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

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

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

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

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

Into the Ocean

 Ocean

“The Waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. the clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the word; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Psalm 77:16-20 NIV Bible 

Walking in to deep water, into that which is unknown and scary and to call upon God, awaiting an answer, will his help come? Will he deliver? Will he hear? In Psalm 77 the writer recalls God’s ancient wonders, the stories of old, that tell of who The Lord is and what he has done. Recalling to himself the creator’s wonder and magnificent rescues. Stories of assurance that when all seems lost, when there seems to be no way forward, God has worked for his people in supernatural abundance, in a way no one could have imagined.

What a beautiful place to find rest when we feel lost, or need our courage strengthened to face a  season that seems a storming ocean. In that moment, how can I recount to myself the stories of a Savior? The one who lived, died and came back fighting, a rescuer with salvation in his hands and his feet. Crowned King over an Empty Cross.

How will the grandest story of all inform my fears and lay them to rest? How will the Word of God filled with the whisper and declaration of Jesus bring courage? Hidden in the Chief Shepherd’s hands are the marks and story of salvation. His salvation reminds me that he is strong and good, and that he is and always has been for me, he loves me. His story is for all people, but I am not lost in the many.

Love, Grace and Courage for your day,

Rachel x