Scripture Sunday Vol. 15

Happy Sunday friends!  I’m so happy to be sharing my fifteenth “Scripture Sunday” post with you today.  I’ve loved writing them for y’all every other week and I hope you’ve loved reading them too!  I’m just going to jump into the post, but as always I want to throw out the reminder that if the Christian religion offends you in any way you are more than welcome to keep scrolling through my blog and find a style post that you’d prefer to read.  Now, let’s get started!

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Today’s Verse:

Proverbs 11:27; Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.

I’m not sure about when y’all are going back to school, but I return this Thursday, August 17th.  I’m going to be a junior and yes, I do know what they say, “junior year is the hardest.”  I’m pretty frightened to be starting such a crucial year to my college applications, but I’m also a bit excited for a new school year of possibilities and opportunity.

One thing I’m really not excited about, however, is seeing some of those people I’ve been happy to avoid all summer.  Those that have been a little less than kind to me in the past, those that I’ve hit rough patches with at some point this summer, etc.  I think it’s pretty fair to say this isn’t all that strange for a high schooler, but I don’t think it’s a good thing either.  I try not to judge people but sometimes it just seems as if my everyone at school is doing something bad or saying something bad about someone else and I’m just tired of it.

As I’ve tried to come up with a way to get past this before the school year begins, I found Proverbs 11:27.  The verse says “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”  What I take away from this is the idea that if I go around school just waiting for someone to “wrong me” or do something I wouldn’t think of as right, I’ll see it a lot more.  However, if I begin to look at everyone the way God looks at us, I’ll be able to see the good in everyone I pass by in the hallways and sit next to in class.  I want to stop seeing people as fake, mean, etc. and start seeing them as children of God, made perfectly in His image.  I’m beginning to pray more for those I’m not too fond of and to only think of positive responses to things I hear or see about my peers.  I’m doing my best to stop searching for the bad and start opening my eyes to the good.

As you start school, stop yourself whenever you think those negative thoughts about others, even those that you might think are justified.  Start thinking “child of God” before thinking anything else of someone.  Everyone is worth loving and there’s no need to look for reasons to hate them instead.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week.

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You Were Made For This; How YoungLife Has Changed the Way I Look at Christianity

Happy Sunday!  There’s no “Scripture Sunday” this week, but there’s something else I’d like to share.  I think you all know by now that I’m a devout Christian.  I love God and over the past couple of years I feel like I’ve strengthened my relationship with Him a lot.  I have done this through Bible studies, confirmation classes, and especially YoungLife.  Today I wanted to share with you what, in my opinion, is the most important and overlooked thing about Christianity.  I came across this idea because it’s actually YoungLife’s slogan; “you were made for this.”

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people who aren’t Christian assume that most Christians fall into one of a two categories; “perfect”-goody-two-shoes kind of people who never do anything wrong or not so great (meaning rude, condescending, etc.) people who think they’re perfect.  While there are obviously some people who fall into each of these stereotypes, many Christians aren’t like that at all.  Not every Christian refrains from cussing, lying, stealing, underage drinking, drug use, etc. and while those are certainly not good things, they don’t make them incapable of being loved by God.

No one, not even the biggest bully at your school, not even that girl who seems to be with a new boy every week, is anymore unworthy of God’s love than I am or you are.  The thing is, God’s love is greater than any love we have ever had for anyone.  Greater than the love you feel for your boyfriend, greater than the love you feel for your siblings, and even greater than the love that your parents feel for you.  Given the extreme love He gives and the horrible condition of sin that we as human beings have on our hearts, none of us are really worthy of His love.  Despite our faults and resistance, He wants to love us unconditionally anyways.  He loves us so much that He sent His only son to die the most painful, humiliating death so we don’t have to pay the ultimate price ourselves.

Out of this magnificent love, He created this wonderful world for us to enjoy.  He gave us feet to explore it with and eyes to see it with.  Along with the sun, the stars, the oceans, the mountains and all of those other incredible things, He thought the world needed some of us too, so He created us.  You and I were carefully crafted for a purpose.  You might already know what your purpose, you might think you have an idea of what it is, or you might have no idea at all.  Even if you don’t know what your purpose is, never forget that you have one.  The most important thing you can be is loved by Him.  There is only one you and God created you for this earth just like He created the sun for this solar system or His son for us.  You are so important to His plan.

