Author Archives: Rebecca

2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekial 21; Psalm 68

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:4-6 ESV Emphasis mine

I love these verses because they so clearly paint a picture of my God as Strong Protector who cares for the vulnerable and heartbroken. His tender mercies sing to my storm-tossed heart and shine light and hope. Yesterday, I climbed into my van and as I looked out the front window, streams of light were slanting from illuminated clouds. I looked again just to ascertain if the casting light was real. The rays were visible and the sky shifted in light and shadow.  God’s truth is visible in such beauty-pouring out unending truth and light. I catch my breath at the memory- the moments when the glory of His handiwork are more than I can take in and my whole self pauses just to try.

This day, the day that I am writing my post, a dear friend has received full guardianship (after many (4-5) years) of two children she has been caring for: fatherless children with a mother who was terminally ill with an unusual lung disease. The mother is at rest with the Lord this day and the sweet children will now join my friend’s family in full. Over these last years, as the mother weakened, my friend and her family assumed more and more of their care. When I think of God setting the solitary in a home, I see this ill mother who was cared for tenderly by my friend and her family. I see these precious girls… who long before, already had a home prepared for them- as my friend and her family painted and decorated bedrooms and in every way- they have prepared for these girls so that they would know the full love of God and family in this grievous transition. My friend served, cared, and loved this mother and her two daughters and now these daughters join her family as beloved as her own.

Verse 6 God settles the solitary in a home;

And I am reminded of the heart importance of a home and quickened to strengthen my hands, my heart, and my vision and do the good work of creating and developing mine to be one of welcome, beauty, love, goodness, and order. I think the order might be the hardest part for me, but I am trying and determined to continue on. Things that were difficult when the children were small have taken on a completely new shape. I pray the Lord help me to do the things I do not like to do but are so needed to bring that peace. I pray I recognize the holiness and preciousness of home and the ministry available through one.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
 who daily bears us up;
    God is our salvationSelah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. Psalm 68:19-20 ESV Emphasis mine

As I struggle with many things in this season, I am comforted by these verses. I want to rest myself in the Lord who will daily bear me up. My salvation and My deliverance. Can I let myself be small in His midst and feel the strength of that bearing?

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God from his[h] sanctuary;
    the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God! Psalm 68: 32-35 ESV Emphasis mine

Lord, thank You that You are Awesome. Thank You that You are the One who gives power and strength to Your people! Thank you for my friends and their ministry to these bereaved children. You have not left them as orphans- you have already prepared a place for them. May they know You strongly, and in power, during this time. Please help me to create a home that is a refuge from the storm and so reflects Your protection, comfort, and shelter. Thank You that You bear our burdens. Help me to know Your mercy and burden-bearing in a living way. Lord, thank You for all the ways You reveal Yourself through Your creation and the breath-taking beauty that often takes me by surprise.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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1 Samuel 28; Ezekiel 7; 1 Corinthians 9; Psalm 45

Psalm 45 – a worship:

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. NASB

Lord, You are upright and holy. You love righteousness and hate wickedness. O, that I might also love righteousness and hate wickedness.

The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold. Psalm 45:13 NASB

These words echo to me down a corridor of years. Revive my heart, O God.

1 Corinthians 9:

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ESV

The passionate heartbeat to win for Christ. To love for Christ. To serve for Christ. To live for the sake of the gospel and have full realization of its blessings. To know the fullness of freedom to such extent, that I can become all things while still living free.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ESV

Focus. Discipline. Intensity. Drive. “So run that you may obtain it.” Do I recognize the imperishable wreath that could be mine? Do I order my days, my life- with purpose?

Lord, help me love You more. Have mercy on me. Be gracious unto me. Let my life reflect Your love and beauty. Help me pause and be still so that I can evaluate the focus and direction of my days. Am I living in concert with Your purpose? Apprehend my heart with Your love. Let me be single-eyed unto You.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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1 Samuel 13; Jeremiah 50; Psalm 28; Psalm 29; Romans 11

From 1 Samuel 13

Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to [e]greet him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom [f]over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” NASB

Saul didn’t wait long enough. He took matters into his own hands. Rather than staying single-eyed unto the Lord, he surveyed his circumstances and decided to act. His action was unholy and disobedient- and it had terrible consequences- far more terrible than the circumstances he was facing in the moment- people scattering and enemy pressure rising. He lost his kingdom altogether and forfeited generations of blessing. His heart was not satisfied in God and kept wholly for Him. And rather than recognizing his grievous action, he defends his sin to Samuel. My own heart is convicted. Do I justify my sin? Do I live single-eyed for God in the face of all the worldly pressure? Do I value God and His ways so keenly that I will wait faithfully in the unknown and not grasp and strive with my own fleshly actions?

The world roils and shudders. I feel small and puzzled. I read Psalm 29.

