God Gives Us New Beginnings

God Gives Us New Beginnings

“’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LordThough your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

The start of a new semester, relationship or job always feels so refreshing. You have a blank slate with a new story to write in any direction you want. It no longer matters what happened to your grades last semester, whatever your last relationship entailed or whatever reason you left your last job over. You can now leave that in the past and focus on what lays ahead of you. God wants to grant you new beginnings as well, but on a much grander scale. And the best part is, we don’t have to worry about what direction it will turn because God has already written the story and is ready to direct us accordingly.

Because of what Jesus has done for us, we now have a new beginning in Him. His blood washes our sins away and makes them white as snow. As Easter approaches, we are especially reminded of this, but I hope you will continue to remember, even after this season passes us by and we move on to the next one.

When I was “saved” I was able to start anew, leaving the pain and mistakes of my past behind me. There was so much new life and opportunity I found when I accepted Jesus as my savior and vowed to follow Him to the best of my ability. Sometimes I find my mind wandering back to the past and I beat myself up over my regretful behaviors, but then I recall Isaiah 1:18 or listen to the song “Jesus Paid It All” and remember who I am in Christ because of what He did for me. I can’t continue to live in that negativity if I want to successfully do what God has called me to.

Whatever sin you gave into in the past, leave it behind you today and commit your life to the Lord, if you are willing. A new life is waiting for you whenever you would like to start it. And even if you have already committed your life to God, you can always re-commit again as long as your heart is in the right place and you are ready to truly make the changes needed. As I always say, God knows your intentions and He sees when you are truly wanting to dedicate yourself to Him. He knows we make mistakes, yet He still loves us more than anyone else ever could.

I pray that, if you have not already, and you are in the right mindset to do so, you will have a serious one-on-one talk with God and ask Him if you could begin anew. Ask him where He wants to take you in this new beginning and embrace it. Be sure to listen carefully, for His plan will lead you farther than you could’ve ever dreamed.

I can’t wait to see where these new beginnings God has gifted you and I take us. We can follow each others journey through social media so feel free to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or on snapchat @christianoncamp. Leave me a comment with your social media handles as well so I can follow and encourage you in your new beginnings!

Thank you for reading and joining our little community here on Christian on Campus.

Sincerely,

Walking By Faith, Not By Sight

Walking By Faith, Not By Sight

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Paul’s letter in second Corinthians speaks of reconciliation and living in harmony with others. He says that believers who are walking by faith and not by sight are, in summary, pleasing to God. Through walking by faith, we trust God even when we cannot see what He is doing.

You may be confused by what God is taking you through in your life. I have found myself more times than I can count thinking “Why, God?”. But every single time, God brought me through it and made me stronger because of it. I finally put my doubts away and finally learned to say “God, I may not see what you are doing now, but I trust that you know exactly what you are doing”. Not only did that give me tranquility in times of fear, but it showed God that I can put my full trust in Him.

God knows we are human- He did make us after all! He knows that letting go is hard for us. He knows we struggle to hand over control. He also sees all our tears and hears all of our thoughts, so he knows how hurt you are in these times. Trust that he sees all, has your best interest in mind and is looking out for you in all situations.

As you pray, God is putting the plan He has for you into action. Two February’s ago I went through a lot of big changes with my family, living situation and I had lost my dog, Ice, who some of you may have seen on my Instagram or Snapchat. I remember crying and asking God why. I was discouraged to say the least. Not to mention, I had just started this blog focused around Him and was having a hard time connecting and writing heartfelt content. The more I hurt, the further I pushed myself away from God.

But one day, I came around. I read my Jesus Calling devotional and for the first time in weeks I really prayed deeply and spoke with the Lord about what was going on. Of course, he already knew, but me opening up to Him helped me make the realization I needed. I knew then that when I felt so alone, He had been waiting for me. When I gave over my doubts to God and told Him “I’m ready for you to help me, Lord” he helped me get back on my feet. When I left my worldly worries at my feet and expressed my gratefulness to God for all the blessings I had overlooked, I was able to find my joy again. Now I am able to recall this situation when I feel alone in my struggles and hand it all over to Him.

