He Has Done Great Things For Her

Like those who dreamed“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. those who go about weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

{Psalm 126 NIV}

This people, oppressed, unsafe, weeping and without hope were transformed with the mighty act of the saving power of God, and her whole frame changed. Her stance changed from one bowed down with suffering to one who stands tall in health and strength. Joy and Worship flowed from the lips of the people as they declared the good things God had done for them with unbridled praise. From the low place,  she was brought high because of the loving arm of the Father.

This is the same song of God’s people today, the same words we utter and stand together with this people of Israel. Our God has restored us, he has brought salvation and strength in his Son Jesus and in the power of His Spirit he has brought life back to our bones, we are like those who laugh and are filled with joy because of the great things he has done.

As we declare his faithfulness to us, as we live out the praise of God by bearing testimony to the great things he has done for us as a people, and in our own lives. As we live with joy, because he has been so good to us, as we live lives of worship, the nations, those around  us will see Him. They will see that He is the one who has changed our lives, He is the one who transforms and saves, he is the one who brings good, He is the one who can change sorrow to joy.

For me, the people of God changed my world, the church is not perfect, but He is, and the beautiful people of God showed me love, hope and joy in Him, that without their faithful witness I would never have known. This song of Israel I love, it is true in my life, where there was sorrow He has brought peace, what has been sown in tears He has returned with joy.

Real joy. Saved into the family of the one who my soul longed for, saved into His people who bring strength and love, saved into His ways that guide my life in hope, saved into a life of worship when my soul feels most at rest. When I was most alone, he made me a daughter of the King of Kings, for that I am forever thankful.

My challenge is to declare these truths with my life as I live out praise for the one who saved me. 

Love, Grace and Joy for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

This is Day 24 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

But Now I Have Seen You

Now I Have Seen You“Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I  despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” {Job 42:1-6 NIV}

I read this phrase over and over when I was younger, trying to understand why this righteous man Job, despised himself. Why did he repent in dust and ashes?

Job a righteous man, loses almost everything he has and through the chapters of the story we grieve as he puts words to loss. A whole book of the bible that plumbs the depths of one man’s grief, amidst the conversations of his friends and through the anguish of his prayers. A good man, in pain. A strong, upright leader who is crushed in grief. As his story is told we weep with him as he cries, as he loses sleep and as he questions every why.

Throughout the story, Job calls for God to turn up in order to be judged, like a scene in a grand court room. Though where could such a place exist? Where could there be such a place, that the God of Heaven could stand and await judgement? Yet, he turns up. He responds, but his answer is immeasurable, he bends low, but his knowledge is too great, his understanding limitless.

There is no courtroom big enough to hold the one who created the scales of justice, not even earth could hold him, for it is under his command. He who orders the sea, has watched the angels shout as the morning stars sang, he who captures storms has ordained the wisdom of creation,  he who breathes life into creation cannot be held by it.

And yet he who has no need to hold account, answers. He speaks, and as this storm of God roars, Job as he sees Him, can see himself more clearly. When in the presence of God, he sees who he really is, for he sees how big, good and powerful God is. To behold the God of the universe leads to repentance as we see our lack before his strength.

Of course He, who no courtroom could hold, who orders creation, subjected himself to judgement, on a wooden cross atop a dusty hill. So Calvary held Jesus, the saving one. The Son of God, who created the scales of justice, lowered himself to take what we could not, so that through faith in Him we could live. And as I see him there, as I see him for who he really is, I see myself more clearly and I too am led to repent.

Love, Grace and Hope for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 23 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

He is For You

Girl Pondering“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

It always comes back to this for me. This forever love that God promises. A safe place. A love that does not threaten, does not hurt, does not abandon, does not fade, does not wither, does not forget, does not give up, does not fail.

And he cannot fail. There will be no mistake, there is no I will love only up until this point, or only from when. This is the forever love that began before time and will last into eternity. This is the love of a father that cannot, will not and never has been shaken.

This is a to the ends of the earth and back again love, a love that pursues with care and strength. A love that bears a sacrifice. A love that sees you as you truly are, and not just the things we hope no one would notice, or that we worry if anyone did perhaps they would not care for us as much, but a loves that sees you for all you are and all you are made to be. All your strength, all your gifting, all your tenacity, all your courage, all your love and all your purpose.

Oh it’s true that Jesus loves us even though we fall short, and we so often focus on this, and well we should, for what a love that could bear hurt when he himself would never hurt. But he also loves all the things about us that he designed to bear his image in the world, every unique quirk of yours that showers blessing on others, he loves. He does not love us for those wonderful qualities he created, or only in spite of our failing.

He loves because He is love.

He cannot help but love, he cannot be stopped from loving, he is for you, more for you than perhaps we ever give ourselves reason to hope for. Jesus is so for you, he would die to save you.

Love and Grace for your day

Rachel x 

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 22 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Hope to the Valleys

Shepherd“The Lord is my shepherd, i lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. he guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” {Psalm 23 NIV}

His goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. There is no sometimes clause, no sometimes I will be good to you sometimes I won’t. This is the comfort of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. He loves, he cares and he will never leave. The Shepherd is the stronger one, he is the one who keeps safe those belonging to him.

