting has always been a part of our journey on earth and it is not easy if patience is your weakness. Yet I am still praying for some of my prayers to get answered. Be it a yes, a no, or wait still from God.

That is why I am blessed to have a mother who is prayerful and God-fearing family. It would be impossible for me to survive the challenges I have faced in the past without my relationship with Jesus Christ. My heart and my flesh are weak but He is strong. Now, I am still pursuing my dreams and actively waiting for a new chapter to be unfolded.

Why do I have this kind of hope?

Because of God's promises written in the Bible and I know that my God is a promise-keeper. I am privileged to witness His sovereignty and love.

Just like three months ago during my devotion time, I received a Word from God. I sensed in my spirit that it's meant for me and it's a promise to me as well. I was sure of this because I kept on reading and hearing about Abraham's unwavering faith on his Friend as recorded in Romans 4:20-21.
No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.  (Romans 4:20-21 AMPC)







I learned that Abraham waited for God's promise to be fulfilled in His own time frame.
This man knew who God was, is, and is to come.
Because he was very close to God's heart and he knew that He would never lie.


It is not easy to embrace the waiting time but we have options to spend it with joy, hope and faith or anger, bitterness and frustrations. So let us choose not to be miserable.

Option A: "Naghintay, nag-grow, gumanda lalo"
Option B: "Naghintay ka na nga, pumangit ka pa."

And how can we survive this tiring season of waiting?

1. Having our full trust and dependence on God's will alone.
We know in our hearts that His timing is perfect and He is never purposeless.



2. Wait with great expectations and believe God does not give mediocre blessings.
He is gracious and loving. He never lacks wisdom, He cares for us and knows what is best for His creations.

3. Try not focusing on our pain and brokenness but rather be thankful for everything.

photo source: benziher @ Wordpress
God had saved me from a lot of my messed-up plans and decisions. Jesus has always been there to receive me with hands with open like the loving father in the prodigal son parable.

And I love this popular quote, whoever said this - he/she was right.
"I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future."

God is already there.
Trust His plans and His heart.
He loves us.

Adopting an AUDACIOUS faith

Have you ever used the word 'audacious'?



Last Wednesday night, I had a chance to attend Hillsong Stockholm's Sisterhood United gathering. I was supposed to go with my sister but sadly she couldn't make it due to her work. So I went on my own instead to the venue  Rörstrandsgatan 7 in Stockholm - the Filadelfiakyrkan (Philadelphia Church).

Karlberg is my favorite railway station and I'm getting familiar with the area of Vasastan. The first time I went here, I got a little lost but it was a good experience. I enjoyed it. I love this city and its beautiful Scandinavian buildings. Here you'll also find the awesome Stockholm Stadsbibliotek.


Hence, it was easy for me to find the venue for last night's event. I was also surprised that the photo I took a month ago, GUD❤️STHLM, was displayed on its facade. Destiny it is that I'll have a memorable experience in this place.



Filadelfiakyrkan

I entered the church and noticed that almost all the volunteers were men. There's an impression that it's really a night for women to relax and enjoy. They welcomed everyone with sparkling water.

I didn't know anyone except for some familiar faces. Somehow, I felt a little lonely.

But as we were all waiting for the sanctuary to be opened, I already claimed that God is going to do something amazing and His anointing would be poured out to everyone especially the worship team members, organizers and our guest speaker from Hillsong South Africa: Pastor Lucinda Dooley. I prayed that the Lord will touch our hearts and renew our minds to amazingly refresh us.

Doors were opened at 6:40PM and thanks God I got a good seat in the middle row and near the stage. I had an Asian seatmate, she's a mother and she loves to smile. She also went on her own.

By the way, I also borrowed a Translation radio but mine was having static noises from time to time. So it's good that the preaching would be in English.

The worship time was great and one of the song we sang was Hillsong Worship's 'What a Beautiful Name it is'. I believe the band will officially release its new album later this year. And Brooke Fraser-Scottwood would be the lead singer of this track.

Back to the event, the ladies prepared a guessing game and they divided the crowd into half. It's a fun game where some popular international and local artists were flashed on the screen and one of the girls will sing a song and her partner have to guess the name of its artist. Our team didn't win but since the church is so generous, as always, all of us got a pair of Lindt's Lindor chocolates. Yum!

Hillsong Stockholm's Worship Team (top); Pastor Lina Nielsen reading from the Scripture (center);
guessing game and chocolate prize (bottom)
Pastor Lina Nielsen, wife of Hillsong Stockholm's head pastor Andreas, hosted the night.
And read Isaiah 60:1-2 followed by her invitation to register for the Shine course, join the A21 walk on October 2016, and the Colour Sisterhood Conference in London next year.

