Author Archives: Rebecca

2 Chronicles 30; Revelation 16; Zechariah 12; John 15

Merry Christmas, 66books and readers!!

2 Chronicles 30 struck me with its extravagant, kind grace. I think how often I am undone, even unmannerly, or inappropriate- and yet, the kindness of God is toward me. Verses 18 – 22 speak of the Lord’s grace and pardon toward a people whose heart is toward Him. He lovingly pardons them; they therefore are full of great gladness, joy, thanks, and peace. The gospel is extravagant grace, and I learn of the Father’s heart in these verses- and I am grateful. I don’t deserve it, and I can never deserve it. But the Lord hears Jesus, who intercedes for me, and He heals me, forgives me, cleanses me, and makes me His. The quiet of Christmas calls my heart to contemplation and the blessed advent of the Lord Jesus. I want to walk in lavish grace and extend lavish grace to others because that is my true reality in Christ. This little section of 2 Chronicles 30 is an oasis in the midst of the chapter, and I find my own reflection there.

2 Chronicles 30

18 For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone 19 who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”[a]20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their might[b] to the Lord. 22 And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the Lord. So they ate the food of the festival for seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord, the God of their fathers.

John 15

“I am the rtrue vine, and my Father is sthe vinedresser. tEvery branch in me that does not bear fruit uhe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, vthat it may bear more fruit. Already wyou are clean xbecause of the word that I have spoken to you. yAbide zin 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; ayou are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6

Jesus is calling me to abide. I studied abide a little to try to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to abide in Jesus. I know these verses speak of Jesus as the Source for believers as the Vine is the source for the branches. I need to stay connected to, and in active life flow with Jesus. For me, I have to ponder this more fully. Pruning hurts; I don’t like it and I often don’t understand it. I would love to walk more closely with the Lord that I might more fully understand His pruning as well as the fruit that comes from union with Him.

 11 These things I have spoken to you, nthat my joy may be in you, and that oyour joy may be full.

12 p“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 qGreater love has no one than this, rthat someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are smy friends tif you do what I command you. 

Over many years, and in many different ways I have pondered laying down my life “for my friends.” Friends as noted here can be so many different categories of people in a life. I think, first, in 2021- I want to pursue friendship with Jesus because I know that everything else flows from that. Second, as always, I am held captive by the realization of God’s love. He commands me to love “one another” as He has loved me. I ponder what that means in my real, work-a-day life. Mostly, I want a mind and a life fixed on the Lord, and I want to love through prayer and action faithfully.

It is the end of 2020; it is hard to believe the this year is coming to a close. Year’s end always draws me to quiet contemplation. What will I find in the Lord in 2021? I am full of hope; He is for me.

Jesus, how delightful to praise You through the beautiful celebration of Christmas. May the advent of Your love on earth feel real and full to all who read here, and, O Lord, especially to me- my heart which needs You so. I thank You for Your extravagant love and kindness and how You overlook so much in me through Christ. Thank You, O Lord. With praise to Your Name! Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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

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. (1 Peter 4 ESV)

Suffering is a mystery to me. I know that it can be a purging, refining fire. I have been studying the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta lately. As I study and read, I find myself naturally seeking more understanding into suffering and how it relates in the believer’s life. Mother Teresa had an acute understanding of profound human suffering. She also lived totally for the will of God. What does it mean to ‘be with someone’ in their suffering? What does it mean to walk through mine? I realize that I am often quick to minimize or “stuff” areas of life where I might actually be suffering and deny that it is actually a “thing” but I am realizing that Christ wants to be with me in each hard thing. In all of it. Whether I denounce it as too small a hardship to be named as such or not. 1 Peter 4 enthrones Christ; God preeminent above all in and through life- and this is a purpose found in suffering- to be freed from the flesh to be free in Christ.

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. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4 ESV)

Mother Teresa lived a life of love and all that she did was informed by a Great Love that she fully believed was ardently for the particular person directly in front of her. I have also been studying her life with this at the forefront. God’s love is something I ponder often, and desire greatly to grow more fully in outworking in and through my life. I think about what it means to be fully loved and fully known and how I can live into that with the people in my life. I have been trying to think of each small act as love in action. I am not a doer by nature; not at all. I try to serve in God’s love as I am able, remembering that I am loved (not for what I do, THANK the LORD) but for who I am, because He formed me and is forming me, in love. It is from this that I try to flow in my home and family life, with many imperfect, beloved people. How can I be more excellent for Christ and exhibit His love?

The Light in You

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11 ESV)

I just bought battery operated Christmas candles for every window in our house, and I am so so excited to put them in the windows. I can’t wait until they arrive. Light is another metaphor, image, and ideal that I ponder often and speaks deeply to my soul. I want our house to be lit with beauty- beauty that will nestle deep into my children’s hearts and light the neighborhood around us. I have so many deep seated memories pertaining to light and especially Christmas Candle Light. There is a quiet stillness found in a darkened room lit with small golden shine from window candles. I have pondered Christ in the circle of its beauty. I have driven Maryland countryside, way out in the “boonies” heading to the Pennsylvania line- in the winter, when everything is covered in the white sheen of snow. Along the way, houses gleam out window candle light, gold against the white iridescence. The hope that light speaks to me witnesses deep in my soul, with quiet insistence. Mother Teresa says that God is found in interior and exterior stillness. It is in this place of interior stillness, that we can hear His voice (according to her). Never-the-less, Jesus speaks often of light and this passage reflects the need to be utterly light filled and shining out into the world around one.