He is not far off, and he shows me where to tread, it is not a surprise to him because he is guiding. He has purposed my steps and my life, and will use everything for good. There is no story outside of his care. No road walked that he has not traveled alongside, no path worn that he has not carried me through. He is the Shepherd that is walking me onward, leading me to rest, all the way home.

In this beautiful shepherd song he does not only promise the green pastures, beautiful ground rich with the image of peace and goodness. He does this incredible thing of making what is dark, and has every reason to cause fear, safe – because he is there. He promises not to leave, to stay and bring comfort and security even in the valley moments.

Wherever I go, his goodness and love pursue me. He blesses my days, even the days of challenge, perhaps on those days even more. For on those days I see him most clearly, I see that in those stories he is strong enough to be the one who holds, bringing light in the darkness, and in so doing brings hope.

The Chief Shepherd is the one who comes low to walk with his people. He does not stay far off, he journeys with his people, for he loves them. This is the story of a Shepherd King who brings hope to the valleys.

Love, Grace and Hope for your day

Rachel x 

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 21 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

This Treasure of Grace

Flower Gift“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not of 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 NIV}

We are not saved by them, but we are made for them. Our hearts long to do good work. To work in line with the purposes created within us that stir us to good action. That which calls us to stand on behalf of the homeless, the oppressed, the refugee, the broken. The calling to love and bring blessing to others, to give kindness and mercy to those who may even have hurt us, to give generously. To walk beside friends and family cheering them on as they run their race, to encourage and build others up so that they can be all they were made to be. To bring peace and joy to those we meet and are yet to meet, to offer shelter and exuberant hospitality.

All from a  gift. Given because the one who made us is good. This gift of Jesus that was completely His doing and not my own. This treasure of grace that says, you can be friends with the one whom your soul longs for, there is nothing that can be done to earn it, to him this faith, this relationship is a gift and it is completely from him. And yet this beautiful salvation gift, not only saves me for life forever with him, but is the very thing that stands my heart, my mind and my courage to attention. Help and grace are needed. He calls this beautiful action, as we see others in need, stirring our hearts as he is stirred. Positioning his people to be his bearers of grace.

As we live close to the one who is good, we are made strong to live a life that brings honor to him.  As we draw close to Him, knowing more of Him and every great thing He has done, good works become an outpouring in our life in the strength of the Spirit.

Love and Grace for your day

Rachel x 

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 20 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

The Roar Of His Voice

Ice Mountain“At this my heart pounds and leaps from its pace. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of His roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds he holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the Snow, fall upon the earth  and to the rain, shower, be a mighty downpour.” {Job 37:1-6 NIV} 

The roar of God, a majestic sound that moves the earth to action. Calling on the things of power with the voice of a King. If he reigns over the most powerful, then he really is Lord of all. If he can call that which no one can order into being, it is a display of his strength and rule. If he has rule over that which astonishes with its beauty, then He is lovely.

These verses have always brought the greatest comfort to me. Perhaps because if he is charge of all of these things, then surely he can be in charge of the things I can see, the things that cause fear, worry or doubt. This great God of the earth, if he tells lightning where to go I can trust Him with my small things, and even the big things. He knows more than I know, he controls more than I do, he sees more than I see and is stronger than all I know.

Yet he uses his power and strength in incredible ways, marvelous ways too great to understand. His greatest moment as he gave over his power as Jesus died, in what seemed a moment of weakness, brings life to any who would call on his name. Because He is powerful and He is good, I can let go and fully trust in Him. I can rest in his wisdom, power and provision that he uses to bring good on the earth.

It means on those days when fear threatens to whisper that perhaps I am not enough, perhaps I have made a mistake, perhaps things won’t go as planned, perhaps this is beyond me, perhaps this is more than I can bear. I can say ‘My God is bigger than this’. He is strong and good enough to bring help.

Love, Grace and Peace for your day

Rachel x 

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 19 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

In Faith

Faith is Confidence“Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” {Hebrews 11:1 NIV}

Faith in the end is an act of confident courage. A bold decision to BELIEVE and TRUST. Faith is this wonderful life altering position; it is a humble act that says I don’t have all the answers, there are some things I cannot see, but I know enough and I am stepping out with all I have. I am all in. 

From the first act of Faith that says this Jesus who has met me right where I am, in faith I will follow Him. I will trust Him that He is all He says he is, Lord, King, Savior, Friend, God. In Faith I give all that I have to Follow the one who gave all that he had for me. In Faith I believe what I cannot see. In Faith I believe that all I hope for, every promise is sure and I can trust His Faithfulness.

In Faith I believe that he made me on purpose, that He loves me and as I walk with Him I trust there are greater days ahead. In faith I believe that He did not save me to leave me, I believe that he has a calling for me to live like Him in this world, and as part of His church I have a uniquely crafted place where I can serve, bringing life and love to a people and world that God so loves. In faith I believe that as I live out my God given calling He will work and make the offering fruitful.