Ascribe to the Lord, O [a]sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory [b]due to His name;
Worship the Lord in [c]holy array.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The Lord is over [d]many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful,
The voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord hews out [e]flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord [f]shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
11 [g]The Lord will give strength to His people;
[h]The Lord will bless His people with peace. NASB

 

The Lord sits as King forever. He will give strength to His people. He will bless His people with peace.  The Lord is glory and honor. The Lord is Holy; He thunders. I hide myself in this Psalm. I sit small before Him. His voice is over many waters.  Ascribe (attribute, assign, proclaim, associate, give credit for) greatness to the Lord our God!

Lord, strengthen me and grant me faith that I might be single-eyed and wait in the unknown. Give me a pure heart to discern Your way. Help me to be quick to recognize and confess my sin. Thank You for Your Word that comforts me in my smallness. When the world roars, and I am dismayed, Your Scripture instructs me in Your glory and Your greatness. Lord, give me this strength; give me this peace as promised in Psalm 29. It is good to worship You and be face down in my heart before You – to be renewed in my mind in Your Power, Holiness, Majesty, and Strength. You are King forever!

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Judges 21; Acts 25; Jeremiah 35; Psalm 7; Psalm 8

In Judges 21, I read the story of God’s people: their confusion and their woe. What shall they do for wives for the tribe of Benjamin? I read this chapter. Again, again.  They must solve a problem. They will do it in their own way- with trickery to subvert more death and guilt.

And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards 21 and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23 And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off. Judges 21:20-23 ESV

In my mind’s eye, I see beautiful women being carried away. The account in this chapter begins with ambush (the people of Israel fulfilling their oath toward those who did not come up to Mizpah) and ends with ambush (snatching daughters of Shiloh).

And then this:

Verse 25

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 ESV

And my heart stops short. The fitting end to this chapter and this account. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes…” And how wrong our right can be when oriented apart from God or away from Him.  How dark is the darkness when the eye is not illumined by the light of Christ through faith?! This is truth I need to understand.

In Acts 25, I behold Paul. Prior to this chapter, I read:

“We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul.” Acts 23:14-16 ESV

and also in Chapter 25:

 And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him,asking as a favor against Paul[a] that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Acts 25:2-3 ESV

Ambush. Again.

Yet, chapter 25 reveals faith-filled and illuminated Paul who is utterly surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. Paul is single-minded in faith, devotion, and allegiance. He is shrewd, alert, and long suffering. The light of Christ shines. He does not seek to war in the flesh- taking matters into his own hands- instead, he makes the most of every opportunity provided and continues in steadfast faith and love.

Psalm 7: 1, 10-11

O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,

My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day. Psalm 7:1, 10-11 ESV

In Jeremiah 35, I read of the Lord’s indignation. Judah does not heed the command of the Lord. The Lord blesses the Rekabite family who faithfully and carefully keep the command of their forefather and He uses their obedience to instruct Judah and those in Jerusalem. In Acts, I behold Paul’s refuge in God.

Dear Lord, rather than trying to solve my difficulties apart from You, help me to surrender and trust in You! Help me to be strong and straight, illuminated in Your Light.  Your love and Your grace continue, unrelenting, despite my weakness, frailty, and flesh. Let my heart craft prayers from Psalms 7 and 8.

Psalm 8

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3,4 ESV

What is man? What is man that you care for him? But the miracle is – You do. You do.

“O Lord, Our Lord! How majestic is Your Name in all the earth.” Psalm 8:9 ESV

Rebecca (offerings.becca)

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Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

Sometimes the Lord allows circumstances so difficult and sparse, that life can feel desperate. These desperate times, when forced beyond myself and my own resources, allow me to see that it is the Lord’s Hand that has saved and still saves me. Through His Mighty Power and Outstretched Arm, the victory; the overcoming; the provision; are obtained. Life is more than dust and flesh. It is more than food and clothes for the body. And sometimes, it takes a desolate place to draw my heart to His.

Judges 7

The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ ESV

Gideon worshiped and he obeyed. And the Lord prevailed and provided the victory.

In Mark 6, Jesus calls His disciples to a desolate place for rest and reprieve.

31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” ESV

And yet, while there, so much in demand, that ministry continues:

35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[f] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. ESV

Five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand men. The Lord blesses the loaves and fishes so that there is more than enough. There are many areas in my life that are like the loaves and fishes. Can I give them to the Lord and watch Him multiply the provision? There are times when the steps and actions I take feel so small before that path that lays ahead and beyond me.  It is here that the Lord is calling me to faith. And this is His gift to me.

Lord, I ask You to clear my eyes. Remove the film of the flesh and the world so that I can see with eyes of faith. So that I, like Gideon and his three hundred, can blow my trumpet victorious and hold my torch high! So that I can see the work of Your Spirit like Peter, greater than what came before, a living flow for what is ahead. So that I can proclaim again and again that you take my loaves and fishes and you make them MORE THAN ENOUGH.  Help me to recognize You when You come walking on the water in my life. Forgive me, Lord. Renew my heart in You.

