If we were having a {Coffee Date!}

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Hey y’all! I’m so happy to be back with Jenna + Jenna today spilling my heart over coffee.. & this here blog! I hope that you all have enjoyed your week, the good & the bad that life brings along. Coffee makes everything better, right? Which is why this Coffee Date Link Up is one of my faves!

If we were having coffee, I would take you to this new and modernly rustic local coffee shop where I live. I would order a venti-sized pumpkin flavored latte with extra cinnamon.  I would tell you about all the highs + lows in my life & laugh about this vlog I did last night with some other lovely bloggers…

 

I would probably let you in on these little not-so-secrets:

+ I’m exhausted. And this blog is getting the bad end of the deal. I’m so thankful for  a job but it has totally turned my normal routine & schedule upside down. But, on the bright side…. that just means I am learning to be more organized. And that will be good for me.

+ Oh, I would get excited & tell you about how I am in the process of revamping my entire blog & I would show you pictures of the amazing blog design I am waiting for.. did someone say coral and teal? Eeee!

+ After asking how your week has been, I would tell you in a high pitched tone that my mom, brother, & sister are coming into town for the day & I am SO excited to see them after two weeks of being here at home. We’re going to eat lots of food and try not to spend so much $$ at Target.

+ My hubby & I are going to Canada next week for a mini-getaway and I would ask you… have you ever been to Canada?! Montreal to be exact. I hear they have maple syrup & tons of resturants, ay!

+ Last but certainly not least, I would tell you that God is good. And faithful. Oh, and trustworthy. He has given me strength when I thought I couldn’t go on. He has given me peace when my mind has been in some bad places. He has given me joy in trials. I would pray with & for you and ask if we can get a refill on those lattes?!?!

How have you been, lately? And what would you let me in on if we were having coffee right now?! You are loved, lady!

-Katie

Also linking up with:

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IMG_6444.JPG Can’t forget the Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop!

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Coffee Break // strength & light

David’s collections in Psalm has really been changing my heart. God’s Word has the power to do that if we let it. I am in Psalm 50-something but I love going back and sharing with you a few words that are so deeply inspiring & moving. Today’s Coffee Break Pick Me Up is from Psalm 18. I encourage you to read it in whole. I’m just going to share bits & pieces of this beautiful psalm…

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“I will love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer

My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised…”

oh, this could be the cry of my heart for the rest of my days… If it wasn’t for the Lord & the strength He daily gives to me, I wouldn’t be here. How grateful should our hearts be that He is able to be our Rock, our Fortress, & our Deliverer! {v 1-3a}

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“He also brought me out into a broad place;

He delivered me because He delighted in me.”

I am so guilty of believing the lie that God does not delight in me. Sometimes I feel like I am just a bother & one of his children who get on his nerves. But he is not like a normal parent. His love for us is more than we can even imagine. He rescues us, helps us, teaches us, & loves us because He delights in us! Do you believe that God delights in you? Because He does! {v19}

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“For You will light my lamp;

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

For by You I can run against a troop,

By my God I can leap over a wall.

As for God, His way is perfect;

The word of the Lord is proven;

He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

I cannot put into words how thankful and humbled I am that the Lord lights up my darkness. In my self is no good thing. Jesus is the only light in me. And we can trust that God will always be willing to light our lamps. We don’t have to worry about being good enough. Another thing that just brings me to my knees in gratitude is the fact that by my God, I can leap over a wall. Is there a big wall you’re facing right now that you feel you will never overcome? By God & His mighty strength, anything is possible! We can trust these words of security and truth because the word of the Lord is proven. David can testify that God can be trusted even when thousands oppose us. Even when that wall seems too high. God is our shield. {v 28-30}

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“Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,

and sing praises to Your name.”

This verse is such a great reminder to me that my response to God should always be thanks and praise because He is so good to me. I should be willing to praise Him even around people who do not know Him. I should never be ashamed of my God. He helps me, gives me strength, leads me, protects me, makes the impossible possible, & is my shield. {v 49}

Thank Him for being all that you need.

He is enough!

