A Bigger And Better 2018

A Bigger And Better 2018

Refuse to let the enemy run your year.
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2017 was one of the best years that I have had so far. In January, I went with the girls at my high school to our senior retreat and spent two days with the friends I have grown so close to throughout the previous four years. In February, I spent a day at the beach for Mardi Gras with my best friends (and everyone in the area) and the weather was perfect.

In March, I got to visit my future college with my future roomie and fell in love with my new home. In April, I went to Harbour Island in the Bahamas and came back home to spend my last high school spring break with some of my favorite people – the best week! May was full of celebration and fun – my birthday, graduation, graduation parties, and Hangout Fest. In June, I was able to hangout with my friends that I would soon be leaving and blessed to work with some awesome people. I watched the Blue Angels fly in July, which is always one of my favorite days of the year.

Then came August… From August to December, my family moved me into my cozy dorm. I went through sorority recruitment and talked to some of the most amazing and inspiring people that I have ever come across. I became a part of a sorority and met the coolest girls ever. I did well in my classes and finally learned how to study when finals week rolled around. I started going to an amazing and welcoming church. I realized how grateful I am to be in Tallahassee, but also how blessed I am to be from Pensacola. I understood how important family was on the weekends that I went home. I went to New York for the first time and fell in love with the city.

Needless to say, my year was full of blessings. College was scary to me – but God put me right where I belong. Not only did 2017 treat me well, but it was also a year of internal growth. My relationship with God was tested throughout this year. I feel like when life is going really well, I tend to forget that I have nothing unless I have Jesus. While I had a lot of fun and got to do a lot of things, I grew further from the only thing that can provide me with eternal joy and allow me to do all things. It was not until I attended Passion that I fully understood the extent of how much I need a savior – not just when I feel like I do. I came into year feeling heavy. I was chained to a new lifestyle. I felt like I lost my opportunity to live the life that God wrote for me.

This attitude is exactly what the enemy wants us to have. He wants us to feel like we are too bad, too unworthy, we drink too much, we are too judgmental – there is no way God would want us back. When we let these thoughts take over our minds, we are giving into the enemy. We are allowing him to take control without realizing that Jesus has the victory. When I left for college, my mom started pressing into me that God has a plan for my life but so does Satan.

When I made the realization that the enemy was targeting me, I made the decision to not let him win. When I understood that he was using the things that trigger me the most, I wanted to do everything I could to spot him. I refuse to live another year letting Satan think that he has me in the palm of his hand. I will not let him steal, kill, or destroy any of my relationships, opportunities, or thoughts anymore.

While 2017 will be hard to beat, I believe that God is going to do big things in 2018. Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” By giving God control, there will be nothing that I can’t accomplish.

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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What the world really needs

Jesus, Sweet Jesus.

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"What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance. Blending in so well that people can't see the difference and it's the difference that sets the world free." (What This World Needs- Casting Crowns)

I walked into the conference room at work to ask my mom if she had seen the news about Kate Spade. She hadn't, and when I told her what had happened, she was so shocked and upset, I had to clarify that it was Kate Spade the fashion designer. My mom has never met Kate Spade, yet upon hearing the news of her suicide, she was heartbroken. My mom was heartbroken for a woman she has never met.

That really got me thinking.

It is so easy to lose empathy for people we don't know, yet God calls us to love everyone. We are to have compassion towards each other and unbelievers. It can be so easy to look at the world with blinders on under the guise of not wanting to be desensitized. However, if we shield ourselves from it so much, we aren't being the light to the world God called us to be. Have you ever seen someone that you know is not saved and suddenly had a strong sense of compassion for them? You may or may not know them, but you can tell by the way they act they aren't saved. In an instant, your heart goes out to them. It is as if God opens your eyes and suddenly you feel empathy for someone you have never met.

We were recently in D.C for the weekend and were eating dinner at a restaurant. One of the other servers in the restaurant caught our eye. It was a guy but was dressed slightly like a girl (wearing a skirt). He came by our table a few times to refill our waters, bring more lemons, etc. and my heart suddenly went out to him. I don't even remember his name, yet it saddened my heart to look into his eyes and not see light. As nice as he was, there was a sadness lurking behind it. A sadness that comes from not having the joy of Jesus Christ.

Recently, there has been a reoccurring statement from people around me; "The world needs Jesus," or "They just need Jesus." How right these people are. The world needs Jesus and we need to tell them about Him. I was doing a devotional by Priscilla Shirer recently and she was speaking about how Satan targets us. She said:

"But, when I suspect he may be the source of it, I don't know about you, but it causes a holy indignation to rise up inside me."

Holy indignation. What a beautiful phrase. When we see people that we know don't have the light of Christ and are deceived by the ways of the world and the schemes of Satan, we should have holy indignation fired up inside of us. As Christians, we are often called "ambassadors for Christ." How about warriors for Christ? When we see someone that needs to be saved, instead of holding back, why don't we show them the love of Christ? We should see evil for what it is and instead of backing away from it, we need to stand firm, fight back, and replace it with light and truth. Fight for truth and love, and fight back against the schemes of Satan. Instead of being apathetic to what God shows us in people, how about we let the empathy burn strong and act on the fire that is inside of us.

Casting Crowns has a beautiful song called, "What if His People Prayed?" The lyrics say:

"What if the armies of the Lord, picked up and dusted off their sword. Vowed to set the captives free, and not let Satan have one more? What if the church for Heaven's sake, finally stepped up to the plate. Took a stand upon God's promise, and stormed Hell's rusty gates. What if His people prayed?"

What if we did what the song suggests? What if we fought against Satan for the people that don't have the glorious hope and light we have? How different the world would be if we took off our blinders, quit being so apathetic, put on our armor, and fought. Instead of being intimidated to silence, we need to become louder for Christ. There's a saying that "light shines brighter in the dark." If the Christians of the world let their light shine, I can only imagine we would illuminate the world.

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