If you’re in a place right now where you are struggling and wondering why God brought you there, please know that God is more than happy to take those worries from you at any time. Also know that He has a plan for you and what you are going through now has a purpose, even though it may be hard to see now.

Thank you for visiting me here at Christian on Campus. I hope you were uplifted by this verse and that you will think of it when you catch yourself “walking by sight”. Please also feel free to contact me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or on snapchat @christianoncamp where we can chat more. Thank you for taking time from your day to read this post and stop back soon!

Sincerely,

Faith Is Not Defined By Age

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Because I am 19, I feel that my opinions are often not as valuable as those who belong to someone older than me. Not only in my faith but at school, work and in the blogging world. Because I am a young adult, I often refrain from speaking my thoughts because I feel they will be written off simply because of my age. When I do speak my mind or give advice, I find myself following it up with “..but I’m not sure” or beginning with “I probably don’t have as much experience with that as you, but…”

Today that stops.

Especially when it comes to my faith and beliefs, I want to put aside my age and start to lead when I feel called. And I believe that you should to. Sometimes I feel convicted to say something important and I let myself be discouraged by my youth, but that ends now. I want to follow God wherever he guides me. I will not let age define my faith, actions or anything else. Age does not define worth.

I have been through so many experiences and learned so much in my 19 years of life. I have gained wisdom and maturity. I have gathered my thoughts and formulated the opinions that make me who I am. My age and the generation I “belong to” does not define me and will not hold me back from making the difference I intend to make in this world.

I love 1 Timothy 4:12 so much because it commands me not to let anyone look down on me because I am young, but instead to set an example. That does not only mean to those who are younger to you. Although children and teenagers may be more impressionable, I know I can also impact people who are older than me.

Many of the readers of this blog are high school and college students and I want to let you know that your opinions and thoughts are valid. If you feel no one will take you seriously, please recall this verse and remember that this piece of God-breathed scripture has called you to set an example in all that you do.

Go out into the world and leave your fears behind. Replace them boldly with the love and confidence of God, who sees your efforts to glorify Him.

I hope you were encouraged by this post. It can be hard to overcome certain circumstances and the feelings they give you, especially ones you cannot control such as age. But God calls us to set an example, so we must.

Subscribe for more uplifting posts and also please follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and on Snapchat @christianoncamp! Thanks for stopping by!

Sincerely,

My Savior

My Savior

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6

When I start feeling down or drift away from my faith due to untimely circumstances, the best pick-me-up is Jesus. I remember what He has done for me and my spirits are enlivened again. Because I know he is the way, the truth and the life, I can live in awe for Him, engulfed in the His unconditional love. John 14:6 is a short verse, but it means so much. Let’s take a look.

The Way:

He is the direct path to our Heavenly Father and he leads us to salvation. He delivers us from sin. Because he loves us, he delivered us from sin. When I remember the cross he had to bear for me and the pain he endured, I can overcome so much more. He paved the way for me to persevere and ultimately reach the Father. Through the doctrine Jesus taught and through Him dying on the cross, we are given a way to heaven.

The Truth:

He is the undeniable truth we can cling to when lies send us into a whirlwind of confusion. The enemy uses harsh lies to distract us from God and our mission. But by acknowledging that Jesus is the truth (among other things), we can assure ourselves of what our focus should truly be. By looking at the New Testament and all that Jesus has done, as well as what he spoke, taught and how he acted, we see His greatness and can work towards it. The gospel we have is the true word and what we base our beliefs and virtues off of.

The Life:

Jesus goes before us to provide us the example of how we should live. Through my faith and following my Savior, I have learned to put others before myself and made progress in becoming more like Him. I have a very long way to go to get where I want to be, based off of scripture, but I know that my life is worth living because of Jesus. I have purpose in Him.

