Author Archives: Rebecca

Proverbs 14,15; Romans 14

A garland of grace, Romans 14 falls around me. 

This chapter teaches me so much about the expression of my life of faith. It is mine before the Lord. It preaches freedom to me. It preaches surrender. It preaches honor of God’s precious ones who live out different preferences and convictions than mine.

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ESV

I have to make many choices and decisions. Sometimes it feels like I am always making such decisions. And at times, my mind wavers… in a glimmer, I see it fluctuating like a desert mirage.  My thoughts just an illusion? And yet, Romans 14 : 4 “It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” The Lord is the substance that breathes life into my mind. The Lord brings the image into true focus. He is the oasis in my desert.

 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ESV

I sat by her side, tucked in with blankets and pillows- but really… tucked in with love. And, I listened to her words. “Be able to defend your choices and decisions.” – she said. And then… “And sometimes the reason is ‘I don’t know fully why’ and that is okay, too.” And my ear quickened. So many choices and decisions, and I knew, I should take the time to draft my defense for each one. It would bring clarity, peace, confidence, and direction. It wasn’t about defense in an argumentative stance. It was about knowing why I chose what I chose so I had an answer for those who oppose…

and maybe so I have an answer for my own accusing heart.

 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. ESV

My whole life it to be lived to God. I have little sunflowers growing on my deck- and their vibrant faces are turned straight to the sun. So, should I be- like those sunflowers, open-faced and only -eyed toward Him. And this life of glad surrender and faith- filled beauty is approved by Him. Indeed, commended.

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. ESV

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. ESV

I am to embrace God’s people in the pursuit of peace– allowing for differences, preferences, and convictions; free in my own before the Lord.

Lord, help me live unto You. Help me remember that each faith-filled decision honors You when I live into it fully by faith. Establish a sound mind in me. Help me remember to reflect and spend time to bring clarity for why I do the things I do. Thank you for the peace and grace to live free in You. Amen.

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4

Heart-Understanding of God; Justice; Mercy; Integrity

 13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

David sinned against the Lord- and thereby brought the Lord’s displeasure upon himself and the nation of Israel-

and when faced with three choices to be carried out against Israel as consequence- he chose the Lord, so secure in His Nature, Mercy, Character, and Love was he.

So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah[b] the Jebusite.

“The Lord saw it and relented…” David was right to trust His Mercy. To Trust His Nature and Character.

17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd,[c] have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

David’s integrity shines forth. He beseeches the Lord for mercy for Israel. He takes full responsibility. He desires to spare those who are guilty “by default”- guilty because of a choice he sinfully made. He cries out before the Lord for His people.

Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

David goes to Araunah’s threshing floor in obedience to God. He goes to stay the Sword of the Lord. Araunah offers him everything, and David refuses. He insists on paying full price.

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Aranuah shows respect and generosity to his King. David responds with integrity, respect, and honor. His obedience to the Lord is from his whole heart, and with everything that he is. An offering bears a cost. The cost is holy.

I have often felt that a gift that cost me nothing- either in money, time, or thought- is no true gift at all.

Lord, I pray you grant me truth in the inner man so that I can walk with integrity. Help me recognize my responsibility and own it fully. Sin is deceitful and misleading. Your light leads the way securely.  Help me please You with my offerings and have a tender heart to You and those You entrust to my care. Amen

 

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2 Samuel 3-5; 1 Chronicles 12; Psalm 122; Acts 22

1 Chronicles 12 sings of the Mighty Men who came alongside David and helped him battle.

Note: all emphasis mine in the Scripture quotes

 They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand; they were Benjaminites, Saul’s kinsmen. Verse 2 ESV

From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains: ESV

David’s army is gathered.

These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand. 15 These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks, and put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west.

16 And some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” 18 Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said,

“We are yours, O David,
    and with you, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
    and peace to your helpers!
    For your God helps you.”

Then David received them and made them officers of his troops. ESV

22 For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God. ESV

In verses  23- 37, these men are described as:  mighty men of valor for war; mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers’  houses; men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David[c] with singleness of purpose; seasoned troops ready for battle.

Strength, vigor, physical prowess, mighty men,

___and____

Heart devotion, loyalty, anointing, Spirit moving

38 All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. 39 And they were there with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their brothers had made preparation for them. 40 And also their relatives, from as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys and on camels and on mules and on oxen, abundant provisions of flour, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel. 1 Chronicles 12 ESV

When I initially read this chapter, this last section sung out to me first. Verses 38-40… for there was joy in Israel. Yes. How we need respite; times of fellowship and feasting. Times of strength and singing. In the midst of the great battles of life. In the midst of David’s battle for his life and for the kingdom. I can feel the heart-swell of joy. I can feel the power pulse through the chapter. What a congregation of valiant men… of warriors!

There is joy in single-mindedness, commonality, and fellowship! There is joy in food laid out for a feast in celebration and succor.

I have young men growing up in my home. The references to strength, power, victory, and valor ring especially true and poignant for me. And I am the wife of a treasured man. Men need each other to face the battles of life. We all need each other. I hope that my home can continue to grow into a place where warriors can rest as they prepare to face the battles of their day. And I pray that my men find a commonality and a joy in the Lord who is their strength and the victory found in Him.

Lord, let the joy of feasting in you sing through my home. As we celebrate victories, and as we face battles, let our family be a place of respite and succor. Anoint us to be of one mind, single in action and purpose. I turn my face to You. I hide myself in You. You are worthy- and in every battle- and in each victory- MAY YOU BE PRAISED!

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Judges 19-21; Acts 2

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” Acts 2 ESV

Without faith, and illuminated understanding- without the Spirit- it is easy to be bewildered, perplexed, and confused.

