Traveling with God: New York City

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Last month I had the opportunity to go to New York City with some of the women at my church. We went to New York to go to Hillsong Church’s women conference. There was between 40-45 women from my church on this trip. Some of the women I knew fairly well, but many women were on the trip that I had never met before. While on this trip I saw God in many ways, and He taught me a lot about Him. I learned about gratefulness, the power of prayer, and community.

I learned to appreciate my home. I have been born and raised in the south. I have lived in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. I learned to appreciate my southern roots when I was in New York. The culture there was very different than what I am used to. I never really considered myself to be very southern, but once going to New York I realized how southern I am. I’m certain when I was in New York City it was obvious I was not from there.

Prayer is an important tool that God has given us, and it’s one tool that I don’t utilize like I should. At one point in the conference one of the ladies at our church asked to pray for me. I thought it was cool for her to pray for me and my future. It was comforting to know I was prayed for. I realized that I need to pray for others more. I tend to have mostly self-focused prayers. I should be praying for others more than just when they ask me to pray for them. It’s not that I don’t believe the power of prayer, but it’s more that it not the first thing that comes to mind in a situation. This is something that I could get better with doing.

Building community with the people in your life is crucial to getting the most out of the life that God has given us. This trip was a good opportunity to meet new people, and I could become closer with people that I normally only briefly talk to. It was good to see people out of a church setting. I got to learn more about their lives that normally wouldn’t have been discussed in the few minutes I would talk to them at church.

I enjoyed this life changing experience that I got while I was in New York City. I definitely want to go back to New York City for another trip, but until then I will continue to learn more about God where I am now.

Scripture Reference

  • “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” ~Psalm 126:3 NIV
  • “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” ~James 5:13 NIV
  • “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” ~Luke 18:1 NIV
  • “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” ~Romans 15:7 ESV

I would Love to hear from you!

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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New York Blog

Roller Coaster Relationships

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I used to live near an amusement park. For multiple years I would have a season pass to this park, and I have been to this park countless times.

My favorite thing to do at an amusement park is to ride the roller coasters. I enjoy every part of the roller coaster! The roller coaster experience starts when you enter the line. In the line the adrenaline starts rushing, and you start to imagine what the ride will be like. Then you get harnessed into the seat, and at this point you have to make sure you’ll be safe during the ride.

Once they hit that button you’re moving, and at that point you have no choice but to see it through till the end. During the ride you have the build-up and the suspense. Then the ride starts going full force into the ups and downs, and each bump is needed to have had the full experience when you get off.

I realized that relationships are a lot like roller coasters. Every aspect of a roller coaster is needed for the full experience, and the same is needed in relationships. In relationships you have the build-up, and you start to get excited for what is ahead for you.

Then you have that moment where you have to prepare for the ride ahead of you or you need to decide to get off. In relationships you should prepare for the ride by setting up boundaries. Boundaries are sort of like the seat belt or safety equipment on the roller coaster. They might seem like an unnecessary step at first, but if you skip this step then there could be drastic harm for you during the ride.

The actual ride is the most memorable part of the roller coaster experience. The same can be true with relationships. You have emotional highs and lows during the relationship. But hopefully there are more high moments than lows, but you need the bumps to appreciate the good moments of the ride.

Then eventually the ride must come to an end. This can take multiple forms in a relationship. The ending could look like one of you walking away from the relationship, death, or an unforeseen change in circumstances.

But the beauty of the roller coaster ride is the experience that it leaves you once you get off. Thankfully, each roller coaster is different. There will be similarities to other roller coasters, but each one will leave a different impression on you. I’m learning to be thankful for the roller coaster relationships in my life.

Scripture References:

  • “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~ Proverbs 13:20 NIV
  • “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” ~Colossians 1:11-12 NIV
  • “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” ~ Genesis 2:18 NIV

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You’re Not Alone

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On Facebook there is an application called God Wants You to Know. With God Wants You to Know it basically allows me to get a random message daily of what they believe God wants me to know. I read mine maybe a few times a week. Sometimes the message can be totally unrelated for my life, but SOMETIMES I get one that speaks to me perfectly.

