We Have Heard That He Is With You

WE Have Heard that He Is With You “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the  Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.’ This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.”

{Zechariah 8:20-23 NIV}

This is one of my favorite images of Scripture. People running towards God and his people, for they had heard of how good he is. For this God, chose to show his love and favor on the people of Israel, caring for them like a tender shepherd, guarding and  guiding them. The nations around them took notice when his people lived out worship to the one who was good to them. It stirred their hearts as they watched a showcase display of God’s love in action, calling to the them to ‘Come and See that The Lord is Good.’

So good in fact, so strong and full of tender loving care, that the people surrounding them, hung on to them, ‘take me with you, let me see your God, let me find him, I can see he is with you’.

What a stunning thought, that God is so good, and he has designed his story that people who don’t yet know him would see his love on display through us, and most perfectly in his son, who declares with all he is and all he has done, ‘Come and see that the Lord is good’.

Love, Grace and the beautiful goodness of God for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

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

Because He Hears Me

Psalm 116“I love the Lord for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” {Psalm 116:1-2 NIV}

He turned up, at a time you would no expect anyone to turn up, or have anyone able to help, when he was all there was left. More than that, he was the one first there and best to help and also the last left, when everyone else was gone. In those moments when he turns up and transforms pain to testimony, when he hears the whisper in the quiet place that no one else hears. A soft word that asks for help, a call for a savior. When the God of heaven shifts his gaze, his ear attentive to your greatest need. In that moment, you really know the relief of his power and goodness.

What a sweet relief it is, to know the help of  Jesus the forever Prince of Peace, to not be left, stranded and alone. What comfort to know that you are seen, known and loved just as you are, whatever you face,  because he loves you, because he is good, you have the ear of the Eternal King.

And I cannot help but love him in those moments. Filled with a forever gratefulness for the way he listens, the way he turns up to rescue, like a light that shines in the darkness, the one who really sees and really hears.  His love and care minister to me, assuring me that he can be trusted, for the one who is faithful and true, I can call on for all my days.

His help does not make me weak but strong. It means that whatever has happened, whatever lays ahead, there is one I can call on and he always listens, ready to bring help, because of him I am never alone. My voice is not lost in a multitude of need and noise, he turns his ear to me, he turns his ear to you. For whatever you face this day, whatever you have faced, the one who orders the stars, he who aligns the planets and causes oceans to roar loves to listen to you, and holds salvation in his wings.

Love, Grace and a still small voice for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

This is Day 26 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

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

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

The Darkest Place

StormMy reflections on {Luke 23:44-49 NIV} 

In the darkest place people gathered to witness the Son of God breathe, until his breath was gone.

As light grieved the murder of creation’s hero, his friends, even the women, stood at a distance.

As the dwelling place of God with man was broken, Jesus worshiped, singing the Song of Israel and committing Himself to the care and strength of his Father.

{The song he whispers is found in Psalm 31:1-5 NIV}

And the first to truly see in the darkest moment of earth’s history was the one closest to him. The Centurion, this man with blood on his hands was the first to speak praise, as Jesus uttered his final words.

That day. To see the sun, creation’s first, hide at the most terrible moment, to feel the silence of his friends and to hear the confusing sound of chests being beaten. Like earth retreats from the Calvary moment.

Then to witness the first and most unexpected worship from the soldier who stood alongside him. The sound of the coming Kingdom, where all people stream to the one who gives life abundantly. This soldier a sign, standing next to the cross, that all are welcome to know Him. All are welcome to His salvation. There is none so far. None so close.

This terrible day. As the dust caught the blood of the who had fashioned it. As a tree held the weight of the Prince of Peace. As the sky refused to hold over a betrayed Savior. Jesus answered the question of “Save yourself” with a simple no. And as he died, I lived for the first time. All my failings, all the times I have been failed, dying with him. In the place where he refused to save himself, he saved me.

Love and Grace for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 10 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Two Men

man fenceJesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord,“Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” {NIV Luke 19:1-10}

This man of wealth runs ahead of Jesus, just to get near him. Life filled with possessions anxious to see the one people were flocking too, he climbs a tree. 

Just before this story Jesus walks by a man sitting in the dust on the roadside. A blind man begging hears Jesus and calls for him. ‘Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!’ {Luke 18:35-43}

Two men, side by side in the story. Both desperate to see Jesus, one rich and up a tree, the other poor and sitting in the dust. Jesus stops for both of them. This Jesus they were looking for, declares that he came to ‘seek and save the lost’ {Luke 19:9}

These men, lost from Him, forgotten by his people, but precious to Him. These men who should have been cared for. One sits in the dust as the people walk by him, silencing his pleas. The other at the invitation of Jesus stirs the unholy mutter of disapproval.

But the writer mentions the name ‘Son of David’, and all the whispers of the old promises begin to fill and bring depth to the story.

“I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See I have made him a witness to the peoples,  a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God the Holy one of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near”

{Isaiah 55:3-5 NIV} 

The man in the dust calls to this ‘Son of David’ while he is near, Zacchaeus runs to him, and Jesus the ‘Holy one’ bestows on them splendor. He restores the sight of the blind man and he eats with the ‘sinner’. Calling back the people, scouring the earth for those lost and helping them find their way back to him.

Two men, none with so much that he cannot save, none with so little that he cannot love. Still the same today. Always an invitation to know him and be welcomed in, those with much and those with little. 

