Flowing Faith

July 31, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Stop Trying and Just Do It

Stop trying and just do itHave you lately heard people saying “don’t try, just do it”? It applies to Christian living too. So often we say “I’ll try to read the Bible and take time to be with God” but then off we go and don’t do anything to make it happen. But that’s not how it works. Saying that we’ll try is not enough. We might fool others but God sees right into our heart.

But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
(Jeremiah 17:10, NLT)

Richard Sibbes has said “Empty relationships are nothing; if we profess ourselves God’s servants and do not honour Him by our obedience, we take but an empty title.” An empty title is not what we want, right? What should we do then?

In short: Stop trying and just do it!

Because if you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. If you want to put God first, then you do it. Where you invest your time, that’s where your treasure lies. Harsh words but aren’t they truthful? (I am guilty as charged too, don’t get me wrong. I am mainly preaching to myself here.)

So stop trying and just do it. Stop trying being spiritual, start doing things God’s way. He will empower you to do so if you just want it and ask for it.

As A.B. Simpson has said “There is not a thing that God expects of a person but that God will give him or her the power to do. There is not a command God gives to His children for which He does not provide the enablement for obedience.”

Stop pretending and face the facts. No more excuses or empty promises. Either you do put God first or you don’t. Which is it?

 

Dear God,
Thanks for pointing out the facts for us.
Help us to choose you
and act like it too.
Empower us to put you always first.
Protect us from the evil,
draw us to your presence day by day.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you been able to stop trying and do it instead? How did you do it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you obediently live out your faith day by day!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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July 29, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Remind Yourself of God’s Goodness

God's goodnessMany times I’ve shared how reading just a few Bible verses rekindles our faith and readies us for the challenges of the day. The verse of the day from Biblegateway packs a powerful punch for all of us today. In just a few verses we are reminded of God’s goodness and awesomeness. And how blessed we are to be his.

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going. If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. Save me! I’m all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I’m only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can’t contain your commands! (Psalm 119:89-96, MSG)

God’s goodness and amazingness is never out-of-date or boring. It’s new every morning. It’s refreshing and dependable. It’s everything we need and then some. Remember this and rejoice in this new day God’s give to you.

Why is this important? Because when we remember God’s goodness and love for us, our faith is fortified. When we remember that God is with us and for us, we are ready to fight the good fight of faith.

How can you remind yourself of God’s goodness? There certainly are other ways than reading the Bible but it certainly is one of the best and quickest ways for sure. Worship, prayer, fellowship are all good ways to be reminded of God’s goodness. But counting your blessings is also another way. When we learn to see God’s handiwork in our lives and in the nature we are reminded of God’s goodness.

Find yourselves ways to be reminded of God’s goodness daily. Root yourself in the Word of God and you will be ready for anything life will throw your way. God will be there for you no matter what. And that’s not even all: God has a unique plan for you.

Listen well and follow God’s leading and you can be certain you will be blessed. Your life will be filled with purpose and meaning. And, most importantly, you will feel his presence all the days of your life. And beyond.

 

Dear God,
Thank you for wanting us to know you.
Thank you for always being there for us.
Help us to find ways to be
constantly reminded of your goodness
and always filled with your Spirit.
Make our lives count.
Make us be all you created us to be.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How do you remind yourself of God’s goodness?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn to be reminded daily of God’s goodness!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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July 27, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Blessed Fellowship

Blessed FellowshipYesterday, I visited dear friends that I’ve pretty much known since childhood. What a blessing to be with people who have always been there for you no matter what and who share the most sacred thing in life: faith in Jesus Christ.

As J. Vernon McGee has said “There is a brotherhood within the body of believers, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the common denominator. Friendship and fellowship are the legal tender among believers.” We truly need each other. We are called to care for each other, to build each other up in Jesus.

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, AMP)

First the meal was prepared together, then shared with prayer and thanksgiving. Then the cake was readied and enjoyed. Afterwards, the most meaningful part of our fellowship truly started, still around the kitchen table: sharing our lives with each other. Our fears, dreams, disappointments. The hard parts of our lives, the smooth parts of our lives. Honestly, openly, authentically. We talked about what God was doing in our lives, how we felt about it. We encouraged each other. We cared for each other. Blessed fellowship for sure.