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-Katie

Summer Bible Study: Romans // CHAPTER 3

It’s that time again!! Before we get started…

Hey friends! I feel as if I haven’t been able to catch a break this week. Father’s Day weekend, my mom was admitted into the hospital the day that both families were supposed to come to visit us and have a cookout for Joe’s birthday. Joe’s family was still able to come and visit which was great! Still, we ended up traveling back to our hometown on Father’s Day to see my mom & help with my family while she was sick. Thankfully, she is doing lots better & is back at home, continuing to heal! Praise God! Yesterday was my sweet husband’s birthday. I surprised him with tickets to the Atlanta Braves v. Phillies baseball game! It was a blast. It was such a relaxing and sweet time together. Unfortunately, I have let these things get in the way of my time studying Romans as much as I wanted to or normally do. But, I am trusting that in my weakness, God will work in a mighty way!

How has your bible study been? Creating time throughout the day to dig in? Have you been asking God to reveal Himself to you? He is so very faithful to reveal Himself to us when we read His Word because He yearns to be in intimate communion with His children! I encourage you to keep pressing on, keep praying, keep studying, keep seeking God.

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Let’s jump right in…

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{{Chapter Three}}  verses 1-4

What is this passage saying?

Paul starts out by explaining to his readers that the Jewish nation has special benefits {old testament times} like possessing the oracles of God. This privilege of old carries heavy responsibility to live a life pleasing to God. Paul encourages his readers right off the bat that even if someone doesn’t believe God’s words doesn’t cancel out the faithfulness of God. God is not dependent on man’s opinions. His words are always truth no matter what. This is encouraging yet challenging since our culture says that we can act & think however we think is right or correct.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

What culture doesn’t let us in on is that when we live in such a way that pleases us and us alone, it ultimately leads to destruction. “For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away…” This is from 1 John 2:15-17. BUT, John goes on to say that “he who does the will of God abides forever.” {17b} God has given us His Word for a reason. We are commanded to share His love, His truth, & His life with others. Is there someone in your life whether it be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker who you can share this Truth with? Get in contact with them this week. Call them up, pray for them, and even plan a time to get together if that’s possible. All throughout scripture, the Jewish nation has been given faithfulness, grace, & special blessing. Today through Jesus, God gives, without measure, the same blessings. Share them with someone!

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verses 5-7

What is this passage saying?

At the end of verse 3, Paul states, “What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness?” I love that. No matter how unfaithful I am to God, He will never be unfaithful to me. It’s a grace-filled promise that I hold on to. We must be careful, though, not to take His faithfulness for granted. Like Paul goes on to explain through verse 8, we should never use our short comings as excuses. God’s truth will not increase through our lies or evil ways. {v.7-8}

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

When we focus our words around Christ & His righteousness, we will stay away from such unfruitful speech. We must be intentional about speaking to others in love and in God’s truth.

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verses 9-26

What is this passage saying?

The law does not save. Paul tells us that both Jew and Greek are under sin. So, although the Jews had this special ordinances and laws from God, it wasn’t their salvation. No one in and of themselves is righteous. All have sinned. There is no fear of God before the eyes of those who live and thrive in sin. We know that we are guilty of sin because of the law of God. It reveals to us our sinfulness. There is only one way to be righteous. Righteous being blameless in the sight of God. And that is through the One who has been and always will be blameless, Jesus Christ the Son of God. Through faith in Him, we are deemed righteous. This pretty much rocked the Jewish people’s worlds. They were so used to striving to simply be good enough. Their reputation and outward appearance was squeaky clean but their heart, their soul was dead and dry.

Do not be discouraged. There is good news. Praise God that He doesn’t leave us in our sinfulness….

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.” {v.23-26}

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

  If you can relate to the Jews who strive and strive and work and work hard as they can to please God but always fall short, let me encourage you to let go. Christ died to set you free from living a mechanical life simply going through the motions. If you haven’t asked God to cleanse you of your sin, do it now. “Then, go and sin no more” {John 8:11} It starts with giving yourself over to Jesus. Realize that you can look perfect and do everything by the book and even LOOK like a Christian yet be dead inside if you haven’t humbled yourself before the Lord and asked for forgiveness. God is faithful to forgive you of your sins. You don’t have to keep pretending. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

If you follow Christ, be encouraged to push even deeper into your relationship with God. You can never be too close to Him. This walk with Christ isn’t about only doing good deeds. If we spend all of our days doing good deeds yet neglect our relationship, we are missing out on fellowship with our Father. Take some time out of each day to simply sit in silence in the presence of God. His Word says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. {James 4:8} So often we take on the “Martha” role in life, hurrying through our busy days even doing good yet forget to take time to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to every life-giving word. It’s not about works, it’s about faith in Jesus.

