Monday, February 27, 2017

Living for others

God calls each one of us to live beyond ourselves for others. Quinton and Dee Abrahams from Hillsong Church in South Africa share the story about how God started growing a heart for people in their lives. Quinton and Dee share wisdom on how you can live for others in whatever job or position God has put you in at the moment. 

Wisdom for Life

I love what the internet can add to life during this special time in history. Every week I'm strengthened and encouraged by the wisdom shared by my pastors at my church in Toronto. Thanks to the internet and Youtube I also have access to sermons from churches all over the world. I'm grateful that I get to live during this exciting time in history! This week I thought I would share the links to seven different churches that I follow online and on their Youtube channels:

1. Elevation Church, in North Carolina, Virginia & Ontario, Canada.

2. Fresh Life Church in Montana & Utah.

3. Oasis Church in Los Angeles, California.

4. Vous Church in Miami, Florida.

5. Life Church in Oklahoma, New York, Florida, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas & New Mexico.

6. Hillsong Church in Australia, Europe, North America, South Africa & Argentina.

7. Life Church UK in England, Ireland and Poland.

I Am: Meet Jamar

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What I love about February

I can't believe that we are already at the end of February! I wanted to list a few things I've enjoyed the most during February this year.

The snow! In January we had very little snow in Toronto so all the kids in the neighborhood were very happy when the snow finally arrived in February.

I love seeing our neighborhood dressed up in a layer of crisp, white snow.

The Celebrations! My husband and I celebrated our anniversary and three people in our family have their Birthdays in February. On Sunday we are invited to one more birthday party that I'm looking forward to a lot. Celebrations make life fun and interesting!

Sunday Brunch! When it's cold outside I love spending a couple of hours enjoying a really tasty brunch together with friends or family.

Eggs Benedict is my favorite brunch food at the moment. Next I'm looking forward to the month of March, which includes March break here in Canada.

Staying in Love

Pastor DawnChere and Rich Wilkerson from Vous Church in Miami preach a great sermon about love that lasts. DawnChere and Rich talk about how to build lasting love in marriage, but this wisdom can be applied to pretty much any relationship. All different types of relationships require these qualities; protection, trust, hope and perseverance. I like what Rich Wilkerson says: "If you want a quality life you are going to have to learn how to have quality love." No matter how much money, possessions or power we get in life nothing will give us more joy than our relationships. If we love well, we will live well.

The Bible teaches us many things about quality love. The first thing we learn from the Bible is that love always protects. When we are married it's our job to always protect our spouse's heart, to always protect them emotionally. When we learn to be self-controlled and respectful in our conversations we can have tough conversations without hurting our spouse in the process. Protecting our spouse also means that we are not only going to tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. When our spouse is going through something difficult it's our job to speak truth wrapped in love to them.

The second thing the Bible teaches us is that love always hopes, always trusts. It's very important for every relationship,every marriage, to have hope. The thing is, your marriage will never have hope if you do not first have trust. Rich and DawnChere mention three different ways we can build trust in a relationship in the sermon video.

The third thing the Bible teaches us about love is that love always perseveres. Not even one of us can say that we have a perfect marriage, that we have never made any mistakes in our relationships or that the past five years of our marriage have been pure bliss. Perfection is not what we are after in relationships, because it can never be achieved. What makes all the difference in our marriages is when we stick it out, when we decide not to quit. Sometimes we will get tired, sometimes we will feel like quitting and other times we will be stretched in our marriages. What makes all the difference in a marriage is when we decide to persevere. Perseverance is what's going to take you to a love that lasts a lifetime.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How to Be Content and Joyful

How can we be content and joyful in life when our dreams still haven't come true? It's easy to assume that when our dreams come true, then we will be happy and satisfied with life. We look at other people and think to ourselves: "She's got everything I dream of, she must be very happy and content with life." The grass is always greener on the other side, even the person who we think has everything doesn't have a life free of struggles.

It's good to have big dreams but problems arise when we become convinced that we can't be happy before our dreams come true, this kind of thinking sets us up for disappointment. If we think that we will finally be happy when our dreams come true we will most likely be disappointed when they do. There are many stories of people from history who have searched the whole world for happiness and come to the conclusion that nothing in this world can truly satisfy the human heart.

It's wonderful to see a dream come true in life but it's not going to keep us satisfied forever, in a little while we will be craving something more again. When we come to know God and develop a personal relationship with Jesus everything changes. The closer we get to God the more we start to experience his peace, joy and contentment. It doesn't make any sense to people looking on, because even if nothing else changes in a person's life but she finds God it changes everything. There are women in this world who have everything: the dream job, money, status, possessions, kids and a wonderful husband, but they are still unhappy. There are people in this world who live in prison or in poverty and still have joy, peace and contentment in their lives. That doesn't make any sense to someone who doesn't know God. When we turn to God and let Him fill that hole in our hearts we can walk through life with joy, peace and contentment every day, no matter what our circumstances look like.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You're Gonna Be Ok

I know it's all you've got to just be strong
And it's a fight just to keep it together
I know you think that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost
Hope is never lost

Hold on, don't let go
Hold on, don't let go
Put one foot in front of the other
Just take one step closer
Just follow the light in the darkness
You'll get through this
You're gonna be ok

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

6 Years!

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day and at the same time it was our 6th anniversary as a couple. We became a couple on Valentine’s Day, how practical right? In March we will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married after being together for only one year and one month, but it wasn’t a day too early. I knew he was “the one” after only four months together. We have gone through many struggles and difficulties during our six years as a couple. Unfortunately life on this Earth isn't free of challenges. I’m glad humans can’t see into the future because I don’t think life would be near as wonderful if we knew about all the difficult things we will face each decade.