All this reminded me of this quote by Watchman Nee “Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others. Other believers minister Christ to me, and I am ready to receive.” 

We talked for hours and hours. Time just flied by. And I am sure we all were certain the Lord was with us, sitting around that cozy kitchen table. So refreshing, inspiring, uplifting our blessed fellowship was. When we thought it could not get any better, it did: we ended the day with a heartfelt prayer.

 

Dear God,
Thank you for the gift of faith.
And thank you, thank you for fellow believers,
for fellowship in your name.
Lord, we know we are not to meant to stay out of battles
but thank you for these refreshing times of fellowship.

Q4U
: Have you experienced blessed fellowship?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dare to love and care for fellow Christians!

Image courtesy of ochristian.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Looking up, Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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July 24, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
10 Comments

My Ten Favorite Andrew Murray Quotes

Andrew Murray QuotesToday’s word for the Five Minute Friday is ‘ten’ and I first thought about writing about ten commandments but figured I am not able to do it in mere five minutes. I prayed about it and felt lead to share ten of my favorite Andrew Murray quotes with you.

Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. He has been dead almost 100 years now but still his writings are relevant. How come? He wrote about eternal things. That’s the only way our own life’s work will ever be relevant for centuries and how its meaning will last forever and ever. Choose wisely, my friend, how you live your life!

Here are my ten favorite Andrew Murray quotes. They all talk about having flowing faith on one way or another. Go figure!

As one of His redeemed ones, you are His delight, and all His desire is to you, with the longing of a love which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench. His heart yearns after you, seeking your fellowship and your love. Were it needed, He could die again to possess you… His life is bound up in yours; you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you ever can know.

We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.

The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.

Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.

I need to spend time with God even when I do not know what to pray.

We find the Christian life difficult because we seek for God’s blessing while we live according to our own will. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to watch and see that sin does not overtake us and that we do not wander too far from the path. But our relationship to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal. Every day we should go to Him first, humbly and straightforwardly, and say, “Lord, is there anything in me that is not according to your will, that has not been ordered by you, or that is not entirely given over to you? What would you have me do today?

Do not strive in your own strength; cast yourself at the feet of the Lord Jesus, and wait upon Him in the sure confidence that He is with you, and works in you. Strive in prayer; let faith fill your heart–so will you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.

When feeling says, ‘In myself, I am sinful; I am dark; I am weak; I am poor; I am sad;’ let faith say. ‘In Christ, I am holy; I am light; I am strong; I am rich; I am joyful.

The deeper we are willing to enter into the death of self, the more shall we know of the mighty power of God, and the perfect blessedness of a perfect trust.

However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.

Dear God,
Thank you for the life’s work of Andrew Murray.
Thank you for his encouraging and spirit-filled words.
Help us to know what is worth doing,
enable us to choose wisely.
Fill us with your Spirit,
give us all flowing faith
in Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What is your favorite Andrew Murray quote?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you lead a Spirit-filled life!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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July 22, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
1 Comment

Soul on Fire

Soul on FireGuess what’s my new favorite Christian song? Right. Soul on Fire by Third Day. I’ve been singing, dancing and praying it today like crazy. I hope this blesses you as much as it has blessed me. May all our souls be on fire for God!

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Lord, restore the joy I had
I have wandered, bring me back
In this darkness, lead me through
Until all I see is You

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Lord, let me burn for You again
Let me return to You again
And Lord, let me burn for You again
And let me return to You again

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire

God, I’m running for Your heart (I’m running)
I’m running for Your heart (I wanna be, I wanna be)
Till I am a soul on fire
I wanna be
Till I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Dear God;
Bless each person who visits Flowing Faith
with you wild grace
according to your plan for them.
Take care of their every need
and set all of our souls on fire for you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U:What’s your favorite Christian song these days?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God set your soul on fire!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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July 20, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Divine Details

Divine DetailsAs you might know, I started reading through the Bible once again the first of July. I’m following a reading plan to do it in six months. This means that lately I’ve been reading a lot about God’s instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, the priestly vestments, the altar and its appurtenances, the procedure to be used to ordain the priests, and the daily sacrifices to be offered.

