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

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

Illuminate The Way

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“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

Church

Church“They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” {Acts 2:42 NIV}

I will never forget the first time I read this passage. I was sitting up the back of a bible college lecture and for the first time, this beautiful vision of the church and all she is and could be, came pouring over my thoughts.

Imagine a church like the stunning picture in Acts 2. Where those around her are not lacking, not hungry, not in need because she cares for them. Her heat beats as the Father’s does, because she is filled with His Spirit.

Imagine a church that found the Word of God such a joy and so deeply challenging they longed to learn from Him constantly, daringly committed to remember Jesus and all he gave to build her.

Imagine a church so passionately committed to each other they met with joy and grace each day. Filled with genuine love and delight to see each other to share their friendship and their homes.

Imagine those around her found love, grace and the Spirit’s power within her, so that in the strength of God she made a marked difference in the world around her. Not only would she make a difference but people would stream in to meet and know the Jesus who had made her so beautiful. A place of hope, truth and mercy.

Imagine a church God builds, a church he so deeply loves, that he calls to deliver his goodness and gave his Son to build. Imagine a church that believed this with all her heart and offered Him all her praise.  I love His church, I love the vision of the church God gave to us and I love that he loves His church even though she fails.

Love, Grace and Sweet Fellowship for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 14 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Song of Heaven

music“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:1-4

Our church is going through a vision series at the moment, and this is the passage of the week. We studied it in small group tonight, friends together sinking deep into the scriptures to know God more. These are the things that struck me as we read.

I want to seek his face always. This personal God who can be personally known. How profound that the bible tells us to seek after him, to look for him. Not just the truths about him, not just the doctrine, although these things are beautiful and good, but his face. That intimate knowing of God himself. Look for him, look for his strength, be ready for him and what he will do. Be ready for him to show up, to speak, to whisper, so that we can know him. Not just know about him, but really know him. Friends with the one who summons thunder.

A mandate to know him and to tell of him. And how can I not tell of him? Because to know him is to know how he has carried me. To seek his face is to see where he has been and what he has done, in every moment. Each story wrapped safe in Jesus, the one who saves, where we most beautifully see the face of God.

A precious girl friend once said to me, ‘when we sing praise to God, we are caught up in the song of heaven, we join with the angels forever singing’. I had never thought of it like that before. To Sing Praise is to join in the anthem of the story, to lift up the one who saves, to adore with all he has made, that he is good all the time. From this place of worship we declare his fame, seek his face and strengthen our hearts and the hearts of the gathered company on earth and in heaven.

I am so encouraged by this calling, so comforted that my God is not far off but wants to be known. My prayer is that I will forever seek him and forever find more of him.

Love, Grace and more of Jesus for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 13 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

How Beautiful on the Mountains

Girl

“HOW BEAUTIFUL ON THE MOUNTAINS ARE THE FEET OF THE MESSENGER BRINGING GOOD NEWS, BREAKING THE NEWS THAT ALL’S WELL, PROCLAIMING GOOD TIMES, ANNOUNCING SALVATION, TELLING ZION ‘YOUR GOD REIGNS! VOICES! LISTEN!” 

Isaiah 52:7 {The Message} 

The story of Israel the holy people of God, as told in the pages of Scripture, tell of a nation at times held captive by oppressors. Holding still, hoping for deliverance, waiting for a sign of life, for a break in the noise of terror that had become white noise to a broken people. Waiting… A displaced people, in a displaced land. Ruined.

Would hope turn up?  Would life make an entrance again? Was the strong arm of God long enough to save?

 Can you imagine what hope the words of Isaiah built in the people as this message dropped from his mouth. The kind of message that tingles up your spine and stiffens your resolve. Help will come, the waiting is measured and its end awaits a Good News announcement. A declaration of Salvation for us. Sweet words of Joy, peace is coming and the one true God will bring it.

And he did. He brought the news himself. It was not enough to merely send an announcement of peace and good news, Jesus, God himself would come and embody the message with dust on his feet. Humanity’s Hope, a King in a Manger announced to creation that there was now no more alone. The Saving one had come ‘God With Us’.

“WHEN THE LORD RETURNS TO ZION THEY WILL SEE IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES; BURST INTO SONGS OF JOY TOGETHER, YOU RUINS OF JERUSALEM, FOR THE LORD HAS COMFORTED HIS PEOPLE, HE HAS REDEEMED JERUSALEM. THE LORD WILL LAY BARE HIS HOLY ARM IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE NATIONS, AND ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF OUR GOD.”

Isaiah 52:8b-10

The Good News himself, God’s delivery of hope, the ‘Lord’s Arm’ walked through the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming peace and salvation, declaring the news that ‘all’s well’, reminding Israel that her ‘God reigns’. He declared this news in his words and in power when he healed people of their sickness, death, blindness and brokenness, when he whispered authority over creation to raging storms and bread itself. The hope of humanity walked to a cross, where the ‘arm of the Lord was laid bare before the nations’ and in a moment of seeming weakness bridged a divide impossible to cross through any other means. This cross showed earth the once for all Salvation of our God.

Hope’s Invitation to a relationship with God himself through the Sacrifice of Jesus. Good News and true Peace’s beginning opened on a Holy Mountain and showed the strength of God when death could not hold him and the one who spoke life rose again.

Love, Grace and Good News for your day

Rachel x

 Girl 31 LargeThis is Day 2 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x