25 October 2010

Confidence In Prayer

Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

It is not often that I receive an email from a friend on the subject of prayer. This one however, got my attention for recent happenings in my life shows the importance of hearing from the Lord.  It also reminded me of Ephesians 6:10-20 (NLT) - "The Whole Armour of God". Most who are familiar with this passage of scripture will easily recall the six pieces of the armour a soldier puts on.

14 Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness.
15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared [or For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the good News of peace with God].
16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
There is a seventh piece to the whole armour of God. However, the seventh piece of the armour is often not recognised as a piece of the armour as it is not something a soldier wears. It is Pray.

18 Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
Pray is the line of communication the soldier has with his Commander, so as to be at a place where his general need him to be, to do what needs to be done, to be effective and to know where and how to support his fellow soldiers (all Christians) at the front-line.

Without pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, is liken to the soldier not hearing from his Commander. He is then left to act (or not act) on his own accord and runs the risk of acting in a manner that goes against the master plan of his Commander at the battlefield, which can and most likely will, cost lives.

The following is a daily devotional that was passed to me by a friend, which I thought is worth placing here for your good reading.

Confidence in Prayer

Too often Christians try to handle their situations without asking the Lord for direction or help. Perhaps they think the situation is not big enough to bother God. Or maybe they think because they are responsible for causing the mess in the first place, they should be responsible for fixing it. That, however, is not true. The Lord wants to help us, no matter how small or who is responsible for causing it. He delights in meeting our need!

Wouldn’t it be better to spend time with the Lord before each day’s responsibilities and demands begin to pull on us? Through our fellowship with the One Who has a plan for our lives, and knows what we should do in every situation, we prepare ourselves for His direction throughout the day.

Each day, usually early in the morning, Jesus spent time in communion with His Heavenly Father. Not only did He listen for direction and instruction but He claimed to be unable to do anything without it.

"I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me” (John 5:30, AMP).
Jesus didn’t make His own decisions; He acted only after receiving instructions to act! That’s why He always experienced the right results—100% of the time. Now that’s success!

If we want to experience success in our daily lives, then we must make decisions only after we hear God’s direction. We can’t look to our own plans; instead, we must ask the Lord to show us His plan, and then we can be sure of success.

Some Christians don’t ask the Lord for direction because they don’t have the confidence in either what they pray or their ability to hear. However, 1 John 5:14-15 assures us how to have confidence in prayer.

“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: we are sure that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we positively know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know with settled and absolute knowledge that we have granted us as our present possessions the requests made of Him” (AMP).
What’s important is that we ask according to God’s will. I’ve known people who hear specific instructions from God, but before long they begin to add to God’s instructions. I often wonder if they feel that what God told them doesn’t sound spectacular enough.

Our lives become hard when we do things God does not initiate. But what He initiates, He supplies the strength, grace, and power to accomplish.

Dennis Burke Ministries
Daily Devotional - Sat 11th Sept 2010.

23 October 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - View from The Garden Residence

Part of our stay at Kuala Lumpur is at the Garden Hotel Residences. The Garden Hotel is made up of two towers, one of the hotel itself, the second an apartment tower. The reviews of the hotel and residence are very good.

The 5-star Gardens Hotel Residences is advertised as the pinnacle of luxurious living, centrally located in the precinct of The Gardens, Mid Valley City which comprises of The Gardens Mall; an upmarket shopping haven featuring key tenants, like the Robinsons, Isetan, Premier Golden Screen Cineplex plus over 200 premium branded boutiques which debut on September 26, 2007 and premium offices of The Gardens North and South Towers.

It is strategically located in between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, well connected to light commuter rails and with convenient access to the major expressways.

The outdoor swimming pool is located on the third or fourth floor between the two Garden Towers. It got a good view of the expressway towards Petaling Jaya. In fact, the most prominent building of the city skyline from the pool, is the Telekom Malaysia building.

It seems few of the guests do venture out to the pool. It is never crowded, at least for those times I was there, making some attempts in the morning to do a few laps of the pool to shed off some pounds or at least some ounces (or should it be kilos and some grams), before breakfast. It was either the pool or the fitness centre, located on the same floor as the swimming pool.

One of the perks of being a guest of the residence, is access to the hotel VIP Lounge.

This is a place to be during happy hours; free access to soft drinks, wines and a shortlist of spirits along with a simple fare of hot and cold food. These are a welcome sight after too much of the rich hawker and restaurant food we had over the days. Even so, there is still the nasi lemak, mee goreng and fried rice. There is also a chef to attend to you should you require added attention. Of course the range of food is not as diverse at the restaurant, where breakfast is served.

