Author Archives: Rebecca

Judges 19-21; Acts 2

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

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

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

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

The promise: for you, for your children…

This promise speaks to my heart: for my children.

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

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

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

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

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Joshua 9-13; Luke 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Deuteronomy 4-5; Luke 6

Deuteronomy 4

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

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

A warning not to be drawn away.

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

Deuteronomy 5

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

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

Mercy.

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

Luke 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two favorites:

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

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

 

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

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13

My assigned readings take me back. Back.

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

Numbers 6

Aaron’s Blessing

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benediction

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

 

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

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Leviticus 4-7; Hebrews

Sin and Blood. Choosing to do what is right. Always. God cares.

Every atonement for sin requires blood.

Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the tent of meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The priest shall then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the Lord in the tent of meeting. The rest of the bull’s blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Leviticus 4 NIV

Unintentional, unknowing sin matters. Even if I do not realize I did what was wrong, it is still wrong before the Lord and the absolution requires blood. For me, that blood is in Christ. Forever in the Cross stark against a darkening sky… and the blood of Jesus poured out. So thankful.

13 “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt 14 and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting. Leviticus 4 NIV

 

Jesus in my High Priest. And I can ask Him for forgiveness every day for wrongs known and unknown. His blood and perfect sin offering stand forever.

17 “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. 18 They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven.  Leviticus 5 NIV

I ponder this. The Lord requires His people to be fully upright and stand for truth (5:1). Speak up when it is needed. Tend carefully to the belongings of others and things entrusted. There is no room for shifty living. All things upright and in the light. I need this reminder and exhortation. Help me examine my life carefully, Lord.

[h]The Lord said to Moses: “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor,or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.  Leviticus 6 NIV

 

Hebrews 3- a call for a tender heart. A reminder of identity.

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.[c   

ESV

 

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  ESV

 

A watchfulness is needed. I must watch over my heart and my life. Take care… hold fast. Confess and repent. Sin is deceitful and hardening. It can dull and deaden a life and deceive. O! so deceitful.

Lord, search my heart and mind and see if there is any evil way in me. Please cleanse my heart and mind. Strengthen me to do right and to put way any wrong things in my life immediately (or as quickly as possible). Lord, in Your grace, make the wrong so very clear and unrelenting that I am unable to rest until I repent and restore if needed. Help me be strong and courageous if needed. Help me to see clearly to recognize the wrong. Thank you forever for the blood of Jesus! Revive and awaken me to this blood that avails for me even minute by minute. Jesus! Let my repentance be real and true and I pray You be strong in my life. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Exodus 13-15; Psalm 114; Ephesians 3

I have to go slowly. Take my time.  Listen. I can’t rush, and I can’t barrel.

Pause. The nourishment from the Word comes to me when I quiet. When I still. When I ponder. There is no rushing this process for me. I find my impatience telling. Peace, peace to myself- I preach.

Exodus 13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

Consecration of the Firstborn

13 The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.

I can’t grasp, and I can’t cling. Consecration… present as holy. Open hands and Open heart.

Meaning and purpose is mine in Christ- for my life, my family, my marriage, my children! The Holy Spirit anoints it all.

In Exodus 13-15, God’s mighty outstretched hand is displayed. Chapter 15 is an exultant response of worship.

15 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider[e] he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name. v 1-3 ESV

 

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? V 11 ESV

—and—-

20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” V 20-21 ESV

I feel the full-hearted swell of the people of God, praising and worshipping God.

Immediately (in Scripture) after this exultant wave of praise and victory and their realization that the Lord has utterly vanquished their enemy and protected them… they are led to another difficulty. Bitter, undrinkable water. And then-after three days- the Lord makes it sweet.

22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.[f]24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log,[g]and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. Ex 15: 22-24 ESV

And then to Elim… where they camp by twelve springs of water.

Highs and Lows. Victories and Frustrations. Fear and Safety. And the Lord in it all.

