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

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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

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

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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

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

 

Welcoming Meal – Imagine Eating with the King of Kings

Sheep

Based on Luke 15:1-7 these are my thoughts and wonderings as I read today

And they were all gathering to hear Jesus. The tax collectors, the sinners. The outcast, rejected and despised gathered around to listen to Jesus. Leaning in close at a meal to hear him, and I wonder what attracted them to him? What was he saying that those who did not normally feel worthy felt safe in the presence of Jesus? So safe and brought in that they felt welcome to share a meal with him and lean in to his words. What was he saying that drew a crowd? I wonder what it was like to be at that meal and feel that safe.

What a contrast that the hound of heaven would leave his court of glory, to eat in the dust with the fringe of humanity on the pages of history.

A vulnerable dinner as you draw close to the one who would speak grace and truth over you. The safest place, fully known and fully loved. No pretending, no masks, no hiding, no performance, simply fully known and fully loved.

Imagine at this vulnerable meal where you sit alongside the King of Heaven, totally unworthy in his presence and yet welcomed in like you are welcomed home. Then in the midst of this glorious welcome, those who would accuse you of not being fitting to join in the meal called it out, the whispers of your lack spoken by the gatekeepers of society. What shame that could wash over you in that moment. They have seen and they know I do not belong here, I am not enough, they have called out my lack, this lack that I have carried with me like a signpost of all my failings.

Lack of belonging, lack of grace, lack of standing, lack of dignity spoken loud in the midst of this meal before the one I had gathered to hear. This meal where for the first time it was like listening to the sound of living water running into to my soul, filling the empty spaces that my lack had always left.

Then this one who had not only eaten with me but dignified my presence with his words speaks, and the living water that I thought was filling my soul becomes a rushing river that seeps through every part of me, when he faces head on these words of shame and condemnation spoken over me. Instead he describes his journey from the throne-room of Heaven to the farthest reaches of humanity, that this hound of heaven came for me. Intent, focused, purposed.

I discover in this moment that it was not me who came to him, but he who had chased after me. This meal where I lean in to listen he came to have. Now he tells those whispering and declaring my shame that the very throne room he had left in pursuit of his so loved, stands in worship declaring the greatness of Jesus who has brought me home.

I can’t help but wonder if this is what they might have thought, or how they might have felt. I can’t help but imagine what those gathered heard as Jesus declared this holy pursuit, his gracious love and heaven’s celebration.

When I reflect on this meal, I am overwhelmed with love for the one who sat in the dust with those found by the gatekeepers to be unworthy and all I want to do is the same as him.

If my calling is to tell of the beautiful love of Jesus, then let me share with you for the first time or the millionth that relationship with Jesus brings hope, life and strength, lean in to his beautiful word as he declares to our lack that he is more than enough and you are safe to bring all you are and all you have to the feet of the one who saves.

Love, Grace and a Meal of Strength for your day

Rachel x

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This is Day 1 of the 31 Days of Faith Series, click to read more 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

Deep Wells of Salvation

water“‘Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With Joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.’

Isaiah 12:2-3 NIV 

Gorgeous.

What an image, such a beautiful picture of a God who has Salvation in bucket loads. In wells, God type wells – Deep Stores of Salvation. I have this image in my mind of a people who know a God with plenty of Salvation. So much you can draw from the wells with Joy. It is not sparse. He is not meager with it, he is not holding back, he is not being stingy with salvation.

He has it in spades. Oceans of it, pouring over and out. Like a person in a distant foreign land who can draw from an abundant well, buckets of water with gladness. God’s salvation is given in plenty, more than enough, it brings that same kind of relief, and exuberant joy. The people who know what it is to experience that kind of joy, relief and deep peace cannot then help but exclaim to the earth;

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion…”

Isaiah 12:4-6

A great rescue has taken place, and the people are unable to be silent. Unable to hide his name, instead cannot help but announce to the world that all is well, salvation is found, there is no reason to fear, no reason to dread, no reason to lose sleep, to be lost and alone, salvation has come and he has a name.

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A Beautiful Framing

LanternI am so happy to welcome you to my first post on Rachel Kathrine. By way of Introductions…

I am walking the journey of following where Jesus leads me. The depth of his love for me and his beautiful church has changed my life forever. I believe that he is the Author and Hero of Creation’s Story.

I am married to a pastor which makes life a wonderful and yet regularly crazy adventure. Shane works at a church we have deep love for. The kind of church that display’s God’s manifold love on the earth, who brings hope and life to the lost, hurt and broken with a heart for all generations. It is a church filled with people who are imperfect (including my dear self) and walk in the promise that God’s beautiful grace is enough.

I am a mum to 3 kids who are shaping their journey with excellence, creativity and a love for People, Creation, Jesus and the Church, not to mention Nick Jnr, Ballet and Soccer. They bring me joy every day. Even when I am saying phrases no one thought they would ever have to say…you know what I’m talking about parents.

I love my people. You know who you are. Friends and family who love you, encourage you and who laugh, loud when it all goes wrong, which it regularly does. I am not known for my quiet elegance as much as I would like. I am however known for my laugh… thankfully I have acquired the life skill of being able to laugh at myself, which as it turns out is extremely important in my case.

So that’s it. The Framing of My blog. A space to share Faith, Home, Friendship and grace.

Love, Grace and a cozy seat beside a warm fire today, unless of course you are in the Northern hemisphere, then you enjoy the sunshine

Rachel x