You’d think there’s nothing for today’s reader. At least, nothing spiritual, right? Or nothing else but feeling grateful for Jesus’ once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins, so we don’t have to keep on sacrificing for our sins, right? But, boy, I was pleasantly surprised once again.

The Holy Spirit pointed out to me that just as God’s plans for the Israelites were well-planned down to the last detail, God’s plans for our lives are ready-made and full of divine details as well.

God knows you and your needs intimately. He knows the specifics of your situation and he will know what you need and when you need. And he will deliver. With precise divine details matched to your situation and your souls every need.

Wow. Talk about being blessed.

(We don’t need to read the Bible for knowledge.
We need to read the Bible to be guided and built up by the Holy Spirit.)

God is in control. He’s got your your back. He has a plan for you and he is implementing it as we speak. Keep trusting, keep praising his holy name. All is well. Down to the last divine details.

 

Holy God,
Thank you for speaking to us in your Word.
Thank you for having our backs.
Thank you for being in control.
Thank you for planning everything
down to the last divine details.
May your will happen in, through, for our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What has the Holy Spirit taught you lately? Or tell us about how God has taken care of divine details in your life!

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you trust God to take care of you down to the last divine details!

Image courtesy of ochristian.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Looking up, Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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July 17, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

If You Want to Be a Christian

If you want to be a ChristianThis Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote captured me this morning, so I just had to share it with you. Hopefully – if you want to be a Christian – it will touch a chord in you and inspire you to put your faith in practice too.

“If we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes, and by showing a real sympathy that springs, not from fear , but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of his brethren, for whose sake Christ suffered.”

How do you share in Christ’s large-heartedness? (I so love this expression, don’t you? So good to be part of this – but it is not just for us, is it?)

How do you act with responsibility and in freedom in the midst of challenging times? You know, mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. This quote indeed challenges me. In a very good way though.

If you want to be a Christian, you are called to sympathy and action. How are you going to do that today? How are you going to show love to people for whose sake Christ suffered? (And if you did not notice, that is ALL people, not just those you love).

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (Gal. 5:13-15, MSG,*)

We can’t just receive the Good News of Jesus Christ and then do nothing. With the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer “To deal with the word of Jesus otherwise than by doing it is to give him the lie.”

We are not to be just receivers of the Word of God, we also need to be the doers of the Word of God.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (James 1:22, NLT,*)

If you want to be a Christian…you are called to use your freedom in Christ to serve others in love, put God’s Word in practice. Every day of your life. How are you going to serve the Lord today?

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for the freedom in Christ.
Show us how to practice that in our lives.
Empower us to serve others like you served us.
Let us be the doers of your Word.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: If you want to be a Christian, you are called to sympathy and action. How are you going to do that today?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you serve the Lord every day of your life!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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July 15, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

The Secret of Boldness

The Secret of BoldnessDo you know what is the secret of boldness? It’s the same reason why the apostles were so bold in proclaiming the gospel. It’s the same reason why Christians all over the world dare to do things out of their comfort zones. It’s the same reason that keeps you and me going when things get tough.

This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
(Psalm 91:2, NLT)

The knowledge that God is our safety makes us bold.
Experiencing God’s grace emboldens us.
The presence of the Holy Spirit empowers our boldness.

With the words of Corrie ten Boom “There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”

God is indeed our only safety.
That’s the secret of boldness.
It’s not about us but about God.

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. (Psalm 91:14, AMP)

God is our refuge. God is our safety. God is the reason for boldness. Because God is everything we ever need. God is trustworthy. He will never forsake us.

We are also called to have a personal knowledge of God’s mercy, love, and kindness. Isn’t that incredible?How do we achieve that? By abiding in him. By trusting and relying on him with everything. By putting the secret of boldness in practice.

