Author Archives: Rebecca

1 Corinthians 13; Psalm 142

Gratefully, I read. And, in my heart, a witness rises.

1 Corinthians 13. The Way of Love.

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing. ESV

Love is everything; I venture to say, in every situation. All things- in and through love. God is love.

Recently, I was giving some time to words written (and spoken) by a godly woman farther along on the path than me. One thing I took note of was how specific and intentional she was in words and focus in cultivating a culture and climate of love in her family-  especially among her children. I can still see her direct focus and voice- clearly articulating the amount of effort and work she and her husband invest in this endeavor. It made such an impact. I needed to hear this. She is a mama with many children- and so my heart was seeking her wisdom and insight with particular attention. Many relationships to manage and cultivate; varying ages; interests; and seasons of life. In fact, part of her instruction to me came out of her season with one daughter’s marriage and a much younger daughter’s journey to love well while also grieving sincerely (the change and loss of that beloved sister in the every day of the family life.) My heart beats with this pulse: to love well in Jesus- and to build this in my home.

On my twentieth anniversary, I told Todd that this is a focus I want to nurture much more fully in our family- and with much greater intention- going forward. It was one heartbeat I was able to choke out to him as we rallied after an exhausting season. I recognized a lack in this area; I want to change.

It has been a new year for me, leaning in hard and seeking to love well- as many things change and continue to change around me with children growing up and out while having still to settle in- even dig in – with much younger ones.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ESV

I often tell my children: Love is not rude. Indeed, it is not. Love forbears. It undergirds. It covers.  Love hopes, believes, and bears. Love rejoices with truth.

Psalm 142:3

When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! ESV

O! how grateful, am I.

Just a brief excerpt from this passage- but so profound for me.  The Lord is my refuge, and in Him – my portion (verse 5) -even when storms and trials and difficulties assail me.  Psalm 142 speaking to me in a very personal challenge I am facing and a new direction I must travel and take. Grateful for the heart cry in the Psalms.

Lord, You are faithful. Your faithfulness brings me to tears. I praise You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Joshua 14-17; Mark 7

Mark 7.

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ESV

Jesus- with an arrow straight to the heart, His words upend control, man’s outward rituals for righteousness, and religion as a veneer for cruelty and unkindness.

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.[g] And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. ESV

Jesus- He could not be hidden. The words arrest me- again, again.

25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. ESV

She was brave and unrelenting; full of unfailing faith.

5 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus[h] charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” ESV

The more He charged them (to tell no one), the more zealously they proclaimed it (He could not be hidden).

He has done all things well…

Jesus could not be hidden. Is He hidden in my life? In my heart? The words stop me with the abruptness which they lift from the page as I read; again, again. In this moment, I surrender. Many years ago, I attended a small, living church- and the Pastor would pray every week: Lord, have Your way in us.  

Lord, have Your way in me- and deal with me through Your unrelenting mercy. May You, may Your Light and Love not be hidden in my life. You cannot be hidden. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Deuteronomy 6-8; Acts 25

It’s the eve of my daughter’s sixth birthday. My baby girl. My kindergarten girl. By the time you read this post, she will be six.

We are halfway through her (homeschooled) kindergarten year, and I am grateful and thankful for the years I pray to have that are yet to come- to invest in her and my other children -heart and soul.

I think about how mothering is a whole-hearted endeavor. A commitment to nourish soul, spirit, and body. I settle into homeschool rhythms, and I disrupt those rhythms to minister to children whose needs do not always fit into my carefully orchestrated plan (or not plan- INFP, me).

Deuteronomy 6- such a key chapter for me in purpose and focus regarding our homeschooling journey. I love the long perspective of the journey laid forth here:

(the generational vision)

Deuteronomy 6:

that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. ESV

you, your son, and your son’s son

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ESV

I am grateful, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to shape the rhythms and culture of our home and family to reflect the Lord and impart His love and truth.  This passage is a familiar one in the homeschooling world- yet, it is personally, to me, such a precious, life-giving truth.  With the grace of a journey that is going on fifteen years strong, I take the long view. The threads of grace and love that form from a life that is oriented to truth, love, and goodness through Christ are priceless. The Lord has given me permission- even commanded me- to invest my whole life in this endeavor. It is good.

I want to invest in my children with my whole life and curate a home that ministers. This beautiful ideal is not easy to implement. It is a challenge; it can be a battle; but- this I know, it is worth it!

Deuteronomy 6-8 are some of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. They have ministered to me in all seasons. Seasons of singleness and want. Seasons of mothering and moving. Seasons of plenty and of loss.