A couple months ago was one of these nights. My message was basically about how I am not alone. That God is always with you even when we are or feel alone.

I don’t know about you, but I feel alone a lot. I sometimes feel small and insignificant in this huge world. I tell myself lies about how I am not good or worthy enough for other people. This causes me to worry if I should talk to that stranger across the room.

The same day I got this message I had a moment that made me feel alone. I was at an event for one of my classes, and the group was hiking up the mountain to take photos at the top. At about 3/4 of the walk to the top I realized that I didn’t think I could make it the rest of the way for the photo. So I decided to sit on the grass and just be alone.

This was a bittersweet moment for me. I hated that I couldn’t be with everyone else. I hated that I wasn’t fit enough to make it up the mountain. I honestly cried to God at why I couldn’t do this. I let myself get to a place where I was completely talking negatively about myself. I honestly was partly crying because I didn’t get to the top for a few photos.

Then God clearly spoke to me that He has made me special and unique. That He has given me great gifts, but hiking just isn’t one of them. And I realized that it is ok that I am not good at hiking. I also learned in this moment that I had two choices. I could speak lies to myself and I could play the victim. The other option I had was to make the best of the situation. In this moment that was what I had to do. I chose to read some scripture and talk to God about what I was experiencing.

In this situation I thought I was alone, but I realized that God was still with me even when no one else was.

I want to challenge you to a few things that I have been learning and trying to do.

Challenges:

  1. Talk to a stranger. I’ve always said that a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet. Some of the closest friends you have now were once strangers to you. If God is calling you to speak to someone, then be obedient and say yes.
  2. Get to know the people in your life. God has the people in your life for a reason. He wants you to know these people. I have learned countless things from just getting to know the people in my life.
  3. Be someone that helps build another person up. If you see someone alone, then you should get to know them and encourage them. Look for an opportunity to share the gospel with them. You never know how getting to know that person will impact you or their life.
  4. Talk to God when you feel alone. If you find yourself feeling alone then talk to God about it. He’s right there waiting to listen and speak to you. Some of the best moments are when you spend time alone with God!

Scripture References

  • “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” ~Psalm 147:3 NIV
  • “For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.” ~ 1 Samuel 12:22 NIV
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

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You're Not Alone

Waiting for My Fairytale Ending

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For the past 7 years I have dreamed of a future with you. Many times I thought I was completely over you, but I would always find myself running back to you when things didn’t work out with the other guys I have liked. I kept hoping that you would eventually ask me out, and then we would start dating and live happily ever after together.

I thought I was completely over you, but now I am 100% sure that my dream with you has ended. I used to pray that God would make it extremely clear that I was supposed to move on, and he did make it extremely obvious that our fairytale was over. I actually had peace and relief from realizing that our future together wouldn’t happen.

You taught me a lot from our sort of relationship, and I want to thank you for what you have taught me. You taught me that I need to love myself enough to walk away. You taught me that love at first sight can happen in real life. You taught me that as much as I tried I could never force a relationship with you.

I don’t know the reason why it never worked out between us. I don’t know what I did for everything to change. Which is probably for the better for me. I don’t know why I wasn’t good enough for you, and I think I would hurt even more to know the reason why you didn’t see a future with me.

Would I wish that I never cared about you with now knowing how much you would hurt me? Honestly, I would rather have loved and lost it all than never have had all the good memories. So I am going to try to put the bad memories in the past and not dwell upon them. I’m going to try to remember you for all the fun times we have shared over the years. You used to be my best friend that was a guy, and I want to remember you for that. You’re now a guy I used to be good friends with though.

The one reason I am the most thankful for is that you challenged
me to be better. I’ve realized that I could live without you and still be independent and accomplished. I’m a stronger and more successful person now than I was when we were friends. I want the best for you. Though if I am being honest I hope one day I see you again and I can tell you how great I am doing in life. I don’t want you back, but I hope one day you’ll realize how much you lost by pushing me away.