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verses 27-31

What is this passage saying?

 Paul is no dummy when it comes to works and righteousness. He knows all too well that when we, mankind, focus on what WE DO– we get a big head. We boast in how well we do things. We boast in how smart we are or righteous we are. We forget that all wisdom and every good gift is from God.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” {v.28} Justified means to be in right standing with God. This standing can never be earned. It is a free gift from God. {Romans 6:23}

It is through faith in Jesus Christ alone that you are right before God. That goes for every Jew, every Gentile, every Greek, every American, every human on earth.

How can I practically apply this to my life?

Take some time right now to thank God for The Way to Him. That is, Jesus and faith in Him. The cross. I think about the way my life used to be before I accepted Jesus and starting walking with Him in faith. Back then, at times, I was trying my hardest to work my way into heaven. I was living like the law could make me righteous. I was dead inside. I was working to please God and I would fail every. single time. At other times, I was living so selfishly for myself, indulging in whatever I thought was right and whatever felt good to me. I thank God that in His unconditional love & grace for me, He saved me.

He stretched out His hand and in faith, I took hold of it. In faith, I believe that Jesus Christ was the one and only perfect sacrifice needed to please God, to look over my sin–to take it away! In faith, I walk with Him daily. In faith, I believe that He has a plan for me. In faith, I trust that whatever we walk through, His hand will never slip away. In faith, I wait. I wait for the day that my faith will be my sight!

He is faithful. You can trust Him.

Whattya say?

His hand is stretched out for you!

How did God speak to you while reading chapter three? I want to hear what you are learning!

-Katie

 

Coffee Break // Psalm Pick Me Ups

This past weekend at youth camp where I helped as a high school girl’s leader was AWESOME. God met us right there in that cabin & spoke to us in a mighty way. Here are a couple of tidbits from the sermons taught by Joe, the Associate Pastor at our church…  {He preached mostly in 1 John, Romans 12, & 1 Peter 2 Check them out!}

“Everyone loves something. And that love is taking you somewhere. You’re either loving the world which leads to death or you’re loving God which leads to eternal life.”

“What you spend your time, energy, resources, and thoughts on is what you love.”

“We are not of this world. We are to live like an alien. This world is not our home.”

“Cultivate the mindset of an alien. Distance yourself from old ways. Recognize your purpose. Get ready for war. It’s a war for your soul.”

“Are you being persecuted for Christ?”

“God has called us to so much more than living a life to get everything you want.”

“Your life is preaching a message.”

“The way to be transformed is to get God’s Word IN you.”

“What you think, that you do. We must renew our minds. How? Studying His Word & getting it into us. Not just us getting into the Word.”

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I started a new category on the blog today called “Coffee Break”. In my husband’s and my bible reading, I am in the book of Psalm now. Let me tell you, it’s BEAUTIFUL! I have been asking God to reveal Himself to me through Psalm and like always, He hasn’t disappointed. I have been so encouraged and at peace while reading that I KNEW I had to share with you all!

So, each time God speaks to me through one of the psalms, I will be sharing that specific Psalm with you. Each chapter is like a little pick me up & can be easily read on a  short coffee break. Of course, I don’t want to downplay their significance. I have been thinking about each chapter for weeks now. I am praying that each psalm will leave a mark in your heart that lasts longer than just a few short minutes while reading. God’s Word is packed with power and life, Stronger than coffee!

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Today’s Coffee Break Pick Me Up is from Psalm 5:7-8

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“But as for me, I will come into Your house in

the multitude of Your mercy;

In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.

Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness

because of my enemies;

Make Your way straight before my face.”

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Today, I pray that the Lord will make His way straight before you and me. I pray that we will make intentional time to worship Him. I pray that He will lead us, today and every day, in His righteousness for His name’s sake and protect us from our enemy.

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You are loved!