Love, Grace and More of Jesus for your day

Rachel x 

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 6 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Through The Church

Let The Church

“His intent was that now , through the church,  the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Ephesians 3:10-12 {NIV}

This image of the church speaks deeply to my heart. The intent of God and his heart for the church that she would display his MANIFOLD wisdom. His deep, wide, over and beyond wisdom of the ages. He would choose the church to be the one to preach, display, embody and make known his wisdom. He chose the church, the messy, imperfect, beautiful church. 

She not only gets to make known his wisdom on earth to all people, but the church preaches, makes known, displays his MANIFOLD wisdom to the heavenly courts. She is on display and through her he shows his wisdom. This was not his wisdom that was reacting to a problem. No, this was wisdom of ages past, eternally thought through, planned and purposed before the first creation breath. He chose her, he loves her, he purposed her to display his beautiful and perfect wisdom.

She can display his wisdom because it was accomplished in Christ. Jesus is the manifold wisdom of God. The church displays and makes known Jesus’ rule and reign, that is her mandate, her calling.

She makes known his grace that says there is none so far that God will not draw near, there is none so broken that he cannot heal, none so lost that he cannot find, none so low that he can not lift high, none so far that he can not reach, none so abandoned that he can not love, none so taken that he can not redeem, none so damaged that he can not make new. The love and wisdom of Christ shows that he is not far off, he is close in saving.

It is in Jesus and through faith in Him that we can approach, walk up, be in his presence, speak to and hear from the Creator.

Heaven watches as the Sons and Daughters of God {the church} draw near to Him, they watch and marvel at the story. They look on and see that He brought her in, so that she might know him and the gates to his presence were opened with the sacrifice of Heaven’s King. He then gives her this story to tell, he whispers to her; now what you have seen, what you know, go and tell, I will be ever with you, and the court of heaven watches as she displays all that has been given to her in Jesus.

Love, Grace and Strength for your day

Rachel x

The Prettiest Days

The Prettiest Days

“The Whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.”

Psalm 65:8 (NIV)

One of my favorite things in the whole world is a foggy morning, a world draped in mist. The smell, the feel, the veiling of all that you can normally see creating suspense at the arrival of it’s view. I could sit and watch rain and fog for days. I like to credit it to my English heritage that has given me a natural affection for what others would deem miserable weather.

These are the prettiest days.

My beautiful daughter has embraced my love of foggy days and can be heard from her bedroom screaming my name “MUM, MUM it’s a foggy morning, you’re gonna’ love it!!!”. She runs around the house awaking the family to the dawn of a day covered in fog like it’s Christmas, she then hustles me beside her to sit and take in the beauty.

The beauty on these days, is always her heart that outshines even the prettiest foggy morning. She has a way of celebrating with you what you love and declaring with joy unbridled, that the creator has in fact created a perfect day. {Truth be told, she will also make up songs and sing them, very loudly}.

She teaches this verse to me, heaven’s whisper in a little girl’s exuberant smile. His creation calls forth in her, songs of joy. She feels no need for quiet pondering solitude, bless her, but only joy shared and declared.

She is a worshiper of her Savior at heart.

She reminds me of childlike faith, Small and Big all at once.

Looking at the world and seeing the fingerprints of her creator all over it and in return offering him praise, declaring his goodness to all within her scope and means. This Girl is Strong, and it runs in her family. Her strong and creative God made her, just like she is, on beautiful purpose and I am blessed, because I get to be her Mum.

Strong, good things await her as she continues to grow into all He has prepared for her. I am praying faith filled days ahead of her, praying that she never loses her heart for people, or her deep joy. As her mum I consider it my mandate to speak these words of truth, hope and strength over her, that she might always know my love for her and deep belief in her.

Love, Grace and a Misty Morning for your day

Rachel x

He Makes my Feet Like the Feet of a Deer

Habakkuk 3“The Sovereign Lord is My Strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

This has been my verse this year.

A few years ago I was encouraged by a good friend of mine to have a verse for the year, I wasn’t totally sure how to go about it, or if I could be that committed to a small thing for such a long time. Normally that kind of pressure detail turns my brain inside out, but I wanted to try it. I don’t know that there is a particular science to this, so I prayed about it until I felt that prompt of the Spirit that said, this is it. Each year this small thing has been such a huge blessing to me.

Habakkuk 3:19 has been so incredibly special to me. I began the year with what seemed a challenge I would have to work hard to meet. Going back to full time work with 3 kids, 2 at school and 1 starting preschool whilst still supporting Shane in ministry. Not to mention my job, which is full of challenge as all jobs are and quite frankly one of the big reasons why I love mine.

This verse has framed my year in remembering the strength of God to help when it seemed beyond me.

One particularly challenging day I woke to read my bible. I was away at the time and got up early to pray because I knew what the day held. I use REAP as my bible plan and on that particular day the reading was Psalm 18, this passage also contains the same phrase. I couldn’t believe it! Tears rolled down my face as I considered God’s good timing. Of all the days, this was the day I got to read a simple verse that had brought me comfort all year.

Later that evening as I was going to bed I heard a weird noise and looked up, standing on the grass in front of me were a herd of deer, {seriously right! of all the times, in all the ways} the noise that had startled me was their feet. They all looked up. It’s safe to say I stood crying for a minute as I again considered the sweet nature of God and thanked him for framing my day in his strength and comfort, reminding me that he is good and he always brings help.

Love, Grace and Strength for your day

Rachel x