Mission Trips: It May Not Be What You Think

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The words mission trip registers differently in everyone’s minds. Before going on my first mission trip, I thought you had to be a “Super Hero” Christian or committed to being a missionary for the rest of your life.

Although, it never stopped me from admiring those who chose the path to be missionaries. There was just something about being a missionary that gained someone knighthood in my eyes. Maybe it was the fact that they give up comfort to give someone else love.

During my sophomore year in college, an opportunity to go on a short term mission trip arose. As soon as I was able to grab a pen, I signed up. I saw the need to go and give the love God had provided me with and share it with people who have never encountered it.

By signing my name on the sheet of paper, I was asking God to send me across the seas into another culture to greet strangers. In Isaiah 6:8 it states “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!””

When I went on the mission trip, I was no way a “Super Hero” Christian and I still am not. I did not hear God call me to go on the mission trip, I saw the need of God’s work to be done. I felt called to love everyone, just as God loves them. That is exactly what I did. Furthermore, we, as Christians, are all called to make disciples of men, as said in Matthew 28:19.

 

“God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called” –Anonymous

 

After the mission trip, I learned that I do not have to be called to be a missionary for life or a “Super Hero” Christian to go on a mission trip. In fact, I do mission work in my home town daily. As long as I am faithfully pursuing God, letting him guide me in life, and spreading His love to others: I am a missionary material.

If you are going on a mission trip soon, I recommend reading more advice about coming home from a mission trip by Relevant Magazine. Perhaps you might be going on your first mission trip? tirzahmag.com has some great guidance!

 

“And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”” Romans 10:15

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To the Girl Who is Afraid of Being Alone

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What inspired this is my anxiety and my sporadic fear of being alone. When I was a kid, I used to live in a house with nine other people and now I am in college living with one other person. This was a big transition for me, from never having privacy to having all the privacy in the world. Since I was not used to this, to me the idea of all that alone time can be peaceful and scary. Here is what I have found to help me when my anxiety kicks up. However, I found another source that gives some more insight on anxiety called “What Having Anxiety Feels Like

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If you have the fear of being alone, you might over think or freak out at the thought of going home to an empty house. Over thinking leads to irrational logic, but the feelings are valid. When I have these moments, I stand up for my feelings and give the voices that creates irrational logic to God. God can turn feelings into a comfort as I rest in his spirt.

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

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A quick solution to the fear of being alone it surrounding yourself with loved ones. Living in the digital age, we have the opportunity to call or text them and maybe even meet up! However, make sure you talk to a loved one that comforts you, makes you feel loved, and leads you to Jesus.

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Make a plan or to do list, this will give you a sense of control and affirmation that you have something to do throughout your day. And include something you enjoy, that way you have something you look forward to.

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Pets are great company and they are always there to share love! For me, my apartment would feel empty without my friendly kitten, Rory.

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Find a hobby: photo/video editing, reading, tv/movies, exercising, haymaking, ect. Having a hobby is a great way to have get your mind off the negative things and on what makes you happy.

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You are never alone. That’s right, I went there. God is always by your side, even when we cannot feel or see him. We can find his presence in various ways, but the two ways that always work for me is reading my Bible or turning on worship music and praying.

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My Grandma has always told me that on a bad day to count my blessings. Which in the past, always made me up set. I would think to myself “How could I possibly think about my blessings, when right now everything is going wrong!?” Until one very bad day, I was laying across my bed crying, calling out to God and not hearing a word. When I was reminded to count my blessings and like a flood, beautiful memories of family and friends came rushing into my mind.

Anxiety can cloud our minds and pervert the truth into something it is not. We think we are alone to suffer in our thoughts, but that is not true. There are many things surrounding us, we just have to open our eyes to them and separate ourselves from the anxiety. You are not your anxiety or fears.

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” Psalm 18:32-36

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14.27

Walking With God On A Busy Day

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Let’s begin:

When our calendar is filled with things to do, we find it hard to focus on God. So here are a few tips on how to walk with God on a busy day!

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Start Right:

First, start your day off right with a cup of your favorite drink and time with Jesus. I have always found this relaxing, this way I walk throughout the day in a good mood.

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Details count: outfit

Dressing up for the day is something small, but it helps me feel 100%. It is as easy as putting on a nice shirt. Trust me, it makes the difference.

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Stop and Center:

Always take a moment to clear your head and to focus on God. Even if it is just five minutes, do it. This helps you keep well-balanced throughout the day.

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At the end of the day:

WE DID IT! We crossed everything off our list. Even though, our days can be full of chaos it is important to include God.

 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” –Galatians 5:16-17

 

“As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2

Confidence

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When I thought of the word confidence, two videos popped in my mind. The first video speaks of God’s infatuation of you. It speaks the truth of who you are in God’s eyes. How you have the choice to be the world changer God created you to be.

