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Destination: Europe!

I just came back from an amazing trip. I visited Ireland and the United Kingdom, collectively known as the British Isles. There I celebrated my birthday, kissed the Blarney Stone, took a river cruise, straddled the Greenwich Meridian, rode double-decker buses, circled Stonehenge, stormed castles, saw the Crown Jewels, rode the London Eye, ate delicious Irish and English food, and so much more. Does this sound like a trip you’d like to take? Go for it!

“But wait!” you say as you start the excuses. “I don’t have enough money!” I didn’t either at first. It took months of saving and careful planning to make this trip happen. If you’d like to take a trip this summer or next summer, now is the time to start preparing. Wherever you want to go, the tips will help you get there, along with some snapshots from my recent European adventure!

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by Jessica Lippe

How I Did It

  • I decided on a savings goal. I did this by figuring out the cost of my must-dos for the British Isles, as well as cutting back on areas that weren’t important to me. I could have spent less if I decided to only visit free attractions and only eat meals I cooked myself. However, I also could have spent a lot more if I stayed at resorts instead of hostels and only ate at sit-down restaurants. When it comes down to it, splurge on what’s important to you, and don’t feel obligated to spend on things that don’t matter to you.
  • In the months leading up to my trip, I found ways to save money on both trip expenses and everyday living. I kept all of my savings listed in a computer document. Check out below a few of my favorite ways to save. Even if I only saved five cents, I would add that to the list. Every penny counts!
  • I worked extra. That could mean being willing to put in extra hours at my regular job (it may help if your boss knows your travel and savings goals), babysitting, or doing some work from home. While some of the extra that I earned went to tithes and taxes, a large portion went directly into my travel fund.
  • I planned out my trip, but also left some time for spontaneity and incidentals (which came in handy as my flight was late). Although I’d be happy to return to the British Isles, I wanted to make sure that I did all my must-dos so that I wouldn’t feel like I missed out.
  • I packed up, prayed over the trip, and headed to the airport!

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$aving at Home

Saving for travel is possible! Cut back on some of these expenses and prioritize your trip savings instead.

  • Pack your meals instead of eating at restaurants. Even fast food prices add up (not to mention your homemade food will probably be healthier).
  • Try to drive less by walking, biking, or at least combining your car trips. You’ll save on gas as well as your car’s wear and tear.
  • Carry a refillable water bottle or travel mug with you so you’re not tempted to buy pricey drinks.
  • Do you spend a lot on books and movies? Borrow from friends or the library instead. You can also check out the internet, as Amazon offers some free eBooks and YouTube streams some free movies.
  • Get great deals on clothing at thrift stores, or combine coupons with the clearance rack at your favorite department store. Better yet, make use of the clothes you already own.
  • Set a designated time (a week, a month, or until your travel departure date) where you buy nothing. Instead, appreciate the toiletries, food, and entertainment you already have at home.

One way I saved some extra money was by using Swagbucks. Click here to sign up for Swagbucks for free and start earning gift cards!

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$aving on Travel

No matter where you’re headed, try using these money-saving tips:

  • Try different forms of accommodation. Hostels, campgrounds, and inexpensive Airbnbs are my favorite frugal options. As long as it’s a safe place, where you stay doesn’t matter too much as you should be out exploring most of the time.
  • Plan one or two nice meals if you’re interested in that sort of thing, but supplement restaurants with street food and grocery stores. Yes, shopping for food in a foreign country can be an interesting experience in itself!
  • Pack light. If you’re flying, you’ll save time and money by only bringing carry-on bags. If driving, you’ll get better gas mileage with a lighter load.
  • You don’t have to take a taxi or Uber. Walk as much as possible to get a better lay of the land, and perhaps even stumble upon a local secret! For longer distances, you can rent a bicycle or take public transportation, such as a train or bus.
  • Don’t spend too much on souvenirs. Unless you’re visiting China, why buy something stamped with “Made in China”? Buy just a couple quality items, or collect free souvenirs like photos and ticket stubs.
  • Most destinations have some interesting free attractions, like parks and museums. One of my favorite free travel activities is attending a church service, especially in an iconic building like London’s Westminster Abbey!

Get more travel tips and inspiration at our editor’s website, JessicaLippe.com

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World Refugee Day (+Summer Cover Reveal!)

“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” — Zechariah 7:8-10

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Today, across the globe, people will be observing World Refugee Day, an opportunity to show compassion, empathy, and charity for those fleeing their homes in search of a better life. Today, more than 65 million people are forcibly displaced from their home and 25 million that the United Nations considers refugees.

