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
A video posted by curlymadz (@bettercurly) on



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  

Learn Svenska with BetterCurly



In Sweden, residents know how to speak in English but most of their signage are in Svenska/Swedish. Just like the messages flashed in LED signage on the train or bus. I also noticed that most of the restaurant's menus are written in Swedish and I seldom found English translations huhuhu :(

Glad that I have my Google Translate mobile app with me whenever I travel solo. I also downloaded the English-Swedish translation package so I can always access it even without internet connection.


And before going to Sweden, I also tried learning the language through Youtube videos.
See this Swedish guy - Eric Edler's tutorial videos in Youtube; he's charming too ;)
He taught a lot about the language and even what to expect about the weather in Sweden.


Well,  here are my top 7 Swedish words and phrases which I hear a lot and I now use to converse as well. So let's start with...

Hej! - Hello; Hi.
photo: at Historiska Museet
Bra! - Good/Great.photo: at the Gamla Stan
Tack. - Thanks.
Hej då! - Bye.
photo: at the Steninge Slott near Märsta outside of Stockholm
Eller hur? - Right? Their version of our "Di ba?" 

Chilla [slang] - (to) chill; (to) relax 
photo: at the Norra Dellen, Lake, located near Fonebo, Gävleborgs län
And Fika - a Swedish coffee break
photo: at Tant Bruns Kaffestuga (Aunt Brown Coffee Shop) in Sigtuna
Of course, it's also good to learn how to say 'I love you' in Swedish.
Just say, 'Jag älskar dig'   



Anyway, I already know how to count 1-10 in Svenska too, haha! Yes, I'm proud of my skill.

photo from Etsy
Take note that there are three additional letters to a Swedish alphabet: Åå, Ää, and Öö.  I'm still learning how to properly read and speak some words with these vowels.

So… our Swedish mini lesson ends here for now.
Until my next post :)
Hej då!

Hej! The Weather Is Good



Weather:

One of the main and necessary topic or ingredient in a typical Swedish conversation.


Local:  Hej! (Hi.)
Visitor: Hej!
Local:  Hur mår du? (Then he/she will notice you're not from Sweden and then will speak in English) How are you?
Visitor:  Good. Thank you. How are you?
Local:  Good! Uh… It's a good day. It's really hot.
Or not…
Local:  Uh.. Just okay (doing hand flips). The weather today is not good.

It's summer season in Sweden and most people are always outside to catch the heat of the sun. But summer here is kind of unpredictable since some days are cloudy or with clear blue sky then windy with little rain; and some are just cold grey days.

Just like when we spent some days in the summer house of a loving and warm Swedish family where the weather was changing every day. But the view outside their cozy home is just serene and green. It looks like a painting of a nature landscape in countryside. They said that nothing much changed through the years and it's still as peaceful and beautiful as before.



Here in this place you'll see God's awesome creations and appreciate a moment without the city noise and lack of internet connection. I'm using a Swedish prepaid sim but it's pricey to spend it for mobile surfing but glad that my sister had internet connection on her phone so I can check my mails in an instant.

The other day, it was really cold and I can't go out so much but my sister said that August in Sweden is so much like this: cold weather and gray skies.



But luckily, I captured a stunning twilight sky. Do you see the full moon?



I think I've also taken a photo of a comet or maybe a fireball? I was searching in the internet if a comet passed our atmosphere this week but I couldn’t find anything about it. But I’m a little sure that it's not a jet or plane. Anyway, here it is.


And since summer is ending soon, my sister brought me in to the woods to pick blueberries. I'm not outdoorsy but I really tried to help her picking hehe! She's really happy doing this and if I were not insisting to go - she'll probably spend the rest of the afternoon in the forest until her pale was full of berries. That morning, my sister and her family also went berry-picking.



And when we had a clear blue sky one day - we went swimming in the lake at Fonebo, Gävleborgs län and guess what? The water was supeeeeeer cooold! 10-12 degrees Celsius maybe. It was just like trying the ice bucket challenge!



Then we also drove to the mountains to eat SIA glass [ice cream], SIA is a Swedish brand, at the Avholmsbergets Restaurang.  From the top is the breathtaking view of the Lake Norra Dellen.


I'm so happy and thankful to whoever invented the camera, the panorama and the video! Bra!
Thank God for this fun and memorable vacation. I already accomplished a lot in my bucket list.

God is good!

Hej from Sverige!

I've been in hiatus in my blog for a month because I'm spending my fun "hashtagged" yey vacay moments in a Nordic country called Sweden/Sverige now.


Here, I also celebrated my blog's 6th anniversary. Such an awesome way and place to recall my blog's journey and start a new chapter.

