Author Archives: Rebecca

Zechariah 12-14; John 9; Psalm 134

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” NIV

Jesus is the Light of the world. I ponder how He brings literal light- the man born blind now sees; and how He brings spiritual light in this passage: the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and worshiped Him.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. NIV

 

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” NIV

 

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”NIV

 

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” NIV

At least four times, the text repeats: the man was blind and now he (literally) sees. I think of the work of God in my life; I think of the work of God in my heart. How many times have I experienced that same testimony? I was blind, but now I see? There is no arguing with that reality. It is. And, O! I am so very grateful. There is no arguing with this one in John 9, although the Pharisees try. They do try.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. NIV

 

The most profound for me is that Jesus went and found him.  Jesus healed him. Unmistakably. And then…… he goes to him and finds him. Became for him the very LIGHT of the world. The man, without fully knowing, declares Jesus to be of God. He says:

33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” NIV

After this- and after he is thrown out and away from the Pharisees who can do nothing to make sense of the reality of his physical healing and all the ways it utterly confounds them, Jesus finds the man and fully reveals Himself to him. The restoration and redemption of sight is complete: fully seeing physically and fully seeing spiritually.

I think on what this passage means for me. I want more of the work of God in my life where I can declare: I was blind, but now I see! And it is so. And it is unmistakable. And there is nothing anyone can ever say that can take that away.

Lord, there is nothing like Your truth in the inner heart where spiritual eyes awaken to see. Help me, Lord, that I might experience Your reality and know You as the One who heals; and know You as the Light of the World. Help me not to be spiritually blind like the Pharisees. Help me to rest in You- the One who seeks the lost. But for You alone, that man would remain blind in vision and blind in heart.  Jesus! Your Name be praised. Amen.

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Jeremiah 40, 41; James 3

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. James 3 ESV

I recently had exposure to some Christian homeschooling culture on YouTube that took me by surprise. And when I read this passage- it leaps right to mind. Especially because the speaker was declaring her intention to write and create Bible studies for the homeschool community(i.e. a teacher of the Word). She was very vehemently proclaiming how she was going to be held to a higher standard because she had so many followers. She caused what I think was a pretty large flurry with strong words about a decision she made that had a lot of consequence for a homeschool curriculum company that she was leaving in the name of her influence. I can’t help but think how often/how easily we can distort the Word of God in the name of our own passion and self-interest. And she was clearly self-interested, proclaiming her new role as a bible study writer for another well-known Christian homeschool company and selling curriculum on her site that was almost a replica of the company she abandoned so vocally. It left me with distaste. So much of this passage of Scripture- seems to be about just that. How incredibly easy it is to stumble with the words of the mouth, with the tongue. Every man does what is right in his own eyes. How important that we seek meekness, humility, and the desire to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Sometimes, we must be meek like Christ- where the Father is our defense- and our mouths are silent.

Sometimes, being silent is what is actually the most Christ-like choice in a situation. I have pondered my experience with my brief immersion in this culture, and in the end, I decided that it is most important to desire to make much of the Lord rather than self. In some ways, I feel like this person had the meaning of Scriptures twisted all around. We will be held to account for our words. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things” (v 5). She imagined herself on the judgment day being held accountable for leading others astray by using a certain curriculum. But I wonder if the judgment is more to be feared in the very words we say and the posture of the heart which is evidenced in the way we live and what we choose to promote {e.g. Christ or Self (not curriculum a or curriculum b)}. In addition, in the way we treat others- especially those not of the faith- is an important, vital consideration before the eye of the Lord.

Wisdom is meek. It is humble. It is pure. It is peaceable. It is not arrogant.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3 ESV

In the end, I am left with a strong desire to shield myself. To keep my eyes straight ahead. My hand to the plow. My heart – for the prize. It is good for me to remember—  the prize is Christ. He is the prize. It takes self-discipline, self-control, courage, and meekness to bind the tongue. To silence the self.