Most precious to me, is the Lord’s great love:

Deuteronomy 7

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. ESV

The Lord loves. How blessed am I, that He does!

Lord, I praise You so deeply that You call Your people Your treasured possession. How unworthy I am of this preferential place in Your heart through Christ! Help me know the full-hearted joy of it! Help me worship You for Your grace and goodness, O God. O, I am grateful that You do not leave us to ourselves- but You are with us. How precious is Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Leviticus 1-3; Acts 5

The Lord cares (deeply) about the offering I bring before Him: the offering of my heart, my life, my worldly goods-

the integrity of my heart-

The chapters in Leviticus lay out a precise intention and specific protocol for each offering type. Holiness and honor permeate.

“When you bring a grain offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil. And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil. You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. And if your offering is a grain offering cooked in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. And you shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the Lord, and when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. And the priest shall take from the grain offering its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 10 But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord‘s food offerings. Leviticus 2 ESV

Preparing offerings unto the Lord is holy work.

In Acts 5, an offering that is in fact, deceitful- is revealed. The fear of God lays hold of all who hear/witness the consequences. Ananias (the wrong doer) lays down and dies; he breathes his last. His co-conspirator- his wife, however, is not part of that original group, and so, she continues the deceit. She willingly participates in the deceitful offering- and then she, too- falls down and breathes her last.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5  

Acts 5 ESV

O! the deceitfulness and hard-heartedness from sin.

I realized as I read these passages- that I can have a tendency to minimize the justice and wrath of God. Perhaps I read the Old Testament too lightly- for here I am in the New Testament- and two are dead before the holiness of God.

I am challenged to assess the integrity and full-heartedness of my offering-which is my spiritual act of worship; my life; my days; my worldly goods.

I am invited into the beauty, care, and holiness of God through Leviticus 1-3; I am reminded to live truthfully (and faithfully) before the Lord in Acts 5.

Lord, I am so grateful for Your mercy; Your beauty; Your tender care.  Help me to live truthfully before You. Thank You for Your healing light. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

 

 

 

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Genesis 29-31; Luke 9

Longing and love. Blessing and trickery. The ways of man and the way of God.

I have been reading Genesis in my personal Bible time- and pondering quietly the ways of man and the way of God toward man and through man.

The tangled relationships puzzle me.

Leah.

30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”

The tug of war; the push and pull of woman(women, really) to woman (women) in Genesis 29-30.

My heart hurts, even as I know I do not fully understand. Why is this okay, I wonder?  

Rachel

34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods. Genesis 31 ESV

The beloved woman of Jacob. Deception. I am not told why she felt compelled to take and hide these gods. I study a bit in my study bible- but still find no definitive answer. She secretly sits, and no man knows what she has hidden.

The Lord blesses and establishes Jacob. Flocks, and children. Wives. Then, it is time for him to leave. At God’s command:

 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31

Laban cannot divide between what is his and what is not. All that he sees, he believes belongs to him.

Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? Genesis 31 ESV

His eyes are blinded to truth and to Jacob.

Yet, even so, my heart grieves:

[x] Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.  Genesis 31 ESV

There is an emptiness as he leaves. And, I think, perhaps, he lost it all by immersing so deeply, so fully in his greed and gain. He would not, of his own, let Jacob go freely to live into what was rightfully his.  I know it is more nuanced than that- but I think, this is part.

Lord, You show me through Your Word, and through my heart- how much man needs you- how much I need You. Prone to trickery, deceit, blindness, greed, lust, ungodly gain- what are we without You? O Lord, do not leave me to myself. I see how it is the life-giving gift of grace through faith that gives anyone the ability to live a different, better way. Your way. Jesus, captivate my heart with love for you. Amen

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

It is Christmas week, and everything is happily upended in a flurry of wrapping paper, sweets, happy greetings, gatherings, and the otherwise controlled chaos my large family generates– along with the refining always imminent as we rub against each other in the day to day with holiday routines (or non-routines) at play.

The year turns the pages on final days. The New Year comes…

And khe who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I lam making all things new. Revelation 21 ESV

New. The crisp, clean page. The fresh start. The New Year. Something so fresh and invigorating – in the shift of numbers; the change of dates.

I am not one to eagerly, loudly harken a new year with anticipation– too prone am I to dread and fear. But deep instead, there is the irresistible tingle and the joy in the new. I trust each day to the Lord and seek to take small steps in Him faithfully. I want to give Him my New Year and trust Him to make me new.

