Monday, November 30, 2015

Touch The Sky




What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can't buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

 

You've been Tagged




Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. from Vous Church in Miami, Florida delivers a message called "Tagged". Rich Wilkerson explains how God has called, loved and kept each one of us. We all have a destiny, but it's so easy to get distracted from where we are going by many little things in life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to Change Your Spending Habits




Developing a Minimalist lifestyle can be easier said than done. It's so easy to end up buying more stuff that we don't need in a culture that constantly encourages us to shop, spend, upgrade and "treat ourselves" to a new purchase. I find these fourteen tips by Coco to be very helpful, hopefully they will inspire you too.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fix The Flow




God says in scripture that He will meet all our needs, but for many of us that's hard to believe. If He is a great giver with unlimited supply, why do we still feel empty? What is standing between us and the flow of God's favor in our lives?

On a rainy day




Saturday was a grey and rainy day here in Toronto but I didn't mind because I had a long list of errands to run.



I decided to take a break in the middle of the day and visit Chapters. The book store is my "Candy Store", it's filled with so many wonderful books that I want to read.


"Kisses from Katie" is a book I definitely want to take the time to read this year. I'm fascinated by radically generous and loving people like Katie Davis. Katie has a passion for orphans, so at a young age she decided to leave her comfortable life in the US behind and move to Uganda. She later adopted 13 children in Uganda and she feeds and supports hundreds of more children through her ministry called Amazima.


There's so many different books I want to read at Chapters but I decided to start with "Restless" by Jennie Allen.



This weekend I also decided it was time to start getting into the Christmas spirit. Yes it's a little early, but hey, it makes grey November so much more fun! I decided to enjoy one of my favorite Holiday treats: White Chocolate& Peppermint flavored popcorn. Life is good! :)

Your Promises





When we are worried about the future it's easy to get stuck in fear, and fear can really weigh us down. One of my favorite songs to listen to on days when I'm really worried is "Your Promises" by Elevation Worship. The song reminds me of who's in control and helps me trust God. God is the one who provided everything I needed in the past and He will continue to provide in the future. He might not always give me what I want, but he knows what's best for me. I can trust him. I hold on to his promises when the storms come in life. These are some of His promises:


God's promise when you are depressed:

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8



God's promise when you are anxious:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7



God's promise when you are confused:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."
Psalm 32:8



One of my personal favorites:

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe





If you've been reading my blog for awhile now you know that Minimalism is one of my passions. The reason I want to strive for a less materialistic lifestyle is that so many of my personal values don't go together with constantly buying new stuff. I want to have a green and sustainable lifestyle, support fairtrade whenever I can, and have money left over to spend on helping others. Minimalism is a lifestyle that can help me reach these goals.


This video is by one of my favorite minimalists on Youtube: "LightbyCoco". I find it really easy to be a minimalist in some areas of my life, like technology or beauty products, I've never been a big spender in these areas. The areas where I need to continue to downsize is fashion and home d├ęcor. If you want to develop a lifestyle where you spend less money on clothes I hope this video by Coco will inspire you. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

You're an Overcomer


7 Steps to Self-Love





In this video we will learn about Self-Forgiveness. Why is Self-Forgiveness important? What can happen if we don't forgive ourselves and accept our past? Debbie Spellman explains to us what Self-Forgiveness is and why we need it. She also gives us a few quick tips on what we can do to practice Self-Forgiveness.

The great thing about Self-Love is that the better we get at it the more peace and joy we will experience. Self-Love also comes with a great "side effect", the better we get at loving ourselves, the better we will also become at loving others.

What on Earth am I here for?



Sometimes when we look at ourselves we feel bad about ourselves because we zoom in on all the things we lack. Most of us can easily make up a long list of things we are not good at. It’s easy to feel disappointed, insecure or jealous of others when you are staring at what you lack and then comparing yourself to others who have that particular skill or thing you lack. We often base our self-worth on how well we measure up to the culture’s standard of success and on how well we are doing in comparison to others in our inner circle. God on the other hand, views us in an entirely different way.


 
When we beat ourselves up for what we are bad at it’s like we would complain about how bad fish are at living on land. God didn’t create fish to live on land, he created them to live in water and that is where they will thrive, on land they will become weak and eventually die. Some of us are struggling and draging our feet through life, but God didn’t create us to go through life like that. God created each one of us for a particular purpose, but we are never going to find that purpose if we keep focusing on what we don’t have.



Once we change our outlook on life and how we view ourselves we will discover that the mix of our personality, life experiences (both good and bad), our hearth’s desires and abilities is exactly what God wants to use in this world. Step one on the journey is to stop beating ourselves up for what we can’t do or feel jealous of other people’s skills. God has given every single person on this Earth a unique set of abilities, gifts and opportunities to play an important part in His plan to restore this broken world.



I took a course at my church this fall called “SHAPE- discover how God designed you to serve Him.” The course helped me discover my spiritual gifts, abilities, personality, experience and heart’s desires through different tests and discussions we were having in small groups. It was an exciting course to take because what I’ve been sensing that God has been calling me towards was confirmed through this course. One area that God is specifically calling me to serve him in during this short life is children in poverty.
 