These aren’t just numbers. These are families fleeing violence in search of the safety and security and a better life.

That’s why we are proud to feature a cause called the Ration Challenge, which asks people to survive for one week on the food rations that a Syrian refugee eats in a camp in Jordan. The Ration Challenge seeks to raise money and awareness for these refugees, in the hope that we can both help ease their suffering as well as influence the way we think about refugees – especially those in charge in Washington.

The Ration Challenge was established by co-founders Kaz McGrath and Ben Littlejohn in 2014 during a visit to a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, where they met with refugees and saw first-hand the rations refugees had to survive on. Funds raised this week by the challenge will provide food rations, medicine, and education for Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan.

Following the mission of Church World Services who have implemented the challenge, we believe that as Christians we sometimes must sacrifice what we’re accustomed to help those in need. And while eating rations is only one small glimpse of the incredible challenges many refugees endure globally, we hope that we will contribute to the discourse on how we should all be doing more to support displaced people around the world.

You can learn more about the Ration Challenge and join the Girlz 4 Christ team by visiting https://my.rationchallengeusa.org/girlz4christ.

 

Check out the Ration Challenge and more in the summer 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover:

Girlz 4 Christ Magazine Summer 2019

 

 

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Breakthrough

When John Smith crashed through the ice on a frozen lake near St. Louis, he was trapped for 15 minutes, and after he was rescued he had no pulse for 43 minutes. The ER physician called his mother in so she could say her final goodbye. She prayed instead and that’s when a miracle happened…John came back to life.

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John Smith was probably like a lot of the boys in your eighth grade class. He played basketball. He played video games. He hung out with his friends. Although he was abandoned as a baby in Guatemala, he was adopted into a loving Christian family in Missouri.

January 19th, 2015 started out as just an ordinary Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To celebrate the day off of school, John and his two friends (both named Josh) decided to play on a frozen lake. After taking a selfie and running around… CRACK! The ice wasn’t as thick as they thought. Suddenly, the three boys found themselves in a cold lake with no means of escape.

When the emergency team responded, they found one Josh had managed to pull himself out of the water, and the other Josh was treading while trying to keep hold of an ice sheet. But John was nowhere to be seen. Since he had sunk underwater long before the rescuers arrived, they were prepared for the worst. As fireman Tommy Shine searched through the water, he heard a voice say “Go back!” He retraced the area he’d just searched and, sure enough, found John. Tommy Shine later tried to figure out who called out to him to go back, but no one on his team had said anything during that time. It was divine guidance that could have only come from God. Especially unusual since Tommy didn’t even believe in God!

It was a miraculous rescue, but it was only the start to a chain of miracles. The lifeless John had been submerged for 15 minutes- no breathing, no pulse. Yet the rescue team still did everything they could as they transported him to the hospital. He was considered dead for an hour by the time Joyce, his mom, was able to see him. After crying loudly, she shouted, “Holy Spirit…breathe life back into my son!”

No one expected John to make a full recovery. He was unlikely to even make it through the night, and if he did, he would have severe brain damage. But sixteen days and two hospitals later, John headed home as the healthy boy he’d always been. Prayer does work, and miracles do happen.

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Your Turn

As you’ll see in the movie, God wasn’t present only in John’s hospital room. His story made waves around his community. The classmates at his school gathered for prayer, and people came to his church to do the same. The prayer vigils were just as important as the prayers spoken at his bedside.

Do you know someone that needs prayer right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be for a life-threatening issue; God hears all prayers and knows that each request is important to us. Take a break from reading- yes, right now!- and pray for a family member, friend, or someone in your community.

Need an idea for something to pray about? How about that Breakthrough would change lives! Here are a few other things you can do to help with that:

  • You can reserve your ticket right now! If your local theater doesn’t have showtimes for Breakthrough, ask what it would take to get the movie to your town.
  • Bring some people to see the movie in theaters. You can get discounts on group tickets, so this may be something you want to coordinate with your church, youth ministry, or other group.
  • Even non-Christian friends might be interested to see the movie for its cast of stars or basketball player-turned-producer Stephen Curry. Invite some people to the movies and then pick a restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream parlor near the theater to chat afterward.
  • Visit breakthroughmovie.com to find out more about the movie. You can also access some “share tools”, that include printable prayer cards as well as images you can post on your social media.
  • Allow the message of the movie to affect your life. And keep on praying.

Breakthrough is in theaters now!

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For more about Breakthrough as well as lots of fun and inspiration for your personal journey, be sure to grab a current copy of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Subscriptions are free- just click here!

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Book Review: Into the Deep

The message of Into The Deep could be summarized in this quote:

 

“Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing.”