Katie

Bad Day Remedies

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we all have bad days. It happens. Sometimes we just wake up on the wrong side of the bread {thanks phil from rugrats} and we feel as if we should just go back to sleep. today, for me, was one of those days. nothing has been going right. I feel like it can’t get any worse or better for that matter

 but..

it is the intentional choices we make that can turn a bad day into one of our best days

normally, I wake up and take my dog out then get a cup of joe brewing after kissing my joe off to work. then I sit down and spend some time with God.

this morning, everything was backwards. I’ve already cried three times & I haven’t said one word to my bff Jesus.

maybe you’re right there with me.

but guess what?

your terrible-awful-ugly-sad-no good-dirty-rotten day can turn around in an instant!

it’s your choice.

because here in the us of a, we don’t lack. we have options. in third world countries, wives don’t have the opportunity to sit on facebook or their website for four hours writing about their “currents”. they hardly have time to get clean water to their family if that even exists.

having a “bigger picture” mindset has the power to change our “tiny selfish” mindset

trust me, i’m not one to say to someone struggling, “well, it could be worse”. because, honestly, does that make your issue any better? 99% no.

but if we take some time and think, things can change.

here are a few things that help me “get happy” when I am down or can’t shake off a bad morning turned bad day…

1. think about all the good things that have already happened today

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The Lord tells us that his mercies & compassion for us are new every morning! That is something to be thankful for! Without His mercy, we wouldn’t see another day.

2. Take a break and just breathe.

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If that means a coffee break, shut off all electronics & pour you some coffee {or scurry off to a coffee shop}. If that means calling up a family member or friend to watch the kids for an hour while you go for a walk or shop a little bit, do it. That’s why they’re your family. To help you out. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If that means staying off of social medias {facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, bloglovin’, ETC) then DO IT. YOU WONT REGRET IT. you, your brain, & your heart need a break.

3.  Get outside.

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A little fresh air goes a long way. Baske in the sun, go for a walk, stare up at the sky. It’ll lift your spirits by seeing all that God has beautifully created. just like he beautifully created you!

4. Be thankful.

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Even if you have to physically speak or write all that you are thankful for, do it. Sometimes my brain can be so overwhelmed with what I don’t have or can’t do or blah blah blah. That’s not joy. That’s self torment. Speak over those lies & be thankful for everything that God has given you. He has given you LIFE. What more is there?

5. Pray to God.

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Praying to God is therapy. It calms me down, chills me out, and gives me rest. {after all the screaming, crying, and whining of course}. Jesus desires so badly for His children to speak with Him. After all, in Him and Him alone, we find peace, joy, & happiness. He can brighten any day! I mean He DID create days and happiness and brightness anyway. 🙂

Today, I have had a bad day. I have lost count of how many times I have cried, gotten angry, missed appointments, ruined things, forgotten things, been too unmotivated (lazy) to do housework… my list could go on. But I’m stopping it here.

Because guess what?

His mercies aren’t just new every morning. His mercies are new every second. And He is here with me in my mess. And he is there with you in your messy bad day.

Focus on the good, take a break, get outside, be thankful, & pray to your loving Father who can turn any day into a glorious one!

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Smile. You are alive through Christ!

-Katie

 

 

top pic {via}

 

 

 

 

Hospitals & Harry Potter/ / SUMMER STUDY!

Friday afternoon, I was taken to the emergency room due to sharp pains and overwhelming pain in my side. After hours of tests and pain medicine, I was able to go home. Turns out, a large cyst that had been growing on my ovary for who knows how long decided to rupture {right before a cook out we were hosting}. I was so scared there were issues with my one kidney that I have but praise God, my kidney was perfectly healthy! God put sweet and caring doctors and nurses in that room that night. Everything went smoothly & pretty quickly {or maybe I just thought so because I was floating on cloud morphine, haha}. My husband deserves the Best Husband Ever award. For these past days since last Friday, he has taken amazing care of me. He is so gentle and sweet. We laid in bed and watched almost the entire series of Harry Potter. We love that magical little trio.

I am so happy to be back in the land of the living! While recovering, I texted my sweet friend, Jaimie, who is away for the summer with her hubby if she wanted to start an online bible study together over the summer. She agreed! We started Romans chapter one this morning.

After reading the first chapter this morning, God nudged me to widen this bible study. So….

I’m going to start it through the blog on TOMORROW!

That’s right…

Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s Summer Weekly Bible Study through Romans!

If any of you faithful readers and even new friends are interested in a stress-free, fun, weekly summer Bible study reading through Romans, join us!

Each week {starting tomorrow, Thursday, May 29th}, we will be reading a chapter of Romans.

