15 Things To Do In 2018

15 Things To Do In 2018

How to make the most of the life we have been given.
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The new year is an extremely exciting time. It is another chance to start over – an opportunity break out of the darkness that existed in the previous year. This year, I am focusing on drawing nearer to Christ. Rather than making unrealistic goals for myself (A.K.A. healthy eating and going to the gym), I want to challenge myself to dive deeper into my relationship with God than I knew I could.

1. Love recklessly.

One of the best things I have ever heard is that we should love people so recklessly that they are forced to ask why. In a broken world, the biggest gift we can give to people is love. We have the ability to be Jesus to those who need it most – I want to take advantage of that.

2. Lose myself.

Sometimes in order to let Jesus totally in, we have to empty ourselves. I want to give him all of me so that He can make the changes that He needs me to make. When we live with a self-absorbed mindset, we can fall for the idea that God isn’t working in our lives. The truth is that He didn’t have room to come in because our focus was ourselves.

3. Seek the kingdom.

I want to fearlessly and totally be set on Jesus. I want be less worried about my weekend plans and more concerned with how to live more like Him.

4. Pray constantly.

The bible tells us to make our requests known to God. I want to lose my own thinking and worrying about how things will turn out and instead turn them over to the Creator. He always answers our prayers – even if the answer is what we want.

5. Work to discover my purpose.

I want to be open to what God declares over my life. I am going to work towards more “Yes” and “Amen” and less doubting my abilities. I want to listen to what He says I am instead of what the world wants me to be.

6. Be salt and light.

I want people to see Jesus when they see me. I want him to see me as a good and faithful servant. We have such an incredible opportunity to represent him and I don’t want to take this gift of life for granted.

7. Work earnestly and diligently.

In everything that I do, I want to act as if I am doing it for God. In each class, in each responsibility, in everything, I want Jesus to be the center. I want to push as hard as I can until I accomplish the goals that I have set for myself.

8. Act with intention.

I don’t want to live my life going through the motions. I don’t want to live lazy. I want to live for Him and live to make a difference.

9. Love myself.

Society today has created a thin line between being too humble and too conceited. 1 John 2:9 says, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.” This applies to loving yourself too. God created you in his perfect image and has made you to be an amazing display of his goodness.

10. Be grateful in trials.

With each year comes new joys and new trials. Trouble on earth is inevitable. I want to recognize that I am being refined when I am under fire. I want to keep Jesus at the center even when it feels like He is miles away.

11. Show my faith through my actions.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). I want to live out His call on my life. I want to bring as many people to Him this year as he will let me. I want to wake up knowing that each day is a new chance to be his hands and feet.

12. Forgive because He forgives.

If He can forgive me for every bad thought, unfaithful action, or mean word, I can forgive another person. I want his strength to forgive the people who wrong me.

13. Know my worth.

I want to be 100% what he called me to be. I don’t want to settle for less than what he has for me. I choose to stand against the enemy when he puts thoughts in my head deeming me as less than what my Father says that I am. I am found in my Creator. (How cool ?!)

14. Be present.

I want to be present for the awesomeness that He has given to us. The idea of being present is not just to put my phone down. It is to be mentally there in every situation that He puts me in. There is so much beauty in the world around us and I want to enjoy it. I sometimes get wrapped up in a heavenly mindset. I get so excited for how cool heaven is going to be that I forget how cool it is that we get to be on earth.

15. Be bold for the one who sets my soul on fire.

I am so grateful for the life that I have been given. There is no place I would rather be and no people I would rather be with. I have been blessed beyond words with this sweet, sweet life and I want to live it for the One who gave it to me. I want to be bold. I want to be on fire for Him. I have the best opportunity to spread the joy that is Christ on the college campus.

2018 will come with all sorts of experiences. Just how I'll feel sad and scared at some points, I know I will be happy and excited. I am excited for what’s to come and I hope that you will take something from my to do list. You’re never too far from the life He has for you.

Cover Image Credit: Whitney Weldon

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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We're all Flowers in God's Garden Of Grace

A short and sweet reminder that God’s grace will get you through.
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A week ago, I stood in my grandma's garden with her as we uprooted vicious vines of smilax, weeded out miniature maple trees, and pruned back her star jasmine growing atop the gazebo. I forget exactly which plant she was examining when she spoke, nevertheless her words planted a seed in my mind.

“God gave them all different ways to survive, and still there are flowers," she said, fingering the small blossoms.

Working in the garden with my grandmother, I've seen her remark proved true numerous times. Plants are each created uniquely, and tiny details enable them to grow in tough circumstances. Smilax sports thorns that pierce leather gloves to protect itself, defying the attempts of well-intentioned gardeners (ahem, me) to remove it. As it continues to grow, the thorns dwindle into mere pricks and the vine adorns itself in glossy green leaves and curling tendrils. Likewise, the bushes of peonies in nearby fields die back every winter, retreating to their bulbs where they will send out feeder roots until the warmth of spring calls forth the first pink blossom.

In His grace, God gives plants small details that enable them to endure situations that might otherwise kill them. And when they survive—thrive, even—plants culminate their seasons of growth by showcasing beautiful blooms.

My point? You and I are created differently and will walk different paths in life, experiencing different struggles, and dealing with them in different ways.

For example, I am a perfectionist, and as such, I strive for the highest goal possible. Anything less than that standard seems like another strike against me, like a mark of failure. God, however, uses what I see as my failure to point to my need for Him—and His grace gives me the strength to move past mistakes and love Him more.

Esther, a young Jewish woman in exile in Babylon, was wedded to King Xerxes. Soon afterward, Mordecai unveiled a plot to murder her people, the Jews. Holding this tremendous weight on her shoulders, Esther turned to God in fasting and prayer. In the end, the Lord gave her the courage to approach the king and plead for him to save her people. God poured out His grace, softening Xerxes' heart so that the Jews would be spared. Despite our differences, God has created us to grow in Him and to survive in all seasons of life.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4 that “to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned" in order to equip us to serve Him.

And more than that, Jesus, “who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6, The Bible, ESV). So, like full-petalled peonies that bloom every Mother's Day despite hail and blight, God will bring us to completion—perfection—by His grace.

Cover Image Credit: Pexel

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