Author Archives: Rebecca

Genesis 12-15; Psalm 148; Mark 5

Jesus as the Source of Wholeness, Healing, and Life in Mark 5.

Wholeness:

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (KJV)

A man in utter torment. A man full of “many.” From broken torment, to wholeness. From “we” to “me.”

Healing:

25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. (ESV)

She felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (ESV)

She pressed in to reach for Him. Healed by His power

Life-Giver:.

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 But overhearing[e] what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus[f]saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (ESV)

One who was dead, now made alive.

Jesus. One very public miracle: healing a man and destroying 2000 pigs. One quiet,  personal healing: a woman acknowledged and declared. One secret healing: A little girl restored.

Jesus, worker of miracles. May I be close to You this year to feel Your power, know you in the secret place, and value that which You value. Your love is real.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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2 Chronicles 30; Zechariah 12: -13:1; Revelation 16; John 15

Happiest Christmas! I am amazed to be writing my last post of 2017. It has been a blessed journey with 66books this year, and I am grateful.

As I look to the year ahead, John 15 directs my heart and my mind; fills me with knowledge of my true priority (Jesus and abiding- to bear true, good fruit); exhorts me to lay down my life in love; and that difficulty and hatred should not surprise me, rather I should glorify God and find unity in Him in the midst.

Sometimes, I find myself lost amidst the shifting obligations of each day, even each hour, in my large, busy family. I find myself again in the truth of God’s Word.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15 ESV

An exhortation to find my life in Christ. Now more than ever before, I find myself more easily consumed by the cares of the world. I need to value true fruit whose source is in Christ. Everything else will be burned and tossed away. I ponder: how can I invest myself in fruit that will last? As I face the new year, what changes will I make to invest more fully in the Lord and His calling?

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15 ESV

Love. I recently read a profound blog post- found here that perfectly articulated the idea of God’s “given love.” It has been with me, resounding in heart, ringing in my mind ever since. “Abide in my love.” Beautiful command; O, my heart- Abide.

Christ speaks so that His joy may be in me and my joy may be full.

Much of this first half of the year has been consumed in senior year duties, responsibilities, and priorities for my first-born, and oldest, son. As I read this Scripture, the word joy throbs in my heart. This past week, my son submitted a college admission supplementary essay with the prompt: Celebrate the role of sports in your life. In the end, the essay was about a fullness of joy that basketball has brought him. I think about those words: celebrate, joy. Wonderful words! Wonderful, wild, happy words. I want my life to treasure Christ; therefore, to treasure His Words and be filled with fullness of joy.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15 ESV

I have always pondered the offering of self; the ministry inherent in laying down a life for love. It has informed much of what I do and have done since fully surrendering my life- or rather- growing in that surrender as a young college student. And even as I write that, I am reminded again, deep in my heart, that a life is a continual surrender, a continual re-orientation… and what do I need to do today, this week, this new year- to walk in this surrendered love?

Yet, today, my heart takes note: Christ calls me friend. And He will make known to me from the Father. It is only through reading Scripture and seeking the Lord, will I know and be able to do what Christ commands. And then… friend. And the command is for love. Verse 17: These things I command you, so that you may love one another.

Dear Lord, the hushed anticipation and celebration of Your birth is upon me… and the reality that Love came down; and Love comes near; and the miracle of Incarnation is kindling life and light in my heart. Help me live for You in this new year. Help me be a vessel of Your grace and a minister of Your love. Thank You for Christmas, Lord; and for 66books; and for a year in the Bible; and for the truth of Your Word. Bless the readers and writers. Draw our hearts near. In Christ, I pray.

Note: I am writing this Christmas Eve- and the bustle of my family is all about me; and I am not entirely sure of all the transitions in this post; my little girls are waving the jingle bells they were given at church all through the house, and my dear husband is calling…so I must go…but as always, I have tried to share my heart and a bit of my life. Deepest blessings and Merry Christmas dear 66books!! 

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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2 Chronicles 11; 2 Chronicles 12; Revelation 2; Zephaniah 3; 1 John 1

In the midst of darkness, discouragement, despair, hope is a flame.

