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Unstoppable by the Grace of God

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After a very reassuring text message conversation with my friend, Julian, I felt called to enlighten you on this topic:
Julian had messaged me after he saw my Instagram post about touring the University of Central Florida. He told me, ” Hey, I’m in Orlando too. Maybe this is a sign that we’ll go to the same college!”
The conversation took a very sharp turn, and we both went on to admitting that we are utterly terrified for our future. We are both constantly reminded that this feeling of terror for our future is completely “normal.” But, if we’re told that this state of mind is “normal,” then why does it feel so “abnormal ?”

In a society where our future seems to be manifested by numbers, we often fail to recognize that our future is solely in the hands of the one who literally breathed life into us, God our Father. Our future is most definitely not controlled by a mere transcript or standardized test score.

It is a Wednesday night, I have just gotten back from two college tours: the University of Florida in Gainesville, and as aforementioned, the University of Central Florida in Orlando. “A 4.3 GPA isrequired as well as a 33 ACT score…” For a girl who is very talented academically, but average in standardized tests, I simply thought that these pairs of numbers were seemingly impossible to reach. “I am never getting into college,” I said to myself. Those six words finally did it. I broke down in tears after the UF tour because of an overwhelming amount of fear and anxiety for my future.

During this whole process, I had no idea what role God played in all of this chaos. “God probably has so many other people’s problems to deal with that are much bigger than mine,” I thought. But God met me exactly where I was. My very own mother sensed a strange negative aura within me. Without saying a word, she took hold of my hands and prayed for me. She asked God to grant me a sense of peace and for an increase of hope in my life. She prayed that I have faith in my future, and trust that God’s plan for me is nothing but good. God’s love really shone through my mom. I immediately felt His uplifting presence only seconds after we were done praying.

Brothers and sisters, when we say to ourselves, “I can’t” it becomes a reality. Our minds feed off of this negativity, and anxiety overcrowds our lives. However, when we reverse our mindset to a positive one and say, “Yes, I can,” our minds become permanently altered.

Let us keep our heads held high because that’s where we will find our Father, guiding us toward a bold and prosperous future; different for each of us, but equally and exquisitely amazing. Another important factor to remember is that friends are placed in our lives to lift us up, not to bring us down. God blessed me with such empowering friends, like Julian, who constantly fills me with his love and positivity. When we keep our eyes fixed on God and His marvelous plan for us, we will be filled with His overflowing goodness. Ultimately, this “Yes, I can!” attitude is what makes us unstoppable by the grace of God.
As Emily Wilson would say, “Amen, Hallelujah!”

“Do not have anxiety about the future. Leave everything in God’s hands for He will take care of you.”
~ St. John the Baptist de La Salle

Blessings, Lola ✞☻☼♪

The Light Shines in the Darkness

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Darkness can be very frightening. If we take anything from our daily experience and put it in the dark, that seemingly normal object takes on a sinister character. For example: In the daytime a hallway is perfectly normal. However, that same hallway becomes terrifying in the dark. We have all had the experience of waking in the middle of the night to use the restroom just to be dissuaded by us looking down that long dark corridor. We don’t even need to into detail of how much creepier a porcelain doll is in the dark. We all have darkness in our lives and in our world. However, the good news is that Jesus is the light of the world. When we let His light and love into our lives that darkness will not prevail. Darkness is not a thing in itself. Rather, it is the absence of light. Darkness cannot ever overtake light.

Jesus is willing and able to enter the dark parts of our lives and bring us the light of hope. Nothing is too big for him to conquer. He has already conquered all things when He laid down His life so that we may live. Why did Jesus do this? If He is God, why did he humble himself to die for us and to save us? If God is perfect, that means He does not need anything, so we can’t say he needs us. This is incredible new because it means He wanted to die for us. God chose us because He loves us.  To God the father, you are worth the life of God the son. Let us respond to the light of His love and stand in that light.

 

Challenged to Rise!

Spend time in the light. Daily, set aside 15 mins and let Jesus into all areas of your life, the good and the bad, the dark and the light. When it comes to letting light into our life through prayer the only two things we bring to it is consistency and honesty. God does the rest. Everyone can be consistent and honest in prayer. It downs take a special “gift” or talent. Just decide. Spend time consistently and be honest with Him in your conversation. Don’t fake it. He is faithful to shine his light, it’s up to us to step into it.

After spending time with the Light, go about your day and be His light to the people around you. Let Him conquer darkness of the world through you.

Discussion Questions

What are the moments of darkness that you face in your lives?

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “to God the father, you are worth the life of God the son”?

What are some ways that you can turn on the lights and dispel the darkness in your life?

When has some one been a bearer of light in your life?

How can you be the bearer of light into the darkness for others?

