Lessons in the Woods

I love to spend time in the small patch of woods bordering my yard. In the distance there are rolling hills and silos. Birds sing in the treetops or skip along the pine-needle-covered earth, scavenging for food. Rabbits hop past or peer at me with their big brown eyes.

The other day, as I was sitting there enjoying the fresh air and warmth of spring, I caught sight of a tiny leaf on the ground. The intricacy of it caught my attention, and as I bent down to observe it I was touched by the detail and creativity of our Creator.

Our Creator pays attention to detail. Nothing escapes His view. He cares about the little things in our lives as well. He intervenes in the details we can’t see, weaving our lives together into a tapestry of His glory and grace.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrew 4:13-16)

Will we wrestle with Yahweh, or will we allow Him to work out the details of our lives as we seek His face in prayer and action?

He sees the full picture, when we just see a glimpse.

“The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.” (Psalm 33:13-15)

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:22)

“He provides them with security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways.  (Job 24:23)

What a privilege to be a child of God, knowing that  He is faithful down to the last detail.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?
“Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
 (Romans 11:33-36)

Stars in the Night

I love to look for the stars each night.

Sometimes the sky is glittering, and I’m awestruck by the vastness of it.

Other nights it’s blank, and I’m a little disappointed, but I know the truth. The stars will be back. In fact, they’re still there–always there–just hidden from view at the moment.

Creation glorifies its Maker, and it points us back to Him.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.(Romans 1:20)

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. (Psalm 33:5)

Yahweh, the maker of the stars, is always near.

Sometimes we might not see Him as clearly as we wish. We might feel like our faith is gazing at a blank black sky, longing for a glimmer of hope.

It is estimated that there are 100 billion stars in just our galaxy alone.

That’s beyond my comprehension. And yet, we read how, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” (Psalm 147:4)

Just as Yahweh called Abram to count the stars as a promise of how many his offspring would be (Genesis 15:5), so when we look at the stars dancing in the night sky, we see a promise.

The One who made the stars, is the One who made us, knows us, and holds us together.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

He is always there.

He is faithful.

With that truth, my heart can rest each night.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

P.S. The story behind this song is beautiful as well.

Called to Be Daffodils

I stared out the window at the daffodils that have blossomed around the mailbox, and turned to my sister and remarked, “Those daffodils don’t fit in, do they?” Despite a few spots of grass beginning to turn green, the world outside still looked like winter.

That’s when I thought about what those daffodils stand for, and how they’re an example for each of us.

We can be daffodils.

We can smile at the winter cold, and stand as a symbol of hope to those who can’t feel it yet. We can be a reminder that joy is coming, and new life is blooming.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

We are the light of the world.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 4:14-16)

How can you be a daffodil today?

Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
‘Cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out
That’s how the lost get found

~Britt Nicole “The Lost Get Found”

Tomorrow Isn’t Promised

So many thoughts have been running through my mind, and culminating in a headache.

Maybe the headache wasn’t related to all the pondering I’ve been doing. Maybe it was the fact that I need a hair cut and wearing my long hair up might have been giving me the headache (okay, so you probably don’t care about the details). But I do hold to the conviction that God speaks to us in our everyday lives. And He spoke to me through the headache, reminding me that I can’t figure this life out on my own.

I don’t have all the answers.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

In fact, tomorrow isn’t even promised. And that leads to some tough questions.

If tomorrow doesn’t come, have I lived a life worth mentioning in the light of eternity?

Have I given all I could?

Or have I held back, not feeling the urgency to live every day fully for the glory of God.

Have I desired the comfort of an easy life, more than the comfort of the God who daily carries our burdens?

Have I even thought seriously about eternity?

All these questions we can ask ourselves. Maybe we have some great answers, or maybe we have some great excuses, but what answers do our lives give to these questions?

I once heard someone say, “You might not live what you confess, but you will live what you believe.”

My life shows what I believe and Who I believe in. And it’s not always the right things. It’s not always solely focused on Him.

But the gospel assures me that redemption has called me His own. My life is no longer mine; it’s crucified with Him. His Holy Spirit will guide me. In His love He will prune me. This isn’t easy, but it’s the truth. And truth always sets people free.

What if tomorrow does come?

Will we live it any differently than today?

His mercies are new every morning.

Let’s embrace each morning as a new start, a gift from above, and an opportunity to share His love with this hurting world.

We only have one life.

Let’s live it.

Announcing “Sisters on Our Knees”

Announcing "Sisters on Our Knees"

For a few months now, my friend Peyton and I have been praying about and working on a new blog called “Sisters on Our Knees”, and I’m excited to announce that it is officially launched!

On the blog you will find:

Philippians 4:6-7

Of course, I will still be posting on Blog of Joy, but you will also find me posting on Sisters on Our Knees.

Oswald Chambers Quote

Our hope is that Sisters on Our Knees can become a joint effort of sisters in Messiah around the world. If you ever feel led to write a guest post or share a testimony of answered prayer, you can email us at:
sistersonourknees@gmail.com

Feel free to check it out and share the word: Sisters on Our Knees

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Having Childlike Faith on Election Day

Leaves

This morning the 22-month-old little girl that I babysit came running up to my doorstep as cheerful as ever. As I swept her up in my arms and greeted her, I thought about how today is election day and how amazing it must be to be a toddler without a care in the world.

As we took a walk around he neighborhood, she swung her arms with her chin held high, exclaiming about the trees and the neighborhood dogs that she saw and singing a song.

I was reminded of Yeshua’s words about having faith like a child.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Of course, as adults we have the responsibility to take action in our country, but as children of God we have to remember to trust in Him above all else.