Because amazingly, almost every place where I've been were absolutely picture perfect. The country is beautiful and calming. Thank you Lord for everything 



I update my Instagram account from time to time though.
And here are some of my photos. You may check more of my photo travel diaries here.



Love,
M

Just Got Older! It's BetterCurly's Birthday


Happy Birthday to BetterCurly blog!

Yey, another year!!! Now officially a six-year-old page and a warm home to my swirly and random thoughts. I'm really glad that God inspired me and gave me courage to start this blog in 2010 with only one goal in mind: BE BETTER NOW OR NEVER.


This blog is a treasure to me. Writing here lets me discover more about my heart and what's happening to the other side of my walls. As I've said last year: "This blog had opened doors of opportunities, new friends, inspirations and encouragements which I never thought could come in. Little by little, I gained confidence in myself."

So today, I encourage you to set aside your fears and take risks to pursue what you really really love. Sometimes, it's okay to move without waiting for inspirations and perfect timing and just let things happen.

As for me, I just keep on writing, doing artworks, taking photographs and serving the Lord through our ministries. But I usually do a lot of prayers before I go and pursue something. I pray for God's wisdom, courage and strength so for whatever fears, doubts, and testings which might come, I'll be confident that He'll be with me and help me move forward and then soar higher.

God is able to create something from nothing because He is our Almighty Creator and is sovereign.

But whenever I don't have peace in my heart, I pause for some time and reflect on it. I seek God's Word and ask the Lord for confidence. Because as I want my works to be beneficial to me; I hope for someone out there who is getting/feeling better after seeing/reading what I posted online. I feel so glad every time I read someone's message to me saying they got inspired and could relate to me well.

I hope to see more courageous people out there pursuing what is good and helpful to everyone. I remember a line from 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida's speech: “You are the change that you dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.” We can help the society and this world through our passions, hobbies, habits and random interests. As long as we do our part with excellence. So stand, move and fly. Try moving and you then will discover the incredible things waiting for you.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of NEEDTOBREATHE’s great music and here’s Difference Maker and of course The Heart – perfect songs for my blog’s anniversary J






Thank you for reading and following my curly adventures! Until my next post :)
God bless!

Love,
M

The Deal

Fourteen years ago, I received the saving grace that gave me a big opportunity to walk a purpose driven life. It was during an intimate moment with the Lord Almighty in a place of jam-packed crowd of young people seeking changes and God's presence in their life. 

Ate: Sige na, sumama ka na sa (youth) camp na ito.  
Ako: Ayoko. 
Ate: Sumama ka na, at pagkatapos nyan, hinding-hindi na kita pipilitin mag-church kahit kailan. 
Ako: Ok. Deal. 
*Ate - big sister

I didn't go to sleep that night before the event. My heart's still hesitant for I'd be going without someone I know, or at least from our home church. I was not happy to socialize with other people. 

Before the break of dawn, we ate breakfast. I took a bath. I brought a borrowed bag of clothes and a borrowed Bible from my sister plus a pocket money. We traveled to the big church and registered. There I saw the list of things to bring and I had no utensils and own plate.

I was neither excited nor my feet were willing to ride the bus to bring us to the campsite in a nearby province. I thought I left my heart back at home.

I had little chat with my seatmates but I wasn't open for friendship. My mind was into something else - the cravings of my selfish heart. Then we made a stopover for an early lunch and I brought home my used plastic spoon and fork so I could use something for this five-day hell week. Yes, with my grumpy spirit, my mind was bombarded with negative thoughts.

Upon arrival, we were directed to the sanctuary. We started with hi and hellos to fellow campers; followed by home rules to keep in mind. There I found a familiar face, a female church mate, who was also unexcited and bored already. She was snob but since we sometimes talked at church, we tagged along. Everyone was designated to several groups called tribes. Since my church mate, J, and I were the only representatives from our church... they put us into the same tribe: Simon. And then we went to our rooms to place our things for we're to start an activity and meet our tribe mates for the week.

We met our two counselors and co-members. They seemed nice and some of the guys were really funny. Thankfully, a female team member lent me her extra plate.

Challenge #1: we were tasked to design our tribe's flag. I helped conceptualized and was assigned to be the flag bearer. A specific rule for the flag was given: we should not allow anyone from camp organizers to take that away from our team "anytime". It'd represent our soul and spirit so we must guard it with all our might. Deduction of points was enforced for every tribe that would fail to do the challenges and follow the rules.

"Okay, I'd be able to survive this week since I'm competitive and an achiever by nature.", I told myself.

I was a good flag bearer. I assumed I was a genius in hiding it. Some of the bearers suffered a lot protecting their tribe's flag from the "thieves". But I had good sleep for nights until it was taken away from me while celebrating our tribe's victory over some challenges. I was too happy and full of pride, unable to notice that the Speaker Pastor was already taking our flag out of my hands. I thought their team was at halt since it's awarding time.