That brings me to another stereotype of Christianity.  Many people believe that Christians just go to church, read the Bible, and pray all the time.  First of all, I’d like to say that those things are all great and don’t have to be “boring” at all.  That aside, that’s not all that Christians do.  A life with Christ is not a boring, confined one.  It’s a beautiful, free, fulfilled life of adventure.  That’s what you and I were made for.  You were made to ace that test, to score that goal, to climb that mountain, to travel to that country, to sing along at that concert, to eat that legendary cake, to live your life to the fullest.  You were made for a life of fun with Christ by your side.

My relationship with Christ has been strengthened so much because I have discovered this life of adventure.  I love to travel and explore all of the beautiful places He has created.  I love getting home from a concert and feeling so happy and blessed that He has given me the opportunity to go and enjoy myself so much.  Since I’ve started to read my Bible more and allow His love to pour into my life the way it was meant to, I have become so much happier.  I encourage you to look at your life and His love this way too, it really changes everything.

As much as I absolutely love living life with Christ, it’s important to note that just because you’re leading a life with Him doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  Following God won’t prevent your life from tragedies and hardships, but it will make these awful things a little easier.  Being able to turn to Scripture, prayer, and fellow God-loving friends and family members can become your best medicine for difficult times.  Having a relationship with God will comfort you in knowing that He has already painted the beautiful picture that is your whole life and you’re only looking at one little corner that might seem messy.

YoungLife has played a huge role in demonstrating not only what this wild life of love and adventure can look like for me, but also what getting through struggles with God by my side can look like for me.  “How could a Christian youth group really be that much fun and informative?” you might ask.  Well, each club is approximately an hour spent playing super fun and hilarious games, watching leaders and peers participate in hysterical skits, hearing super cheesy jokes, singing both currently popular music and classic Christian songs, dancing like no one is watching, and hearing the Gospel.  This takes place every Monday night during the school year and is honestly the best part of my week.  Outside of YoungLife, I hang out with a few of my college-aged leaders a couple times a week.  While many high school students think it’s so “cool” to hang out with college kids that often drink around/with them and do other not so positive things, YoungLife has provided high school students with college kids who love Jesus and are just all around good influences.  My leaders are always there for me, whether I’m having problems with my parents, friends, school, you name it and I have cried to a YoungLife leader about it.  What’s so neat about these connections is that YoungLife leaders are the best secret keepers and give the greatest advice.  Plus, they usually have some Scripture that they know will help you out.  YoungLife also has camps around the world that local YoungLife groups take their students to in the fall and summer.  These camps are jam-packed with fun activities including crazy games, zip-lining, swimming, horseback riding, and mountain rapelling as well as opportunities to improve your relationship with your friends, leaders, and God.  Camp always makes me feel so refreshed and tremendously impacted.  YoungLife camp has really painted a vivid picture for me of what that adventurous relationship with Christ looks like.  As the new school year and the start of YoungLife approaches, I beg you to at least try YoungLife club.  It will seriously change your life for the better.

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget, you were made for this.

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P.S. – Yes, I know this post might just seem like a big YoungLife ad, but it’s something I’ve really wanted to share with you.  I don’t know about you, but when I find something really great I love to share it with my friends and family so they can experience it too.  I think of y’all as my friends too in a sense and I wouldn’t want to keep something from you that has the potential to bring you so much joy and fulfillment.  That makes sense, right?

Scripture Sunday Vol. 14

Good morning and happy Sunday!  Today I’m so happy to be sharing my fourteenth “Scripture Sunday” post with y’all.  Today I did the calligraphy a little differently than usual, let me know what you think!  I think I like this way because it looks a little cleaner and more professional.  Anyways, as usual I’d like to throw in the fact that if the Christian religion offends you in any way, you can continue scrolling through my site and find another fashion or lifestyle post that strikes your fancy.  Enjoy!

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TODAY’S VERSES:

Matthew 5:16; In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Recently, in a chat during our Bible study, my friends and I began talking about how we’re supposed to represent God and Christianity.  It’s sort of our duty as Christians to love others so that they can see Christ’s love through us.  If our actions don’t reflect the goodness of God and Christianity, no one will want to join in.  So what about those days when these “others” are getting on your very last nerve, being rude to you, not including you, etc.?  Yep, your actions still need to display God’s love and acceptance.