 

Just as a seed needs soil, sunlight and water to grow, we need the Way, the Truth and the Life that Jesus provides to strive forward and overcome the hard things God uses to grow our faith. There are many ways to interpret this famous scripture, but this is what it has come to mean to me. I would love to hear what John 14:6 means to you in the comments.

Thank you so much for spending a moment of your day to read this post and have a blessed day!

Sincerely,

Embracing His Presence

Embracing His Presence

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I despise public speaking. I get so nervous when I have to give presentations at school. I dread the first day of classes because the professors of smaller classes often make you go in front of the class and tell everyone your name, major and something about yourself. It doesn’t sound so bad, and I know it’s really not. But for some reason, that irrational part of my brain convinces me it’s the end of the world. When my name is called, my heart feels like it’s going to beat out of chest and I start speaking a mile a minute and almost forget to breathe. After years of presentations it has not become any easier until this past semester and I will tell you exactly why! I finally started embracing God’s presence when I felt overwhelmed and anxious.

I finally started to pray over my presentations and larger scale introductions because I know I cannot calm myself on my own. Before presentations, I also call the Holy Spirit to be with me. I ask God to replace my anxiety with peace, and He answers. I still usually rush through my words because I have made it so intimidating in my head for my entire life, but I am making progress simply through acknowledging His presence.

Because I know God is with me, I can release some of my nervous tension to Him and trust that He will help me move past my doubts and fears. Slowly, I have been moving this concept to other parts of my life besides public speaking, and you can apply it to any of your struggles as well. For example, I have previously convinced myself I am “not a runner”. Pfft! I most definitely am a runner now. I used to feel inadequate, mostly because I hadn’t yet given myself a chance. When I started training with the C25K app I felt that I wouldn’t make it past the first week. I felt I would never be able to improve my stamina in running. But I started to pray over my training with the C25K app because I didn’t want to give up on another workout program. I wanted to follow through with this fitness adventure and prove to myself I was capable. I inspired myself by looking up scripture related to strength, running, etc. I will be writing a more in-depth post on this in the future, but the point is that I recalled those verses while running and remembered how strong my God is. I knew God was with me and that he believes in me. I dedicated my runs to God and called to Him when I felt like giving in. By reminding myself of God’s presence and love for me, I was encouraged in my runs. I finished the 8 week training and ran a 5k in late February. I am currently training for another 5k and still call to God during my runs to keep me going when I feel that I’m not able to do it on my own.

There are so many ways to embrace His presence and spend time with God. I personally love prayer and meditation. I often watch christian meditations on YouTube when I feel overwhelmed, scared, or just have a little extra time on my hands. I often find myself drifting away from God if I fall out of my quiet time and prayer routine, but He is never out of reach. If you feel you have a hard time embracing God’s presence, find something that helps you work on it. This can be anything from reading your bible app to bible journaling. One thing that helped me to embrace God and think of Him more throughout the day is having 3 phone reminders set to pray throughout the day.

I would love to hear how you embrace God’s presence more and what it has helped you accomplish. Thank you for reading and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Sincerely,

Being Like Christ

Being Like Christ

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Let me begin by stating that often the things I write on are things that are weighing heavily on my heart. I have either recently had some experience with it, or need to improve in it. This is definitely the latter. To be completely honest, I find myself being more friendly and encouraging I am surrounded by other devoted Christians. For example, when I am at my bible study or at church I feel that I am always making an effort to be considerate and helpful. I have noticed that in these situations I am more likely to look for opportunities to serve or lend an ear. But when I am at my university I generally just finish my classes and go home. I’m not necessarily “cold” towards anyone, but I’m not very “warm” either. And I can’t help but feel that I am not fully doing my part.

There are so many opportunities I miss by not stepping outside of my comfort zone to be a light. I know that if Christ was in my place he would take every chance he could find to be kind to others. Unfortunately, I seem to only be reaching my full potential when I’m with a bunch of people who are already saved! Of course that’s important as well but I feel that I know I am capable of so much more.

