Making Room

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photo from teachingliteracy.tumblr.com

I want to make room for God in my life.

I want to open my heart and let His Word speak truth.

Psalm 139:1-18

  O יהוה, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O יהוה, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

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May this be our life’s prayer.

Let’s make room for Him.

Make room for Him to interrupt our schedule. Make room for Him to change our dreams for the future. Make room for Him to be our sweetest love.

Give God room to show Himself faithful:

Let’s not just “go through life,” let’s grow through it, becoming more dependent upon Him, more trusting of His goodness.

It’s a life-long journey–learning to say “Thy will be done.”

Learning to let go.

Learning to live.

Keeping a Prayer Journal

Keeping a Prayer Journal

A little while back I shared about the power of prayer, and some scriptural reasons to pray. The Father has been showing me, over and over this year, how important prayer is. He’s been convicting me to pray about more aspects of my life, and to “not be anxious in anything, but in everything through prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:7)

Psalm 116:2 painting:
photo from pinterest.com

Keeping a prayer journal is a wonderful way to remember prayer requests and to build a prayer strategy.

As far as choosing a notebook, I’ve found that a three-ring binder is a great option. I’ve used a regular notebook for a prayer journal if it’s only focused on one subject, but when it comes to a book with multiple prayer requests, a three-ring binder is excellent for organization.

Three-ring Binder

Benefits of using a three-ring binder:

  1. You can rearrange the pages as desired. (If I fill a sheet of paper with prayers for a certain person, I can move a blank page to the next spot and keep writing.)
  2. You can add prayer guides that you’ve printed online. Simply hole-punch them.
  3. You can store pictures of people to pray for in the pockets on the inside of the binder.

Writing down prayers definitely has it’s benefits. Sometimes I forget what I’ve prayed for people in the past, and then I’m not as likely to see how Yahweh answered those prayers. But when they’re written down, I can see exactly what I prayed and how He answered.

Here is a fictional sample that I’ve written as an example to get your creativity flowing:

Sample Prayer Journal Page

Philippians 4:6-7 bible journaling #illustratedfaith #erinjournalsthebible:
photo from pinterest.com

"Through prayer you will truly experience God's peace that surpasses all understanding." -Philippians 4:7:

P.S. If you would like some more resources and inspiration, here a Pinterest board that I’ve started on Prayer.

Hope’s a Powerful Thing

photo from crosswalk.com
photo from crosswalk.com

There’s a lot of hurt in this world right now. There always has been, but at times it hits our hearts more fiercely, like it has worldwide this month.

This world is plain-old messed-up. 

Most everyone agrees with this statement (though most everyone has a different idea about what is “messed up”). But how we respond to this truth is crucial.

There are only two options–stand on the sidelines or take action.

With darkness growing thicker around us, we often feel the desire to shrink back and lose hope. This is exactly how Satan wants us to respond. He wants us to become discouraged. He wants us to feel like there’s nothing we can do to make a difference when it comes to these worldwide problems. He wants us to stop praying, interceding, resting upon the Father’s promises, etc.

But if we quiet out souls even while the world is swirling in chaos, we can hear that still small voice. If we open our Bible and cling to every word He has spoken, and rest our souls upon Him alone, then we can have hope.

Our Creator has called us to be courageous. He knew our names before we were born. He has a special calling for each of our lives that will bring Him glory. He has a reason for why we are living in this century and not some previous one. He has set us free from the sting of death. His perfect love casts out fear. He is the God of hope, and He has called us to abound in hope (Romans 15:13).

When we reach the end of our optimism, that’s when His Words are the sweetest comfort. No matter what we’re feeling, His Words are true, eternal, and worth staking our entire lives upon. When our hope is built upon the sand, we can be sure that the storms will drown it, but when it’s built upon the rock–Yeshua (Jesus)–then the peace that passes all understanding can guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7).

JOHN 16:33; I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." JOHN 16:33; Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. ... 7 They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.:
photo from pinterest.com

What is our response to terror, the darkness of sin, and rampant rebellion against the Creator of heaven and earth?