What I love about my husband is that he always lifts me up when life’s challenges are trying to take me down. He protects me, encourages me and believes in me like nobody else I know. My husband knows me better than anyone else does. Sometimes he knows me better than I even know myself. I’m amazed that he has the patience to put up with all my imperfections and weaknesses, he doesn’t focus on them, he chooses to see what’s beautiful rather than what’s annoying with me.

It’s a beautiful gift to get to share your life with someone who is always there for you, someone you can trust, and someone who is kind to you even on the days you don’t deserve it at all. Love is difficult to live out, but it’s more beautiful than anything else in the whole world.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

You are loved! Happy Valentine's Day!

Amy Groeschel from Life Church tells a story in the video about how every year in Middle School flowers where given out on Valentine's Day. Every year Amy was hoping to get a flower but she never received even one. Sadly Valentine's Day can sometimes feel more like "Rejection Day". We all have days in life when we feel unloved, unworthy, lonely and insignificant, but no matter how we feel, or how people treat us, we are always loved by God. The problem is that although we know that God loves us we sometimes doubt his love for us. The little voices in our heads start telling us things like: "If God really loves you this difficult season would not have happened to you." or "If God really loves you your car wouldn't have broken down today." etc. Our spiritual enemy, the devil, is always working in our minds to break us down.

We sometimes decide to define God's love based on our current circumstances. If everything is going great in life we assume that God is pleased with us and cares about us and when we run into difficulty we assume that God doesn't love us. This world view is based on the belief that we earn God's love, but the Bible is very clear on the fact that we can never earn God's love. God's love is freely given to each one of us, even before we were born God knew each one of us and loved us. Christ died on the cross to set each one of us free, to make forgiveness available to each one of us. We don't earn God's love it is freely given and there is absolutely nothing we could do to loose God's love for us. We can choose to spend our whole lives running away from God but He will never leave us.

You have God's heart, He is crazy in love with you. You are chosen by him. We are all God's most treasured possession, and it's so unbelievable that we struggle to wrap our minds around this concept. God is constantly pursuing you. You are valued, you are treasured, you are loved, beyond anything that you could ever understand, and won't fully understand while on this Earth.

Every day, all day, we are surrounded by God's love but often we don't recognize it. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. It's important for us to know that we are loved by God. When we don't have a grasp of God's love for us it limits our ability to receive the blessings of God; his comfort, peace and joy. We can't either love others well if we don't first grasp God's love for us in a deep way.

How do you feel when you hold a newborn baby in your arms? Most people are overwhelmed by the love they feel for their own newborn baby, this is how God feels for each one of us. We are made in his image, we are God's children. God adores you, He is crazy about you and there is nothing you could ever do that would make Him stop loving you. Your whole life God will patiently wait for you to come to him, for you to one day decide to love him back.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Ever since I was a child Saturday has been my favorite day of the week, but not all Saturdays are super enjoyable. Last week I was not feeling well on Saturday so I spent most of the day eating painkillers and laying on the couch watching Netflix. This past Saturday, on the other hand, I was feeling super joyful! I started my day with going to my Life Group meeting, which was the perfect way to start the day. Spending time with people who are loving, kind and encouraging always gives me a boost of joy.

After Life Group I had lunch at Freshii, my Dad's favorite Toronto restaurant. :) I had the vegan chili, it was super tasty and healthy.

I spent the rest of the day at Yorkdale mall, looking for a Valentine's Day present for my hubby. I also decided to treat myself to some macaroons. In the evening my husband and I ordered a pizza and had a relaxing evening at home. It was a great day! Good company, good food and some shopping is my recipe for a fun and relaxing Saturday in February! :)

Shine on us

Shine, shine, shine like the sun
You're waking us to life
You've only begun

Every fear, every doubt disappears
When You shine on us
We wanna see You

Shine, shine, shine like the stars
You are the first love to open my heart
Every hope, every dream comes alive
When You shine on us.

Annie's Story

Annie Lobert's life story gives me tears in my eyes as I listen to it. Annie grew up feeling unlovable and was desperate for love and attention. She graduated high school heartbroken and with a resentment towards men that made her long for revenge. As a young adult Annie became convinced that money was the answer to all her problems and she was willing to cross many of her own boundaries to get it. After years of pain and sorrow Annie ended up having a near death experience, she nearly died of a cocaine overdose, this experience became the turning point in her life. Today Annie has found the peace, freedom, acceptance and love she always longed for in her life.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mention of Your Name

You're here, with wonder working power
Everything You breathe on
Coming back to life

At the mention of Your Name
Every chain will break
I know everything will change

The Winter Road Trip

Last week we took a winter road trip to Collingwood, ON. Put some comfy clothes on and you're all set to go!