 

Into the Deep, written by Lauren Gaskill, is not just well written, organized, strongly themed, and easy to follow. It’s a new approach to Christian living–or if not new, better. Gaskill’s book divides between two crucial parts of the faith journey: choosing to trust in Jesus, and choosing to live for Jesus.

 

The part about choosing to live for Jesus really spoke to me.

 

Where I live, stories about “how God turned me around” and “how God changed my life” run rampant. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a testimony of how one got saved, sometimes leaning on this perspective of Christianity limits us.

 

The truth is, Christianity isn’t just a quick fix to solve our depression, relationship problems, and selfishness. Christianity isn’t just that part where God lifted you up when you hit rock bottom. Christianity is living with God every day–swimming with Jesus–even when the skies aren’t sunny and the sailing isn’t smooth.

 

It is those parts of our journey, Lauren says, that truly deepen our faith. Deep waters require deep faith.

 

I can’t describe how this book strengthened and encouraged me, but I would definitely give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my friends. Whether you’re in a dark time or looking to deepen your faith, this book is for you.

 

This book is not a checklist of “do this, do that and you’re set!” Rather, it’s something to lean on–a source of strength. A reminder that you’re not alone, and God is there, because that message is always true.

 

Written and reviewed by Priscilla Doran

 

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More with Marjorie Jackson

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Three-time young author Marjorie Jackson recently released The Devoted Life, a devotional journal that she both wrote and illustrated. Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to read her interview in the Winter 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. We had a few more questions to ask Marjorie, so here’s a little more insight into her life:

Q: Many of our readers want to know more about the process of becoming an author. Tell us about your experience.

My experience of becoming an author and landing a publishing deal is such an only-God kind of story that I can’t really explain much of how it actually happened. The Lord literally opened doors and put me in contact with the right people in ways that I could not have done on my own. I give Him full credit for this opportunity, and I am so, so grateful.

I have always loved creative writing (note the distinction—I can’t stand technical, research writing!). The cliché “practice makes perfect” holds true, and while my writing is far from perfect, I’ve grown up journaling, writing creative short stories, little devotional blurbs, and imagining ways to share God’s Word in an engaging, simplified manner to people my age. It’s been a passion of mine for a while. That would be my best advice: find those passions that God has given you and then do something about them. Use your talents to get behind whatever message God is putting on your heart. I don’t know what that looks like in your life, but in mine, that has looked like using my love of written, verbal, and visual communication to share God’s Word with my peers—let God get all the glory in that. A surrendered “yes” to the Lord’s plans for your life will often lead you towards places and opportunities you’d never imagine!

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Q: You seem to have such a positive outlook on life. Your Instagram is full of you smiling in just about any situation! Why?

While I am a firm believer that social media is not a great gauge of knowing what someone’s life is actually like (it is, after all, just a highlight reel), I would attribute the positivity and joy in my life to the fact that there is always hope. Even when life throws unexpected disappointments or challenges our way, as it often does, we have innumerable blessings to count as we reflect on who Christ is, the people He has strategically positioned in our lives, and the favor He has resting upon us. One of my favorite passages of Scripture to cling to is Psalm 16. As the psalm talks about, I want my confidence and any good in my life to be rooted in God—anything or anyone else is too shaky and fickle to put full trust in. Also, I fill my life with a lot of laughter and surround myself with a lot of fun, spontaneous, positive people. Life is too short to be down for too long. 🙂

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Read more in Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Click here to snag a free subscription!

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Summer Cover Reveal with Teen Author Taylor Bennett

If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we planned a cover reveal for the Summer 2018 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine this past weekend. While we always enjoy cover reveals, this one was extra special because the covergirl herself got to reveal this one!

First time editor Jessica Lippe met author Taylor Bennett. Notice our incredibly fashionable Hawaiian garb!

I (editor Jessica Lippe) first met Taylor Bennett through Facebook, but when I learned she lived less than two hours away from me, I knew we needed to meet in person. That happened last month when I did a live interview with Taylor. Since then, her debut novel Porch Swing Girl was released. With that came a book release party planned for this past weekend. I happened to be planning a weekend retreat just north of her hometown, so I confirmed it for the same weekend so that I could stop by Taylor’s party on the way home.

Porch Swing Girl released this month. Check out our review in the next issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine!

Taylor Bennett is a published author at the ripe old age of 17, and has a contract to write two more books. I felt that her story was inspirational enough to share with girls all around the world, which is why she was chosen as the summer 2018 covergirl of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. I also asked our assistant editor and cover designer, Lily Garay, if we could make the cover a priority so that it could be completed last week before I left on my trip.