Because of you I realized that my initial fairytale relationship won’t come true, but I am hoping and praying for my fairytale relationship to be with someone who treats me better than you did.

 

Scripture Reference

  • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
  • “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” ~Psalm 27:14 NIV
  • “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”~ Roman 12:9-10 NIV

I would Love to hear from you!

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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Building the Right House

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Approaching graduation has been a difficult time for me, because for the past 16 years I have been in school. Now I have the choice to continue school or do something else. This can be especially difficult for people who love planning and organizing like me. Not knowing what my plans are for the future has been very stressful for me. I have spent countless hours thinking and researching what I can do once I graduate.

In high school God made it very clear that I was meant to go into full-time ministry. I didn’t know at the time what that would look like. I was an intern in the youth ministry at my church the summer after my junior year of high school, and it was during and shortly after this internship that I realized that I truly enjoyed ministry.

I’m not sure when it was in high school, but God at some point gave me an idea of how to share the gospel to other people. I knew that one day I would do this idea. It has been just recently that I have thought about actually proceding with this idea sometime soon. God doesn’t want us to live in “One Day Land”. If God has called me to do this, then I should be obedient and do it. I need to stop making excuses as to why I shouldn’t or can’t do it.

If God has called you to do something specific in your life, then you should be taking the steps to make that a reality. God wouldn’t give you the idea if He didn’t think you could do it, and you can be confident that God will help you every step along the way. There should be nothing stopping you. You already have the biggest fan and advocate you can to help you through what He has called you to do.

Tonight I was reading the book of Haggai. I learned that I need to be focusing on God’s kingdom more. In the book the people were focused on building their own houses, and because they were completely absorbed with building their own house they ignored working on God’s house. I realized that I have been guilty of this. I have been so focused on myself and what I am supposed to do that I haven’t been working on what is best for His kingdom. I have been ignoring what God has been calling me to do for years. I realized that I don’t want to live this way, and I’m going to do what I can to be obedient to what God has called me to.

Scripture References:

  • “Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord” ~Haggai 1:13 NIV
  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” ~Isaiah 41:10 NIV
  • “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” ~ John 15:16 NIV
  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28

I would Love to hear from you!

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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Building the Right House

Believing God’s Promises

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Recently I have been going through a rough season in my life. I have been searching for answered prayers, but in this season it has been filled with uncertainty. I have been feeling that God has forgotten about me. I have had multiple things that I had planned for my future be thrown out the door. These were areas of my life that I was almost certain would come through like I planned, because I had prayed greatly for them and these could be good things in my life.

It’s a horrible place to be in, but I was having a hard time believing that God would come through again in my life. I would have people speak to me about how God does have a plan for my life and how He is good, but I had a hard time listening to these people. I have been wanting things my way and on my timing, but my way is definitely not what God has planned for my life. I kept questioning God, and I was even angry at God for changing my plans for the future.

It’s ironic that my word for the year is patience. God has been truly teaching me this in my current season. This is definitely an area that God is trying to improve in me. Honestly, I feel like this a lesson that has been forced upon me recently. I haven’t really had a choice except to be patient, and I’m now trying to praise God for this hard season. I need to trust that God will show up and do abundantly more than I can even imagine.

I was beginning to want God to completely change my life and direction for my future, but I realized that I was really looking to escape my problems instead of facing my problems. I realized that God has me where I am now for a reason. I wanted to go to some place new to do ministry, but I am realizing that ministry can take place where I am presently.

I don’t want to stay in the season that I have been in. I want to be growing closer to God, and I am now trying to change my perspective about this season. I have wanted God to change my circumstances, but I haven’t really allowed God to change myself first. I am now believing and trusting again that God will answer my prayers.