I previously thought that the only way to help others get “saved” is to have them at church or read the bible with them and explain my beliefs or share my testimony. But its so much more than that. Often, a genuine friendship can plant a seed, which leads to more discussion or an accepted invitation to church. By reading the bible, we have so much scripture that tells us the characteristics of Christ. With this we can strive to improve and shape ourselves into these people. By doing so, we can form quality friendships and be consistent in and outside of church.  These values and characteristics can be adapted at any age or stage of your walk in faith and can be applied to any situation.

Personally, I need to work on  being more open and personable while at school as I said before. Keeping to myself may allow me to leave school quicker, but is it helping me be a “fisher of men”? Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Maybe at work you tend to get very overwhelmed easily and overreact when someone makes a mistake. You can apply Ephesians 4:32 by being forgiving and understanding in these situations, just as Jesus has forgiven you for your sins. Maybe your sibling or friend is being bullied and you feel that you don’t have the right words to say, so you stay quiet. In this situation you could be compassionate simply by being there for them or letting a parent or teacher know what is going on. Maybe when you go to the grocery store you always see a homeless person sitting on the curb with a sign asking for help. You could continue driving as usual, or stop and offer a kind word or pray with them.These are all hypothetical situations, but I hope that it has helped you do some personal reflections. I challenge you to join me in taking small steps to go outside of our comfort zones more often and be better Christians.

I believe that there is always room to improve and grow in our faith. I would love to hear how you plan on taking your walk with Christ to a new level. What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to being “like Christ”? Please comment below, along with any future post suggestions and prayer requests. Your comments make my day!

Please also feel free to visit me on Instagram @christianoncampus or on Pinterest @dannioncampus for updates and more new content. If you are already subscribed to this blog, I would like to remind you of the free bible study printables available here. You can find the password to the “Freebie Page!” in your first email subscription. Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any trouble finding the printables.

Sincerely,

[Photo credits to my nine year-old brother, Billy, who took some of these great shots for me while I held the bible. What a sweetheart!]

Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare
 ”Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’Ephesians 6:11
 
What is the “armor of God” and when is it needed?
 
This is sometimes a hard concept to grasp because spiritual warfare is not something you can physically see. It’s what you feel. For example, one could be experiencing spiritual warfare through depression or anxiety. The enemy wants to take away the good in our life and push us deeper into the dark. In this place, he can convince us- or at least try to convince us- that God is not good. He is sneaky and will do or say anything that will push you away from God. 
We can metaphorically put on the armor God provides us through His word, prayer and fellowship at anytime. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by fear, doubt and worry but at anytime you choose, you can fight back with the strength and love of God.
When I was going through the application and testing processes to get accepted to college around two years ago, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Although I had a great GPA, plenty of extracurricular involvement, great essays and above average test scores, I still felt that I was inadequate. I felt that there would always be so many other students with higher GPA’s and test scores. I felt that I was unworthy. And looking back now, I can clearly see the spiritual warfare that was seeping into my life in a very important transitional time. At this time I should have been in joyful anticipation of the future, but instead I let the enemy convince me I was not worthy.
I remember sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room and sharing with a family member how worried I felt that I would be denied to the schools I applied to. I was dreading opening a letter of denial. On the way home from the doctor that day, I spontaneously decided to stop by my church. I went inside, kneeled, prayed and cried and asked for God to take it into His hands and alleviate my doubts and worries. I asked Him to let His will be done and to bring me peace with whatever it may be. I decided in that moment to leave the darkness the enemy had put upon me behind and step into the light of God’s love, righteousness, goodness, peace and truth. I was letting myself become so obsessed with denial and acceptance of these Universities and it was affecting my relationship with God. I felt so distant from Him before I prayed that day at church. But by praying and asking God to help me see the goodness in me through Him, I took the first step in clothing myself in His armor.
 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
 
When we stop believing in God and allow the enemy to distance us from God, we stop being a light into the world. We stop spreading the good news and serving God and others becomes harder. Little by little, our faith starts to diminish and we feel spiritually, emotionally and even physically drained. We are called by God to share the gospel and to be “fishers of men”. We are told to be disciples and to follow the commandments. But when our faith is shaken, we forget what our mission is and let the enemy win. 
 
