Author Archives: Rebecca

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

1 Chronicles 1,2-

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

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

OR

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

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

Psalm 145

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 8

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

 

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

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

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

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

Psalm 145:8,9 ESV

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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

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

Psalm 119:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Timothy 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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

I Kings 19: 12,13

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

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

Elijah recognized the Lord in the whisper.

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 105

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

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

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

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

Rebecca (OfferingsBecca)

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I Kings 4; I Kings 5; Ezekial 35; Psalm 85; Ephesians 2

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.

 

 

 

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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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