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Acts 2 ESV

The tender heart sliced cleanly by conviction… the answer and call: Repent and be baptized.

The promise: for you, for your children…

This promise speaks to my heart: for my children.

In my Judges’ reading, I see many examples of a crooked generation. I see a people cut to the heart. I see a justice provided through a people. In Acts, justice and salvation comes to me through a person. A better way… a more excellent way.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[d] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2 ESV

To live and see life through eyes of faith, is to see the world around me through a different lens. What lens am I looking through? Am I living in the joy of the Lord and the freedom of His life? How can my heart be glad and generous?

Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word. Open my eyes to see Your truth. Draw me close to You. The wind and fire of Your Spirit make all things new. Help me live my life for You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Joshua 9-13; Luke 16

Joshua 9 and Luke 16 both offer examples of shrewdness providing protection. In Joshua chapter 9, the Gibeonites deceive the men of Israel to secure their lives and safety.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” (Joshua 9 NKJV)

But really, they came from right next door. Interestingly, chapter 10 provides insight about these Gibeonites.

and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. (Joshua 10 NKJV)

This section offers such a sense of the fear the Lord through His people invoked- that such a mighty, royal city ( men of the city) would humble themselves to be wood cutters and water carriers – the sentence pronounced upon them when their deceit was found out. Ultimately, Israel could not harm them because of the covenant made. Their shrewdness saved their lives.

In Luke 16, the steward is to be cast out for wasting his master’s goods. He secures his future through crafty planning. In the end, this shrewdness is praised.

So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16 NKJV)

And:

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail,[c] they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16 NKJV)

I ponder these verses. My soul lights upon “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful in much also…” because this theme- the theme of integrity in the secret places yielding a great fruit in the places of light–after a time –has been resonating in my soul. For a while. Yet, I do not understand what it means to “make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” Do you?  And then the chapter speaks:

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16 NKJV)

Make friends- but don’t serve as master.  Be faithful with mammon to show yourself approved for true riches. I do not really understand. Lord, help me!

The Lord wants me to highly esteem what matters to Him. – a lesson taken deeply to my heart right now-

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16 NKJV)

In the chapters that move from Joshua 9-13, I see the obedience of Joshua. I feel it, too.

15 As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11 NKJV)

There is peace and well-being in the completeness of his obedience.

Lord, help me to understand Your Word. Open my eyes to see truth that can change my heart. Thank you for Your patient mercy. Help me to always value and prize what matters to You. Help me to understand that money is a symbol… that everything we do and how we handles things is in reference to the true reality: eternity. Thank You for the Cross and Your blood. Thank You for the gospel! Thank You that You live!!!!!!!!!! Amen.

 

 

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Deuteronomy 4-5; Luke 6

Deuteronomy 4

A call to diligence. A call to careful watching. A call to tend.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ ESV

A warning not to be drawn away.

15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. ESV

Deuteronomy 5

The Ten Commandments- still for today… and still I ponder, Sabbath.

12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave[g] in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. ESV

Mercy.

29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants[i] forever! ESV

Luke 6

Sabbath. Again. Speaking to my heart, and I ponder.

And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. ESV

I see Jesus, the manifest fulfillment of the Law- and the full embodiment of all that the Father is and intends.

In Deuteronomy 4, 5 – Moses is on the mountain- receiving instruction from the Lord. In Luke 6- Jesus goes out to the mountain to pray- then chose His disciples, healed the people, and proclaims the beatitudes.

So. So much. Truth. In Luke 6. I need to sit here longer. I read again. I whisper, quietly, out loud.

Two favorites:

38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ESV

45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ESV

 

Lord, help me to live free and open in You that Your life may flow and operate in me.  Teach me to tend and keep watch. I rest in You. Thank You for the truth You provided in the mountains of these times; these Words that feed and nourish even to this day. You are kind, and good, and merciful.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13

My assigned readings take me back. Back.

This week we had a birthday (we are still celebrating), and I prayed this blessing over my precious children. Aaron’s blessing (verses 22-26)

Numbers 6

Aaron’s Blessing

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance[c] upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” ESV

This is a blessing I speak over them often. And, as I often do, I remembered the first time(s) I ever heard this blessing spoken and the way the grace of it has stayed with me down all of these years.

In college, I attended a wonderful, large church with fellow Young Life leaders and at the end of every service, Pastor Brooke would call the congregation to stand. He would lift up his hands in blessing and speak these verses over the body- and we would go forth with the gold of that grace resting on us.  I can still feel the strength of that benediction, the fatherly love, and the spiritual direction.

Hebrews 13

13 Let ubrotherly love continue. vDo not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,for thereby wsome have entertained angels unawares.  ESV

Suddenly, I am hearing the Newsboys in my mind. It is 1998 and “Entertaining Angels” is playing… such a special song for Todd and I that we had it played at our wedding (1999)… and I can see us all circled round and dancing… dancing to the playlist we especially created as we stood together to start a life of faith as a new family. Surrounded by sweet, young friends… a family in the faith… celebrating with music all our own.

Now… studying the lyrics of this song does not garner for me a greater understanding of this text- except to fill my heart with the wonder and mystery of the real host of God and the intersection of spiritual and natural… that is ever so much more present that I truly realize.

And Hebrews 13 is a call to holiness and purity- and different verses stand out to me:

13 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ESV

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  ESV

16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ESV

Benediction

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us[b] that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. ESV

 

Lord, help me to order my life according to priorities that honor You. Help me to live for You and know contentment in You. Help me to love you from my whole heart. Let me rest in the benediction of Your grace. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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