But it is never too late to stand back up and put on the full armor of God. God knows it is hard for us to get back up when we’re down, especially when it has been awhile. But it is never too late to say “no” to the enemy and get right back where we left off. Just as I did that day I went to church and prayed for God’s help, you can do the same. If you are struggling right now and feel that you are too far gone, please know that that is not the truth, but you can find the truth in the word of God. And if you know someone who is struggling and falling into a dark place, you can pray for them and encourage them to honestly ask God for help. 
 
“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” Ephesians 6:24
Thank you for reading and I hope this blessed you in some way. I would love to hear your feedback, testimonies and see your bible journaling for any of these verses. Please tag me on Instagram @christianoncampus with your beautiful artwork! Please also follow me on Pinterest @dannioncampus to see my favorite pins.
Yours Truly,

His Strength Prevails

“A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.” Job 40:23

When your life turns into a “raging river”, what do you do? What do you secure yourself in when the calm waters turn furious and the roaring wind pulls you downstream? Do you secure yourself at all or simply give in?

Life is a river and we are its passenger. We have no control over the speed of the rapids, the weather or the rise and fall of the sun, but we do have the ability to choose our focus and make choices on which way to turn when the time comes.

Job 40:23 and its surrounding verses remind us that God is, was and always will be more than enough to sustain us. The hardships we are facing are fleeting, and circumstances change by day. But God is always with us, watching and protecting us. He sees all suffering and knows all worries. 2 Kings 20:5 tells us that God has “heard your prayer and seen your tears” and then assures us that He will heal us.

Remember that you are not your circumstances. And while the things that we go through may give us new perspectives and change our feelings towards certain things, we don’t have to let them define us. According to Romans 12:2, God commands us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. There is a big difference between allowing hard times to transform and renew your mind and allowing them to give you a hard, negative outlook on life. Difficult situations create spiritual warfare within us, but because we know God and can ask Him for strength and peace in all situations, we do not have to give in to that negativity and let it get the best of us. Just as God sees every tear, he also sees when we are hurting but choose to turn to Him and praise Him even despite our misfortune.

Recently I became very overwhelmed with all the things going on with my life. Amidst everything going on, I became pretty sick and had to stay home for three days. That included having to reschedule an exam and a quiz, missing a dinner date planned with friends and church events, missing four of my classes and being pretty darn lonely and miserable at home. I started the week with a long to-do list for assignments and other things that needed to get done while at school and goals for the gym. I essentially could not get anything done because I was sick, which led to me feel rendered helpless. At first, it did get to me during the first two days I was home. Then, Anthony from Instagram requested that I read Job 38-42 and write a post on something from there. I began reading, and my mind was renewed by the scripture as I read it. There are many encouraging words within those chapters, but Job 40:23 really stuck out to me. I had felt that as I was stuck inside my house sick, the world continued to go on around me and leave me in the dust, buried in the pile of things I was unable to do while I was sick. I felt that I was falling so far behind and I was growing worried and anxious. But this verse from Job reminded me that, yes, things may come up and there will always be obstacles, doubt, worry and fears but my God gives me peace to not become let my problems get me down. Not only that, but my God gives me strength to overcome the obstacles and also be blessed by them.

I praised God for giving me that time, because it truly showed me how much I appreciate the nature of my life. I often find myself wishing I didn’t have to go to school and work all the time and constantly be on the go during the week. But being home for three days made me realize how much working and being a student is a blessing in my life and how much I value being able to work and improve myself and strive towards my goals.

