And the Smallest

Beach“People were bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

{Luke 18:15-17 NIV}

They are Welcome.

Welcome to learn, Welcome to know Jesus, Welcome to his Kingdom.

They don’t have to wait to grow up, don’t have to wait till they are quiet enough, behaved enough, eaten their veggies enough, done their schoolwork enough, he is enough for them just as they are.

This same Jesus who is enough for the sick, the healthy, the rich, the poor, the sinner, the ‘saint’, the old, is enough for the smallest ones too, they are included.

This passage speaks deep to the heart for me. From my earliest memory I remember loving God. I remember wanting to know him. I remember asking to go to church. I remember sitting on a hard wooden pew, right on the edge of it and hoping to understand more about the God I so badly wanted to know. I remember not understanding what the preacher was saying, I remember hoping I would learn. I remember being sad that I didn’t understand, and how badly I wanted too.

Then one day, in another church a little while later, I remember hearing in words I could understand that Jesus loved me, just as I was. This church didn’t say I was too young to learn, but made a way for me to ask questions and know the deep things of God in childlike language with childlike faith. They truly took hold of this passage and believed as a child I was as valuable as an adult, that I too could hear the simple message:

Mountain & Valley J L M

I will be grateful forever to the minister and his family who looked after me, to the children’s minister who spoke of the God I so wanted to know in a language I understood. They will never know the depth to which their care and investment has blessed my life immeasurably, and not because I haven’t told them, because I have over and over again. But because if I had all the words there wouldn’t be enough to say,  Thank You x

Love, Grace and Welcome for your day

Rachel x

Girl 31 Large

This is Day 7 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

How Beautiful on the Mountains

Girl

“HOW BEAUTIFUL ON THE MOUNTAINS ARE THE FEET OF THE MESSENGER BRINGING GOOD NEWS, BREAKING THE NEWS THAT ALL’S WELL, PROCLAIMING GOOD TIMES, ANNOUNCING SALVATION, TELLING ZION ‘YOUR GOD REIGNS! VOICES! LISTEN!” 

Isaiah 52:7 {The Message} 

The story of Israel the holy people of God, as told in the pages of Scripture, tell of a nation at times held captive by oppressors. Holding still, hoping for deliverance, waiting for a sign of life, for a break in the noise of terror that had become white noise to a broken people. Waiting… A displaced people, in a displaced land. Ruined.

Would hope turn up?  Would life make an entrance again? Was the strong arm of God long enough to save?

 Can you imagine what hope the words of Isaiah built in the people as this message dropped from his mouth. The kind of message that tingles up your spine and stiffens your resolve. Help will come, the waiting is measured and its end awaits a Good News announcement. A declaration of Salvation for us. Sweet words of Joy, peace is coming and the one true God will bring it.

And he did. He brought the news himself. It was not enough to merely send an announcement of peace and good news, Jesus, God himself would come and embody the message with dust on his feet. Humanity’s Hope, a King in a Manger announced to creation that there was now no more alone. The Saving one had come ‘God With Us’.

“WHEN THE LORD RETURNS TO ZION THEY WILL SEE IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES; BURST INTO SONGS OF JOY TOGETHER, YOU RUINS OF JERUSALEM, FOR THE LORD HAS COMFORTED HIS PEOPLE, HE HAS REDEEMED JERUSALEM. THE LORD WILL LAY BARE HIS HOLY ARM IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE NATIONS, AND ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF OUR GOD.”

Isaiah 52:8b-10

The Good News himself, God’s delivery of hope, the ‘Lord’s Arm’ walked through the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming peace and salvation, declaring the news that ‘all’s well’, reminding Israel that her ‘God reigns’. He declared this news in his words and in power when he healed people of their sickness, death, blindness and brokenness, when he whispered authority over creation to raging storms and bread itself. The hope of humanity walked to a cross, where the ‘arm of the Lord was laid bare before the nations’ and in a moment of seeming weakness bridged a divide impossible to cross through any other means. This cross showed earth the once for all Salvation of our God.

Hope’s Invitation to a relationship with God himself through the Sacrifice of Jesus. Good News and true Peace’s beginning opened on a Holy Mountain and showed the strength of God when death could not hold him and the one who spoke life rose again.

Love, Grace and Good News for your day

Rachel x

 Girl 31 LargeThis is Day 2 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more x