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April 19, 2016

hiding the word in your heart


I've posted a few pictures on instagram where my hand had creeped into the shot and the scribbles on my hand were evident. People were commenting asking what it was and if I got a tattoo. Which I can see the confusion because they do just look like random letters haha! BUT this is actually what I have been doing to memorize scripture!

Looking back to last fall, I can see over and over again where the Lord was urging me to start really digging into scripture and start storing it away in my heart. I read it in a book, heard a friend talking about, then one of my friends told me how she would take a Bible verse and write down the first letter of every word on her hand. I had never heard of that! I thought it was brilliant though! So I decided I would start doing it. 

Boy does it work.

Christine Caine was speaking at Passion and something she said really stuck with me. She said:

"The truth will set you free, but only the truth that you know."

Wow.

The Bible is full of truth, but if we are not searching out that truth it is useless for us.

I find myself so often falling into the the lies of the devil. Living in a fallen world we are constantly being fed those lies, through media, t.v., even ads. Especially as girls, we are being told we need to look like this or dress like this or be like this, and if not then something is wrong with us.

With all the lies coming in, we have GOT to have truth coming in so we can combat those lies!

The enemy is feeding me these lies just like anyone else, but lately he's been hitting me hard with something I finally realized had a name: destination addiction. Moving away from home has been really hard for me. I have been extremely overwhelmed from the craziness of life. I was constantly saying, "Oh I can't wait to be back home for Christmas, then I will be happy again", "Oh I can't wait to be back home for summer, then I will be myself again." And although I am excited to be going back home soon for summer (I mean who isn't?!), I realized I was basing my happiness off of a place. Then it hit me- I do not want to be happy, I want to be joyful. Happiness is based off of circumstances, while joy is a gift from God.  Though we may not be happy about some situations we find ourselves in, we can still be joyful no matter what because of Christ! John 10:10 says, "The thief comes in to steal, kill and destroy..." The devil sure was coming in to steal my joy. 

I say all of this to show you what my verses were combatting. The main things I was focusing on were joy and calming my anxious, overwhelmed heart.  

"You make known to me the path of life and in your presence there is fullness of joy; at you right hand are pleasures forever more." -Psalm 16:11

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and  petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6&7


 There is something in the Bible for anything that you could be struggling with. We have all just got to learn to turn first to the Word for out truth instead of other places. Find your truth and then dwell on it. That is the thing about writing it on your hand. I love highlighting verses in my Bible, but once I shut my Bible and go on with everyday life that verse is out of sight and out of mind...I simply forget about it! But, obviously my hands are always with me. I cannot help but see the letters on my hand and then I am reminded of that truth. It helps me focus more on God and when I am focused more on God, I am more focused on long-term things and not as concerned with the trivial short-term problems that are what are making me anxious or upset.

John Luke just said today, "Ya know, society is focusing on the short-term, but we as Christians have to be focusing more on the long-term. 

I have challenged myself to memorize more scripture, and not only memorize it but store it in my heart. I want to challenge you to try it! Try it for a week. Write it on your hand. It does not have to be a super long verse, but just a verse that you can find encouragement in. Sometimes I'll have a different verse everyday, or I may write the same one over and over again for a week....whatever fits your need best.

I hope this week you can know just how crazy God is about you and how He is there for your every need. 






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April 2, 2016

KJ Swimmers Giveaway



Taking it back to Israel again!

My friend Kortni Jeane over at kortnijeane.com set me and my friends up with some fabulous swimmers for our trip to Israel. We had the BEST time at the Dead Sea running around in them...well floating...and then to the mud baths haha. They are so cute, but also super comfy. I wear mine for all kinds of water-related occasions, whether that be going to the beach, the lake, or just swimming at someone's house, but they are especially good if you are on a school-related or church-related trip, because they are also really modest! I sure wish I would have had one of these for all those years at church camp haha. 

So, KJ and I have teamed up and want to give two of my followers a swimmer of their choice!
One giveaway is on my instagram and the other is right here on thelittleduckwife. So if you enter on instagram and also enter on my blog you double your chances!

So to enter HERE on my BLOG:

1. Make sure you have already entered on instagram by following @marykaterob and @kortnijeane and tagging two friends in the comment section on my latest photo on instagram.

2. Leave a comment on my blog telling me the craziest adventure you plan to take your swimmer on this summer if you win! (I want to hear what everyone has got going on...whether you are traveling the world with it or doing something adventurous at home!)

The contest will end Monday at midnight and the winners will be tagged in my post on instagram and we will reach out to you.

HAVE FUN!




















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March 28, 2016

Spring Break in Israel


I have been home from Israel for nearly a week now (jet lag is real, guys...really real) and not a day has gone by where I don't wish I was still there. John Luke and I went with our school over spring break. So often during the day I find myself turning to John Luke and saying "I miss Israel." So let me tell you about Israel...

It. Israeli. Incredible.