Jessica and Taylor revealing the Summer 2018 issue at the Porch Swing Girl release party.

Upon arriving at Taylor’s church the day of her book release party, we enjoyed the Hawaiian decorations and food that matched the setting of Porch Swing Girl. Taylor Bennett was busy signing books for all the guests, but we did get the opportunity for a quick chat. I handed her an envelope, which when opened revealed a frame with the Girlz 4 Christ Summer 2018 cover.

I hope you check out Taylor Bennett’s interview and more in the next edition of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, which releases in just one month! If you aren’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? Get a free digital subscription by clicking here.

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CONTEST! The Rebellion and Your Summer Reading List

It’s May! This is my favorite month of the year for so many reasons. The weather warms up to the perfect temperature for hiking, camping, and adventuring. Flowers bloom, sun shines, schools wrap up their year, and my birthday is celebrated, too! This year, May seems extra special because there are so many great books releasing for Christian girls.

We are super excited to give you a plethora of ideas for your summer reading list in the next issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. (If you haven’t done so yet, snag a free subscription!) But if you want to get a jumpstart, here are some new books to read this month:

  • Girl Defined ministry leaders and authors Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird just released their second book, Love Defined, about having thr right heart to pursue godly relationships with boys.
  • Seventeen-year-old Taylor Bennett is a newly minted author with the publishing of her novel Porch Swing Girl, about a girl who’s trapped on an island with another girl with a secret.
  • Later this month, you’ll start hearing more about soul surfer Bethany Hamilton’s new film Unstoppable, as well as her inspirational companion photo book Be Unstoppable.
  • And next week, Livy Jarmusch is dropping her newest installation in her Tales or Tarsurella series, The Rebellion.

Livy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies. Come connect at http://www.livylynnblog.com.

The Rebellion is the sequel to The Coronation. Need to catch up in the series? Author Livy Lynn Jarmusch has offered to autograph a copy of The Coronation to the winner of this contest. There are several ways you can enter, and entries will only take a few seconds of your time.

Click here to enter the giveaway!

What books are you most excited to read this month?

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Spring 2018 is Here!

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Spring has sprung! That means a new exciting issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine has arrived!

Here are just a sample of what you’ll find:

-Exclusive interview with Sadie Robertson about how to live fearless

-Practical ways to live out your faith, in areas like finances, workouts, and dreams

-A puzzle-in-a-story that could win you a prize!

-Redesigned interior! Enjoy the new layout

Not a Girlz 4 Christ subscriber? If you sign up now, you’ll immediately receive a digital copy in your email once you confirm! And subscriptions are 100% FREE! Click here to subscribe.

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Singles Awareness Day? They Were Single Too!

I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day, a holiday known for excluding singles while couples display lovey-dovey acts. I myself am single. No husband, no boyfriend. But this Valentine’s Day, I don’t feel alone. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of other single people now. They’re right in the Bible.

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They Were Single Too features eight chapters, each outlining a single person from the Bible and explains what we can learn from their lives. One of the chapters is about Anna. I remember when I first read her story in the book of Luke. I was working at a camp as a teen and was so excited about it, I texted the girls’ dean and asked if we could learn about her at that night’s Bible study. She liked that idea, but I learned even more from reading her profile in They Were Single Too. Author David M. Hoffeditz delves deeper into explaining what singleness and the lifestyles of these people meant in relation to their culture and time period, and how that can personally translate to my life today.

I would recommend They Were Single Too to singles of any age and circumstance. Maybe even married people should read it, because understanding each other diminishes the “us vs. them” mentality. Reading this book would be a great way to spend your Singles Awareness Day. Here are a few other Valentine-less ideas:

  • Watch a movie on PureFlix, which has a host of clean movies and shows in different genres. Whether you want a romantic flick or nothing of the sort, you’ll find something here. (You can even watch God’s Not Dead 2 before the next movie comes out!) Click here for a free month of PureFlix streaming!
  • Make a fun dinner and have some friends over.
  • Go shopping! Just because no one’s giving you a cheesy gift doesn’t mean you can’t treat yo’self. (And you can earn cash back when you shop online with Swagbucks!)
  • If you have a job, offer to cover an extra shift. You probably have a coworker who would love the night off for Valentine’s Day. You’ll make some extra money and be too busy to wallow in self-pity.
  • Listen to an audio sermon from your church or by another pastor. Since Valentine’s Day lines up with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent this year, it’s a good reminder to keep focused on loving God.

A copy of They Were Single Too was provided by Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. Links may be from affiliates, which will help our ministry while offering positive deals for you.