Lord, how I love You for treasuring sincerity- for your impartial, pure goodness. Help me stay focused. Create in me the heart that is true to You. Keep me from all evil; keep my life. And Lord, I pray for all the believers who have platforms on social media- may they use them for Your glory and may You be magnified. Amen

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Ezekiel 3-6; Hebrews 7

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7 NIV

Jesus is able to save completely. He always lives to intercede for me. He offered himself once for all.

Melchizedek is a perfect high priest AND He is a high priest of a different order. Abraham offers him a tenth of the plunder- something that was technically not required as Melchizedek is not traced as a descendant of Levi, and Melchizedek blesses Abraham.

 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!  Verses 3 and 4

Jesus is juxtaposed next to Melchizedek (and ultimately, the Law); Jesus’ priesthood is one based on the power of an indestructible life (v 16).  who is stated to be a priest forever. Jesus’ priesthood is in the order of Melchizedek’s which is a new order- significant for the new way, the new covenant formed through Christ.

Jesus is the true High Priest. A better hope is introduced and that hope is in Christ and not in the Law. The ESV states that Jesus saves to the uttermost (the greatest, highest degree; the farthest extent). Fully known. Fully loved. Fully Saved. Praise be.

Lord, Scripture joyfully declares the hope I have in Christ and the freedom of the new covenant. Awaken my heart to wonder at the generous mercy and grace that are in Christ. Help me to know Jesus as my High Priest who always lives to intercede for me- and to rest in the knowledge that He offered Himself once for all. Expand my mind to understand Your mystery. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Jeremiah 35,36; Jeremiah 45,46; Jude

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.  Jude ESV

What does it mean to know myself beloved in God and kept for Christ? Do I see myself held for Him? Kept is such an entrancing word to me. What is the keeping of a body, soul, mind, heart, life for Christ? He is the precious prize; He is the worthy One who loves and He is coming in the clouds- Victorious Savior- am I kept and do I keep myself for Him? Vaguely (as if in a fog, dimly) , I have reflected on how easy it is to lose the precious things- the things of great price that should be treasured and protected. Highly valued. Do I value what He does?  And then the gracious blessing: Mercy, peace, and love in abundance. O beloved one, treasured of Christ, may you, may your life overflow in mercy, peace, and love. May you have more than enough.  The mercy, peace, and love are like a lavish fountain to me- available in Christ, fully refreshing.  Abundance is such a healing word.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude ESV

I must be careful not to follow my own instinct or the way of my natural understanding. Following Christ is an abandonment to Him not to the world (the way of Cain), the flesh, idolatry (all that raises up higher than the Lord.) The Lord has been speaking to me about the importance of works. Not to earn salvation; not to prove my goodness or worthiness- but as a witness of His life. Also, as something that is important and pleases God. Godly deeds matter.

A Call to Persevere

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They[f] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[g] stained by the flesh.  Jude ESV

Keep yourselves in the love of God. I am captivated. There is a nuance of protection in the word keep; there is a sense of tucking in close, there is choice and there is choosing; we are kept (verse 1) and we keep (verse 21). My focus must be on building up the most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping myself in the love God, waiting for Christ’s mercy: this is a large endeavor; it is a full-time focus. Help me to treasure You, Lord- with my life.

Doxology

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude ESV

To him who is able to keep….

Lest we/I become to fearful, discouraged, or dismayed- God is able to keep. All  praise belongs to Him. All worship is for Him. Keep me in Your love! The beautiful jubilance of being presented without fault and with great joy! Years ago, we often sang a worship song based entirely on this verse of this beautiful Doxology. I found it here.

Lord, press upon my heart to be kept, to keep for you, in you, by Your love. May I know what it is to hide in the secret place of Your Presence under the wings of  Your profound love. Help me take my days, my obedience, my life seriously and may You sanctify these and create something worthy.  Lord, may I know the utter safety of being kept in Your love, waiting for Your mercy. Amen.

