good news

Every single day, I am continually amazed by the good news of Jesus. The thought of His incredible sacrifice and redemption just isn’t something that I can get used to. I don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me, and I love that. It’s a source of endless joy.

One of my favorite bands, Rend Collective, writes songs that are incredibly joyful and full of love for our Creator, and every time I listen to them, I’m reminded just how much good news God has for us.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 43:1) Our Creator has defeated death itself, leaving us with no reason for fear. As soon as we confess our sin to God, He gives us eternal life with Him. We have literally no reason to be afraid of any earthly thing. Fear not. Is there any better news than that?

To the Lord our God belongs mercy and forgiveness. (Daniel 9:9) We can never lose favor in the sight of God. The forgiveness and love that He has for us is endless. We disobey Him again and again and again, and every single time, He forgives us. He loves us perfectly, never wavering, patiently waiting for us to return no matter how many times we run away from Him. For us, flawed and imperfect people that can’t stop making mistakes, this is such an enormous relief and source of joy.

We are not of this world. (John 15:19) I’ve actually posted about this before, but it’s such a wonderful reminder that I want to share it again. We are outsiders in this world. Once we have been saved by God, our home is in heaven, not here on earth. This is simply our temporary home, and we don’t have to worry about trying to fit in where we don’t belong. We can proudly stand out and wait for the day when we no longer outsiders. As one of my favorite Rend Collective songs says, “There are no outsiders to Your love. We are all welcome, there’s grace enough.”

For this very purpose I have raised you up. (Romans 9:17) As soon as we are saved, we are given an incredible purpose for our lives. We get to live for Jesus, sharing the wonderful news of his redemption with the world and serving Him through our words and actions. What better way to spend our time on earth than to spread the good news of our Savior?

Just the simple truth of our own brokenness and Jesus’ sacrifice should be enough to inspire joy on a daily basis. I think that sometimes we get too caught up in the details and forget to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. No matter what happens to us, if we have been saved, then we have nothing to fear. Jesus loves us eternally, forgives us eternally, and protects us eternally. That good news should be spread throughout all creation.

I will be undignified,
I will praise the Lord my God with all my might,
I will leave my pride behind,
I will praise the Lord my God with all my life.

Rend Collective, I Will Be Undignified

-Clara ❤

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the shepherd’s peace

​”The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalms 23

Today, in my weekly homeschool group, my class read Psalm 23 aloud for devotions. I, personally, feel like the circumstance couldn’t have been better, considering the fact that today we started our final exams. I had no idea the encouragement was needed so badly until it was given.

I know most people don’t have their finals this early, but I think we can all agree on how much of a struggle they can be. They require so much more perseverance, patience, and diligence than most can handle, which just leaves everybody feeling extremely stressed and nervous. After all, this is our future we’re talking about, and some teachers aren’t as generous as others when grading. Peer pressure alone can be enough to set someone on edge, much less the intense projects and tests themselves.

It was amazing this morning, though, because as we were reading and discussing David’s psalm, I felt a huge part of that load lift off my shoulders. Here’s a little of what I mean:

“The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Just that first part itself already fills me with a sense of peace. The Lord is our shepherd, and just like any other sort of shepherd in the days this psalm was written, He cares for His sheep. God protects us from any sort of dangers and struggles we might encounter. Not only that, but the extremely serene picture David talks about shows us how our Shepherd can calm us.

“He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths if the righteous

For His name’s sake.”

Just as God wants us to feel calm and peaceful from His protection, He also wants us to feel influenced positively by those who surround us. He specifically leads each of us to those who will impact us the most by how they act, causing us to strive to do the same for His glory. Amazing, right? And that isn’t even all of it.

“Even though I walk throught the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Back in those days, shepherds and their sheep sometimes had to travel to get to the good pastures. And there were instances where they had to travel through rough and rocky valleys that contained all sorts of hidden predators, but that’s a big reason of why the shepherd kept a staff with them. To fight off the predators and protect the sheep.  So we have simply nothing to fear then, as our Protector knows exactly how hard to push you before you reach your limit. Whether that’s with a literal test you’re currently stressing about or a life-changing trial that you can’t escape from is up to Him.

This specific Psalm is pretty popular, and sometimes is too easily dismissed, because lots of Christian kids learn it at a young age in an Awana program. However, that is exactly why it’s so important. There is nothing out of our Lord’s control, nothing He can’t protect you from, and nothing that can stop Him from filling you with irreplaceable peacefulness.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

What can’t you do with your Shepherd watching over you?