A promise:

17  The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3 ESV

A warning:

14And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.  2 Chronicles 12 ESV

An exhortation:

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ Revelations 2 ESV

A new birth:

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 1 John 1

His promised fullness:

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[e] 17      John 1:14-17

Lord, as the quiet rests all around me, I look to You. Through Christ, You are in my midst. A place of refuge rather than judgment. A place of singing mercy, rather than deserved retribution. If I turn to You, and set my heart on You, I will be and am protected from evil. Kindle my first love that I may do the works exhorted in Revelations 2. May the miracle of the birthing of God be alive in me this day. I cannot comprehend grace upon grace… You, Jesus, full…. full of grace and truth.

Father, have mercy on me and grant me grace to draw near to You that You will draw near to me. In the hush of this Christmas season, may my heart find quiet spaces to rest in You and know You. The glimmer of a house lit up with Christmas candles and the quiet glow of holiday lights has always, from the time I was a little girl, called my heart to You. In the cold chill of this December, may I be warmed in You. The Scriptures come to me in fragments, like my mind fragments in this season- filled with so many, many things. Help me live for You.

 

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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1 Chronicles 23; 1 Peter 4; Micah 2; Luke 11

How, how often my mindset reflects a mentality that focuses on pleasing others and finding approval from man. I read the verses in 1 Peter 4 and see myself, so easily entangled.

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4 ESV

Instead of an outward focus, I need an upward focus. – to live for the rest of the time in the flesh for the will of God. And why am I shocked and surprised when I am maligned? Am I seeking the approval of man more or instead of the approval of God? My heart ponders.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4 ESV

God’s grace is varied and beautiful, like the people He has created. His reflection is found in the unique snowflake, the multitude of leaf color, the sun’s ever new reflection dancing on the water, the skyscape, the landscape. My heart treasures people- the work of His hands. Creation declares the glory of God. Living open-handed, in the freedom of His forgiveness; the blessedness of grace, enables me to love earnestly, serve as a reflection of God’s varied grace, recognize that the gift I have been given is not the gift of another. And that is good. And that is right. O, the wild freedom I have in Christ. The healing forgiveness. The blessed grace.

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[c]

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4 ESV

This passage has been a friend to me in different times and seasons. I think a lot about doing good. Doing good, for me, can be a lot about trusting God in all circumstances and about the orientation of my heart. Just as a turning my heart to capture and offer gratitude changes me from the inside out, so a focus on doing good as unto the Lord works an inward to outward change.  To be insulted and misunderstood for the name of Christ is actually to be blessed (v 14).

I ponder, and my mind needs a realignment toward the values Scripture portrays.

Lord, thank You for Your Word, for Your kindness, for Your beauty, for Your grace. Thank You for Your unending love and infinite understanding. When others misunderstand, or make judgments, I am safe in Your unending goodness and understanding. Help me to be so full of Your love and life, that the natural overflow in each day is one that reflects a passionate, whole-hearted commitment to You.  I need You, Lord.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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1 Chronicles 1; 1 Chronicles 2; Amos 2; Psalm 145; Hebrews 8

1 Chronicles 1,2-

The genealogies. Each name represents a life; a living, human body who loved and fought. A person who felt heat and hunger; love and loss. The list of names rolls down the page and I study it… with inadequate eyes. The little epitaphs attached after some. What power in few words to live forever in God’s Holy Word?

Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty man. (1:10 ESV)

OR

The son[a] of Carmi: Achan, the troubler of Israel, who broke faith in the matter of the devoted thing; (2:7 ESV)

The names are more than just a list. But- their puzzle (the full picture of it all) is inexplicable to me.

Psalm 145

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. ESV

The season of Thanksgiving and the sacred days of Advent are upon me… or so soon to be. My heart quickens… these days offer special opportunity to commend my God to my children. The festivities, traditions, and rituals provide a framework to imbue living faith and a spiritual heritage. I want these days to be… I want my life to be… pouring forth the fame of God’s abundant goodness; singing aloud the glory of His righteousness. In Amos 2, I see the Lord’s anger at His people’s disregard of His holiness and righteousness. O, that I may prize Your holiness, my God- and treasure the purity of Your righteousness. May I never turn away to be given over to the baseness of a flesh that finds its life away from You.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your[b] mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations. ESV

It is a special, slowing time to pause and reflect- this November/December season-but I pray that I will always have a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. May my heart always lift to speak the glory of Your kingdom and tell of Your real power in my daily every day life.