If you ask me, the best example of this kindness can be found in my YoungLife leaders.  A few of them come to our school lunches at least once a week, where they not only say hey to those of us who they already know and love as YoungLife students, but they also reach out to the kids that don’t like or just don’t come to YoungLife.  They sit with them and get to know them, showing genuine interest and love for them the way Christ does in all of us.  If after a few weeks they still reject my leaders’ invitation to come to YoungLife club, guess what?  My leaders still continue to form that relationship with them because they want to show them that unconditional love and acceptance that God shows us.  If you ask me, my YoungLife leaders are some of the best models for the way I should be treating and reaching out to others.

Honestly, I’m don’t treat others that way all the time.  I don’t always represent God in a good way.  I don’t always display God’s love in my actions.  However, I’m always trying to become better at doing so, even though I slip up quite often.  I find instruction and encouragement for doing so in Matthew 5:16.  This verse says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  This kindness and genuine interest in getting to know others for the ultimate purpose of letting them get to know Christ is referred to as “your light.”  I seriously love that.  The verse continues to say “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

This week, pay special attention to the way you treat those around you.  Realize what you’re doing.  Are you anywhere close to accurately reflecting God’s love?  I think this is something that most of us need to work on, myself included.  Obviously it’s extremely hard to love others unconditionally all the time the way God does, but just give it a try.  When we label ourselves as Christians, we become a little like billboards advertising God.  What does yours say?  Make sure the way you’re living His word out seems like a good advertisement.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!

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Scripture Sunday Vol. 13

Happy Sunday!  As you know if you’ve been reading my blog posts this past week, I just returned from an exciting week at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) in Washington D.C. (find all of my recap posts here).  I’m extremely exhausted but my heart (and journalistic brain) are so full.  Today I’m sharing a new “Scripture Sunday” post with a few verses I’ve been really loving recently.  As usual, if you’re offended by the Christian religion for whatever reason, feel free to continue scrolling through my site and exploring some other recent posts.  Enjoy!

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Today’s Verses:

Psalm 3:3-5; But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

As the day I would leave for WJMC approached, I became more and more nervous.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make friends when I got there.  I was afraid that the friends I had attempted to make online beforehand would hate who I am in person.  I was afraid that everyone at the conference would be extremely interested and knowledgable in political journalism and my hopes of pursuing a career in fashion journalism would seem froufrou-y and ridiculous in comparison.  When my dad left me at the airport in my WJMC tee shirt for my independent flight to Washington D.C., I was excited but simultaneously scared.  I’ve had fears similar to these in the past, before switching schools, going to social events for the first time, and going to various camps.

 Before I even got on my flight, another girl wearing the navy WJMC tee, Chloe, saw my shirt and approached me.  She sat down next to me at the gate and we immediately became friends.  We talked about our fears going to the conference, the crazy GroupMe we were both a part of (we didn’t recognize each other from it though, since there were over 100 people in it), the dresses we packed for the gala, photography, and more.  My anxiety subsided and I could already tell that the conference would be an awesome experience.  Chloe wasn’t in my color group, so I didn’t see her often, but when I did we always smiled and said hi to each other.

I recently came across Psalm 3:3-5, and I so wish these verses had come to mind when I was so nervous about WJMC.  They say “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from his holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”  I find so much comfort in these verses because they remind me that God protects me, answers me, and sustains me.  He will never leave us out to dry and he’s always one prayer away.  He definitely did all of this for me while I was at WJMC, I had the best time I could have imagined.  I feel so blessed that He brought so many great new friends into my life through my time at this conference.

This week, do not be afraid or anxious but remember that God is always there.  Remember that He loves you unconditionally and in that will protect you, answer you, and sustain you.

Have a blessed week!

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Scripture Sunday Vol. 12

Happy Sunday!  In today’s “Scripture Sunday” I’m sharing a verse that has been sitting on my heart lately and it really speaks to me both as a high schooler and just as a human being.  As usual, if you’re offended by the Christian religion for whatever reason, please feel free to scroll past and read some of my other recent posts.  I hope you find today’s Scripture as enlightening and comforting as I do!