 

The second video captured different reactions of people who were told they were beautiful. As you watch the video, you can clearly see that the majority of the beautiful people are not told how special they are very often. Some individuals were so stunned by the sweet words that their face did not move and others let their emotions lead to violence.

 

It is shocking of how many people walk among us that may never hear the words “you are beautiful” and believe them. It is very likely that you might even be one of them. Nonetheless, it only matters what God thinks of you. Let me tell you, through God’s eyes you are amazing! Not even you can take away the love He has for you.

How many times does God reach out to us, call us His beloved and we turn away? Countless times the Bible speaks of the worth we have in Jesus. There is no need for self-hate, low self-esteem, low self-worth. Here He is with arms open wide, displaying his affection for you and ready to save you from these wounding views of yourself.

YOU ARE…

Worthy of love

Beautiful

God’s beloved

Intelligent

Delicate

Strong

Brave

One of a kind

Capable

Wonderful

Real

Confident

 

“Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Godʼs sight.” 1 Peter 3:4

 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

 

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

The World Around Us

 

In the book of Psalm it speaks of great sorrow, worry, and anxiety. However, through those battles it speaks of God’s enduring love, protection, and greatness. I find it incredible that through dark times we can find God in plain sight. We just have to look.

Let’s take this moment and admire the world around us. God designed every detail to declare His name. Look! You can see it for yourself! Take a step outside and go for an adventure to discover God’s masterpiece, comfort, peace, and love.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

REAL and SOLID Friends

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The people in our lives have a strong effect of who we are as a person. Have you ever heard of the phrase “you become who you hang out with”? Well it some ways it is true.

Yes, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. These were the people with the worthless reputations and Jesus spent time with them and loved them. Although, the people he hung out with every day was his disciples. These were the people he trusted to invite into his personal life. He treated them as if they were his blood brothers.

A friend is kind and loving. They have your best interest at hand, even when you two disagree. You can trust them; especially, count on them to always be there to listen as well as tell you what is the truth of the matter. They are loyal and not needy, a friend is someone who loves you as family.

Proverbs 27:9

“…the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”

A friend is not manipulative and dominate. I call this the toxic friend, which means they are poisonous to your life. You might even find yourself in trouble every time you encounter this person. Most of all, you may see your heart separating away from God; for reasons leading to them.

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“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.””

It may be time to figure who you are inviting into your personal life. A while back I had to do this for myself and an article that helped me was by sheismore.com. Some little things I had learned was to cut out what is toxic, but never eliminate your love for them. You may need your space and they may need theirs, but that does not mean we have to stop praying and caring for them.

I suggest that for you to look for people that you can relate with on a spiritual level. There is nothing like having a best friend that you can talk about Jesus with, bond over commonalities, and most of all pray with/for. Friendship is a blessing from God to help us when we need Jesus in some skin.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Check out these quotes about true friendship!

What the Bible Says About Stress

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The dictionary defines stress as a physical, mental, or emotional strain/tension. In fact, the Bible talks about stress in different forms: anxiety, worry, and trouble. As imperfect humans, we form this bubble around us when we wallow in stress. Inside this bubble we feel closed in, drowning in all the things we are stressing about. We can see outside of the bubble; therefore, we do not know that we are in it nor do we know how to get out. Thankful we have a God that does!

Ask yourself: how did I get here? What caused all of this stress? Once we know what caused our stress, we can give it to God. Matthew 6:26-27 says “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Basically this verse is saying what is stressing out doing for us? Is it causing any good? Is it helping us get rid of the things we are stressing over? No, it is not. Only God can help take away what is troubling us. Matthew 6:33-34 goes on to say: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

My life, like everyone else’s, has stress of its own. I am flawed, I forget to trust God will take care of me and my littlest of worries. That is why it is so important to take a day off and rest. The Bible even says to break away from your daily routine and spend a day in his joy and peace. He calls that day Sabbath day: Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you” During this day, take some time to do what relaxes you. I enjoy reading a book or going on little adventures with my friends. Some more advice of ways you can distress can be found in this video!

Lastly, please remember to listen to your body. Treat emotional pain like physical pain. If you need a mental break, take one. Do not disclaim it because you cannot see it. Do not brush it off, just because it is not an obvious injury. What is causing pain on the inside is just as important as what can be seen on the outside.

Have Hope

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Let me share with you what God is teaching me:

Being a college student and entering this whole new world of “I don’t knows” and “undeclared majors” is just now becoming a normalcy to me. Oh, and it only took two years… I have asked God so many times “What is my calling?”, “Which path should I take?”, and the classic “Can you just tell me what to do?”. I had to learn to be patience, because little did I know those answers were on their way and still are. Even though I have times that I struggle with not having a strategic plan for my future, God has already told me many times what I am called to do: to be still, make disciples of men, and have hope in his arms.