Let’s pour our hearts out in prayer and lift up those who are hurting. Let’s confess our sins. Let’s intercede for the lost.

Let’s put our hope upon our God and His eternal kingdom.

Let’s encourage one another to keep walking the straight and narrow path.

By His strength and for His glory, let’s strive to be the difference that we long to see in this world.

Hope's a Powerful Thing

P.S. Yesterday a friend and I had a time of prayer for our country. (We don’t live in the same state, so a phone call was the only option). It was amazing to feel the peace that flooded our hearts after lifting up our cares to our heavenly Father. Perhaps there is someone who wants to join you in prayer today.

Let Me Carry You

photo from pinterest.com
photo from pinterest.com

One of the greatest mysteries of life is that our Creator speaks to us in the simple things.

The other day I was touched by one of those little things. I spent the weekend with my brother and his wife and children. We spent the first day with dear friends of ours, and the next day we went on a shopping trip. My niece was tuckered out after such full and exciting days, and when we arrived back at their home, she was mostly asleep. She didn’t want to walk, she couldn’t keep her eyes open,  and she started to cry. That’s when her daddy reached out and said, “Let me carry you.”

And then it hit me.

My heavenly Father is longing to do the same thing for me. When I’m exhausted (physically or spiritually), he wants to carry me. When I’ve reached the end of my strength, he’s more than willing to be the shoulder to rest my weary, confused, aching head upon.

When I rest in that childlike faith, realizing that Yahweh is my Father, and I am his daughter, that’s when perfect love casts out fear.

My heart might try to convince me otherwise, yet there’s a sweet whisper of love and truth…

“Let me carry you.”

Me: But I’ve failed you again. I don’t deserve your love. I’m so flawed and frustrated at myself. Why would you love me?

 “Let me carry you.”

Me: But I’m afraid. I can’t let go.

“Let me carry you.”

Me: I want to know you for real. I want to let go of every fear, and walk in your perfect love. I want to be filled from the inside out with your living waters. I want to walk in the power of your resurrection. I want to glorify you with everything that I am. I need you every hour. I need your grace more than ever. I love you. I want to serve you. I offer my life to you.

He carries me

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” {Matthew 11:28}

Little Things ♡

Sometimes it’s the “little things” that mean the most…

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kind words:

there is no charm equal to tenderness of heart - Jane Austen:

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photos from Pinterest.com

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.”–Kurt Vonnegut

What’s a “little thing” that has blessed you lately?

DIY Musical Border

DIY Musical Border

I love music.

So it’s only fitting that I have my room decorated with sheet music, right? :)

The idea came to me one day to have a musical border on the long wall in my room. I could only find one option for sale online though, and it was pricey.

It was time to get creative.

I found some songs that I’d printed out years ago and haven’t played in a long time (and didn’t know when I’d play them again), so I chose to “re-purpose” them. This border takes only a few supplies and not much time, and adds a lot of personality to a room (it would also be neat for a music room).

before and after

So without further adieu, here’s the tutorial:

Supplies:

Sheet music
Command Strips
Glue Stick

Directions:

Command Stips

Cut the Command Strips into sixths as shown in the picture. (Since these strips are quite strong, they can be cut into sixths and still hold the paper quite well.)

Cut the Command Strips into sixths

Arrange 5-6 sheets of music as desired and glue the pieces together where they overlap with a glue stick. Continue making these sections of wallpaper until you have as many as needed for the length of your wall.Arrange the Sheet Music

Glue

Turn the sections of wallpaper over and adhere the pieces of command strips on every other sheet of music (or as needed).

Adhere the Command Strips

Adhere to the wall, section by section. (My sister stood at a distance and made sure it all lined up properly.) Glue the sections together where they overlap. Add additional pieces of Command Strip if needed.

DIY: Sheet Music Border

DIY: Sheet Music Border

DIY: Sheet Music Border

And…ta-da, you’ve made a musical border! :)

Do you enjoy making DIY decorations? What is your favorite project that you’ve made?

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).

lavender

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:

bradford pear

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?