Oh! did I say that breakfast comes with the stay at the Garden Residence.

There are also a number of computer teminals to access the internet and emails. Comes in handy if you want to email home or to check out details of places to go, around Kuala Lumpur.

The lounge is also a quite place to read, to relax or to catch-up with friends and family members if you just want to talk, over a cup of coffee or tea with some cookies, looking out of the windows towards the city skyline.

Views of the city skyline from the VIP Loudge.

Where the Garden Residence is, there are two shopping malls within easy reach from the apartment. There is really no real need to leave Mid Valley to do any shopping else where, after all every shopping mall is the same, isn't it?

Oh! I can almost hear the women crying out that this (statement) is not true.

Where the Gardens is, there is the The Gardens Mall, with the following facilites I got from the Garden Hotel list of things you can do:

  • over 200 fashion and specialty shops inclusive of two upmarket lifestyle stores namely the Robinsons and Isetan.
  • Cocoon - a retreat dedicated to total well-being
  • Wide selection of dining outlets, appealing to broad and discerning tastes, inclusive of the Penang’s famed Gurney Drive serving an assortment of zesty fares.
  • GSC Signature - its first platinum screen boutique cinema offering Gold Premier class
  • The Gardens Ballroom- 20,000 square feet of event space with 360-degree concept, top notch amenities, state-of-the art
  • Sound and light, transforming from banquet hall to theatre to high fashion catwalk with ease.
  • Two landmark office towers - The Gardens North & South Towers; a prestigious address for multi-national companies

From The Gardens Mall, it is just a short stroll across the road (that separate the two malls, at ground level) or via an escalator down to the basement level to cross over to the Mid-Valley Megamall which offers:
  • over 430 retail, dining and entertainment conveniences
  • 3 lifestyle stores; Carrefour, Metrojaya and Jusco
  • 38-lane bowling alley and IT World
  • Variety of themed restaurants, bistros, bars and food courts
  • Fitness Centre (Gymnasium, fitness facilities, swimming pool)
  • 18 screen Cineplex
  • Children’s Entertainment Centre with complete range of fun and educational facilities
  • Selection of aromatherapy spas
  • Landscaped boulevard with lush greenery and street-side cafes
Now do you think that there is still a need to go anywhere else outside Mid-Valley, to do any kind of shopping? It would take weeks, to just window shop every outlets in these two mall.

21 October 2010

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry, the stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind..

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked.... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?.... .. .

We just call him 'TV.'
He has a wife now. We call her 'Computer.'

Contributor - Anonymous

19 October 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - Sunway Lagoon

I always wanted to see this place but never seem to be able to manage the time, till this trip. The Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is sort of a mini-version of the Wet and Wild Water World, Queensland.

However, I think we must have got our directions wrong and ended up at the Sunway Lagoon shopping mall, also known as the Sunway Pyramid. It has an Egyptian theme to the architecture. The lion head at the entrance to the mall, I guess was to depict the Sphinx. There are also statues of Egyptian men along the pillars and the ceilings shaped like the inside of the pyramids. But basically, it is a shopping centre with upscale outlets, an ice-skating rink, 48-lane bowling centre near Sunway Lagoon Resort.

As it turn out, there is a way through the shopping mall to the theme park or to the resort. The (slow) walk through the mall, was a perfect opportunity for Margaret to window shop which took much of the time we planned for the day at the park.

However, the path to the park gave us an opportunity to view the theme park through glass windows from a high vintage point. A perfect opportunity for some photos of the park.

Sunway Lagoon is made up five theme parks; Extreme, Amusement, Water, Wildlife and a Scream park. A little something for everyone young and old.

For more images of the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, click here.

The Atrium Cafe & Lounge, was a nice place to sit and cool off from the hot and humid outside, while taking photos of the enterance to the hotel. Real life size sculptures of dears attempting to escape from the tigers.

There were lots of expensive cars parked at the front of the hotel; Mercedes Benz and BMW. A couple of them with chauffeurs and some with bodyguards standing along side them. Know they are bodyguards by the semi-automatic rifles they carry. Seems there was a convention or meeting going on with some top state and federal ministers at the time.

