Mighty is Our God in Zion (Israel Pictures & Promises)

the Jezreal Valley

Every trip to Israel is a new experience.

I set off on this past trip without knowing exactly what to expect, yet I knew that it was His trip and I was excited to see what He had in store. The Father had His hand upon this trip from the beginning (in fact, He started aligning circumstances many years ago…but that’s a whole ‘nother amazing story).

Mount Tabor in the distance

This was my first time to fly by myself, but I would connect with friends once I arrived at the airport in Tel Aviv. First, I had to fly from Atlanta to Newark. The thought of  being in the Newark airport, surrounded by thousands of people, and yet being quite alone, made me nervous. One night, as I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of flying by myself, I felt the Father lay Malachi 3:1 on my heart:

“I will send My messenger before you, who will prepare the way before you.”

It filled me with courage. I wasn’t alone.  He was going before me. My parents were encouraging me in this trip. They would be praying for me. My friends would be praying too. I would be praying. I had nothing to fear.

My travel went smoothly, and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the Father answered that verse directly by sending someone to accompany me on the flight over the Atlantic. I sat next to a believer in Yeshua, and we talked for hours about prayer and faith.

so much history here...

This was only the beginning of the many instances where the Father “prepared the way before me.” Every day He showered His love and faithfulness upon me. When I came to Israel  I was thirsting for more of Him, and He filled me with living waters. I came not knowing quite what to expect, and He blew me away with His plans. I came wanting to serve, and He allowed me to sweat under the Golan sun, plucking out weeds in the gardens and singing (I worked alongside an amazing woman of faith who also had a passion for prayer and praise).

It was hard to leave. It’s always hard. But this trip was harder. I connected to Israel on a deeper level. I also got to visit some places that I’d never been before (like “Samaria”–the heartland of Israel).

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This land is special in Yahweh’s eyes.

Every promise written in Yahweh’s word will come true. No matter what the news predicts. No matter what the future looks like from our human point-of-view, we can look to the Word of God and know that Israel will be restored (physically and spiritually). We know that there will be (and is!) an ingathering from the North and the South, the East and the West, back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:6). We know that the desert will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1). We can see it happening. We know that salvation (Yeshua) will shine forth out of Zion (Isaiah 62:1).

Ophel Gardens

Mount Hermon

I’ve shared many of my pictures from this trip on Flickr: Israel 2016

I hope that these pictures will bring Israel closer to you today. If you love Israel, then no matter how far away you are from it today, no ocean can separate you. You can still pray. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the leaders. Pray for the believers and the non-believers. Pray about how you can bless Israel personally. (FYI: Here is a wonderful newsletter that sends out prayer points for Israel every week: Intercessors for Israel).

the lady's side of the Wailing Wall

We live in the days when the “dry bones are coming to life” (Ezekiel 37). We live in the days when the tribes are gathering in Jerusalem once again (Psalm 122).

Our God does not lie.

His promises are true.

Mighty is our God in Zion.

Isaiah 51

Back to the USA, Blogging Ideas, & a Hymn on My Heart

Blog of Joy

Life has slowed down.

I’ve been home from Israel for a month now, and I find myself missing this blog, wanting to post about my experience there, and also wondering where this blog is headed.

Blog of Joy has changed a lot over the years. At first I wanted this blog to be a place where I could share all my creative endeavors (knitting patterns, writing, music, etc.). I had a lot of my knitting patterns and healthy recipes from my previous blogs transferred to this one. But over the past year or so, it mostly became focused on writing about life.

Now I see the blog going in a more creative direction with DIY ideas and crafts and recipes appearing much more often.

I imagine there will still be lots of posts about life and faith and joyfulness (or however one is supposed to summarize my random writings! ha ha!), because one of the best ways that I process life is through writing. This blog has helped me over the years to shape my ideas and figure out my feelings as I turned them from words to sentences to paragraphs. As I look back to posts that I wrote in years past, I see the transforming of a heart. And I see a future with a deeper longing for Yeshua. He is so patient and good to me.

photo from imgpin.com

No promises as to how often I’ll be posting, but I do hope to post more regularly.

There might be some more book reviews.

And of course, more about Israel. :)

Life is an adventure.