Think of all the hard things you’ve been through in your life and how many times you felt that you wouldn’t be able to get through it. And here you are! You are much stronger than you know, and God will never put you through anything you can’t handle with Him by your side. If you are going through something right now, rest assured that God is going before you and working things out before you even reach them. Do not give up in the face of adversity.

And please if you ever do feel overwhelmed, alone, or start doubting yourself, feel free to message me on Instagram @christianoncampus and I would love to pray for you and work through it with you. Feel free to also comment any prayer requests below.

Please subscribe for email notifications of new posts and access to my free bible study guides you can find here. Have a blessed day, friends!

Thank you for reading,

Avoiding Anxiety

Avoiding Anxiety

IMG_0629

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

As humans, we all experience regular anxiety and stress. And while it is a normal part of life, we shouldn’t just put up with it forever! There are plenty of ways to combat anxiety in a healthy way.

If you can recognize your sources of stress, you can overcome it. For example, my first semester of college I experienced pretty severe testing anxiety that greatly hindered my success the first few weeks. I was constantly worrying over my grades and I was overwhelmed whenever a test was nearing, which was almost always. At first, I got so wrapped up in school that I forgot my highest priority: God. Once I realized this I began grounding myself in my faith again and saw instant improvement with my anxiety and stress levels. God can help us go from disheartened to delighted in almost no time. Understanding his intense love and concern for us and placing our trust in Him is the answer to almost any problem we could ever face.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Turning to God in the face of your troubles could be as small as opening your bible or sending up a simple prayer. I personally like to use bible journaling to spend some alone time with God. I also recently bought a “Praise Book” which was created by one of my favorite Christian companies, Illustrated Faith, as a small, purse-sized decorative book to write down any bible study or sermon notes. I would love to do an in-depth review on the praise book and accessories if anyone is interested, but for now I will get to the point. Simply watching an online sermon or YouTube bible study, such as the #blbBibleStudy by Cambria Joy, and taking notes can realign your focus to where it should be in a flash.

Re-evaluating your reasons for pursuing whatever it is you may be going after can also be a great way to re-focus yourself in the right direction. If you are in school like me, it’s important to reinforce in yourself what your intentions are with going to school in the first place. Whatever you may be doing, it should all be in honor of God and for His glory. If you are not pursuing God and giving Him the glory in all you do, your heart isn’t in the right place and that may be weighing on you more heavily than you realized.

“Figure out what you love to do- what God gave you a heart to do- and then do it for His glory.” -Rick Warren

Once you have centered your life around Christ again, you can avoid feeling troubled and anxious with a few of my other tried and true stress relieving methods.

  • Find a healthy outlet: Whether it is drawing, worshiping, playing music, writing, swimming, putting together new outfits, experimenting with new nail designs or choreographing a new dance routine, you can use your passions to avoid over worrying. This month my blogging solidarity sister, Katy (who recently guest posted on my blog here) and I started a monthly challenge for May where we can share our passions with other Christian men and women, and I would love to see yours; just use the hashtag #SoulOnFireMay to share with us! Personally I like writing a new blog post or reading a good novel to escape for a little while.
  • Plan ahead: We tend to feel a lot more stressed out when we are unprepared. I suggest using your phone calendar to make sure all your obligations and due dates are accounted for. I also love having a small yearly planner to physically write down my due dates, family events, school functions, times to study schoolwork as well as the bible, appointments and my blog posting schedule. Getting some cute stickers and colored pens and pencils can encourage you to keep everything up to date and, in turn, reduce your stress by keeping you organized and on schedule. I also like to keep a good-sized whiteboard on my wall that has all my major obligations for the current month as a subtle reminder to stay on track each day. It probably takes about ten minutes to write down all your due dates, social events and appointments at the beginning of the month and is well worth it for the amount of stress I am able to avoid by doing it.
  • Take care of yourself: Exercising regularly, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep can be great and easy ways to de-stress. I find a lot of great at home workouts through Pinterest or YouTube and I also like to take walks around my neighborhood if I don’t have time or energy to drive to the gym that day. I also love eating green smoothies which are fun to make and can help you to avoid stress eating which, unfortunately, leads to more stress.
  • PRAY! I know I mentioned this before but it is SO important. And, yes, it works. Prayers never go unheard by God and he does truly care for you and love you. He wants you to cast your anxieties on Him, as 1 Peter 5:7 mentions, and He will always answer your prayers, even if the answer is no. And if the answer is no, I’m absolutely sure it’s for the best.

