Looking Back & Looking Forward

Today is holocaust remembrance day in Israel.

The Holocaust seems so distant to my young heart as I live a comfortable life in small town America surrounded by family and much freedom, yet it was not as far back in history as it seems.

Horrific isn’t an adequate word; for the devastation of the Holocaust is one that words can’t describe. 

On this blog I love to focus on the bright and beautiful aspects of life, but it is important to remember the Holocaust. We must remember what has happened, so that we stand up not only for the Jewish people, but also for those who have no voice in our generation.

The present will one day be a history book.

Each of us has a role in this giant story of life–the story of centuries blending together, kingdoms rising and falling, cultures changing, the beauty and the broken, the hurt and the healing.

Yahweh doesn’t place us here to turn a blind eye to the suffering in this world.

He has a purpose for each of us to make His glory known–to shine His light in the darkness.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross……for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:5-8 + 13-15)

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him… (1 Corinthians 7:17a)

Let’s not be half-hearted in living out this calling.

No matter how small we may feel, He uses us to change this world. If we don’t embrace our calling, we will not only hurt ourselves, but also those around us and God Himself. For He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Let’s do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God. (Micah 6:8)


Let’s pause to remember
Let’s acknowledge what is true

For every life is precious
A gift from above
Let’s not forget
Let’s stand for honesty
For love
For freedom
For those who have no voice
For the unborn
For the slave
For the unknown and ignored
Let’s stand for hope
For justice
For grace
Let’s walk humbly
Toward the God of our redemption
Toward the hope of tomorrow
Let’s not forget
Let’s change the future

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.

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).


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!


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

aka The Kinneret

IMG_14691 (1)


ארץ ישראל:


"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!


Pictures & Passages (Israel)

The view of the Kotel from the overlook
The Wailing Wall

There were lots of pictures taken on this trip. Between my brother, my friend Melanie, and me, there was almost always a photo being snapped as we toured the Land.

Photographing the photographers!
Photographing the photographers! :)

It’s always good to find a balance when traveling though, and at times I purposefully left my camera behind, so I would enjoy the sights without staring through a lens. But, alas, pictures and videos are the best for saving memories, and they’re also perfect for sharing with others. So quite often I had my little point-and-shoot on hand, because you just never know when you’ll discover something beautiful.

Israeli Flower

Here are some pictures and passages.

Feast of Tabernacles

Dwell in booths for seven days; all who are natives of Israel dwell in booths, so that your generations know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am יהוה  your God.’” (Leviticus 23:42-43)

These booths (Sukkot in Hebrew) are set up all over Jerusalem outside restaurants and homes. Many of them are decorated elaborately, and at night you can hear the families gathered inside, singing in Hebrew, chanting prayers, or talking to one another.

These booths (Sukka in Hebrew) are all over the city.
Photo by Melanie

For in the day of evil He hides me in His booth; in the covering of His Tent He hides me. (Psalm 27:5)


It's estimated that 100,000 people have come to Israel for the festival!

It’s estimated that 100,000 people came to Israel for the festival!

Thus said the Master יהוה, “Once again I shall let the house of Israel inquire of me to do for them: I shall increase their men like a flock.“As a set-apart flock, as the flock at Jerusalem at her appointed times, so shall the wasted cities be filled with flocks of men. And they shall know that I am יהוה.” ’ ” (Ezekiel 36:37-38)

Thousands gathered to hear the priestly blessing at the Wailing Wall.

Thousands gathered to hear the priestly blessing at the Wailing Wall.

The Jerusalem March went up the street across from where we were staying. It was amazing to see thousands of Christians from around the world showing their support for Israel.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion exult in their King. (Psalm 149:2)

These gentlemen brought smiles to our faces as they bursted out singing in the Old City.

Walking through the Arab bazaar is like walking through a kaleidoscope, with shops overflowing with zillions of shiny and colorful trinkets for sale. It’s quite different than shopping in the United States, since the shop owners expect you to haggle for the price that you want. Sometimes you have to walk away to get them to lower the price enough. You can get a good deal if you play it tough. ;)

“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase. (Proverbs 20:14)

Photo by Melanie

Sweet Home Alabama followed us there!

