Last week my sister sent me a text to ask what our girls want for Christmas. I hadn’t thought about it much—except for wanting to replace their overpriced watches from last year (looked great but didn’t last) or get them new undies while they’re on sale. Is underwear a good gift for kids aged six and eight?… I guess not. Which is why I passed the question on to my kids.
This story begins on a humble Saturday. The ultimate Saturday for me usually includes nowhere in particular to go, a coffee, and a stroll through op shops or garage sales. Continue reading
Because of Jesus our compassionate High Priest we can boldly enter the throne of grace, obtaining mercy and finding grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14
This changes everything.
The Old Testament states rules, regulations, orders, methods and practices for entering the presence of God. Only the High Priest could enter in and only providing he was pure or he’d be struck dead. Humanity needed to provide a yearly sacrifice for their sin to receive forgiveness and have their hearts washed clean.
Can you imagine carrying the weight of your sins for a whole year? On the day of atonement, you are forgiven, feel the sense of freedom only to begin the process of accumulating guilt all over again until you wait another year.
Guilt and condemnation keep people from the presence of God, not sin. God has already dealt with our sin once and for all. We just need to have faith to believe that it is so.
Once Jesus entered the equation He fulfilled the Old Testament practise once and for all. He was the spotless lamb, sacrificed for us. He was the High priest who entered, and He did it for us that we would have full access to God’s presence forever after.
Even typing this I feel the need for a little praise break. It’s just so incredible.
And to think, this truth doesn’t just affect us, but those around us because we take His presence with us, AND when we lift up His name and extend our faith others are caught up in the miracle of His presence.
If we put more energy in ensuring that this truth was alive and in full focus in our lives then the evidence of this would overflow in the faith atmosphere in our churches. We’d do less ‘convincing’ people of Christ and see God revealed to others more readily.
Faith to praise, praise to faith
Common sense tells us that if Jesus could do only a few miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith (Matt 13:58, Mark 6:5), then with an abundance of faith we position Him in His rightful place at the right hand of the Father with the ability to move, rule and reign. The heart of God is moved by our faith. This is where praise and the power of a song comes in.
In our humanity we don’t always feel like singing praise, we forget that God is able. But the power of declaring songs of truth can catapult us into His presence.
We have access to His presence by our praise.
I love how Eugene Peterson puts it: Continue reading
His Presence: the Summit
John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
How would we respond in worship if knew Jesus was physically standing in our midst? What would we say to Him? How would we sing? Would we be easily distracted (me, if I’m honest pausing mid-song in the congregation to add green beans to my shopping list for that salad I want to make on Wednesday—no judgement here).
More importantly, what would Jesus be doing? How would he respond to our worship? Continue reading
Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. 24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. (Amos 5:23-24 NKJV)
There are moments in time — I call them open soul moments — where something so significant happens; it feels as though heaven itself is peering into your soul, depositing something of eternity. Time stands still as you absorb the backdrop of details surrounding the moment. These details are etched into the fabric of lives often to be retrieved by a single thread of memory at a later time: the recollection of a feeling, sighting an item of clothing worn on that day, seeing the same landmark or the familiar scent in the air. Even the change in season can bring back a rush of memories that draws you back to a specific moment in time.
One of these open soul moments happened for me in January 2008. Newly married, my husband and I ventured off to South Ballina on the East Coast of Australia to camp with some friends. Continue reading
She looked up at the painting, brows furrowed with disbelief making it clear she didn’t agree with my admiration for the piece hanging on the wall.
“That’s not art!”
She was only five but already our world had begun to shape her perception of what was worthy to be deemed ‘art’ : an image that reflected perfection and accuracy.
This was the first time her perception had been challenged. Continue reading
While there is a number of things that have been less than ideal as we’ve homeschooled one of the things I’m most grateful for is the time we’ve had for creative projects.
I’m the best version of myself as I become the facilitator of creativity. The frazzled mum fades as the house fills with pots of paint, drying racks, paintbrushes stacked in the kitchen sink and the addition of the accidental but inescapable splodge of paint on the furniture. Somehow those details seem unimportant, as does time, as we become engulfed in the wonder of creativity.
I’m a primary teacher, homeschooling my children should be easy… But I’m also their mother and many lines are blurred when it comes to living, working and schooling in a small two-bedroom apartment. Continue reading
The word ‘unseen’ was the one I chose to frame 2020. A year to write, to develop confidence in the shadows, a year to dig deeper into a life of faith.
In March, this word ‘unseen’ took on an entirely different meaning for us all. I’d never have guessed that this is what ‘unseen’ could look like.
Despite feeling a little stuck in our unit at times, over the last weeks, I’ve done my best to continue to attune my eyes to the things that matter. As we switch off the external, highly visible things (eg social media, news) our attention is naturally drawn toward that which is hidden under the surface, more of the spiritual realm, the eternal.
Faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
To the best of my ability, I am choosing to shape this time by a focus on intimacy, honesty and growth. Continue reading
I was fifteen when I first encountered the presence of God. I wasn’t searching for God and didn’t think about what might be on the other side of an invitation, I just had nothing better to do on a Sunday night so thought why not. And the guy I liked was going to be there so it was a given really. Continue reading