I encourage you to grab a bible/bible app and a journal! You will have all week {Thursday-Thursday} to read each chapter. Can it get any more easy?! 🙂

Each Thursday, we will meet up here on the blog & discuss what we have learned, favorite verses, passages that convict or encourage us, and any questions we may have! That’s my thoughts & YOURS!

This will be super casual and down to earth since I am no theologian or smarty pants. I just ADORE reading God’s Word and learning with my fellow siblings in the faith. If you have a blog, feel free to LINK UP & post your own thoughts or whatever God has been showing you each week. If you don’t have a blog, no problem! You can follow us each week by subscribing through email at the bottom of this page and also comment below with your own thoughts/etc OR you can “like” Hot Tea and the Empty Seat on Facebook and follow along there!

JOIN US, won’t you?! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Starting tomorrow, I will post the first official “Thursday in Romans” blog post to get this party started! Please don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to become closer with God, learn from His Word, and flourish in community with other believers in the faith!

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…”

Romans 1:16

-Katie

Don’t forget, week 1-chapter 1 starts tomorrow!

I encourage you to wake up {duh}, start a pot of coffee or travel to your local coffee shop, and pray for God’s wisdom to be poured out on you as you read Romans 1!

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The Struggle : Memory Book

 

A couple of months ago, I shared with you all my struggle/journey through negative thinking. You can check out those posts here, here, & here! In those writings, I shared a few tips and things that have encouraged and helped me along the way. I want to share with you another super helpful “tip” that I have been working on for the past couple of days.

 A couple of years ago, I used to memorize scripture and it grew me so close to the Lord because I had His Word tattooed on my heart and mind. Unfortunately, I let life happen and I became “too busy” to continue but praise Him for His sweet grace because it’s never too late to start again! A couple of friends in our small group shared one night that they had cards they kept in their purse with memory verses on them & whenever they felt the enemy’s fiery darts trying to pierce their hope, they would pull those cards out and speak LIFE & TRUTH into their mind instead of being taken over by their own thoughts. AMAZING. It has taken me close to seven months to finally put this into action for myself but again, its never too late! I don’t think that there is a better time to do it since I have been writing to you friends about my journey through fear & negative thinking.

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The awesomely fun thing about this little project is that it can look however you want it to! On one of my trips to Target (a weakness store), my hubby helped me pick out this little beauty of a notepad that I thought was perfect to journal my verses in!

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Yes, those are rend collective lyrics written on the front because at the moment, they are quite possibly higher on my faves list than Starbucks right now. Seriously, all of their songs from their Campfire album are soul-strengthening.

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While sitting at Starbucks with my favorite man, I started out with a little beginning letter in the front of the journal if ever I was to lose this journal or hand it down to my daughter one day. Then, I pondered over what verses to add. I want this journal to be a quick go-to when I am in need of a  I decided that each page would be a different topic (fear, identity, being a good wife, joy, etc) and labeled it at the top that you can check out in the picture below! {By the way, those drinks in the picture above are our absolutely faves. Joe’s pink (hehe) one is a cotton candy frappe which is a vanilla bean Frappuccino with raspberry syrup & mine is a cinnamon dolce frappe! Now, go, snatch one up- I know you wanna! and start your memory book while you’re at it ;)}

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I really do encourage you go start your own little memory book! It’s already been such a great encouragement to me & a helper in those times when I cant get right to my bible, am struggling in a certain area, or can’t remember a certain verse.

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I also added a few quotes or song lyrics that pertained to my topic on that page. The writer in me absolutely loves to read other ‘s quotes 🙂 this is my THOUGHTS page…

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To be honest, I had to google who David Jeremiah was because I didn’t even know beforehand but his quote is such a powerful reminder to me!

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This was other powerful quote from John Piper that totally spoke straight to my heart. Oh, how important is it to remember that our FEELINGS are not always reality or true. God’s Word is ALWAYS TRUE. This is such a blessing to me. I had to add it so I could always see this beautiful reminder.

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This was seriously our view as we sat outside of Starbucks reading God’s precious words to us….

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Our Father paints so wonderfully!

I so long for the day that I can see this sunset from above with The Son but until then, I will carry His Word in my heart & mind!

I would love to hear from you if you have a memory book and I would love to see it! feel free to hop on over to Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s official Facebook page to share it with everyone! Can’t wait to hear how God is working in your life!

-Katie

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