We have no idea how this shop got its name. :)

I loved the delightful umbrellas hung above this street. :)

I just LOVE the umbrellas on this street! :)

The Galilee

And He began to teach again by the sea, and a large crowd was gathered to Him, so that He entered into a boat, to sit in the sea. And all the crowd was on the land facing the sea.” (Mark 4:1)

This tour boat on the Galilee is called the “Jesus Boat.” From the shores of Capernaum, we could hear the Christian music they were playing.

The Galillee

And they went into Capernaum,  and immediately on the Sabbath He went into the congregation and taught. (Mark 1:21)

This is an ancient synagogue at Capernaum.


 “And you, Capernaum,  who are exalted to the heaven, shall be brought down to the grave. (Luke 10:15)

We have only the remains of this city today, just as Yeshua prophesied.


En Gedi

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. (1 Samuel 24:1-2)

This is one of the many waterfalls at Ein Gedi (an oasis in the Negev desert). I can see why David and his men hunkered down here!

One of the many waterfalls at Ein Gedi (an oasis in the Negev desert)

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of יהוה ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God “See, I am doing what is new, let it now spring forth. Do you not know it? I am even making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. “For יהוה  shall comfort Zion, He shall comfort all her waste places. For He makes her wilderness like Ěḏen, and her desert like the garden of יהוה. Joy and gladness are found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of song. (Isaiah 40:3)

There were lots of ibex in the park. Isn’t this one adorable?

Ibex! :D

The Garden Tomb

“He is not here, for He was raised, as He said. Come, see the place where the Master lay.” (Mathew 28 6)

The tomb

This is said to be the Garden Tomb. It is one of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem. Wafting through the air was the sound of a tour group from Africa singing “It is Well With My Soul” in their native tongue.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)


!ישוע חי! עם ישראל חי

{Yeshua (Jesus) is alive, the people of Israel are alive!}

I hope you have enjoyed this mini tour of Israel,  and I hope that one day God will make a way for you to visit His Land too. Pictures truly don’t do it justice. There’s no place on earth like Israel, and no other city like Jerusalem. Out of all the earth, this is where Yahweh has placed His Name forever. It’s where Yeshua walked,. It’s where Bible stories come alive.

It’s also where tension and terrorism is raging right now.

Walls of JerusalemLet us never forget to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the House of יהוה.”
Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Jerusalem is built
As a city that is bound together,
Where the tribes have come up,
The tribes of יהוה,
A witness to Israel,
To give thanks to the Name of יהוה.
For there the thrones of right-ruling were set,
The thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
Let those who love You be at rest.
Peace be within your walls,
Rest in your citadels.
For the sake of my brothers and companions,
I say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the House of יהוה  our God
I seek your good.



Beauty in the Land

I admired all the beautiful flowers! :)

“For יהוה your God is bringing you into a good land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise יהוה your God for the good land He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).

I am so thankful to Yahweh for the opportunity to visit that good land.

Here’s some of the beautiful things:

Sabbath in Jerusalem
Jerusalem honors the Sabbath unlike any other big city in the world, and that’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

The market on the Sabbath
The market on the Sabbath

Visiting a Messianic Synagogue
The congregation was overflowing with believers form all over the world. There was such diversity, and yet so much unity. The teacher talked in Hebrew. Someone in the congregation translated into English (for which I am very thankful!). A lady sitting in front of me took notes in Chinese,  and a lady behind me quietly translated the teaching into Norwegian for her friends. His message was themed on Joshua 1:7–“be strong and courageous”–and how we should not fear death. It was especially powerful considering that it was preached at the  start of this recent wave of hostilities in the Land. There was such peace in all of our hearts as we sang familiar hymns and Hebrew songs together, including some of my favorites: Ram Venisa, Come Thou Fount, and Blessed Assurance

The sandy hills of the Judean Dessert
Not only was the desert picturesque, it was also fascinating to see Bedouin dwellings, camels, and shepherds leading their flocks of sheep, as we drove along the highway. It reminded me of Yeshua calling Himself the Great Shepherd, and explaining that we are the sheep of His pasture. Suddenly 2,000 years seemed so much closer.