Scripture References:

  • “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” ~Psalm 32:8 NIV
  • “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” ~Isaiah 43:2 NIV
  • “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” ~Proverbs 16:3 NIV

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Believing God's Promises

The Stigma of Social Media

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One thing that is a fact about social media is that the majority of the people only broadcast the good things in their life. It’s easy to see everyone on social media and only think that they are all having a better or more exciting life than you do. I’m guilty of this all the time. I want to challenge you to possibly post something about what you are struggling with and not necessarily what might look the best and what you think others will like. That you don’t have to put on a show of what your life should be. I had a Marketing Internship this one summer where I was writing social media posts for an organization. My supervisor told me that people on social media want to read from a real person. A person sees countless social media posts a day, but it’s the ones that people tell from their heart that stands out among the rest of the posts.

I have noticed that since I started blogging a few years ago that people appreciate when you start to get vulnerable. Many of us are struggling to get through the day, and it helps to see that we are not the only one struggling with things. For all you know posting a vulnerable side of you might encourage someone else that is going through something similar.

Also I encourage you to possibly ask for prayer, because we can all have something that can be prayed over. There can never be too much prayer. God can help you get through anything. I have seen God work countless times in my life with situations that at the time I saw nothing good coming from it. Know that you don’t have to go through anything alone. Even if you feel like there is no one in your corner know that God is always there fighting for you. If you need prayer or someone to talk to then you can always come to me. I’ll always be in your corner and cheering you on!

Scripture References:

  • “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” ~Galatians 6:4 NIV
  • “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~James 5:16 NIV
  • “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” ~Galatians 6:2 NIV

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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Fasting and Prayers for 2018

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My church does a corporate fast at the beginning of each year. They encourage everyone to give up food as part of the fast, because food is the most tangible thing that humans can give up. There are three options that most people choose from: one meal, Daniel fast, or whole foods. Last year I tried doing the Daniel fast, but I wasn’t successful at completing it. Honestly, I don’t think I made it a whole week. This year I am trying to do the one meal instead. I’m going to try to abstain from lunch (my favorite meal) for the duration of the fast. Instead of eating during this time we are supposed to spend time with God instead.

I thought it would be a good idea to set up goals and prayers for this time. Things I want to go after for this year or hope that God does. I have two prayers that I hope God answers and three goals for me for the year of 2018.

I have three goals or things that I want to go after for this year. The first goal is to read the Bible more. I hope to have the whole bible read again before the end of the year, and I hope to have the New Testament read by the time that I graduate college.

Another goal is that I am more comfortable about sharing my faith. I pray that it’s more of a natural reaction to speak about God and how great He is. It’s not like I don’t speak about God and church. I’m one of those people that will tell the customers in my line at the grocery store that I work at about my church. Though I have realized that it’s usually about me and my relationship with Christ. I never give people the opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ or invite them to the church I go to.

The last goal of mine is to grow in patience. I feel like 2018 is going to be a waiting season for me. I can tell that God has great things in store for this year, but I am not sure what that looks like. I hopefully graduate in May, and I’m not certain what I am supposed to do after college. I have an idea of what I would like to do after graduation. I am not certain for sure what my future will look like at this point.

I also have two prayers for God to move in my life for 2018. One of my prayers I am not comfortable about posting about right now. I might in the future write about what it is, or if the prayer is answered in the future, then I’ll probably write about it.

The other prayer is that God shows me a friend group to join. A group that I can sort of “belong” to, and will be friends that I go to a good amount of activities and events with. I’m not writing this to say that I don’t have friends. I have a good number of friends, but it’s mostly 1 or 2 people that I hang out with at a time. I have friends that have a certain group that they do most stuff with. If an event comes up these friends more than likely will know who they are going with. Where I must think, who am I going to go with and hopefully find someone to go with me.

I hope and pray that God will answer these prayers. Even if God doesn’t answer these prayers I’ll still praise him and give him the glory in what He does have happen this year. I know by the end of the year that I’ll be closer to Christ than I am today, and I am excited to see how God moves this year!

