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)

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:

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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:

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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?

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.

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

IMG_4216

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?