Monday, February 25, 2008

Computer Update...

Hello faithful readers of my blog!

My computer is still out, and probably will be for a while. I do have an old, well, ancient, computer that I type on... but it would probably explode if we connected it to the internet!!

So at present I e-mail or post to my blog whenever I am hanging out at church before or after karate class, or waiting there while my kids are doing whatever they do in town. Ballet, work, chemistry, etc.

I have been trying to rebuild my "becky's thoughts" list... so if you don't hear from me by the end of this week, shoot me an e-mail. I may have lost your address.



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who is in Control of Your Life?

At some point we all must acknowledge the fact that we are not in control of the big things on this earth… weather for example. There is no way to dispute that point. And we are not really in control over illness or injury. Yes, you may have some influence over those things by being careful and taking good care of your body, but when it comes right down to it, you cannot eliminate all risk of viruses and crazy drivers. So these big things in life we leave either to chance or to God. But what about the more personal things? Who controls them? This week God opened my eyes and identified for me some serious control issues in my own life.

I have struggled these last few months; struggled with thoughts, emotions, fears, and insecurities. December was a difficult month for my pride… we paid our bills and bought Christmas presents thanks only to the generous gifts of family and friends. The Financial Peace University class that Wesley and I are now taking has actually magnified my struggles by pointing out my financial insecurity and forcing me to quit ignoring it. One goal of the class is to provide hope for the future, but instead I have felt more and more hopeless; I was already doing the things Dave Ramsey teaches. Hopelessness, discouragement, anger and frustration have been my constant companions lately; I suspect I have been very difficult to live with.

As I battled these emotions I also struggled with God and with my husband, but I did not put them aside or ignore them. I suppose that should be counted as some sort of progress in my life! I talked to my pastor and as time went on I made a deliberate effort to communicate with Wesley. What a patient man he is to put up with me.

This week something happened in my head. I started asking God questions, and He answered them. I don’t know where the questions came from beyond the first one. Years ago, when God forced me to come to terms with my past, He asked me the question, “Becky, do you trust Me?” This time it was me asking Him, “God, do I really not trust You? Do I not trust Wesley? Do I resent his authority in my life? And Your authority? I know I resented my parents’ authority, but I thought I was past that. I trust sensei and pastor, I accept their authority; why not God and husband?” And God answered. “You can walk away from your pastor or your sensei, in that sense you have control over their authority. You can’t walk away from Me or from your husband.”

Control? Has this whole thing been about control? I thought it was about security. Am I angry, resentful and bitter because I am not in control? You can have all the financial security in the world, but if you don’t trust in God’s control and sovereignty, there will be no peace.

My next question was, “God, what do I do with all this inside of me? The anger, resentment, and bitterness? The insecurity? The fear?” His answer was, “It’s a sin.” Oh yeah, I know what to do with sin. Ask forgiveness. So I did, and then asked what to do with the emotions and attitudes that were still there. And God continued to answer. “Keep talking. Keep asking questions and listening to answers. Keep asking forgiveness. Keep identifying sin for what it is and reminding yourself of the Truth. Know that I love you and that I am in control, I can do that better than you can. Tell Me you trust Me.” So that is what I have been doing. And you know, by the end of the day, Truth began to filter its way down through my emotions; Hope and Peace began to return. So much so that now I find myself grinning again. Circumstances are the same. Expenses and income haven’t changed, the roof still leaks, we still could use another car that runs, there is still no financial security. Yet I can breath again. I can grin again. There was no hope in a future that I controlled, but there is Hope Everlasting in a future that God is in control of.

Rebecca A Givens, 02/2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My God is big enough...

God is big enough to handle me:
- my sin nature and my sin
- my emotions and my mind
- my conflict and my fight
- my past and my future
- my gifts and my thorns
- my pride and my humility
- my redemption and my sanctification
- my gains and my losses
- my anger and my love

Am I in Control?

If I trust only when it is easy,
I am in control.
If I obey only when I want to,
I am in control.
If I worship only by my choice in my own way,
I am in control.
If I rejoice only when I am happy,
I am in control.
If I offer thanks only when life is good,
I am in control.
If I submit only to God’s mercy and not to His chastisement,
I am in control.
If I do only what I excel at naturally,
I am in control.
If I rely on the praise of men for my self-esteem,
I am in control.
It is not enough to do these things in my own power, strength, and control. It is not enough to pick and choose when I will submit or what I will or will not do. God is sovereign, and His Will will be accomplished, with or without my cooperation. The question is, will I flow with God in His Will and enjoy the ride, or will I fight Him and be miserable?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daily Bible reading..