Scripture References:

  • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength” ~ Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV
  • “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring” ~2 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV
  • “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” ~ 1 John 5:14 NIV

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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I hope and pray that God will answer these prayers. Even if God doesn_t answer these prayers I_ll still praise him and give him the glory in what He does have happen this year. I kno

Traveling with God: Sarasota, FL

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Destination: Sarasota, FL

I always have enjoyed traveling! It always been an experience I looked forward to. Well this trip to Florida was the one exception to normal experience of traveling. The reason we were going to Florida was for an unfortunate reason.

The day we left for Florida started off as typical Thursday. I went to class, and then I went to my internship. I had plans to have dinner that night with a friend. Well while I was at my internship I started getting text from my mother. They were about my grandmother falling and hurting her hip. Then my mom texted that grandma needs surgery, and that they weren’t certain she was going to make it through surgery. My mom sends a text asking if we should go down to Florida to visit here.

My family decided to hop in the car and start driving to Florida that evening. Well except for my dad, he had to work and take care of the dogs. Though this wasn’t a trip I wanted to take originally it wasn’t all bad. I still saw God on this trip, and many blessings came from this trip.

The first blessing that came was when I told my internship supervisor what was happening. He immediately had him and some staff members pray for me, my family, and my grandmother. I also texted a few other people about the situation, and they said they were praying as well. It was nice to know that people cared about us enough to pray for us, and it was nice the support and encouragement these people gave me.

The second blessing was that most of my extended family was reunited. My grandmother had 6 children. Four of her children were at the hospital for her surgery, which included us from Virginia and one of my uncles that lives in Alaska. It was nice being reunited with all of them, and I think it was reunion that didn’t have any conflict. We all had the same common goal, which was to keep peace and support grandma as much as possible.

Another blessing was that my grandmother survived the surgery. The doctors weren’t certain she was going to live through the surgery. We were also all able to talk to her and have some of our last conversations with her on this trip.

I’m saving the best blessing for last. Before the trip, I wasn’t certain if my grandmother was saved. During one of my brother’s conversations with her she asked him for prayers, and admitted she wasn’t certain about her relationship with Christ. Well the next day my one uncle decided to talk to her about salvation, and she ended up accepting Christ! This is one of the best things I could have heard! So now I know that one day I’ll see her again!

So even though the trip to Florida wasn’t one I was expecting or hoped for, it was still one that I’ll cherish forever! If you look for blessings, then I am certain that God will reveal them to you! Even in the hardest times.

Scripture References:

  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10 NIV
  • “my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me. 4 “I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies” ~2 Samuel 22:3-5 NIV
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” ~Ephesians 6:18 NIV

Feel free to Comment below, or email me at:  matthew712girl@gmail.com

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Creating A Good Habit

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There is one aspect in my walk with Christ that I have realized could use improvement in. I haven’t been studying the Bible like I should be. Recently my devotions have consisted of reading the Verse of the Day on the YouVersion application on my phone and a few scriptures in a devotional. These are good things to be doing, but I have only done them when I had nothing else to do or I couldn’t sleep.

Going and spending time with God is something we should do every day. It should be our top priority for our day. I realized I was giving God my leftovers and not my first fruits. I have gotten so distracted by the busyness of the day and doing good things. I have become easily distracted by the world that I forget to spend time with the one who created me.

Reading the scriptures daily is something I am going to be working on. Starting today I am going to strive to spend time in the Word of God every day for the 21 days, because it takes roughly 21 days to form a habit. I want to read the scriptures and for it to become something that comes naturally for to me to do. I don’t want to keep this bad habit of only going to God when I am bored or need something from God.

I want to ask you to encourage me in this. Please ask me what I am reading in the Bible, and what I have been learning from reading the scriptures. This summer I started reading the New Testament again, and currently I am halfway through. I look forward to seeing how reading the scriptures frequently will change my life, and I look forward to what He will teach me during this time with Him.

Scripture References:

  • “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
  • “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” ~ Romans 15:4 NIV
  • “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” ~Psalm 119:105 NIV

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