My Strong Place

Rock“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” {Psalm 18:2 NIV}

This safe hiding place, a refuge from the coming storm, a quiet and strong place, he not only provides the shelter he is the shelter. He is my rock, my hiding place, where I find safety, strength and saving. In every season this has been true for me.

I love that David, the writer, sings this story, declaring God’s faithful hand over him, in all his days, in the days of running afraid and the days of a King’s strength. Though there were places to go and to hide, true safety was found in his God. Wherever he ran, nowhere was as safe as running into the one who made him, who cared for him, who knows him and loves him. With enemies on all sides, nowhere was stronger than the care of his God. Such peace to run to the arms of the one who made you.

Fear can at times cause me to want to run away, to give up, to lose heart. To consider tomorrow’s concerns before they have yet come to be. God has taught me in those very moments,  to run to him instead. To find strength in his never giving up, never running out love, he has reminded me as the one who holds salvation in his hands, that He is bigger than this. Bigger than what is not yet, bigger than what is and bigger than what could be.

I am found safe in Jesus, his forever saving strength, found safe because there is nothing outside of what he can do. He is bigger than any problem that may or may not come, he is bigger than my greatest need or fear. Because of his forever love for me I can rest and find shelter in him, the one who will never change and remain always the same.

Love, Grace and Hope for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

This is Day 29 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

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

This Widow

The Widow

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you”, he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth: but she out of her poverty put in all she had to  live on.” Luke 21:1-4 NIV

 In the story’s procession of the most vulnerable, a widow enters the pages of Luke. A small unnoticeable woman, in a small unnoticeable act is dignified in the presence of Jesus. Where others would use her vulnerability to exert their power, Jesus brings honor. He sees her heart and faith and declares it before the crowd. Echoing the words he had just spoken, he exalts the humble as he speaks of her generosity.

She didn’t have anything to bring, but she brought all she had, because she knew the one to whom she brought it. She loved and trusted the King of Heaven and her heart poured out to him with the last of her coins. Nothing to offer, nothing to bring, holding everything at the feet of the one who saves. And in her moment of generous invisibility, Jesus saw her.

Her gift was not demanded but rather given. Giving out of all she had was an act of dignity. She did not hold on to her last to keep her safe, she gave to the one already keeping her.  He allowed her to give, to minister an act of faith and worship. In her poverty she was not excluded from ministry, her offering as much an act love as the one who enabled her to give.

He did not make her weak but strong, he did not make her to fear but to live, to fully join with the community in declaring with all she had that her God is good and worthy to be praised. Her God is good and worthy to be trusted. She was not invisible as a widowed woman, he saw her strong heart.

I have lived with little and strength was found in giving, not in keeping. My prayer is that as I give worship to the one who my soul loves I would give fully, no holding back thankful for the strength to join in heaven’s song.

Love, Grace and Strength for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 8 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Worship – Declaring Salvation

Stars and Mountains“When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue. Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back;  the mountains leaped like rams the hills like lambs. Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why Jordan did you turn back? Why, mountains did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs? Tremble earth at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.” Psalm 114 {NIV}

The songs of Israel declare the good God of Israel, singing over and again of his goodness. Declaring salvation, telling his story intertwined with theirs, paused for a moment in wonder at his power. They remember fleeing, they remember their captors, they remember where they were, they can look back at the darkness of what was. Where they were lost, not at home, afraid. 

In this darkest moment they see his power on display in all his fullness. In the lonely hour he runs to their side and leads them out, walking them home to the place where he dwells with them, the loving Father King, from a land of oppression to a city of his strength.

They sing of the journey leading home, where the powerful God of Creation moved the mountains from their place, caused the ocean to run out of the way, and provided for them with water he broke from stone. Declaring to earth that he is God, that a move of his cannot be stopped, not by mountains, oceans or even his people, he always makes a way.

Now we sing that this same God of Israel moved heaven and earth to walk on the mountains he created, to stand on seas that would have moved out of the way for him, and to be held down on a hill, that would have bowed down had he let it.

Our worship declares our story intertwined with the saving one, we sing for the moment the earth held it’s breath. That moment where Jesus stood in the trembling place before the wrath of the Father. We sing because the trembling place did not last, it could not hold him, the earth where he laid could not keep the Saving One, death itself could not hold down the King of Heaven. The one who makes oceans run and mountains move, even moves the unmovable, death.

We sing like Israel of our journey home, the wonder of our rescue and the welcome into the House of the King. Singing through our still dark moments, recalling to ourselves and each other his goodness and his power and swiftness to help.

Love, Grace and Worship for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 4 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

Awake

Morning

Awake, awake Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the Holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck Daughter Zion, now a captive. For this is what the Lord says: “you were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.” {Isaiah 52:1-3 NIV}

Get ready for the news. Be alert, prepared and dressed in the dignity of freedom. Redemption is on the way, your freedom is close. These are the words spoken before the good news of Isaiah 52:7-10, a message of preparation from the Heavenly Father to a people he loves that are held captive, again.

In their weakness he calls to strength, in their captivity he announces freedom, in their brokenness he whispers healing and in their shame he gifts dignity. This is the beautiful God of the Old Testament, the Father King of a City he so loves, Zion, Jerusalem the City of his people Israel. He puts his love on display through them and to them. He displays salvation in them like a picture that declares him as the one who can bring help even in the darkest moments.

Like a Dad calling to his child in the midst of fear and trouble, get up help is on the way, get ready I’m coming and I will be there soon. But he is no ordinary Father, he is King of Heaven and when he speaks the Angel Armies take their mark. He speaks with grace, authority and power and his words call to wake up and listen.

Help is on the way.

And he was. He was on the way. The saving King who would buy his people back not with money, but with his blood. His life in exchange for theirs. This is the love of Jesus.

He still speaks this to us today, never changing, forever the same. The Father King who loves you. Calling out that it is not us on the way to him, but he who already made his way to us. Purchasing our freedom, dignity, hope and strength by giving himself over to that which held us captive, giving everything so that it cost us nothing, this is his love.

The promises of the Old Testament are all made most fully true in Jesus.

In our weakness he calls to strength, in our captivity he announces freedom, in our brokenness he whispers healing and in our shame he gifts dignity. This is the beautiful God of the Bible, the Father King who so loves you. He puts his love on display through you and to you. He displays his salvation in you like a picture that declares him as the one who can bring help even in the darkest moments.

Wherever you are, whatever you fear, he does not just help, he is help. Rest assured if you call for him, he is already on the way.

Love, Grace and Freedom for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 3 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more 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

A New Moment

Sunrise“But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (The Message Eugene Peterson) 

Glorious.

A freshly opened opportunity full of new moments. New chances. New memories.

This picture to me is like capturing the kiss of God upon the earth, that says you can begin again. There is new hope. A chance to stand up again, to move forward. Look afresh at yesterday with the eyes of today.

I love that the beautiful character of God can be seen in his creation, and so potently in the breaking in of each new day. A daily reminder that his heart creates glorious new beginnings, and better days.

A prompt to grace in the everyday.

Love, Grace and a beautiful sunrise for your mornings

Rachel x