In Faith I believe that He is for me, that He loves me and that He has my life for eternity in His safe hands. In Faith I Believe that Jesus is my greatest treasure, even though I have not seen Him, In Faith I am confident that one day  I will see him face to face.

In Faith I believe that there is so much more than what I can see.

Love, Grace and Faith for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

  This is Day 18 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

My Soul’s Anchor

We Have This Hope

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19a NIV

Held firm and secure unswayed by the storm, established and purposed, forever secure in Jesus. He is the anchor of our eternity, the anchor of our relationship with the God of Heaven. This incredible promise of faithfulness to keep us forever safe in Him.  In His strength and forever promise keeping he holds on and holds firm, he will not let go, the one who calms storms, cannot be shaken, and as he stands firm, he holds us firm, every weakness made strong in Him. Our life anchored to the Forever Saving One is eternally unshakable.

“but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through Him; because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 6:24-25 NIV

He is the anchor because He lives forever, and he lives to intercede for us. This simply blows my mind. He loves to, He lives to intercede for me. He has made a way for me to be forever friends with God. This is what gives deep soul rest, deep security, deep strength.

Because whatever comes my way, whatever trial, whatever storm, whatever hardship, whatever loss, whatever is broken, lost or hurt, one thing will always remain. I am forever Loved by the Saving King of Kings and HE does not change. He Holds on to me, when I cannot hold on to Him, He Saves when I cannot save myself, He gives life even in the face of death, he is hope, when it seems lost. My soul is anchored in these truths. In the truth that Jesus really lived, really died and really lives again, forever to make a way to God for any who believe, ‘no mater what we have done or what we have become’ He always makes a way, because He is The Way.

No one lives unaffected by storms, myself included, things come that we never expected, did not want, and at times feel we cannot handle. The thing that anchors my soul in these moments is Jesus, who forever has saved me, and forever loves me and this can not change because of who he is, not because of who I am, when it all depends on Him, that hope is strong.

This day whatever comes, one thing is true, He is Good and he deeply Loves you.

Love, Grace and Hope for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

 This is Day 16 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

He Will Come To Us Like Rain

Rain

“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 NIV

Let us run back to him, let us run to Him and acknowledge who He is. Let us say, He is mine and I am His. Let us not give up. Let us walk toward Him and without fear. As we press on to acknowledge Him, we discover more of who He really is, more of the Father’s Heart, the character of the Son and the strength of the Spirit.

And his answer to us, when we run to him, will not be rejection or betrayal or indifference.

There are times I have felt this way. I know it’s not right, but when I feel like I have failed, I sometimes find it hard to approach God. Instead of leaning into his grace, I avoid Him altogether.

Sometimes we can imagine a response of God that fits with where we feel we have gone wrong. The greater the sin, the greater his anger, the greater our indifference then the greater His, the greater our rejection of Him, the more likely he will not accept us. We can imagine his response in equal measure to the way in which we feel we have failed or not given enough. We can feel like we have to earn the right to his favor.

But this is not who He is. None of these things are true. He is truly good all the time and we see his best when we are in our worst. We see the depth of His love, when we most fear we won’t receive it. We can’t earn the right to His favor, and he was so concerned about this He gave His son, that we would never need to.

When we run to Him and acknowledge Him, He doesn’t treat us according to our failings, he treats us according to Jesus’ perfection.  Like rain pouring into a weary land, the love of the Father pours over surely and steadily refreshing and making new. He is not waiting to reject, abandon or ignore, He is waiting, fully ready to love you. Before you could even ask, He had already prepared the way to show all His favor and love over you.

And as we lean in to his grace and kindness he will come to us like rain. Rain that causes the earth to be fruitful, strong and refreshed. His arrival is sure and steady, He will not fail you.

Love, Grace and Rain for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

 This is Day 16 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Illuminate The Way

photo-1431036101494-66a36de47def (1)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” {Psalm 119:105 NIV}

Sometimes I feel l like there is so much noise. So much to do, so much to know, so much to be a part of, so much potential, so much opportunity, so many arguments, so many opinions, so much talk. I love a good chat, and I love to listen, I can spend a whole day in conversation with a good friend, it’s like a hobby, I love to share stories with friends over a hundred coffees, but sometimes the world seems BIG and LOUD.

And when it seems big and loud, I want to sit by a campfire or near something equally soft and quiet with no words for a while, until I remember what it’s like for thoughts to ramble over again. What it’s like to think without the pressure of opinion or argument, just a moment of stillness.

‘More of Him, less of me’. These are the words that bring a deep calling lately. With so much noise, so much stuff, so much, of everything. The way to quiet the pace, is to listen to Him, holding my thoughts less about me and more about Him. With quiet strong words he stills the anxious sound of busy and confused.  His sweet words of Scripture that light the way ahead and guide when all seems dark, illuminating the way. His word speaking into every day and forever telling the story of Jesus the saving One.

Do not be afraid

He gives me new strength

I am with you always

Every word lighting the way to the one who is King of Heaven.

Love, Grace and More of Him for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

 This is Day 15 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x