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

To Know

To Know “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” {Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV}

His prayer was that they might know the fullness of the love of God for them. He prayed power for them to be able to hold on and understand, down to the depths of their souls, how big God loves them. Because you can’t just know about this love, to grasp it, to hold and let it take hold of you is unraveling.

To understand this love, to know it, requires power we don’t have, it takes a work of the Spirit to unveil how strong, powerful and forever this love is. And were we to take hold of it, to know it in our bones, it would then fill us and completely transform us. It would shape our life, our thoughts, our relationships, our perspective.

To know that which surpasses knowledge is to know the things of God that seem to make no sense. It is to take hold of the wisdom of the cross, that displays his love most fully as Jesus, the one who sat in the highest place, took himself to the lowest place, that through him, each person to the farthest reaches of humanity would know that God is for them. That there was nothing they could do to remove his love for them, because the saving work of the cross is permanent, forever fixed in order to eternally save any who call on his name.

Then to be filled with the measure of all of Him, is to no longer count my own measure of goodness, but to take hold of the depth of his grace and mercy, to be filled with a rich love for people that he so deeply loves. And he who cannot be measured, will not run out of love for me.

Love, Grace and Strength for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

This is Day 28 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x

An Audience Before the King

An Audience Before the King“Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the strength of the warrior; the Lord delights on those who fear him,who put their hope in His unfailing love.”

{Psalm 147:8-11 NIV}

It would be easy to assume that the God who covers the earth in clouds and causes grass to grow, may only be interested in Kings and Princes, in Mighty warriors with strong horses and impressive resumes. That is normally how we see power isn’t? The more power someone has, the more impressive you need to be in order to have an audience with them.

It would seem natural to assume then, that to find favor before the God of the universe you may need to be fairly impressive yourself. And yet the God who is sung about in the Psalms changes all the rules of power and favor. God is already for you, he already loves you, in Jesus he became weak that you might become strong. He does not require strength, but he gives it freely.

To find an audience before the King of Kings, simply requires humility, recognizing Him for who He is and what he has done and understanding our need for Him. There is no one like him, he requires nothing, because he has already given everything. He does not have love reserved only for those who may seem to have earned it or deserved it by some ordering of beauty, strength, intelligence or family line, but gives with delight to any who would humbly come, and simply ask.

It can be easy to slip into feeling or behaving like we need to prove ourselves to God, by trying to somehow earn what was freely given. Even ministry can become a set of tasks looking to achieve some form of equilibrium in the relationship between ourselves and the creator, hoping to make a good impression rather than generously living out worship. This beautiful freedom of God declares that we don’t need to try to earn his favor, we already have it, we don’t need to earn his love, it is already given. His delight is in us knowing Him more, seeking after Him, understanding more of who he is that we might understand each other, this world and ourselves in light of his power and grace.

This day, I will not seek to earn his love, I will seek rather to know more of it and find more of Him.

Love and Grace for your day

Rachel x

31 Days of Faith

This is Day 25 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

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

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

Heaven’s King

Heaven{Reflections on my reading of Luke 24 NIV}

Only a light as bright as the Son, could have pierced the darkness that the Savior of the World had left in his death. The three days when hope had died, and the earth had suffocated under the pain of his loss. His friends with their hearts sunk within them. The whole city moved in the aftermath of a terrible day.  

Yet he appeared to them almost like at the beginning of the book. Almost as if the beginning and end of the book of Luke are a beautiful framing to an incredible story.

The angels announce to the women, that the King of heaven is not dead but alive. Just as the angels told Mary of her pregnancy and heralded His birth to the Shepherds. The entrance of Jesus comes totally unexpected and somewhat unnoticed. Jesus, the son of Heaven born in a manger, then walks the Emmaus road unrecognized for who he was, even by his friends. The unlikely shepherds herald His birth and declare his praise. The disciples anointed to declare him as Heaven’s living King run to Jerusalem to worship.

The heart’s cry to worship at the feet of Heaven’s Son who trampled the sting of death. From despair to hope. From death to life. The framing of the gospel of Luke, Heaven’s King come to earth, the dwelling of God with his people brings, healing, restoration, hope, wellness, peace, and life to any who would believe. Believing this King, knowing and being known by the Him, drives every believer to worship.

Victory over that oldest of enemies, death, stirs the soul to sing, to declare it’s weakness in the presence of a Mighty God. I have never noticed that the book ends in worship. Before the acts of the Apostles in Luke’s next book, the disciples, pause to worship, continuously at the temple, praising God. That is where their mission started, in adoration of the one who they served.

My prayer is that I will be found here.

To first know Him, and to let that knowing lead to adoration, and then that adoration to lead to praise, before I go anywhere else.

Love, Grace and Worship for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 11 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