18 October 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - Putrajaya

Putrajaya is a planned city located 25km south of Kuala Lumpur. It is also about 20km from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), at Sepang in the south. Putrajaya is sort of a like a second capital city near Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

It is to be the new Administrative capital of the government, a model garden city with lush greenery, botanic gardens spread across the landscape, with lakes and wetlands. The idea of Putrajaya was said to be conceived by Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Malaysia's 4th Prime Minster.

Images of Putrajaya Malaysia.

The architecture flavour of the buildings is Islamic, modelled from countries like Morocco and Turkmenistan. The primary tourist attraction of the place, where you'll find many buses parked, is the Putra Mosque at Putrajaya Lake, on its left and on its right, just a short distance from the Prime Minster's office, Perdana Putra.

Letting my fingers do the walking, the following are some particulars about the Putra Mosque.

The mosque consists of a 116 meter tall minaret and one of the striking features of the minaret is that it was designed after the Sheikh Oman Mosque in Baghdad.

Its five-tiers represent the five pillars of Islam and its five call to prayers. Within its premises is the VIP Room Gallery, the Al-Quran Manuscript Museum, a library, auditorium and exhibition hall as well as a seminar room. It also has a large courtyard called the “Sahn” dedicated to commemorate the life of the Prophet. Worshippers can also congregate at the sahn in front of the prayer hall. The main entrance to the mosque is patterned after the gates of Persia.

The prayer hall can accommodate 10,000 with another 5,000 at the courtyard.

Visitors are welcome to view the inside of the mosque, but will be required to wear a pink coloured overall as you can see from the photo above.

The mosque is located next to a lake. Walking along the Putrajaya Walk, see photo on the right, with a cool breeze blowing but still keeping in the shades, overlooking the view of lake and the Seri Wawasan Bridge, it does have a peaceful feel of the place.

However, I can imagine the place to be busy, vibrant and noisy come Friday prayer time, with the thousands of people visiting the many eateries and shops along the Putrajaya Walk.

Below are photos of the Seri Wawasan Bridge. The first from the Putrajaya Walk while the second was taken from the Shangri-La Hotel Putrajaya.

In the centre of the city are the government buildings where most of the Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies are found, like the Minstry of Finance and the "Palace of Justice'. The buildings are separted from each other by large boulevard. Even the stones on the road are coloured with interesting designed lampposts.

At one end there's the office of the Prime Minister and at the other end is the Putrajaya International Convention Center (PICC). This is a beautiful designed building for international conventions. The local name for the convention centre is "The Cowboy Hat". Sorry, no photos of it for the ones I got are of poor quality, another way of saying blur photos.

Outside the centre you'll find the houses, apartments and small townships of the people, who work for the Government.

15 October 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - Fashion Week

The Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is one of the newer additions to the many shopping malls within the "Golden Triangle" of Kuala Lumpur, so I thought. As it turn out, it was opened in September 2007. It consists of four major components; a retail mall, an office tower, two residential and a hotel. Still it is a relatively new one at the heart of the trendy Bukit Bintang district. The Pavilion itself is linked to Bukit Bintang and KLCC with its pedestrian bridges. If you are not driving or taking a taxi, the nearest monorail station to the Pavilion is the Bukit Bintang Station.

If you are into the up-market fashion, leather goods, accessories and luxury items, this place will not disappoint. There are brands I haven't heard of, among others, Bebe, Tangoo, Variante, Salabianca and Philosophy-men, Jaspal and Club 21. It is definitely a dream place for all who are brand conscious. There are enough shops there to occupy your time for the whole day. Plenty of places to rest your feet at the food court, cafes and restaurants around the centre, before hurrying on to the next boutique or beauty parlour, just round the corner.

It was the Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2010 week when we there in March. There seem to be fashion shows every day in all the major shopping centers in the city, in support of the 12th Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Fashion shows do draw in the crowd. Certainly the one at the Pavilion did and among the crowd are the many professional and amature photographers, myself included.

It was pointed out to me that a fashion show is not always about the fashion and the clothings for the season. It can well be just about the accessories such as shoes, handbags and jewelleries. That would explain why there was a session where all the girls seems to dress alike and in black.

I notice that most of the models that walked the stage (catwalk) are young caucasian girls, probably international models.

Where are the local models?

It was at another fashion show at the Mid Valley Megamall, South-East Asia’s largest shopping mall, where local veteran models walked the runway.

These however were not the usual run of the mill models, but celebrities, prominent women and Datins known for there public careers or charity works. There was even a model who is a cancer survivor.

Hmmm ....is that Posh?
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