There are moments in life where I find myself wanting to photograph new things and explore new adventures in my time as a college student. In my studies, I’ve found that photography is not only a means of expressing the beauty of a person, place, or thing, but a representation of the maker itself. I could say that photographing landscapes and traveling is my greatest passion and that I am responsible for creating such beautiful images. However, my gift has come from God. He has given me the love for creating imagery like this, but more important, he has placed before me a multitude of beautiful places and reminded me of what a beautiful world we live in. God’s creation is so much more than what we see, but what we often don’t see. I believe this completely, knowing that I am able to put my trust in God’s hand to lead me where I next need to be. In the words of Ansel Adams, my favorite photographer and inspiration, “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”
For example, this was a sight I stumbled upon after completing my grocery shopping last night. I will never take anything like this for granted. It was asking to be photographed and shared with you all today… God is great.
Below, I’ve attached some of these images I’ve had the remarkable chance of standing in front of in that specific moment, knowing that God’s creation of beauty is vast and ever-changing.
Having a specific date of the week set aside to spend time with your significant other is important for relationships as devoted time together can help two people grow emotionally. A relationship I sometimes overlook, as I get busy with daily tasks, is my relationship with Jesus. Here are three date night ideas that can bring you closer to God:
Following Jesus’ path and keeping your faith isn’t supposed to be easy. I recognize that; however, I also believe that everyone should find a way to practice their faith in whatever way keeps them passionate. After ringing in the new year, I had a realization that I needed to build my own spiritual disciplines. I needed to rediscover my passion and continue growing my personal faith. Each week or so, I will work on adding a certain ritual to my daily life. Each only taking a brief window of time. Each allowing me to encounter God on a daily basis.
Daily Encounter post #2: Reach Out and Be Kind to others.
I never imagined syllabus week would be good timing for this theme, but this week surprised me. Filled with nerves over new classes and new classmates, I decided to embrace this new spiritual discipline by introducing myself to everyone I sat down next to, ended up in the elevator with, or simply muttered a sarcastic comment to. Did I make a million more friends? Nope, but I felt this sense of community I never had. My sense of first week nervousness? Gone.
Not only does God want us to be courteous to strangers, but to our enemies as well. As a person of faith, I truly do my best to have kind thoughts towards everyone, but we all know a couple people whose personalities simply do not mesh with ours. Approaching those people with open arms and loving them no matter what may sound overwhelming, but hear me out. Try to get to know them better. Invite them to dinner or find a show you both love and can binge watch together. There’s bound to be one thing you two can share. You may not end up besties, but if you can understand them a bit better, it’s a lot easier to think positive thoughts towards them.
If you’re not familiar with the fisherman metaphor, Jesus tells us he wants us to go out into the world, find people who need a savior, and bring them to him. While it may not seem possible, a smile and kind words go a long way. Maybe you won’t be the one person to bring them to Jesus, but you can certainly introduce them. More positive interactions with you gives them a more positive outlook on Christianity. Even if it’s just a smile.
There you have it. That’s what I learned and reflected on this week as I experimented with this spiritual discipline. Check back on February 9 when I give tips and suggestions on how to encounter God through music on a daily basis.
Growing up, I often found peace in listening to simple melodies and instrumentation. It was the music that inspired me to find calm moments in my day and glory in God’s beautiful songs. The last few years of college have been an often rocky roller coaster- putting me face to face with some of my worst fears and sweetest memories.
As I’ve found myself coming back to music, a Christian group by the name of Casting Crowns has played not only tranquil melodies that I end up humming daily, but sung lyrics that remind me of God’s powerful message. One of my favorite songs of theirs, Thrive, released in 2013, was originally created by this group of artists with the help of their student ministry.
This, among many things, has reminded me of the value in friendship and building our lives together through our campus ministry at KU. I pray that you find peace and empowerment through their songs and that every step you take in faith will bring you closer to God’s will for you, through every up and down.
“Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable,
Love unstoppable, anything is possible.”
To read more about their song writing process, visit: http://www.takethethrivechallenge.com/thrive/
Listen to one my favorite songs (“Thrive”) here:
Today, January 16th, 2017, is a day that is dedicated to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. While most people know King for his nonviolent work within the Civil Rights Movement, another important aspect to King’s life was his Christian beliefs. King began his civil rights journey by founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Through this conference, King began to fight against segregation through nonviolent protests. King died almost half a century ago; however, Christians can still benefit from his teachings today.
As Christians, we are called to love one another in the name of Jesus Christ. In fact, Mark 12:31 says “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” So, as people of Christ, how exactly do we do that? How do Christians become better at accepting and loving those whose race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and income status are not the same as our own?
Celebrating the beginning a new year, for many, means making resolutions. When thinking about ways to make 2017 better, think about how you can improve your relationship with God. It may sound time-consuming, but these 5 activities could only take minutes in your daily routine.