We need childlike faith to trust that we are provided for, cherished, and protected by or heavenly Father.

I voted

Whatever the election holds, let’s not lose that childlike faith.

Let’s keep recognizing the beauty in the world, and trusting in our Father to supply all our needs.

Let’s learn from a toddler, and remember that…

“This is the day that Yahweh has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Time Flies {Give Thanks}

Times Flies. Give Thanks

Lately I’ve been pondering my past and my future. Perhaps it’s on my mind even more than usual since I’ll be turning twenty soon. It’s funny how it felt like I’d always be a teen. I’m a little sentimental as this stage slips away, but life isn’t going to feel any different, and I’m excited for whatever the future holds.

The other day an acquaintance shared some wisdom with me. “Time flies,” she said, as her sweet brown eyes smiled at me beneath her white hair, “Cherish each day. Take a moment in the morning just to soak it up and thank God.”

She’s right.

Time isn’t “flying” for me, but I know that one day it’ll feel that way.

I want to make a habit now of cherishing each day and living each year on purpose.

This month I’m joining Kings Blooming Rose in their Give Thanks x7 Challenge. It’s pretty easy. Simply write down seven things each day that you’re thankful for.

Psalm 119:164

Often we don’t realize how deeply we are blessed until we pause and recognize His goodness in our lives.

I haven’t lived long, but still I’ve seen His hand lead me year by year–sheltering my heart from what I thought I wanted, and giving me more than I could have dreamed.

He is a good, good Father.

How thankful I am for that.

Times Flies. Give Thanks

Psalm 103

Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Yahweh, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Yahweh works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
Yahweh is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so Yahweh shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and wit is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of Yahweh is from everlasting to everlasting on
those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
Yahweh has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless Yahweh, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless Yahweh, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless Yahweh, all his works, in all places of his dominion.
Bless Yahweh, O my soul!

What are seven things that you are thankful for today?

Remembering the Promised Land

The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

Yesterday I did something that I had gotten out of the practice of doing. I opened up the Intercessors for Israel prayer e-mail and prayed along.

Every time that I pray along with these weekly prayer prompts, I feel so strengthened and connected to the Father. It keeps me up to date on current events in Israel, and also fills me with hope that the Father is hearing our prayers.

If I want to be so committed to this, why don’t I pray along more often?

Any excuse I come up with isn’t good enough.

I’ve always struggled with praying consistently for Israel for years. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth.

When I came back from the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem last year, I told myself that I would pray for Israel more. And I did. Then I got distracted again.

Distraction is often zapping our time, efforts, and prayer life.

But if we open up the Word of Life, and quiet our soul to hear His still small voice, we will know His heart. We will know His will. We will know how to pray.

Sometimes there are many prayer requests on our hearts. We have family, friends, communities, and worldwide issues to pray for. And we need to focus on these important things. But we also need to remember to always “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

... from Israel::
photo from pinterest

That small strip of land, about the size of New Jersey, is unlike anywhere else in the world. All the earth is His, but Israel is His special treasure.

For the YHVH has chosen Zion,
    he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
“This is my resting place for ever and ever;
   here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
I will bless her with abundant provisions;
   her poor I will satisfy with food.
I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.
“Here I will make a horn grow for David
   and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
I will clothe his enemies with shame,
   but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”
(Psalm 132:13-18)

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion on the Faithfulness of God:

 :

His heart is for Israel.

With so many people in the world standing against Israel today, we must stand up for this Promised Land.

Re-Pin to say AMEN:

.:
photo from pinterest.com

Let’s pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

As the Season Changes…

little terrapin creek

Here’s some beautiful things that “find me grateful”:

Endings, beginnings

The full moon shining through the silhouetted treetops

When people work hard together
{there’s something to be said about people from different backgrounds all coming together to serve}

My brother saying “I do” to his beautiful bride

A home overflowing with laughter and chatter with family and friends from out-of-town

This beautiful sunset one evening

stunning sunset

Prayer times with sisters in Messiah

♫ It is Well (Oh My Soul) ♫

Random “I love you’s”

Quiet morning walks with Kiley

Time spent alone outside with my Maker

Autumn breeze

Apple trees at sunset

john 1:5

Finding a sky full of stars while walking out to the tent at night

Hospitality

Precious souls sharing about adoption, how to outreach in a messy world, and redemption from the past

Conversations that stay nestled in my heart

A growing family

Smiles from the ones I love

So many hugs

This song

What are you thankful for during this season of life?

Prepare for the Rain

photo from thoughtcatalog.com
photo from thoughtcatalog.com

The other day a dear friend of mine reminded me of this conversation from the movie Facing the Giants:

Pray for Rain

Since I haven’t watched the movie in years, I had forgotten this little story.

It caused me to ask myself some questions.

Do I pray with faith?

 Do I take action, knowing that God will supply all my needs?

Faith is trust.

But it’s also the works that are done because of that trust. It’s stepping out on those waves because we see Him walking towards us with His hands outstretched, and that is enough to make us risk the impossible.

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
{James 2:17}

Big God Trust God Love God Godly Quotes Encourage Inspiration Blessings Motivation Jesus Christ Bible:

May His Words sink deep.

John 15: 5-17

I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this,
that you bear much fruit,
and so prove to be My disciples.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you
and that your joy may be made full.
This is My commandment,
that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.
No longer do I call you slaves,
for the slave does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose Me but I chose you,
and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit,
and that your fruit would remain,
so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name
He may give to you.
This I command you, that you love one another.

Image result for hosea 10:12

Let’s prepare for the rain.