2 yBless the LORD, O my soul,

and zforget not all his benefits,

who aforgives all your iniquity,

who bheals all your diseases,

who credeems your life from the pit,

who dcrowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who esatisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like fthe eagle’s. Psalm 103 ESV

Psalm 103. The comfort and peace flows.

These words: forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, satisfies, renews.

Most of all- to me- right now: renews. The restoration sings from the Psalm and how blessed the people of God are to have the life-giving regeneration and restoration of God at work in this life.

As I struggle on the other side of Christmas, but entering the hopefully quiet pause of “break week’- a time to evaluate, reflect, prepare, and ponder- this verse ministers to me:

For he knows our frame;1

he sremembers that we are dust. Psalm 103 ESV

I utterly cast myself upon the mercy and full understanding of God. I am dust. It is good to rest in my finite weakness and know Him to be God. The reading from Job fully emphasizes this as God answers Job out of the whirlwind and begins to develop the greatness of His Own Expanse and Infinite knowledge. It is beyond comprehension- and it is in worship, I ponder.

I will be small and reflective in this quiet week before “new” is before me: New Year; New Semester; Specific New Changes in my family’s life; New Choices, Focus, and Habits.

He makes all things new. Praise be.

Thank You, Lord for bringing life in every area. Help me walk with You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Job 4-7; Psalm 99; Revelation 11

Job has always been an inexplicable book to me; one in which I tread carefully, reverently, lightly.

The three friends and their wrong counsel can spin me round in such a web of confusion. It can sound so right. Was Job spun round? The shattering rebuke from the Lord at the end of the book instills fear in me.

In Chapter 4, it is Eliphaz who speaks:

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
Yet who can keep from speaking?
Behold, you have instructed many,
and you have strengthened the weak hands.
Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
and you have made firm the feeble knees.
But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;
it touches you, and you are dismayed.
Is not your fear of God[a] your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope? ESV

I will say, I walk carefully with my words- because I often think of Job’s friends.

Job teaches me the unsearchableness of God; the darkness that can and maybe will surround each one of us; the truth of a faith that is greater than self; greater than understanding in moments of pain, torment, suffering, and sorrow.

5 “Oh that I might have my request,
and that God would fulfill my hope,
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
10 This would be my comfort;
I would even exult[k] in pain unsparing,
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient?
12 Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?
13 Have I any help in me,
when resource is driven from me? ESV

Job teaches me the value in a heart that cries out to God from a place of pain; from a place of integrity. Integrity doesn’t always mean perfect uprightness- it can also mean authenticity; realness; realization; rightness.  In other words, when I see myself for who I am before God and declare it so- I am operating with integrity.

Job’s suffering is painful to witness; it is painful to watch. In this way, it is a shining reflection of grief as a whole. I have precious friends who have suffered greatly. They are no stranger to great grief; again and again. And the Lord has provided them such profound, heart-felt wisdom through their sufferings. I often feel that I am on holy ground. I was with them this past weekend- and had opportunity to discuss grief. My friend has shared how hard the first year is; how every season- grief is fresh and new; unexpected and uncontrollable. Scents, light, color, traditions- it all brings it forward. And we talked about how people struggle with those who are grieving; people just want those grieving “to move on” or “to be over it.” I shared that I think people find it hard to see someone in pain. It is hard to witness their suffering. People grow impatient with their suffering. It is especially hard when it is inexplicable, uncontrollable, and maybe- inconvenient. People suffer, and I walk with God when I walk gently into that space and don’t turn away.

711 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
that you set a guard over me?
13 When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
my couch will ease my complaint,’
14 then you scare me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I would choose strangling
and death rather than my bones.
16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
17 What is man, that you make so much of him,
and that you set your heart on him,
18 visit him every morning
and test him every moment?
19 How long will you not look away from me,
nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
Why have you made me your mark?
Why have I become a burden to you?
21 Why do you not pardon my transgression
and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
you will seek me, but I shall not be.” ESV

I handle Job delicately. It is a reminder to handle those who suffer and grieve with tender care; with the utmost humility; with the full realization that God alone is at work in the depths of a human heart- and that heart is holy ground; holy! ground. Tread carefully.

Psalm 99:9

Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy! ESV

Lord, help me to be tender and true. I lift up my precious, dear friends who have just navigated yet another “first year after loss.” I pray for them, Lord. Richly bless them.  I am grateful for You, Lord. Help me walk tenderly with those who grieve and help me, Lord. Be merciful to me. 

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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