My guess is that right about now you are getting bogged down in your commitment to read the Bible through in a year. The newness and excitement of starting a New Year has worn off, and the daily grind has set in. And if you started in Genesis you are into the Levitical law now… not the most exciting reading in the Bible! Don’t let it get you down. Perhaps there is not a direct practical application; that’s ok, maybe there doesn’t have to be. Think about the Israelites, remembering and living by all these specific rules. Many of the laws were symbols of purity and holiness. Some of them ensured the health of the people. The sacrificial system was a picture of the sacrifice of Christ that the people had to look forward to – the Perfect and Final Sacrifice. And remember that in the New Testament, Hebrews I think, we are told that the law came so we would know we are sinners. The law is the proof that we can’t get to God on our own and that we need a Savior.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have fallen behind. Get up and start where you left off with a renewed commitment to read each day. Review your goal; was it realistic? Adjust it if necessary. Give yourself time to catch up. Picture the people of Israel receiving the law; think about the intent of the law; and imagine trying to live up to it without the Holy Spirit. Thank God that our righteousness does not depend upon our living up to the Levitical law! Thank Him that He Himself offered the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Over the last few months I have been able to take my teen daughters to several Christian Rock Concerts. I have to say that it was a lot of fun. These concerts had a bit in common with the Rock Concerts I went to when I was younger: loud rock-n-roll, jumping shouting fans, rock star egotism, the rock music high. But there were also some major differences from the concerts I remember – no alcohol or marijuana smoke, less nudity, and a gospel presentation followed by an alter call. And they cost quite a bit less too.

As I said, it was fun. I saw adults and kids of all ages. There was a passion and energy there that was exciting, even intoxicating. There was emotion and raw untamed feeling. There was a lot of life going on in those places. And there were moments of absolute worship; two that come immediately to mind were thousands of people singing Amazing Grace in a cow pasture in Verbena, AL, and the group Newsong singing “Arise, My Love” at the BJCC. That was like being inside an organ; it was huge and it just swept me away.

My one problem with these concerts is really more a question of semantics than a problem. Christian Concerts are billed as “a fun worship experience”. My problem is this: worship should be about God, not about our fun. Worship should always point to God, not to the music itself or the musicians leading it. A rock star jumping around on stage is very entertaining, but it is not worship. Head banging is not worship. Those things are about the star and the entertainment and rock and roll, not about God. There were certainly some powerful moments of worship in each of those evenings, but the concert itself was not worship, it was entertainment.

And there are some inherent dangers in Christian Rock. The musicians are idolized by their fans. The kids imitate them and long for their attention; they long for a touch or an autograph. The pressure must be tremendous. Ego, pride and integrity have to be huge issues for these performers. They have a great platform to speak truth into their fans lives, but at the same time they are in great danger of falling and taking the fans down with them.

My hope and prayer is that these musicians will continue to grow in Christ, and that God will bless them as they do. I pray that they will use their influence as a platform to point to God. I pray that God would give them wisdom and integrity and courage. I pray that my children (and I) will have the wisdom to choose wisely what they allow into their heads.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Down for the Count

Well, it seems that my computer is now a giant paperweight. With no resources to replace it, I am now limited to short periods of borrowed time and computers, so I will not be posting for a while. Also, there will be no "becky's thoughts" for those of you on my e-mail list. I guess now I will have to do something constructive rather than spend time checking my mail or playing with my blog...

February Bible Reading

1 Ex. 7-9 Bible Gateway
2 Ex. 10-12 Bible Gateway
3 Ex. 13-15 Bible Gateway
4 Ex. 16-18 Bible Gateway
5 Ex. 19-21 Bible Gateway
6 Ex. 22-24 Bible Gateway
7 Ex. 25-27 Bible Gateway
8 Ex. 28-29 Bible Gateway
9 Ex. 30-32 Bible Gateway
10 Ex. 33-35 Bible Gateway
11 Ex. 36-38 Bible Gateway
12 Ex. 39-40 Bible Gateway
13 Lev. 1-4 Bible Gateway
14 Lev. 5-7 Bible Gateway
15 Lev. 8-10 Bible Gateway
16 Lev. 11-13 Bible Gateway
17 Lev. 14-15 Bible Gateway
18 Lev. 16-18 Bible Gateway
19 Lev. 19-21 Bible Gateway
20 Lev. 22-23 Bible Gateway
21 Lev. 24-25 Bible Gateway
22 Lev. 26-27 Bible Gateway
23 Num. 1-2 Bible Gateway
24 Num. 3-4 Bible Gateway
25 Num. 5-6 Bible Gateway
26 Num. 7 Bible Gateway
27 Num. 8-10 Bible Gateway
28 Num. 11-13 Bible Gateway