Rebecca (offerings.becca)

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Deuteronomy 31; Psalm 119; Isaiah 58; Matthew 6

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. ESV

Matthew 6

34Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV

Anxiety has always plagued me. In and out of life and seasons, it waits for me. There have been periods of time when the torment has been worse, much worse than others. And these have coincided- with seasons of physical imbalance and illness. And O! the relief when the anxiety abates and the frantic thread running through my mind and body finally calms and is still.

The spiritual power and life available to me in Christ is a healing provision. The power of the Word brings healing and peace to a mind troubled and full of unrest; the power of a verse to be an anchor in the storm. I am grateful for all the means of grace in my life- from household filtration systems to the gentle healing of the Lord through time and nutrition. And always, the Word.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g]  Matthew 6 ESV

The Lord is so gentle in His assurance of His complete care and full knowledge. I often ponder this verse. Anxiety cannot add a single hour to life but it can reduce a life. The Lord speaks of value. The Lord speaks of what is important. Life is more than food and drink and clothing. This I know.

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  Matthew 6 ESV

The Lord knows my need. And He cares not only for the need…but He adorns in beauty, too. And He beautifies that which lasts a moment. What does this mean for me? The extravagant beauty of my Lord.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6 ESV

Lord, what have I learned through a lifetime battle with anxiety but to trust You more and lean on You like a little child. I have learned of Your compassion and Your mercy; Your goodness and Your grace. Your generous giving ministers to my heart. You are bigger than my anxiety. I try to trust when the storm rages and praise when all is calm. I have learned gratitude for the good, peaceful times and strength to cling when it is hard. I have tasted the power of Your Word.

Help me recognize all the ways anxiety ravages my soul, and in those moments- seek You. Help me to meditate on Your Word. Help me to treasure it, cling to it, live by it, and memorize it. Your Word is life.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word. ESV

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Deuteronomy 17; Psalm 104; Isaiah 44; Revelation 17

Deuteronomy 17

18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll [o]in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, [p]by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his [q]countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. NASB

There is a practice floating around the blogosphere/Instagram called Scripture Journaling. It has intrigued and inspired me. Different writers generate and post monthly journaling plans with verses laid out for each day. Readers are encouraged and (hopefully) inspired to spend time each day writing the verses out by hand and receiving truth from the Lord through the process. This dovetails nicely with the new journaling Bibles that can be found … where a person can fill the margins of their beautiful Bible with artwork, illuminated lettering, notes, and highlighted verses (and more!) I think- also- the deliberate slowness… the slow-down of hand copying can still the mind and heart to hear from the Lord. Letter by letter; word by word; verse by verse- illuminated.

The physical process of writing has a direct connection to certain pathways in the brain. It is a process that is often replaced by the keyboard. Nonetheless, there is something special; something personal, individual, unique… even precious about an individual person’s own handwriting. In this, I think there is treasure- and I took note in Deuteronomy 17…where the king is commanded to “write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll…”  and… “he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God…”

There is power in the careful copying of Scripture.

Isaiah 44

“Remember these things, O Jacob,
And Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you, you are My servant,
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a [r]heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!
Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth;
Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it;
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
And in Israel He shows forth His glory. (NASB)

Our whole hearts, our whole selves… the very earth itself -utterly abandoned in praise to God. The redemption of God is so glorious! And it is altogether wholly of God. It is His work and He has done it. Allowing the magnificence of His truth and great forgiveness to permeate heart and mind compels me toward praise and deep joy in Creation. And when I read these verses and others in this day’s assigned reading… I slow down my mind and heart- to realize how full and free my worship should be.

And….

Finally, beauty. Beauty.

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
[a]He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
[b]He makes the clouds His chariot;
[c]He walks upon the wings of the wind;
[d]He makes [e]the winds His messengers,
[f]Flaming fire His ministers. (NASB)

-and-

Revelation 17

 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they *[a]sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; (NASB)

There is poetry in the Word and the poetry is Him.

O Lord, You are covered with light as with a cloak.  You are very great.

Lord, help me create spaces to practice Scripture journaling and so receive the blessing of Your Word alive in my life. Let my Worship of You be full, abandoned, and free. Help my life and my words to reflect Your poetry and beauty. You are altogether lovely, holy, mighty, and worthy of praise. All the readings reveal Your glory. You are without blemish and sin. You rule over all creation. The mountains smoke at Your touch. Grant me a song, O Lord, to sing.

Psalm 104

Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;
32 [ae]He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 [af]I will sing to the Lord [ag]as long as I live;
[ah]I will sing praise to my God [ai]while I have my being.
34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. NASB

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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