 
My heart aches for children in poverty and suffering and I have a strong desire to help in this area. My abilities and personality also match well with serving God through caring for children in poverty. It has also become clear to me that my past experiences (both good and bad) have helped prepare me to help children in poverty and suffering. As I did the Spiritual Gifts-test I found out that one of my spiritual gifts is “Giving”. Giving goes well together with serving children in poverty since this will require me to give away a lot of my time, money and focus to be able to help the kids effectively.



 
I think that it’s exciting to know that we were all created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). All we need to do is figure out what those “works” are. Few people will figure out the purpose God has for their lives in one day. I believe that once we start thinking and praying about our purpose God will start revealing to us, piece by piece, what we were meant to do all along. It took me about three years to figure out what God’s plan was for my life, and it’s not like I have all the puzzle pieces today either, but today I’m starting to notice a pattern in my life that points in a certain direction. I now understand things I didn’t understand before and I can see how God used certain places, people and opportunities to bring me closer and closer to the purpose He had for me all along.


 
As I stand on the threshold of stepping into God’s call on my life I’m more excited about life and the future than ever before. I can’t wait to get to put my personal gifts and abilities to work in an area that I was designed by God to serve Him in. I feel passion, energy and excitement when I think of this great opportunity to create a lasting positive impact on the world. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to jump out of bed each morning! Following God’s call on your life (once you’ve figured out what it is) isn’t necessarily going to be an easy life, but it’s definitely going to be the most fulfilling, passionate and meaningful life you could ever live.
 
 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Sad Weekend




It's been a dark weekend as the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris is on everyone's minds. Last week I also found out that a friend of mine who has been sick for awhile has been told by the doctors that he has max one more year to live. It's easy to end up feeling hopeless and angry in times like this.

We live in a world that is broken but although we are aware of this we don't think of it on a regular day. We know the facts; about 29 000 children under the age of five die every day around the world from preventable diseases, 27 million people are in modern-day slavery across the world. Yes, this world is broken. This world is not currently operating the way it's supposed to work. We know the facts but us who live in the safer parts of the world can easily forget about the reality, things like a terror attack is a painful reminder of the state of the world we live in.

When disaster strikes it's natural to become very angry and want revenge, but we have to remind ourselves that hating evil people will only give birth to more evil. It's given me a lot of hope to see many people take a stand for love, unity, openness and tolerance on social media after the Paris attacks. A world that stands united in love and refuses to fight hate with more hate is the only way to end the evil cycle. I love the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that still rings true today:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Antoine Leiris in an incredible man, he lost his wife in the Paris attacks and has written an emotional text on facebook called: "You won't get my hate." Antoine refuses to hate although he is burdened with deep grief right now. Read about his story here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-terror-husband-pays-touching-tribute-to-love-of-his-life-in-defiant-message-to-attackers-a6737231.html

Monday, November 16, 2015

Why and how do I Pray?





Prayer is a central part of being a Christian, it's how we talk to God. God wants each one of us to be in a close relationship with him because he loves us. I personally find it hard to take the time to pray sometimes. If I get really busy it's easy to forget about prayer. Other times I feel bad for asking God to give me something, sometimes I feel like I should be strong enough to not need his help, but God will never be disappointed in us for asking something from him, whether it's something big or small.


This week there is a lot to pray for, we pray for God to comfort those who are mourning the loss of loved ones in Paris. I also have a friend who is very sick that I will be praying for this week. Except for praying for our personal stuff it's also good to pray for God to intervene in places where there is suffering in the world. We can pray for the protection of staff and children in the orphanage that we support or for a non-profit in our city. It's good to have different categories to pray for on different days so that we can cover a lot of things.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Should We Explore God?





We all have big questions about life. Why am I here on this planet? What's the purpose for my life? Is there a God or is it all just a myth? What happens after we die? Why is there evil in the world? Maybe the most important question of all is: "Should I spend time out of my already busy life exploring these questions?"


Every time we have questions about the unknown we know that no matter what we will find in the end it will alter our view of life. When you found out Santa Claus wasn't real it changed your view on life. When you found out your husband had been cheating on you it changed your view on life. Sometimes these life altering moments (big or small) change our lives forever in a way that we wish had never happened. We got hurt and now we fear getting hurt again. Fear can hold us back from a lot of important things in life. Fear can hold us back from believing in love again after we have been hurt by someone. Fear can hold us back from exploring the unknown because we don't know what we will find.


When I started asking myself all the big questions about life I realized I had no idea what I would end up finding, but for the first time in my life I was up for the adventure. I wasn't going to let my fear hold me back, I wanted to know the answers now. I wanted to make sure I didn't waste my life just because I was afraid of what answers I might actually find. The hardest thing about this journey is that nobody can do it for you, you have to take your own journey. You have to find the answers yourself.


Today I even know Christians who still don't understand the whole story about why they are here, and they aren't willing to find out the rest. Sometimes we hold on to our own personal view because even if it leads to an unfulfilling life, at least it's what we know. We aren't ready to give up that feeling of safety and control. It's not before we are willing to open up and have the courage to take a step out into the unknown that we have a chance to find the truth, and it's only the truth that can set us free.