Blogging is an adventure.

I’m excited to see where it’s headed.

Micah 6:8

Israel 2016

"I praise You, O Yahweh, among peoples, And I sing praises to You among the nations. For Your kindness is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the clouds." (Psalm 108:3-4)

I’m excited, y’all.

Tomorrow I’m leaving for Israel where I’ll be living on a Christian kibbutz for 5 weeks! This opportunity is purely a gift from the heavenly Father. I can’t wait to see what He has in store. This is His trip.

I look forward to sharing pictures and stories with y’all when I get back. :)

 Until then, shalom & blessings!

Ahava,
Joy

P.S. I wanted to share these lovely verses and quotes about Israel.

aka The Kinneret

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ארץ ישראל:

Israel:

"And I will be to her a wall of fire all around," declares The Lord, "and I will be the glory in her midst." Zechariah 2:5:

... from Israel:

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night." Isaiah 62:6 www.facetozion.com:

Israel is where my heart is

Please pray for Israel today.

✡ Who's with me? ✡ :

Hope you all have a very blessed spring!

 

Spring is a Beautiful Thing

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I feel like I’m enjoying the beauty of spring this year more than ever. I’ve been especially enjoying taking walks around the neighborhood. There’s so many beautiful things to discover.

Voyage Discovery New Eyes Travel Quote by Marcel Proust Hand Drawn Mini Moleskine Cahier Kraft Pocket Journal in Indian Ink (3.5" X 5.5"):
photo from etsy.com

Here’s some beautiful things:

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Bradford pear trees in full bloom

fragile little purple flowers that shiver in the wind

so many daffodils in the neighbor’s yard

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fuzzy feeling clover

standing still and soaking up life for a moment

heart-shaped leaves on the purple tree

purple blossoms

open windows again

rain on a metal roof

warmth of sunshine on my arms

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praise in Hebrew

the cherry tree starting to blossom

duets with Kiley

stargazing with my brother

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sharing Scriptures with friends

peace that comes from reading the Words of life

“For just as the sufferings of Messiah flow over in our lives, so also through Messiah our comfort overflows.” 
{2 Corinthians 1:5}

My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone:
photo from pinterest.com

What are you loving about spring this year?

Books Reviews: Missionaries

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Over the past year I’ve been blessed to read some wonderful books. Here’s a few that I’d love to share:

The Live Dead Journal 

My missionary aunt and uncle gave me this one as a graduation gift last spring, and it is incredible. The book is written by 30 missionaries (mostly from Africa and the Middle East) that share powerful stories and lessons learned.  It’s divided into 30 small chapters that are quick to read, and will leave you with much to ponder and put into action the rest of the day.

Keep a Quiet Heart–Elisabeth Elliot

There is so much wisdom and encouragement in this book. It inspired me. It challenged me. It showed me how much I have yet to learn about walking by faith. The chapters are short and easy to read, and cover a plethora of topics that are applicable to everyday life. Elisabeth Elliot is definitely one of my favorite authors, and I’m quite excited to read more of her books.

Living Waters–Brother Yun

Brother Yun is a preacher in China. He’s been imprisoned 31 times because of his faith in Messiah. He’s suffered more than I can ever image, and yet he shares the Gospel with greater strength because of it. Living Waters attacks the concept of nominal Christianity. It’s a call for believers to be disciples. It’s a powerful book that will ignite your heart for the Great Commission.

All these books are 5 stars

I’m so thankful for these precious souls who have allowed their heart and soul to be poured out on paper all for His glory.

What books have impacted your life this year?

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep
to gain that which he cannot lose.”
–Jim Elliot 

Little Acts of Kindness

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Kindness is a beautiful thing.

There’s so many ways of showing it.

Sometimes it’s in small ways like giving someone a hug or saying a kind word or compliment. Sometimes it’s by writing an encouraging note to a friend or family member. Sometimes it’s just smiling at a stranger {and seeing them smile back}.

We never know how much a little act of kindness can brighten someone’s day.

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What act of kindness can you do today? 

spring is coming…

spring is blooming

I can’t believe it’s March already.