“She confidently trusts the Lord to take care of her.” Psalm 112:7

Hopefully this helped you or will help you in your future encounters with anxiety and stress. Comment with your favorite verse, as I am looking for new verses to sketch in my bible and I would love to hear your pick! I would love to chat so visit me on my Instagram or email me at christianoncampus@outlook.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

IMG_0593

[Photo by Casey Hogue Photography. Find her on Instagram @caseyhoguephotos.

Giving Grace

Giving Grace

IMG_0656

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

God has shown immense grace to us and calls us to pass it on to others. However, as most of you have probably realized, Christians are often scrutinized for their beliefs and many force us into the stereotype of being judgmental and ignorant without giving us a chance. Maybe that stereotype is true for some but not for all and it hurts to be categorized without any say. Non-Christians become defensive by simply knowing that we identify as believers and sometimes say harsh things without understanding us or our beliefs.

Staying positive in this kind of situation can be difficult but if you truly believe and want to follow God we must continue to show respect and kindness to others, no matter how much they put us down. To give grace to these people is to show them the love of God without them knowing, which can possibly prove their stereotypes of Christianity wrong.

Using grace can be helpful in other situations as well. Whether you are being bullied or arguing with a sibling, the best route to take is to respond calmly. Sometimes showing grace does not mean to say something overtly sweet to that person but simply to agree to disagree in a respectful way and acknowledge their thoughts, but politely choose not to respond.

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14

When someone hurts us, our first nature is to respond by hurting them in retaliation. However, this creates an ongoing cycle of negativity for both parties. To be the bigger person and respect the person who is unjustly criticizing you, ends that cycle and begins the process of healing rather than prolonging the pain.

That can be hard in some situations but it is worth it. It is also one of the many ways we can repay Gods kindness towards us. Acting in such a way shows thankfulness to God and shows him we are making a conscious effort to lead a Christ-like life.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Many of us, unfortunately, forget the most important part of grace. You guessed it; forgiveness! It’s much easier to ignore someone’s hateful words but still hold the anger inside. Keeping that anger buried usually isn’t too easy and we end up projecting it on the outside, which is counterproductive to the concept of grace. If we cannot forgive these people, as Christ has forgiven us, how can we truly give grace. Not only does that anger affect them, but it can cause hate to build in your heart and have some very negative consequences.

If you struggle with this, I encourage you to join a bible study if you are not in one already or simply read the bible on your own. The bible teaches us so many amazing lessons about grace that will help us change our perspective and attitude. In the bible, Jacob was a cheater, Miriam spread gossip and Thomas doubted God. But all of them show us how great and powerful God’s grace is, and that should be sufficient evidence and a strong reminder to strive to speak graciously and be respectful of others. Don’t read the bible as if it were simply a story book but look at it as a guide to life. By doing this, you can begin walking in grace and eliminating problems before they start.

This is something I have struggled with for a long time and continue to fail at sometimes but the more I learn, the better I become at using grace for good. Knowledge is power.

Can you think of a time you showed grace or received grace from someone else? How were you successful in doing so and/or how did you react to the unexpected kindness and respect? I would love to hear some of your thoughts and tips in the comments. Prayer requests are always welcome as well. Thank you for reading!

IMG_0653

[Photo by Casey Hogue Photography. Find her on Instagram @caseyhoguephotos]