A photo posted by Lina Nielsen (@linamnielsen) on

Then Pastor Lucinda Dooley opened her message sharing her own moment when she felt some inadequacy to do what she usually does and be victorious in it for the year 2016. But after she prayed, God gave her a message through SMS from a friend. This friend sent her a Bible verse from Isaiah 46:3-4:

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

And that moment she knew that God was telling her to 'adopt an audacious faith'.

A kind of faith that is:
  • Mountain-moving;
  • Giant-slaying;
  • Miracle-building;
  • Walking-on-the-water; and
  • Taking-territory
She gave four points to remember:

1 We can't let our inadequacy anchor us.

Remember that in Genesis 3:1-7, Eve felt that what she had was not enough for she thought that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.

And in reality, sometimes we're like that BUT what we have is actually more than enough. Jesus is more than enough.

We know that it is impossible for God to lie and we have this  hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  (Hebrews 6:17-19)


2 We can't let our hearts hinder us.

We must always guard your heart above all else… (Proverbs 4:23) and turn to God for He heals the brokenhearted.

For our hearts are sensitive; can get damaged and offended. Keep in mind that the condition of our hearts can affect our impact to others. This is perfect for me since I'm a ministry leader in our church.


3 We can't let lies limit us.

We will know it is a lie if it is contrary to God's Word. We can read what Jesus said to people who were unable to hear and accept Him - the truth (John 8:42-47).


4 We can't let struggle stop us.

Just like Apostle Paul who endured hardships and even boasted about it. (2 Corinthians 11::22-27 NLT);
and though God did not approve his request to have his thorn in the flesh, his weaknesses, be removed: Paul decided to quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on his weakness(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG)

Because we must know and accept that the struggle is real (at times).




Just like Nick Vujicic's great testimony of he became limitless/unstoppable because the God he believes is greater, sovereign! You can read from my old post about his amazingstory and how he challenged every viewer to have faith in our BIG GOD.

So we don't have any excuse not to live our life limitless.

We must decide to have an audacious faith.

I truly believe that it's only our own self who can hinder God's purpose.

I knew about most of these already but since there's no accident to God - His plan was to let me hear this message once more  especially while I'm in a country that is not my own. So I can remember that truly His purpose prevails and He can work all things together for good.

Pastor Lucinda closed her preaching with a Bible story from the Old Testament, 2 Kings 4:18-30. It's about the woman from Shunem who lived with an audacious faith. She didn't let her inadequacy anchor her, her heart hinder her, the lies limit her and struggles stop her. She chose to arise and shine.


It's kind of wonderful experience to attend @hillsongsthlm #SisterhoodUnited night 👸🏽 this week at #Filadelfiakyrkan ⛪️. Pastor @lucindadooley from Hillsong South Africa preached about 'Adopting an AUDACIOUS faith'. 😇 Read more at my recent #blogpost ✍🏽 http://goo.gl/JmEACX 📝 It is a kind of faith: Mountain-moving; Giant-slaying; Miracle-building; Walking-on-the-water; and Taking-territory🙂 1 We can't let our inadequacy anchor us. 2 We can't let our hearts hinder us. 3 We can't let lies limit us. 4 We can't let struggle stop us. Because God is more than enough (Isaiah 46:3-4) thus we should choose to arise and shine. ☀️✨ #theStruggleisReal #TheStruggleWontStopUs #bettercurly #pambihirangpagkakataon #yeyvacay #wheninsweden🇸🇪 #faith #preaching #WordofGod #audaciousfaith #churchevent #inspirational #motivational #encouraging #powerfulmessage #Godissovereign
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Thanks God that when I left the church, there's a smile on my face and a wonderful feeling because of God's power. I even got a Bible translated in Swedish from one of the volunteers and I thanked Pastor Lucinda personally. I know that the Lord also wanted her to know that her message is really God's message to everyone so we won't feel alone and down anymore. Sisters/Siblings in the Lord must encourage one another.


Sisterhood's Be Found Catalogue and Bible in Swedish

I really hope that many will find their lives anchored on God.It's really easy to feel insecure and hopeless in this worldbut we must know that we are not aloneand what we have is more than enough.

Today, I claim in the Name of Jesus that whoever reads this post will have her mind renewed, heart encouraged and life turned around to greatness. It’s no accident that I'm writing this and you're reading this. God bless you.


Hugs!
Love, MM