I ponder the ways of the Lord. It is a good lesson for me. I should not allow my circumstances to interpret my Lord to me- but rather- look to the Lord for understanding of my circumstances. His goodness and faithfulness are constant and unchanging.

Ephesisans 3- the new covenant

The tremendous fullness of Christ WITHIN

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ESV

A fullness and provision that is always available and surpasses knowledge. The love of Christ and the power of the Spirit in every circumstance… and not just for a people corporately- but for me, the individual. Help me, Lord.

Lord, cleanse my heart and ignite my faith and passion for You. Help me to know the full joy of living for You, according to Your Ways, and in Your purpose. Lord, thank You that as Your follower… I can say: Who is like You? Majestic in Holiness? Awesome in Glory? Working wonders… Thank You that You are majestic, awesome and holy! Thank You that You work wonders! Thank You, thank You, thank You for Your great mercy and love. Forgive my sin and wrong-doing O God and release Healing in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

A Song for Worship, first heard by me on the Album Glory Revealed: Who is Like You by Tim Neufeld

 

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Genesis 38-40; Mark 15

Tamar:

A woman used and abandoned. Despised and forsaken? Feared.

11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow at your father’s house until Shelah my [youngest] son is grown”; [but he was deceiving her] for he thought that [if Shelah should marry her] he too might die like his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.  Genesis 38 AMP

Yet known by God and named in the genealogy of His Son. Forever remembered. Forever acknowledged. I ponder her brave audacity. I ponder the flesh-blood woman.

Given two sons…

So he was named Perez (breach, break forth).30 Afterward his brother who had the scarlet [thread] on his hand was born and was named Zerah (brightness). Genesis 38 AMP

one named “brightness.” Brightness after many dark days. Perez, the first-born also named forever in Christ’s genealogy. (Luke 3)

 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, Matthew 1: 3 AMP Emphasis mine

Spiritual battles played out against the backdrop of man’s passion.

Tamar (Genesis 38) juxtaposed next to Joseph (Genesis 39)

Now Joseph was handsome and attractive in form and appearance.Then after a time his master’s wife [b]looked at Joseph with desire, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me in the house, my master does not concern himself with anything; he has put everything that he owns in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God [and your husband]?”And so it was that she spoke to Joseph [persistently] day after day, but he did not listen to her [plea] to lie beside her or be with her. Genesis 39 AMP

Day after day. Joseph is subject to the beseeching pleading of a powerful woman. When finally, he is almost overtaken, he flees- leaving his garment alone in her hand.

And he is imprisoned. Yet, with his honor, integrity, and purity intact. And the Lord was with him.

21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended lovingkindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the warden. Genesis 39 AMP

These two chapters side by side cause me to ponder the spiritual and life battles played out across and through the tender, sensitive, private sphere of a life: human desire. Purity and honor; integrity- these are important to God. I often think about this proving ground and how important it is to battle in the Lord and walk in the Light. How can I convey this to the young people growing up under my care?

 23 Yet [even after all that] the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot [all about] him. Genesis 40 AMP

But God did not forget about him. God did not forget Tamar. God did not forget Joseph. God did not forget Jesus…even when, in the moment, He cried out in an agony of forsaking:

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15 AMP

In Matthew 15, the full account of the crucifixion is given. And I ponder the holy veil torn in two and the life-altering significance of this reality; the entire trust and submission of Jesus; the courage of Joseph and what it must have been for him to retrieve the Lord’s body and wrap it in linen. The whole “world” watching…and the role different ones played. The women, the disciples, Pilate, the guard… and Jesus. Suffering and Death. Submission and Trust. The veil rent asunder.

Lord, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for providing connections for me amongst the readings. Thank You for Tamar, Joseph, Jesus, Joseph of Arimethea, and all the real, flesh and blood people who lived, and breathed, and died and witness Your great story and truth for all time. For how the Scriptures are God-breathed and profitable:

2 Timothy 3:16-17King James Version (KJV)

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Help me live for you. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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