 

Dear God,
Thank you for being both the reason and source for boldness.
Enable me to ‘say’ yes when you call me to step out of my comfort zone.
Show me how to be bold in you today.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How are you going to be bold in Christ today?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you practice the secret of boldness in your life!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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July 13, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

God Loves to Love You

God Loves to Love YouDo you know how special you are in the eyes of God? Really. God loves you! And that’s not all! God loves to love you! He doesn’t know anything better than pouring our his love for you.

He loves you so much that he planned a way for you to get back in touch with him. God gave his only son for you with gladness. That much he loves you. He gave everything to be able to be in a relationship with you.

It is humbling and amazing all at once. The maker of the universe loves you! He gave his own son so you could return to him and be with him.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. (1 John 3:1, MSG)

God’s love is not demanding but it is always giving and forgiving. We are always at the receiving end. We love God but he loves us always more. It is wonderful to bask in his love! Receive it! Embrace it! Share it!

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:18-24, MSG)

God is good and his love for you is more than you can ever imagine. His love for you is never-ceasing, overflowing and given with gladness! Yes, God truly loves you. And even that’s not all. God loves to love you! Furthermore, he will always love you! Rejoice! Dance a happy dance! Praise the Lord! You are loved and cherished by God Almighty!

 

Gracious God,
I thank you and praise you
for your amazing, abundant love!
It touches my core being to be so cherished by you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
from the bottom of my heart.
Show me how to love and serve you
and people around me!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

 

Q4U: How does it feel to know that God loves to love you? Does it change anything?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you bask in God’s love.

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Looking up, Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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July 10, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

That Empty Place in Your Soul

That empty place in your soulLately, I’ve been more and more shocked about how the western culture seems to be getting more vulgar and immoral all the time. For example, the things they show on TV and what the general public is forced to tolerate nowadays are repulsive. Like the world had gone mad or something. Yet the Bible reminds us there’s nothing new under the sun.

You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life!
    The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.
(Proverbs 21:17, MSG,*)

This is how I interpret the situation: Like all people, you have this empty place in your soul and you try to fill it with anything that thrills you. Whether it is shopping, money, work, sex, drugs, entertainment, relationships, hobbies, you name it.

No matter how much you get, it will never be enough—
    hollow stomachs, empty hearts.
No matter how hard you work, you’ll have nothing to show for it—
    bankrupt lives, wasted souls.
(Micah 6:14, MSG,*)

And when it doesn’t work, you need more of your chosen drug. A bit more thrilling, something that would make you feel you’re alive again. Yet it never works. That empty place in your soul will never be filled by human endeavors.

What to do then? Are we doomed to live with emptiness?

Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—
    full of himself but soul-empty.
But the person in right standing before God
    through loyal and steady believing
    is fully alive, really alive.
(
Habakuk 2:4, MSG,*)

Blessedly, God has provided the solution: himself. If we want to be really alive, to have a healthy heart, we need to turn back to God. If we don’t want to be soul-empty, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to enter our lives.

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. (Col. 2:10, MSG,*)

The only hope for the world is Jesus Christ. Only through him we can experience the desired fullness and completeness we all crave for.

Is the world’s situation hopeless? It might look like it. And it would be hopeless, it it were up to us to change it. But the hope we have in Christ is much more than wishful thinking. This visible world is not all there is. God is already at work behind the scenes. Jesus is even changing the hearts of his persecutors. The Holy Spirit is reviving the soul-empty thrill-seekers.

Here are the remaining questions only you can answer for: How do you fill that empty place in your soul? What do you want God to do with you? Pass by or make home in you? Leave alone or permeate every corner of your heart? Leave you to your own demises or be readied for eternity?

 

Dear God,
I come to you empty,
make your fullness come together for me too.
Because without you I am not satisfied.
Because without you I am forever empty.
Thank you for your grace-filled hope.
Come and do whatever you want with me,
just don’t ever leave me alone.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you do with that empty place in your soul? What do you want God to do with you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God do whatever He wants with you!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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