 

Biblical inspirations

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:5

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” -Matthew 4:16

The Simile of Light. “No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it [under a bushel basket], but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light. -Luke 11:33

For God so loved the world that he gave[a] his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. -John 3:16

 

Marlys’s Declassified School Survival Guide

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HI FRIENDS!!! I know, summer is almost over #suchabummer. I grew up dreading those last weeks of summer, but fear not I am here to help ya out peeps! Here are my top ten rules of starting a new school year

1. ENTER WITH A PLAN!
My best school years have happened when I map out my highlights. Now I’m not saying write a day to day detailed schedule (if ya wanna, that’s all cool), but just pull out that fresh planner and write the highlights. Write down your friends birthdays, when the breaks are! Have something to look forward to because when a goal is in place, your mindset is focused!
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” HEBREWS 12:11

2. START EACH DAY WITH POSITIVITY
Guys, I’m just going say what you’re all thinking. Waking up at 6am to get ready for school isn’t the best, I get it. So just some quick suggestions-put a positive quote by your nightstand, set a timer with a new song each day, get ready with praise and worship or hype music, whatever you need to do. I personally used to practice silence in the morning and that helped me prepare my day.

3. END ON A GRATEFUL NOTE
It’s really easy to complain, isn’t it? Honestly, we can spit complaints like nobody’s business, but there is so much for us to be grateful for, so at the end of your week write down 3 things you were grateful for that week. Practicing Gratitude is a great way to close your busy week.

4. STAY AWAY FROM THE DRAMAAAA
New Year, new dirt. Friends, STAY AWAY FROM IT. Drama and gossip not only hurt friendships but it also hurts us as a whole. If you’re tempted to gossip or even ask about the latest dirt, ask yourself “Would I want someone to be doing this to me?”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” PROVERBS 9:10-12

5. PRAY FOR THE HATERS
You know, Misery truly loves company, but pray for misery and her/his friends! Just say a quick prayer for that person who’s always looking at the glass half empty.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” ROMANS 16:17-18

6. THROW KINDNESS AROUND LIKE CONFETTI!
Be genuinely positive! Many believe that positive people are always outwardly happy, that’s not always the case. Positive people know who they are, and they find ways to find the sparkle in dull situations. Make a happy jar and share a quote with a new person a day, find good in those around you even when they can’t find it themselves.
“The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” PSALM 119:72

7. BE AUTHENTIC!
School can be one of two things, a place where we hide ourselves or a place where we let ourselves shine. I’m going challenge you to let yourself shine this year! Discover something new about yourself. Join a new club, take on a new hobby, talk to a new classmate. In all things, be authentic.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” PHILIPPIANS 4:8-9

8. ENCOUNTER NEW HEIGHTS IN YOUR FAITH
My relationship with Christ became real my Junior year of high school because I encountered him in a new way! What is that way for you? Tell Jesus how you want to encounter him this year. Climb new heights in your faith, there’s so much more!

9. A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY.
So many times we believe that Jesus wants all of our time every day. Jesus wants to talk to you every day. He wants to know how you’re doing. The best relationships are combinations of little day to day things. Talk to him, at least for ten minutes, you won’t regret it.
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing”. 2 Thessalonians 1:3

10. THRIVEEEEE
Lastly, live in the moment. I know it’s a cliché, but honestly don’t worry! Enjoy where you are, celebrate where you’ve been and wait in anticipation for what is to come.

I hope you guys have a great first day and please comment and let us know what you think of the blog! Can’t wait to see you all in September!

 

Marlys

“I Belong To Jesus” Declares Brazils World Cup Players

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World Cup Soccer players declare “I belong to Jesus”!

Alisson Becker, Goal Keeper for Brazil, took to social media to praise God for the opportunity to play in his first World Cup: “Very happy to receive the opportunity to defend my country in a world cup! Realization of a dream!!!!…Glory to God!!” Becker advised young potential goalkeepers that faith plays an important role in success. “If you want to be a great keeper, you need to work very hard. That’s what I do. You need to be very focused on football and I think faith is important too,” he said. “If you believe in God, you know you have to do your best on the pitch and put love into everything you do in life.”

What a great philosophy!  He gives glory to God for the gifts he’s been given.  He acknowledges God in all aspects of his life.  How often do we stop to ponder our own gifts?  To unwrap those gifts by practicing, working on them, acknowledging them?  To thank God and use them for good?  That’s one of the awesome aspects of Rise Up.  Rise Up encourages young people to consider their gifts and gives them an opportunity to improve their skills and use those gifts for God’s glory.  So if you’re good at writing, video production, photography, graphic design, music, art and more, consider Joining The Rise and proclaim “I belong to Jesus” too!

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