What does this say about me?
When pride and success get in my head - I'd be lost again. That was totally an eye-opener.





And the most important lesson I learned from this experience:
while we're celebrating triumphs, the Enemy is not at rest, he's still there ready to do his job and devour us. That's why, we must be super cautious and prepared to defend our faith - in season or out of season.

And who would have thought that God was in business of crushing my heart and re-routing the track of my life in that summer camp?

He already prepared in mind this five-day event of laughter, tears, pain, joy, friendship, and revelations. That He would actually talk to me to convict me of my rebellion, self-seeking character, and secret sins. That I was in great need of Him and the gift of salvation but I was too shallow to understand its necessity in my life. For I was a lost sheep for so many years but He found me because He loved me first.

The Great Shepherd was already thinking about me and to every soul in that campsite during the summer of 2002. It was simply beautiful, touching and transforming.

God greatly dealt with me that week. He exposed the real issues of my heart.

Well, is He done with me yet?
No, as I've said before, I'm a work in progress. There are still issues in my heart but most of them are way different than what I had fourteen years ago.

I'm growing, thriving and not forgetting about His amazing love and sacrifice.

Because I sought Him, I found Him.
Then, He showed me how sufficient was His grace for us
and how wide, long, high and deep His love for us all.




I can still picture myself in that sanctuary on a Wednesday night of May. Pouring my heart out and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. I was comforted by the Father's love; healed and secured by Jesus' blood and sanctified by the Spirit.



That summer, I fell in love with God and made a powerful U-turn away from the lies of my youth and back to the True Lover of my soul. Of course, I came back to church as well and let Him take over my life since my freedom was paid by Jesus on the cross. Many of my co-campers became active at church and J became friendly with others. I just hope to hear from them again soon. I didn't own a cellphone during that time and sadly, I lost my address book. I pray that their souls are still in good shape and anchored in Jesus.




To this day, I'm still thankful that God used my Ate's authority over me to bring me to that life-changing summer camp. Thank God she didn't give up when I was hard to convince. Since then, we're serving God through His church together.

I pray that you'll also surrender to God's will. And if you already made the decision to live a life in Christ - I pray that you'll finish the race by faith and His grace. You must not give up, no matter how hard it is for Jesus is our strength.

A blessed day!
Love, MM  

Memory Gap


"I'm sorry, you know, may memory gap na ang Lola mo."

This has always been my excuse whenever I failed to remember something and worst -- if it affected a certain person or project somehow.

And sadly, I forget about God's grace and miracles many times too. I become like the Israelites who murmured against His glory and who He is in the wilderness. [Read Numbers 14It's because I put my focus more on my circumstances and my personal issues than what His Word says and what He already did for me. Most importantly, who God is over all creations.


"No matter how bad our past, it’s always easier to default to our old behaviors than keep forging new ones. So many of us struggle with the same temptations. But there is no drive-through breakthrough. We all must go through the wilderness to get to freedom so we are strong enough to defeat the giants who fuel our shame." Christine Caine said in her devotional piece 'Unashamed' at Youversion.


I believe that it's by God's grace why He allowed me to experience painful highlights in my life while my faith was being increased. Once I became grumpy and ugly. I chose to live in the past and my regrets for so long. My bones became dry and my heart became hard. But beyond all these darkness in me - His light is brighter; my hurts over His unfailing love; and my worries over His great purposes.


"What would happen if you stopped asking, “God, WHY am I going through this?” and started asking, “God, WHAT are you preparing me for?”" questioned Steven Furtick, the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in US.

I thank the Holy Spirit for He is leading me to walk uprightly and follow God's will. Today, I'm full of hope and love because I'm on the right track - His race track. 14 years ago, I was really lost but found by a loving Father. And since that day, my life had never been the same.

Thankfully, I'm a work in progress. I've learned a lot and still learning more through His beautiful Word. He is my life. I don't know where I'll be without God. Lest I forget that in Him, there's victory and assurance that He is in control -- I'm in good hands no matter what. 

So you too, be encouraged. God is sovereign. Remember that He loves you and He cares about you. It's just there is really no drive-through breakthroughs; that's why we must persevere and trust Him with our all. :D

A blessed day!

Love, MM  


*cute girl photo credit: Anne Price Photography
*road orig photo credit: American Small Business Institute 

POEMATIC 04.14.16 White and Boring


You always wear a clueless smile
And I notice your gray eyes
You’re actually unsightly 
And I still find you boring
I really do

Yet I can’t ignore your being
Oh, a soul as white as cotton

Please make this easier for me
Go chase the end of the rainbow
Run away from me swiftly
Find your own fantasy