I don't like to go for long drives in the winter when the roads are icy but Collingwood is only two hours away from Toronto so it's perfect for a weekend getaway.

Panera Bread, my favorite choice of road trip food. I love their healthy lunches!

They had some snow in Collingwood which was nice since we haven't had much snow in T.O. this year.

We took a visit to the Scandinavian Spa in Collingwood. The Spa has a Finnish sauna, a steam sauna, outdoor hot baths, cold baths and relaxation rooms to enjoy. I'm Scandinavian so I'm loving this type of Spa of course. I was probably the guest who enjoyed the cold baths the most. :)

After soaking in the cold and hot baths for a few hours I was feeling as relaxed as you can possibly get.

After the baths we decided to hang out by the fire place with some coffee and magazines to enjoy. The Scandinavian Spa is for 19-year olds and older, it's close to the skiing hills and I find it to be the perfect place to relax in February.

Jump in The River

Pastor Thomas Hansen from Hillsong Church in Copenhagen preaches a great sermon about trust. Thomas Hansen mentions that we have never been called to fully understand God but we are called to trust him. Our level of trust reveals our faith. However, we all know that it can be hard to trust God sometimes. Our fears can hinder our faith, other times we let our negative self-talk hinder us from trusting God. God calls us qualified, but we start to tell ourselves all the reasons why we aren't good enough.

Thomas Hansen says that we should never let a temporary season in life become permanent. Life becomes really heavy when we let a difficult season in life define us. We will all face different types of painful and difficult seasons in life but we don't have to "set camp" in these places. We walk through the difficult seasons in life, we don't make them our permanent residence. When we "set camp" in a difficult season we start to let our struggles define us. We get hurt by someone and we start viewing ourselves as victims. We get offended by somebody so we let the difficult experience make us bitter. We decide to stay in our difficult season rather than to move on.

I like what Thomas Hansen says: " Your position in life is not as important as your direction." Life is not so much about where you are at right now, it's all about where you are heading in life. Where are you going? We are always moving in a direction. One thing that can hinder us from moving forward in life is labels. Our culture is quick to give us labels; divorced, unemployed, broke etc. Labels define us and restrict us, resist the urge to label yourself. We will all go through difficult seasons in life but we don't need to let these temporary seasons define us, our job is to keep moving forward.

One way we can keep our faith and continue to trust God during a difficult season is by remembering what God has done for us in the past. If God helped you overcome struggle A,B and C in your life you can be sure he will continue to guide you through struggle "D". We can trust our God. The Bible tells us: "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. "(Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT)

Sometimes we are at risk of missing out on our breakthrough in life because of a couple of different reasons:
1.) We expect God to bring the breakthrough according to our own personal plan and preference. Sometimes the way forward will look very different than we expected, so we choose to rather stay stuck.

2.) It seems too simple. There are times in life when we can get so focused on our method that we end up trusting our method more than we trust God. We think that if we do things just right we are going to get what we want in life, when in reality a method is just a method. Our God is not restricted to a method. Sometimes we don't want to do what God is asking us to do because it seems too simple.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday

Yesterday my husband and I had a little bit of a different kind of Date Night. We decided to have dinner and drinks at a Sport's Bar and watch the Super Bowl together. It was a lot of fun!

I thought when you are watching the Super Bowl you should obviously order in a super-size portion of dessert. I had the "Cosmo Cheesecake" at Shoeless Joe's, it was amazing, then again I'm not very picky when it comes to desserts.

We did our own bet. I was cheering for the Patriots and my husband for the Falcons. Halfway through the game I was sure that my team was going to loose, but then they won after all! It was a great game to watch and I also got some good life lessons from watching the game. This year's Super Bowl game was a good example on how we should never give up in life, it isn't over before it's over! No matter how much you may feel like giving up, never stop, never give up, never stop believing. If we keep working at it and keep pushing forward in life we will see our dreams come true in the end!

A Life of Meaning

I have a little bit of an addiction to books, at the moment I have more new books at home than I have time to read. The book "Freefall to Fly" by Rebekah Lyons is the book I want to read next, but I've promised myself not to buy any more books before I've finished reading the books I already own. I don't read one book at a time, I read many books parallel with each other. I don't know why I do that, I guess we all have our own way of doing things. My Mom likes to read the last chapter first in a new book before she reads the rest of the book. No matter how you read a book I find that books can add something to life that I wouldn't want to live without; the joy of learning new things about life.

Freefall to Fly is a book about finding your purpose in life and discovering a life of meaning. We all have a need to know who we are, to know what makes us uniquely us, to be able to live life fully. Books about purpose and meaning are one of my favorite categories of books to read during this stage in my life. Last year I read Restless by Jennie Allen, which was a life changing book for me, and this year I want to read Freefall to Fly.