When I look out the window, there are buds starting to smile from empty branches. Some days its even warm enough to be outside without a jacket, and the grass is getting green again.

I’m loving the days when the sun shines so brightly.

sunshine & daffodils

I’m thankful for flowers that will bloom, days that will be longer, memories that will be made, and lessons that will be learned.

Winter is not forever.

It’s only a season.

Spring is coming soon.

I’m thankful for the Creator who makes all things new. Out of dry, winter soil, He causes beauty to rise. Out of our faltering human hearts, He causes His light to shine.

What a miracle it all is.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Cleaning Out the Closets

photo from theodessyoline.com
photo from theodessyoline.com

For a little while now I’ve been fascinated with the concept of minimalism and have been able to adapt it into my life in some ways.

I used to stare at my closet and drawers full of clothes and wonder what I should wear. It was such a hard decision, partly because I had so many things that I didn’t like. It seemed ridiculous to have such a hard time choosing what to wear when I had so many options. Alright…so I didn’t have a ton of clothes, but I definitely had all that I needed and more.

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Just think of a little child in Africa with only rags to wear, or a homeless lady with only a tattered coat in the snow. Now think of me, and you’ll see that something was wrong with my daily dilemma.

Thankfully, the remedy started to come as I began clearing out my closets and drawers of unneeded clothes and things, and donating them to the thrift store. Every time I do another “inventory” of my room, I find more things that I don’t need. And every time I place those things in a bag and donate them for the good of others, I feel better. I feel like I have more, even though I have less, because what I do have is wanted and appreciated.

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Sometimes there’s an item that I can’t quite get rid of yet–who knows? Maybe I’ll want it someday— but it always makes me feel better to put that item aside, and after some months go by, if I still haven’t used it, then I can get rid of it without worrying too much. There have been times when I’ve pulled items back out because they would be useful, and I was glad I hadn’t gotten rid of them too quickly.

I’m by no means a “minimalist,” but making some moderate steps to get rid of unneeded stuff has been a lil’ adventure that I’ve much enjoyed. It’s helped me take stock of the clothes I have, encouraged me to be more creative with what I have (I’ve discovered how many ways I can mix & match my skirts and tops), and also made me more aware of what clothes would be a good addition if I happen to find something good while thrift shopping.

Often we don’t realize how blessed we are until we think of all that we’ve been given, and how it’s even more than we need.

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Winter’s Beautiful Things

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This blog has been quiet, so I’ll give you a lil’ recap. :) I’m excited about a trip to Israel planned for this spring! (Yes!!! I have a ticket!!!! I’m amazed at how the Father has brought this about! :D) I’m also still loving being a babysitter, spending time with family & friends, and simply living life day by day.

I continue to be amazed by the beautiful things around me.

Yeshua is so good.

Here’s a little of winter’s beauty:

one of those random moments when you’re standing in the kitchen and you discover a piece of art:

Red Carnation

colorful pens & pencils in a jar

bundling up to write poetry in the cold

thrift store shopping

Saturday night game nights

bright yellow yarn (‘cuz it brings sunshine to my winter)

crocheting & listening to Audrey Assad music

my sister restoring our great-grandma’s quilt:

AG's Quilt

fluffy snowflakes falling (those are special ’round here ;)

late-night baking

late-night snacks

laughs with Uncle Dave & Aunt Debbie

“Visit many books, but live in the Bible” C. H. Spurgeon

my dad who volunteers to do dishes

starting off Sabbath with a steamy mug of tea

a walk through the woods on Sabbath morning:

IMG_3541-001people that live life passionately

family hugs

♫ can’t live a day with out you ♫

prayers that are already being answered

when the sun comes out

new blue walls

praise in Romanian:
(do you recognize the tune? :)

What are some beautiful things that you’ve enjoyed this winter?

In This I Have Peace…

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“All the way my Savior leads me
Who have I to ask beside
How could I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide?

All the way my Savior leads me
Cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me grace for every trial
Feeds me with the living Bread

You lead me and keep me from falling
You carry me close to Your heart
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me

All the way my Savior leads me
O, the fullness of His love
O, the sureness of His promise
In the triumph of His blood
And when my spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way
Jesus led me all the way”

All the way my Savior leads me