A rich life with less stuff




Most people are aware that research shows that more stuff isn't going to make us any happier or more fulfilled in life. We have read the reports, but why is it so hard to stop buying and wanting more stuff? Us humans have a natural built-in drive to strive for more, for better lives. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting more, the problem might rather be what we want more of. Do we want more love, joy, meaning and purpose in our lives, or do we want more stuff?

The Minimalists are two young men who had all the things that our culture tells us will make us happy and successful in life, but they weren't happy. Hear them share their story in this TED talk.

The Media Fast


 

I’m reading a new book where one of the challenges the author gives you is to have a 48 hour media fast. The media fast includes taking a 48 hour break from all these things: the internet, TV, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, video games, iPods, mp3 players and stereos. I thought to myself: “This should be quite easy, it’s only for 48 hours.” It turns out it was NOT easy! I tried to take a media break on Friday and Saturday last week and let’s just say I made many “exceptions”.




The number one thing I learned from my failed attempt at a media fast was that I might have a little bit of a problem with “media addiction”. It probably could do me some good to spend a little less time on the internet, watching TV and reading magazines. I sometimes feel like I don’t have enough time for all the things I want to fit into my daily life. Now I have found one of the things that steal a lot of my time.



I love social media, being able to shop online, having Netflix with tons of different TV shows to watch etc. The only problem is there is still only 24 hours in a day. When I spend more time on the internet than I really need, or watch more TV episodes in a row than I need to become relaxed, I end up having less time for other things. It’s unbelievable to me how addictive many forms of media are. Two years ago I decided to try taking a break from alcohol for one full year, I had no problems doing this so apparently alcohol consumption is not a problem of mine. Last Friday I tried taking a 48 hour break from media and I couldn’t even do it for one full day.




My little issue with spending time doing something else than being in front of a screen made me decide to do more work in this area of my life. I decided I would cut down the time I spend on media by 30%. The big question is: “How will I entertain myself if I can’t spend my free time on media? What will I do instead?” Luckily the book I’m reading has a few suggestions: play a board game, take a walk, go for coffee with friends, work out, read a book.
 


 
The point with this media fast is that it will make room in our lives for other influences than what the media pushes on us every day. If we spend all our free time on media we will become formed by it. As we take a break from media our minds will start to change and we will start to let go of false ideals. We stop letting media define how we should view ourselves and define what is important in life. This is an opportunity to free our minds and make space to renew our thoughts about ourselves and the world we live in.

 


I have now started reading books in the evenings instead of relaxing with TV shows or on social media, which is so easy to get stuck on for hours. Yesterday I spent my evening at a coffee shop, reading a new book and enjoying a piece of cheesecake for a couple of hours, and I left my phone at home. My husband and I decided to lit candles at dinnertime a few nights a week so that we can enjoy long conversations after we are done eating instead of watching TV. It has also become very obvious to me that if I spend less time on media I suddenly have no problems at all fitting in work outs. Small changes can go a long way!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

7 Steps To Self-Love




I recommend Debbie Spellman on Youtube to anyone who has an interest in learning more about loving yourself. Self-love is crucial if you want to live a life where you are healthy emotionally. This video is about Self Awareness, the first step towards learning to love and respect yourself.

What's Your Punchline?




Humor helps us put our lives in perspective. We may not know what’s coming when a joke starts—but the Punchline brings it all into focus. It’s the same way with our lives. Let’s learn how our setbacks are really setups for what God has in store for us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Love Yourself




Erin Janus does a good job at motivating us all to prioritize teaching ourselves self-love. We have a choice to make, we can either live life being controlled by our own minds or we can learn to take control of our minds. It is possible to learn to control your negative thoughts so that they will no longer hold you back in life.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hope is Here



Jesus: Who is He?





I remember I used to have a period in my life when I felt like I probably believe in God, or at least in some form of higher power, but I definitely don't believe in Jesus. I used to think the whole story about Jesus was weird and obviously untrue because no human can walk on water etc. I was surprised to find out that what Christians believe isn't that Jesus was some wise man or prophet but that he actually was God himself coming to earth for a little while (for 30+ years).


We call Jesus "the son of God" but Jesus wasn't just God's son, he was God. God is not like a human, who can only be in one place, God can be in many places at the same time. What we call the trinity describes God in three different forms: God above, God in the form of a human (Jesus) and God in spirit (The Holy Spirit).


All other religions follow a wise man or prophet, but Christianity is the only religion claiming that their "main character" wasn't a man but God himself. The fact that Jesus claimed to be God leaves us with only two options: either Jesus was God, or he was a totally crazy person. It's a little strange if our world has been so strongly influenced by a crazy person that we celebrate his birthday every year (Christmas) and that we count time from the day he was born (2015 years ago).


We either live in a world today where more than 2 billion people follow a person who was completely crazy (Jesus) or we live in a world where God has come near, where we no longer have to wonder what God is like, he has shown himself.


Closer