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Today’s Verse:

Romans 12:2; And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ah, summer.  This wonderful season comes with freedom of academic related responsibility and in some high school students’ situations, also of their parents’ rules.  In this age of constant updates on Snapchat stories and Instagram posts, even if you weren’t at the party, or even friends with the people at the party, we still know everything that went down.  I, as a rising junior, have been seeing these things more than ever recently.  Over the past few weeks, suddenly my social media feeds have been carrying more dark shots of my peers with red solo cups or puffs of smoke than ever.  I’m certainly not their mom and I’m trying to stop myself from judging others, so I try to just scroll past these posts, but lately they’ve been hitting me harder and harder.  I’m scared for myself as well as my friends, my age and younger, and what we will be and already are facing.  This is the time of peer pressure that we’ve been warned about since Red Ribbon Week in first grade.  When I first came to the high school, this was just stuff the juniors and seniors did, but now suddenly we’re the juniors and seniors.

Recently, during a Bible study, one of my YoungLife leaders shared Romans 12:2 with me and a few of my close friends.  This verse seems so insanely applicable to high school students, it’s almost as if it was written specifically for us.  The verse starts “And do not be conformed to this world,” which basically means don’t sacrifice yourself to fit the societal norm.  In some translations, this part of the verse even says “Do not act like the sinful people of the world” or “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.”  If you ask me, Paul is literally saying “don’t give into peer pressure.”  The verse continues to say “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” which I honestly didn’t understand until it was explained to me.  This means that you should continue to read the Bible and learn from God, continue to let yourself be transformed by Him.  Lastly, the verse says “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  If we turn away from the peer pressures and bad decisions I described and focus on our transformation through God, we will prove God’s perfect will for us to those around us.  We can lead the way of pure joy and good life for our peers.  This gives me so much comfort in times where I feel alone in my desire to stay away from these bad things in high school.  It reminds me that the little things people might think of me socially because of my resistance will ultimately pay off.

This week, take some time to think about what the bad things in the world are for you, there’s certainly more negative going on in this world than just the high school parties I described.  Try to set aside time to spend in Scripture so you can learn and be transformed by God.  We can change our schools, our workplaces, and our cities by leading the way to God’s good and perfect will.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week!  Read my previous “Scripture Sunday” posts here.

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Scripture Sunday Vol. 11

Good morning and happy Sunday!  Today I’m so happy to be sharing another Scripture Sunday post.  Since posting my last “Scripture Sunday,” I returned from YoungLife camp in Colorado (read my travel diary and watch the video I made here) and began attending a morning Bible study, called “Daystarters” that was run by my YoungLife leaders every weekday morning.  My leaders hosted this Bible study as a way to continue our growing in our relationship with God after camp.  In this two week period, I have learned so much about the relationship God wants to have with me and about what this relationship provides.  Today I’m sharing some Scripture directly from a lesson I heard in this time and I hope you all enjoy it and feel as refreshed by it as I did!

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Today’s Verses:

Psalm 103:2-4; Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.

When I’m at YoungLife camp, it’s so easy to love God and focus all of my energy on my relationship with Him.  I spent a week at Frontier Ranch surrounded by God’s magnificent creation with daily reminders of what God did for us.  When I got home, the magic slowly began to fade as it always does after camp.  I absolutely hate this feeling.  Suddenly I catch myself saying something I wouldn’t have thought of at all while I was at YoungLife camp, or putting my Bible reading on the back burner for a few days.  I went to Daystarters every day in an attempt to keep that camp feeling and continue to grow my relationship with God.  I got a lot out of these sessions and even returned for a second Bible study on Wednesday nights, Campaigners.

This past Wednesday at Campaigners, one of my leaders had us turn to Psalm 103.  As we read this particular Scripture, my heart became overwhelmed with the joy and gratitude I felt while at camp.  The first few verses especially serve as such a great reminder of what God does for us and how much He loves us.  Verses two through four say “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.”  That truth hit me like a truck.  His love benefits us more than any other love could, and more than our love could ever benefit Him.  He forgives our sins and mistakes, He heals our diseases (both figuratively and physically), He saves us in our darkest hours.  My favorite part of these verses is in verse four when we are told that we are crowned with His steadfast love and mercy.  We don’t deserve to be “crowned” with anything, let alone the ruler of the universe’s love and mercy.  He is a good, good Father and I am so blessed to be loved by Him and to have the opportunity to love Him back to the best of my ability.

This week, don’t forget that He benefits you in so many ways.  Don’t forget that His love is greater than any other love you will every receive.  Take some time to get to know Him a little better, by reading your Bible or praying, so you can attempt to wrap your brain around just how big this love is and how badly He wants a relationship with you.

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed week.

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