I once read an article about a choosing the right path in life and it told a story similar to mine: freaking out about knowing the plan God has for me. In fact, is was called “God Has Already Revealed His Plan for Your Life”. This article taught me that God put me on this earth for a reason. He has big plans for me to do his will and if my life starts to not reflect Christ, that is when I have made a mistake.

Then a couple weeks later I went on a retreat with my campus ministry: Chi Alpha. This was the moment when everything clicked and I fully understood what God wants me to do. During the retreat God taught me to have hope and reminded me that my life has a purpose. I was so focused on the future and what I am going to do after college that I had forgotten to focus on the present. God has me in an amazing place right now. I look around me and see more than I could have ever asked for. My life is flourishing with Jesus and if I do not nourish that now, then it will not grow deep roots to be able to thrive for a life time.

I still do not know what I will do after college, but I know what I am doing right now is what God wants me to focus on. He is teaching me to be content and patient by having faith that he will lead me to the next steps of my life, and He will tell me when that is in His perfect timing. Most importantly to contain hope in my heart for my future. Hope is a healthy optimism based on the assurance of God. Applying all of these, I now have a peace within my soul and that is good enough for me.

SOAPS

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In my last post, I talked about the importance of spending quality time with Jesus. Today we are going to talk about what to do when you spend time with Him! The thing I love about spending time with God is that you can create it however you want!  The important thing is to value that time and have fun with it. When I first started to have daily time with Jesus, I was advised to try the SOAPS method. The SOAPS method is a devotion technique that is taken from the book “The Divine Mentor”. Now my time with Jesus flows together I do not even notice they are steps anymore.

 

Scripture-

This is step is reading the text from the Bible. Pick a book from the Bible and research the author who wrote it, what area they were in and the culture of that time. This is so we can fully understand the context the scripture is written in. With understanding, we are more than likely to misinterpret the meaning of the text. Before beginning, pray and ask God to highlight one part that of that text to you. Copy the verse down in your journal.

 

Observation-

Take time to focus on the text. Set aside all distractions. Ask yourself who, what, when, why questions to remind yourself of the context. Then write out what observations Jesus points out to you.

 

Application-

Application answers the question “How does this apply to me?” Write out what impacted you and how you can live differently from what you just read. Learn from Bible and then reflect it on your life. Even though we are imperfect, as Christians we should strive to be Christ like.

 

Prayer-

Talk to God! Ask God to help you apply what He spoke to you from His word. This is feeding your relationship with God. Talking to Him helps you bond together. It may be hard at first, but you can literally talk about anything going on in your life and in the world. Just simply speak or write out your thoughts to Him.

 

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This step is one I had added, because it my favorite part of my daily time with God! That is to turn on some worship music and sing out to God. It is a moment when you can let go of all your worries and give them to Jesus. Give Him everything. This is a moment of expression. By singing and praising God’s name you are showing how much you love Him.

 

The SOAPS method is a time spent with God. In this time, He cleanses, renews, rejuvenates you. I encourage you to do the SOAP method as much as you can, but do not get discouraged. This time is to build you up, not hold you up to some kind of high expectations. Jesus wants to be your best friend! How could we not spend quality time and learn more about our best friend?

Quality Time with Jesus

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I woke up with the desire for something to fill up the emptiness inside, to heal the hurt, to fade the numbness; but instead, I decided to shake it off and ignore it. So, I went about my busy day and around lunch time, I realized I had not stopped moving or taken a moment to breathe since I woke up. Seeing all that is yet to be done, I keep moving. As the sun sets, I play back what I accomplished that day, and really everything was meaningless. Looking within me and seeing a bunch of nothingness…

Have you ever felt like this and wondered how to fix it or even fix yourself? Look to God! Find time in your day to recognize His present as well as finding a time to dedicate to Him. God brings peace, worth to your state of minds and hearts. These simple actions are you showing God your love for Him and His Son.

Dedicating time to God is all up to how you want to organize it. Some suggestions are to start off by playing and singing worship music or simply praying. Next, reading the Bible will give you more of an insight of God, along with journaling your prayers or just whatever you would like to say to God. The awesome thing about journaling is that it helps straighten out our brains when they are scattered.

There is something about bringing a pen to a paper in Jesus’ name that brings structure to your chaos. For however long you do is not what God wants you to focus on. The importance of time with God, is amount of heart you put into your time with Him. But trust me, once you get started you are not going to want to stop!

So the question should not be how can you fix it or fix yourself, instead ask “God how can I let go and let you fix me?”, the answer is he will complete you and love you always. In a world where everything is meaningless, God brings worth.

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8

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Learn more about Bible Journaling here!

A study guide that you can buy here!