Judean Desert

Washing clothes by hand
Okay, so this might sound like an odd “beautiful thing,” but I felt like a real Israeli as I washed my clothes by hand in the apartment where we were staying. The kitchen window was open and I could hear Jerusalem outside and breathe its dry air. (Any time that I get to feel like a native, it’s a beautiful thing.)

The worker who loved his work
He was an older man, with a gentle smile, kind eyes,  and a peaceful countenance that defied the noise and hustle of the open-air market. I could tell that he delighted in his job as he slowly selected the carrots, oranges, apples, or pomegranates–whatever we requested–to press into juice. He told us how it was good for our health, and seemed to get as much pleasure in serving us and as we did in sipping that delicious fresh-pressed juice.

Israeli flowers
I love how many beautiful flowers there are in Israel, especially considering that it’s in a desert climate.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” (Isaiah 35:1a)Flowers

Reading Hebrew
This was my first trip to Israel since learning how to read Hebrew. It was exciting to read the signs and labels and be immersed in a culture where Hebrew is the native language. Note to self: I should have learned to read a long time ago! (It’s actually quite easy.)

Fellowshipping in the park with friends
When family in Messiah from all over the world gathers in His city at His festival to worship Him, it’s the most beautiful thing of all! Here’s one of the songs we sang together (led my James Block).

P.S. If you’ve never heard James Block’s music, I’d highly recommend you do. He mostly sings the Psalms and returns God’s Hebrew names to the text.

Life, Jerusalem, & Prayer


My goodness, y’all, I don’t know where to begin.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Life has been busy and blessed, and I’ve been taking more time to cherish this thing called “life” rather than write about it. Sometimes it’s good to take a break, but I’m looking forward to sharing about the many things that Yahweh has been doing in my life.

A few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity of celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in Jerusalem with some of my family and many friends from around the world.

We joined a group of believers for an amazing time of prayer for the Land of Israel (It was hosted by Cry for Zion)
We joined a group of believers for an amazing time of prayer for the Land of Israel. (It was hosted by Cry for Zion.)

It was a good trip, with lots of sightseeing and memory making (it was my brother’s first time in the Land.).

It’s hard to describe a trip to Israel. It’s not like a normal “vacation,” because Israel is different than anywhere else in the world. Every time I’m there, it’s life-changing. This time one of the lessons that hit home with me is that I need to be praying for Israel more than I have been.

The Wailing Wall

While I was there I felt the tension in the air. Psalm 122–“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”–takes on a deeper meaning when I’m standing in its streets, when friends talk of the riots that raged outside their hostel, when an ambulance speeds past, and when news reports are from just up the road.

Since flying back to the States, the tension in Jerusalem has risen drastically. Places where we  felt safe a few weeks ago have now been affected by terrorism. Kotel Overlook

So often in the States, I live my life without standing for Israel like I should. It’s during these times when Israel is in distress that I feel the most unhelpful. But there is one thing I can do–something any of us can do anywhere–pray.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch. (Isaiah 62:1)

During my Bible reading, the promises to Israel have been jumping off the pages. Yahweh has made a covenant with Israel, and He never breaks his covenants. He has promised to give the Land of Israel to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob forever; and He is faithful to His Word. He has not forgotten His Land, and we shouldn’t either.


But I want to do more than just pray for Israel. And as I seek the Father, surely He’ll show me what to do. He has ways for all of us to stand for the Promise Land.

It is by His strength that Israel will become all that He has promised it to be.

“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
(Isaiah 65:18-19)

I long for the day when Yeshua Messiah brings peace to Jerusalem.

Those who trust in יהוה are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So יהוה surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.”
(Psalm 125:1-2)

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let those who love you be at rest.”
(Psalm 122)

In Remembrance

A memorial to Jewish soldiers who fought against the Nazis
A memorial to Jewish soldiers who fought against the Nazis

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I don’t quite know what to say…

But I must say something.

There are horrible things that happen in this world. And sometimes I wonder why I am blessed to be alive and happy and to feel the sunshine kiss my face.

What makes me different than any of those six million lives that died in the massacre of the Holocaust?

Nothing really.

We are all just as human, just as loved by God, just as fragile and dependent on Him.

