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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30 Bible Verses For The Broken-Hearted

The first month is always the hardest.
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These Bible verses aren't only for people experiencing a break-up; they're meant to be uplifting, comforting and to bring a sense of peace to anyone who's hurting. The first month after every hardship is always the most difficult.

1. Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened; and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

2. John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

3. Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved."

4. Psalm 147:3

"He heals the broken-hearted, and bandages their wounds."

5. Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight."

6. 1 Peter 4:19

"So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good."

7. Romans 5:1-2

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory."

8. Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

9. Philippians 3:13-14

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

10. Psalm 34:18

"The Lord is near the broken hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged."

11. Romans 8:39

"Nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

12. Psalm 73:26

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

13. Psalm 71:20

"You who have shown me great distress and troubles will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the Earth."

14. Isaiah 43:1 b

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine."

15. Romans 8:18

"For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."

16. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.'"

17. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

18. Ezekiel 36:26

"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

19. 1 Peter 5:7

"Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

20. Revelation 21:4

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away."

21. Isaiah 41:10

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

22. Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you."

23. Romans 5:8

"I loved you at your darkest."

24. Isaiah 43:18

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past."

25. Psalm 46:1-2

"God is our refuge and strength; a well proven help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the Earth be removed."

26. Hebrews 13:5-6

"Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'. So we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

27. Romans 15:13

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."

28. Luke 20:17

"But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?”

29. Psalms 9:9

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."

30. Psalm 30:5

"For His anger endures but a moment, in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."



Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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From The Outside Looking In, UNC Is A Liberal Campus, But That Doesn't Mean God Isn't Working Here

Just because we don't always seem Him working doesn't mean He isn't

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When I decided to go to Carolina during my senior year of high school I specifically remember people immediately saying how they'd be praying for me and my faith as I headed off to such a liberal university. It wasn't until I actually stepped foot onto UNC's campus and became a part of the culture here that I realized how inaccurate people's assumptions of this campus truly are.

People's assumptions about what UNC is and isn't stems from a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions they have about a university that many of those same people never actually attended. I know that comes off as harsh, and maybe it is, but the truth is you are never truly able to understand what an environment is like until you spend a significant portion of time there. It's the mundane moments or the day to day life events that I get to take part in which allow me to fully embrace all that UNC is. Until I was able to experience that for myself I too feared that my faith would be muddled by UNC.

Those mundane moments I mentioned, it has been within those moments that I've been able to experience the overwhelming love of Christ and see the work He is doing on this campus. It's sitting at a table in the Union to finish up some homework and overhearing a conversation about Christ or walking through Lenoir at dinner time and hearing a group of friends praying before dinner. If you aren't looking for it you'd probably overlook it or cast it off as another conversation, but these moments are so much more than that. The best part of it all, those are just the mundane moments.

Maybe it's bold of me to say that God has a plan for this campus, but I'm fine with being bold in that. I find the confidence in saying this because I get to experience Tuesday nights in a church on Franklin Street as a congregation of students fills the pews and for 45 minutes we stop what we are doing and praise God together. There are no denominations there, there are no barriers, it's a group of students coming together to worship God through music. Then as we break away and go our separate ways for the rest of the week each of us falls back into our own sphere of influence. In these spheres of influence, we build a deeper community that binds us to different churches and campus ministries and organizations, but at the end of the day, we all find our way back to that same church every Tuesday evening.

I will not deny that my generation has shown a drastic decrease in the amount of college-aged students who regularly attend church services on Sunday, but that a) doesn't mean that they've fully forsaken the faith or b) that God is not working on college campuses like UNC. As with everything else, I think it is important to put these statistics into context. When students come to UNC, or any college for that matter, most of the time they find themselves trying to reestablish who they are and redefine their identity. This seems to stem from a lack of community and not really knowing where their niche is just yet. Loss of a well-established Christian community can be detrimental for a lot of students as they go off to college and struggle to balance all their new responsibilities while trying to figure out who they are. So that drastic decrease we see may be less of college-aged students fully parting ways with the faith and more of them not being able to find a community where they feel at home.

This area, in particular, is one that really defines why I say that God is truly working on this campus. As a student, it can be hard to find that community, as I said, but UNC has so many campus ministries or local churches that before long students seem to meander into their niche. I know for me it happened fairly quickly, but for others, it doesn't happen like that and it takes time. At the end of the day though, people seem to find a community that suits them well and where they feel loved and known. For me, that's the most important reason behind why I say God is here working on this campus.

To anyone who ever worried about me going to such a "liberal" campus, fear not because God has a plan and has placed me on a campus full of people that He loves and wants to minister to for a reason. Don't let false assumptions and stereotypes jade your perception of the work God can do. He's working here, it's now just up to us to listen and obey His commands.

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