Rebecca( offeringsbecca)

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Isaiah 41-44; Phil 2

18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.  Isaiah 41 ESV

My heart yearns with the recognition that in my life there can be a work of the Lord solely His- that can enable others to see His witness and rejoice. My heart is parched and dry, and this beautiful picture of the restoring life and beauty in the Lord renews my soul. At varied times, I have experienced this beautiful work of God that is His hand alone… I crave this, Lord. Open my eyes, Lord, and help my heart walk in tune with You.

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42 ESV

I have felt blinded in some circumstances in my life. My path is unfamiliar, uncharted, at times rocky and hard- this is promise for me. You, Lord,  are guiding me on all these unfamiliar paths; turning my darkness into light; making all the rough places smooth; darkness is as light with You.

Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”

21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.” 44 ESV

The taste of the world is ashes; delusion; and falsehood. The blindness and trickery of it all speaks to me. I picture myself shining in the sun, mist and cloud blown and burnt away- the promises in Christ are mine. Forgiveness, life, and restoration. Freedom. Redemption. But I think about how easy it is to be the one foolishly eating ashes with a deluded, misleading heart.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. Phil 2 ESV

I think about how often I struggle against work;  how the Lord calls me to live above the grumblings, mutterings, dramatic turnings of my flesh. My mind so easily proffering a narrative that doesn’t even exist. My heart so easily entangled in hurt that should be irrelevant to me. I ponder what it means to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I ponder what it means that the Lord is at work in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure. I ponder what it means to hold fast to the word of life.

Lord, help me to treasure Scripture; help me to live a life that treasures You.

Let me know Your strong work in my heart and life. Let my life bear witness to Your goodness and mighty work. I pray for springs in my desert, straight paths in a dark and unknown way, a deep recognition that I am known and loved in You, the freedom and peace from the lightness of a forgiven heart. Be with me, Lord, and help me to be with You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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2 Chronicles 10, 11; Matthew 20

Perseverence. Honor. Integrity. Faithfulness. Head-down; heart lifted-up. Goodness. Kindness. Justice.

Matthew 20 sparks heart-felt reflection for me. I find myself relating to the workers. I find myself, again, again. I am the long-suffering worker- feeling the deep burn of labor, and I am the one being blessed by lavish kindness and grace.

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius[a] a day, he sent them into his vineyard.  ESV

There are responsibilities in my life with a logical arrangement. X gets Y. Or, this work of faithfulness means that {end result; time commitment; personal labor; heart-work, etc, etc} The agreement is fair; it is just.

11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’[b] 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”  ESV

I struggle to understand the kingdom dynamic of: the last will be first, and the first will be last- yet, I know it is true- and it speaks to me of such scandalous, lavish, outrageous grace- and I think of how I bend my back in heat and hardship- when, really, I am free– free to be; free to receive; free to walk in such generous favor and love. Undeserving. Miracle-working. I lift up my head.

I struggle with a back bending labor; with a labor of an agreed wage that weighs me down;  that has me bearing the burden of the day and the scorching heat. Yet, in the end, as my heart struggles with what feels unfair- and like bondage, I have to realize- it is only the agreed upon wage. It is only what is justly due. And, it is my glory to bear that heat and that burden in humility and in peace.

I think there are times when I think I deserve more or better. When, in reality, I don’t- and the scorching heat is just a fair part of the deal.

My heart is tangled; the tangle encompasses several different spheres; yet, I can’t help but wonder if the root is actually all the same.

I don’t know how to untangle this heart of mine. I can’t make myself bear well. But, I can be small and quiet before Jesus. I can recognize that He is generous and kind. I can ask Him to help me find the places where He can make me first in His economy because of His love, generosity, and grace. I can invite others to do the same.

At the end of the day, when I am weary Lord, refresh me with Your grace. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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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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