Life isn’t fair, and that is hard to understand.

The holocaust is atrocious. It’s a reminder of how wicked mankind becomes when we reject God and follow our sinful inclinations. But what I want to share today is not another graphic reminder of the horror that engulfed so many.

What I want to share is hope.

Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
Mount Herzl in Jerusalem (near the Holocaust Museum)

The Nazis tried to put an end to the Jewish people. But you know what?

They failed.

Israel is a living testament that the Nazis didn’t win in the end.

I’ve been blessed to visit that land several times. I’ve seen with my own eyes that Yahweh has returned the Jewish people to their home. I’ve walked in the streets of Jerusalem and heard the Hebrew language being spoken and songs being sung.

I’ve visited Holocaust museums in the Jerusalem, but after each dreadful visit, I’ve always stepped outside into the sunshine again to see Israel alive and well.

I’ve met Holocaust survivors and seen smiles on their faces. Yahweh can heal–somehow, someway.

I’ve heard stories of the courageous souls that defied Hitler. Some gave their lives. In every generation, there are those who will stand for justice. There are those that believe in hope.

The Wailing Wall

We live in a broken, sinful world, y’all, but Yahweh takes the brokenness and makes something beautiful in the end.

We can shake our fist at heaven or we can fall on our knees and let Him lift us up again.

He alone can give us hope.

As we remember the Holocaust, let’s also look at the future.

Let’s put our trust in the God of Israel.

Let’s remember hope.

Psalm 96

Independence Park in Jerusalem (6/14)
Independence Park in Jerusalem (6/14)

The day was June 7. It was the Sabbath, and a group of believers from all over the world had gathered at one of the main parks in Jerusalem. Kids ran across the grass and played in the bubbling creek under the trees while the adults sat on blankets in the sun and discussed Scriptures and current events. My dad shared a teaching on the book of Ruth, and then one of the ladies suggested we read Psalm 96.

“I read it last night,” she explained, “It’s such a lovely psalm.”

I tried to remember it, but nothing came to mind.

One of the men began to read it:

(Note: יהוה is the name of God, commonly pronounced as Yahweh)

Sing to יהוה  a new song,
Sing to יהוה, all the earth!
Sing to יהוה, bless His Name,
Proclaim His deliverance from day to day.
Declare His esteem among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

It began like so many other psalms, but from the beginning I was captivated by it.

For great is יהוה  and greatly to be praised,
He is to be feared above all mighty ones.
For all the mighty ones of the peoples are matters of naught,
But יהוה  made the heavens.
Excellency and splendour are before Him,
Strength and comeliness are in His set-apart place.

Perhaps it was within Jerusalem that the psalmist first sang these words. Perhaps that’s what caused them to come alive to me.

Ascribe to יהוה, O clans of the peoples,
Ascribe to יהוה  esteem and strength.
Ascribe to יהוה  the esteem of His Name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Bow yourselves to יהוה,
In the splendour of set-apartness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among nations, “יהוה  shall reign.
The world also is established, immovable.
He judges the peoples in straightness.”

I had memorized those verses years ago.

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Let all the trees of the forest then shout for joy,
At the presence of יהוה.

Creation itself was singing. I must join the chorus.

For He shall come,
For He shall come to judge the earth.
He judges the world in righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

The chapter stunned me. It’s a cliche, but at that moment I felt that the psalm had been written just for me. I had found my life motto. Psalm 96–it was the same number as the year I was born.

The psalm called me to sing for joy. It called me to ascribe the greatness of God. It called me to remember that justice conquers and truth still reigns.

I felt a tugging at my soul to be the singer that God called me to be. He had never explicitly told me “be a singer,” but he had been leading my heart in that direction for many years.

He was calling me to get over my stage fright, and sing praises in the company of others, not just myself.

But singing praises doesn’t just mean singing songs. It means living praises.

How we live is how we sing. Our lives are our greatest songs.

So let us embrace Psalm 96:

Sing to יהוה  a new song,
Sing to יהוה, all the earth!
Sing to יהוה, bless His Name,
Proclaim His deliverance from day to day.


 P.S. Thank you Elise for prompting me to share this story.