Lord, let there be beauty and light in and through my life. Let me walk in it more fully. Have mercy on me and keep me from suffering, but when I do, let me find You more fully in and through it. Let me know I am secure and safe in Your love and let me learn to see You in all the hard, however small, in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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

2 Timothy 2 comes to me gently. The verses come to me with kindness and wrap round with hope.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 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.

I ponder. Personal struggles rear before my mind’s eye; fresh imprint still shaped upon the contours of my heart.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself. (verse 13)

Psalm 119, a prayer for my heart:

Turn 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

Let no iniquity get dominion over me. I think on how I have been mastered by some; I think on how I have fallen prey. I think on how, through Christ, I can rise again.

2 Timothy:

 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. ESV

I have writhed in the hand of uncertainty that permeates so much of these days. I have struggled, and I have strived. Nothing good comes from it. It is the Lord’s faithfulness that keeps me; it is His grace that calls me back, draws me to my senses, restores me, offers hope. The beauty of the cross is much but one thing I ponder, always we can begin again through Christ. Begin again.

Your testimonies are righteous forever;
    give me understanding that I may live. Psalm 119:144 ESV

Lord, a fist has clenched my heart and gripped my mind, and in that place, I am far from You. Your truth brings me back and restores with kindness, grace, and hope. There is no one like You! Forgive me, Lord and let me be a vessel for You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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

Lately, I have been navigating some waters that require me to decide how to choose integrity. It always seems surprising, but sometimes that is harder to figure out than I initially realize it should be. The waters are often murky, and- not surprisingly- people have different perceptions and understanding of what is actually right and wrong. Years ago, my sister always shared a mantra with me and that was that “you should always try to keep yourself blameless” in any situation. In other words, follow that path that keeps you free of heart and clear of mind. She has fully lived that motto, and I have learned from her over the years.

Discouragement comes in many forms, and discouragement can lead people to make choices that lead to darkness and not to light. I reflect on this personally as my young adult children face ever increasing challenges as they navigate their worlds. Privileged to be a trusted advisor and confidante, often I don’t have the answers. It’s hard.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

Daniel’s story has always meant so much to me, and I love the example he provides of being set apart from the world and worldly things. His radical trust in God exhorts me to do the same, and that can mean making choices for the sake of integrity that do not make sense to the world. As I navigate different circumstances and scenarios in this complex world, I know that keeping a heart integral to the Lord is what deeply matters.

Psalm 105:

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!

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually is one of my favorite scriptures and a good “daily focus” verse for me each day. Especially when I face murkiness or unclear decisions.

May we all walk in integrity and the Lord give us grace and a clear, sensitive conscience!

Lord, help me to clearly know right from wrong according to You and keep me and my family free from sin. May we always walk in the Light. In You, there is no darkness at all. There is also no fear, for Love drives out fear. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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1 Kings 4,5; Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 35; Psalm 85

Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land (Psalm 85 6-9 ESV)

Difficult times come. And I have a choice. Will I allow myself to continue my path, back bent, fighting the storm- blinded by the rain-slant of it all? Or will I let myself be pressed? Molded and shaped? When it is hard and I am helpless, I am pushed to my face before the Lord – the place where I make all things right before Him. Repentance, rest, and trust.  Usually, my desperate fall to face-down (and it is only desperate- because I make it so-) doesn’t actually involve changing circumstances either through my decisions or supernatural interventions. Instead, it often is about me in my helplessness recognizing God in His power and letting the press prune, shape, and stretch me.

Certain frustrations bring me to the absolute end of myself and that end compels my fall before Him. When I find myself unable to change my own heart, my own emotions, my thoughts, my circumstances, or the relationship(s) with someone else, I have come to recognize that the Lord is seeking my heart. I need the reminder not to turn back to my folly(v 8). Again, again.

And it hurts. In all things, it hurts. It hurts to suffer and struggle and it hurts to deny myself and surrender. But once I have made it to the surrender and offered everything up to Him, I am filled with rest and supernatural strength. My soul is open to the pour of grace available to all who call on Him. And I am renewed in sensitivity to His Spirit. How I need this!

How will I respond to the difficulties I face? Will I allow my frustrations to color the perception of my days and the ones I love? Will I allow the difficulties to press me close to Christ? Will I let this tool of sanctification shape me, bring cleansing, and mold me?

Ephesians exults:

But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2: 4-10 ESV emphasis mine)

I open my heart, mind, and spirit to the cleansing, transforming truth in Ephesians. Mercy, Great Love, Life, Grace, Faith, Gift, Workmanship, Good Works.

Restore my eyes of faith to recognize I am Your workmanship, O God. Help me to rest in Your great love and saving grace and receive that love and grace through a heart cleansed by Christ.

You are the answer to death in my life: death in transgressions, death in relationships, death in the decaying of this world, and the futility of all of life without You. You restore and revive. You make alive!!! Praise be.

Rebecca (offerings.becca)

From the archives. Originally published October 2, 2017.

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