To be 100% honest, before spring break school and test and life had gotten so overwhelming that I honestly never had the chance to wrap my mind around the fact we were going to Israel...it was more like "make it to spring break. make it to spring break." But now that we are back in the states, especially during my quiet time and when I am in the Word, I am just like "wow..I was there!"

A few things to note from Israel:

1. When people say Israel makes the Bible come to life, they are not kidding. I have had a thirst and desire for the Word like never before! One of my favorite things to see in Israel was seeing where places were in relation to other places. So when you are reading the Bible, you can understand how long it would have taken someone to walk from one town to another. 

2. Just because you are in the Holy Land, it does not make you any closer to the Lord. I kind of expected to just really have these super spiritual moments, but was not just experiencing it like I thought I would. A few days into the trip at one of our group meetings a girl spoke up and said she had not been feeling as in touch with Lord which was so crazy since we were in His chosen land (I was like "same"), then she said she realized that with our super early mornings, fully-packed days, and jet lag, had not been reading her Bible (I was like "same again".) I turned to one of my best friends and admitted how I had been feeling, and after talking to her and others, we all were in the same boat. So with that I realized this:

"There is no where in the world where you are closer to God and there is no where in the world where you are further from God...it's up to us!"

Which is a comforting thought because I can tell people, "Even if you never go to Israel, you can be just as close to God where you live than there." 

3. But even with #2 being said:

If you get a chance to go to the Holy Land...GO!

It will change your life.

After dropping our little pup off at training school (she's smart now!!), JL and I drove to D.C. to meet our group at Dulles airport. 


We flew from D.C. to Munich, where we had an 8 hour layover...

the boys and the girls had different ideas on how to spend their time haha.




This was the first thing I saw in Tel Aviv...and I don't know if it was from delirium caused by lack of sleep or what but I thought it was the funniest thing in the world.


We got to our hotel in Tel Aviv at about 3:00 a.m., were asleep by 3:30, and up at 5:30 a.m. :)

Our first stop was Joppa. This is where:

1. Jonah set off for Ninevah

2. Simon the Tanner lived.

3. The Cypress of Lebanon were delivered then transported to Jerusalem.


Simon's house.





Israel's main food groups:

shwarma

shwarma

shwarma

and 
falaffel

haha just kidding, but maybe ours!!













Day 2:

We went to Harrod's palace in Caeserea on the Mediterranean coast.

Complete with an amphitheater and (formerly) indoor swimming pool.

Lori and Rach are fearless and make me braver. They always want to make the most of their time at a place...
like trying to go "backstage" (underground) at Harrod's...
then finding bees are backstage haha.












After our time at Harrod's, we to a children's home and hung out with some fun kiddos!




From the children's home, we boarded the bus and went to Mt. Carmel.

Does that ring a bell?

Mt. Carmel is where Elijah called down fire from heaven during the competition with the god Baal to prove that the Lord is the one, true living God. 
(read the whole story in 1 Kings 18)

From this mountain top, you can see the mountain where the transfiguration happened (the hump-like hill in the middle...a little foggy.)



Day 3

We started the day off on the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus preached his famous sermon on the mount. That is the sea of Galilee in the distance. This was one of my favorite places we went! It was so cool to look out and see birds flying and see wildflowers and know that that is was Jesus was looking at when he said 

"Consider the birds of the air...consider the lilies of the field."

mind=blown

(you can read more about that in Matthew 5-7)

And when some pretty flowers caught our eyes, we may or may not have snuck off to pick a few ;)










From here we drove down to the Sea of Galilee and went to the place where Jesus fed the 5,000. 
(found in Matthew 14:13-21)

Fun little sidenote for ya:
When it says 5,000 it is only counting the men...so in addition to the 5,000 you have to add all the women and children!

There is a stone with a church built around it and it is said that this is where Jesus stood as he fed everyone. It is chained off and under an altar. We learned that if you make friends with the friendly nun, she might just let you go back and touch it!


FINALLY...we made it down to the actual Sea of Galilee itself!
This is the same body of water that Jesus walked on!!
(you can read about that in Matthew 14:22-33)

But a little bit of what our brilliant professor talked about...

Jesus came towards the disciples walking on water with the wind and waves and all. The disciples were afraid because they thought he was a ghost.  Peter said, "Lord, if it is you, let me come to you", and Jesus said, "Come." Peter began to walk to him on the water, but soon became afraid and started to sink. He cried out for Jesus to save him. Jesus said, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt me?"

The circumstances did not change... Peter just became scared. No matter WHAT is going on in our lives, God never understands us not trusting Him. He understands our storms and our emotions, but He never understands our lack of trust in Him. 









From here we went to Caperneum where we saw the temple and where Peter's mother lived.




Lunch. Good. 


That night we went to the Jordan River...aka where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist!
(Jesus' baptism can be found in Matthew 3:13-17)

Many of us chose to be baptized here! I have been baptized before, but was just so neat to make a public proclamation of my faith in the very waters where my Savior was baptized!



