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.
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)
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.”
His heart is for Israel.
With so many people in the world standing against Israel today, we must stand up for this Promised Land.
I want to open my heart and let His Word speak truth.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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 3:1on 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.
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).
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).
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).
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.
No promises as to how often I’ll be posting, but I do hope to post more regularly.
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.