Author Archives: Rebecca

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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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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