Day 4

Back to the Sea of Galilee in Tiberius.
 We started our morning off with a devotion and worship on the side of the Sea and it was so beautiful. 


Afterwards, we took a boat ride in a boat that was made to be a replica of the boats they had in Jesus' day!

During the boat ride, we all really enjoyed feeding the birds while they blasted classic contemporary worship songs and we sang at the top of our lungs.

At one point, we turned off the motor and had time to meditate in the middle of the sea

Then on the way back, we celebrated the birthday of our new friend, Brooke, with an Israeli-style dance party!
I mean, who many people can say they had a dance party on the Sea of Galilee.








From Tiberius we had a nice little drive to Nazareth. It included a beautiful sunset and iced coffee (or coffee milkshake...still no idea).


Day 5

Here is Nazareth! We went to a village that had been set up to show what it was like to live in Biblical times. We met this sheep that reminded me a lot of the goat in the former picture.

Interesting fact I learned here.

You know how only royalty wore purple? Well that is because the purple dye came from sea snails! It took a lot more work to catch enough of these to use, so only royalty could afford this.


Day 6

We went to David's palace! I have been reading through 1 and 2 Samuel lately so it it so neat to be able to have somewhat of an idea of things in my head now!

This is a view from the palace looking out into Jerusalem. You can easily see how David would have seen Bathsheba bathing on the roof...crazy huh!?


Then we went into the inner city and saw the temple. This actually turned out to be one of my favorite places.




So these very steps are the steps Jesus walked up. These are the steps where the Holy Spirit descended. And this is the place (Mt. Moriah) where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac.

So cool to see how the Old and New Testament go together. 

(read Acts 2 about the Holy Spirit descending)
(read Genesis 22 about Abraham and Isaac)





Love hummus.






When we were in the inner city of Jerusalem we got to go through this really neat market.





The "Wailing Wall" is the west wall of the temple and is where people go to do just that: wail.

And pray. I just prayed. :)


Day 5

The Garden of Gethsemane

This is where Jesus went before he was taken away by the Romans to be crucified. He was in so much agony thinking about what would happen to him, that while he was here praying to his father, he began to sweat drops of blood.

(you can read about it in Matthew 26:36-46)







After spending time walking around the garden and listening to our professor preach, we went to a The Holocaust History Museum, Yad Vashem. We only had an hour there, but you really need about 5 or 6. There is so much to learn there and so much to take in. Honestly it was one of my favorite places we visited. This is a picture of the forest surrounding it. 



From here we went to The Garden Tomb. There is the traditional place where they believed the crucifixion and burial occurred and then there is this one which was discovered more recently. 


Golgotha is where Jesus was crucified. (You can read about that in Matthew 27 and specifically the place in verse 33). But we learned that Golgotha means skull, and Calvary means skull. It speaks of "the place of the skull" in the Bible and take a look at this picture. Can you see the eyes?

A man discovered this from his hotel room while staying in Israel. Its a little hard to see from the angle of the picture, and over time of course has deteriorated. But click here to see a picture from earlier.


Easter seemed to be extra special this year after visiting the empty tomb! The sweet people who work this place actually let us stay past closing time so our group could have the garden to ourselves. We were able to read from the Bible, sing worship songs, and take communion.




Day 6

On the 6th day of our trip we went to Bethlehem, which is the town where Jesus was born! 
(you can read about that in Luke 2:1-20)

This is actually the oldest church in the world, which is built upon the place where Jesus was born.





Day 7

This was one of my favorite days!!

We started the day driving down toward the Dead Sea. 

Our first stop was where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by shepherds!



 See that tiny (well tiny from here) hole, thats about where they were found!







We left here and went to Masada. I had never heard the story of Masada before, and it really is quite incredible. Its a little lengthy, so you can read about that here if you'd like! We had to take a cablecar to get to the top of the mountain! A little scary.









Then FINALLY we were at the Dead Sea!!! Definitely a highlight of the trip. So the amount of salt in the water is crazy. There is so much that you actually float. I was expecting that coming into the trip, but experiencing it is a whole other thing! You just become like a little buoy and can't help but stay up...it was so cool!!!

But as fun as that sounds...
warning:
the salt crystallized at the bottom and basically turns the ground into shards of glass...so if you ever go, make sure to wear shoes! I learned the hard way :)
But totally worth it. 100%.




Then there are the mud pits which called for mud baths. Whoop whoop!


Israel was so amazing and this trip is something I will always remember so fondly. If I could have it my way, I think I would visit once a year. But until then, I'll just keep reliving it though my 1,000+ pictures.





Day 1 black sandals: here

John Luke's sunglasses: here

My sunglasses: here

My rain jacket: here

John Luke's rain jacket: here

Mine, JL, Rach, and Lor's swimmers: Kortni Jeane! here


































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