Hebrews 8

But as it is, Christ[b] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
    and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.” ESV emphasis mine

The realization of the much more excellent Way I have in Christ is astonishing.  The Old Testament readings show again, again – a people whose heart was far from the Lord. He is relentless in His love and faithfulness. He makes a way for hearts to be for Him. Near Him. The unrelenting mercy is like a cleansing flow. It is clean water wash for my needy soul. To stand in the healing waters, and be mended, whole, restored, …white as snow. How precious to be in the Beloved of God.

Lord, I lift my heart to You. Quicken my heart to Your more excellent Way. Help me live for You each day and may I commend Your works to the next generation with power and faithfulness. Help me draw near to You, that You will draw near to me. Thank You for Your mercy.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 145:8,9 ESV

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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2 King 12; Hosea 3; Hosea 4; Psalm 119:121-144; 2 Timothy 2

I just returned from a funeral and a brief foray spent at my childhood home. Some things become crystal clear:

Psalm 119:

127Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way. ESV

Does my life reflect Your preciousness Lord? Do I treasure You and Your ways above gold, fine gold? How can my life reflect a love for You?

129Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.

132Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me. ESV

The unfolding of Your Words gives light. You impart understanding to the simple. Steady me, O my Lord. I love this prayer: let no iniquity get dominion over me. O Lord, let no iniquity get dominion over me or those I love- those who are under my care; my watch.

Help me understand what it means to walk with You in this season.

2 Timothy 2

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. ESV

The Lord gives understanding to the simple. I need understanding Lord! -and I am grateful that I can ask You for it and You promise to grant it. This directive speaks to my heart. My aim should be to please the Lord. My focus, the orientation of my heart, the direction of my life should be to please God. There is a submission here, in these verses, … as I read in context.

 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ESV

This weekend I was with many people who do not treasure the truths my heart holds dear. These directives speak to me. There are many commands in this passage and they instruct a focused heart. Avoid quarrels and controversies. Be kind. Patiently endure evil. Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

The changing landscape of our culture provides every opportunity to live these verses and to walk in the light of the Lord and in His love.

We are deep in the throes of college admissions for our oldest son, and as we prepare to launch our beloved out into the world- there are so many unknowns on the horizon, it is frightening.

There is uncertainty. “Keep my steps steady according to Your Promise…”

Lord, I pray You be with our extended family… with those for whom this recent loss is fresh, raw, and life-altering. I pray you protect my own personal family and guide us through these unknown days. Help us to walk in love and in the light. Make our relationships strong with one another, held in Your grace. Let me treasure You above gold, fine gold.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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1 Kings 19; 1 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 1; Psalm 105

I Kings 19: 12,13

And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. ESV

A great and strong wind. An earthquake. A fire. The sound of a low whisper.

Elijah recognized the Lord in the whisper.

1 Thessalonians 2:7,8; 11,12; 19

But we were gentle[c] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ESV

19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.ESV

The language of family; of close, intimate relationships resounds in 1 Thessalonians 2. The verses instruct me as a parent as much as they instruct me in life.  I ponder this chapter in relationship to my children and I also ponder it in relationship to my church life. This past week my family experienced the body of Christ come round us as family. We were loved on and dear. I think of my ministry to my children. I want it to be that I share the gospel and I share my very self. My life. -with those who are so very dear to me.

Psalm 105

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually! ESV

The Lord is a very present help in time of trouble. His strength is a shield and bulwark.

I am grateful for His sustaining work in the life of my family and this week, especially, in the life of my son, Asher.

Lord, ignite my heart and mind to the life in Your Word. Help me praise Your Name and tell of Your wondrous works. Thank you for all the people who cared for us during a specific time of trial and bore us up through Your power in their prayers. Thank You that the body of Christ is a community and we don’t have to go through trials without life and without hope. Let the rich language of 1 Thessalonians 2 inform my life.

Rebecca (OfferingsBecca)

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