Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Today I took my teens to see the movie, "Expelled". I highly recommend it. It got me thinking.. the natural progression of Darwinism is the devaluation of individual humans. In other words, there is no intrinsic value in being a human being. The logical progression from that is scary. The following list is just off the top of my head:

no moral absolutes
no right or wrong
child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional
domestic violence
kids become a burden and a nuisance
elderly become a burden and a nuisance
handicapped become a burden and a nuisance

Some of these things seem relatively small, while others are huge; but can you see the connections? Can you see how the small things lead to the big ones? Can you see how they all stem from the devaluing of human life?

We must teach the value of human life. People must see their worth in God's eyes. We must teach and show our children that they have intrinsic value, that they are worth everything to us and to God. How will they learn that if we as parents do not show it?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who am I?


Give me the grace to be who You made me to be
rather than who I want to be.

Give me the grace to conform to who You want me to be
rather than who I am.

Rebecca A Givens

Friday, April 25, 2008

Psalm 9 and 10

This morning I wept as I read Psalm 9 and 10. These psalms speak of God never forsaking those who seek Him; of how God Himself avenges the blood of the afflicted, striking their enemies with terror. It speaks of the pride of the wicked, who think what they do in secret will never be discovered or punished, yet God sees. It speaks of the wicked overpowering and crushing their innocent victims, yet the victim commits Himself to God and God hears, He listens, He comes, He encourages, He defends, He avenges, "in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."

I wept for the innocent victims of child abuse, for the child who is molested by a trusted adult. I pray that victims would commit themselves to God, and that the wicked would be found out and judged.


I’ve been digging in the dirt these last few days. Today I was moving right along, stomping the digging fork into the ground over and over again, when all of a sudden the fork didn’t go into the ground at all and I nearly fell off of it; more than once. After I looked around to see if anyone was watching, I laughed.

The small field next to our house was a garden years ago, and that is where we are gardening now. We laid out the first raised bed and began to work. Every few inches we sink in the digging fork and work it back and forth a few times. Then we sit and pull the weeds, grass, and clover. As I pull the weeds, I try to get as much of the root as possible, so it can’t grow back. Some weeds have shallow roots that pull right out, some grow deep and range far. Because it was once a garden the ground is soft and most roots are not too deep, so it was going fairly quickly. Until I got to the stump. You see, there is a large stump in the ground, right at ground level. The weeds cover it over so you can’t see it until you pull them away. Even when I saw the stump I didn’t realize how much ground it covered until I started trying to dig around it. And that’s when I fell off the digging fork; more than once.

As I sat turning dirt and pulling weeds, I began to think. I thought a lot about Jesus’ parable about the seeds and the different kinds of soil and, as usual, my mind wandered and God began to show me my life. Before I was even born God claimed me as His garden. He laid out the bed of my life and began to work it. Throughout all these years He has worked the soil (even put in some earthworms), planted good things, watered, and pulled out lots of weeds (some of them rather large). Today many of my sins are easily pulled up; the roots are shallow and with just a bit of stirring in my heart they pull right out. But there are some tough ones that leave a deep root even when the visible part is done away with, and those will grow back and have to be dealt with again. And of course new weeds will grow into my life as well, but if they are pulled quickly they won’t have time to grow deep into my heart.

Right in the middle of the garden of my life is a stump. It is sometimes covered over and invisible, but it’s still there, and it’s still in the way. It also seems to be a haven for weeds; they grow deep right down next to it and in it. The tree was cut years ago but the stump still scars the ground and makes it hard and unusable; only God knows how far the roots run. This stump is my sin nature. God will continue to dig it out, bit by bit, my whole life - softening the soil around it, enriching the dirt, pulling the new weeds that creep in and digging out the roots of the old weeds. As He goes God plants good things that will make this garden useful and beautiful. One day, at the very end of this life, God, the Master Gardener, will pull out this huge tree root of my sin nature forever. When that is gone, and the weed seeds and roots of Satan and this world can no longer influence me, there will be a beautiful garden indeed. What an awesome God we serve!

Rebecca A Givens, 04/2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Saul and David

Here are some random thoughts I had as I read about Saul and David:

Saul never understood the proper worship of God. Even when he tried, it was in his own way and his own strength, not according to God’s way or God’s plan.

When the Lord rejected Saul, Samuel went home and mourned for him. God’s response was, “How long will you mourn for Saul?… be on your way; I am sending you… I have chosen…” How often do I spend too much time mourning the past, or mistakes, or a friend who has turned away from me or from God? At some point we must get up and go on; God has a next thing for us to do.

When David faced Goliath:
“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David trusted God to act in the present by remembering how God had acted in the past.
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head… and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel… it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s…” I’ve just always found David’s speech to Goliath inspiring.

When Saul became jealous of David and sought to take his life, David seemed to recognize that his enemy was not really Saul, and that he had to wait for God’s timing in his struggle with Saul.

David was a warrior, but also a musician and a poet, and he wrote a lot amidst his battles and difficulties. The psalms, which are so full of his struggle and his emotions, are the most comforting section of the Bible for me. When I begin to meditate and pray David’s prayers myself, amazing things happen inside me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

O, Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be,

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that lifts up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

This was a song we sang in church yesterday, led by some college students from RUF at Samford. I don't know who wrote it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008


“If you are looking for painless ways to grow toward each other and toward maturity, call off the search.” J. Grant Howard

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Calm

There is a Calm that comes after a storm –
When Pride has been toppled
Humility covers;
Peace is discovered.

It is a still place, a quiet place; where
guard is let down,
quiet descends,
damage is evident but
rebuilding can begin.

Tears fall out of relief
rather than anger.
Barriers are broken,
and walls have fallen.
The heart seeks comfort
rather than defense.

Anger is replaced by grief,
sadness over what was said and done.

Wrong is realized,
Sin is repented,
Forgiveness is sought.

Then Peace comes,
Life returns,
and Joy steps in.

Calm reigns.

Rebecca A Givens, 04/2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Samuel and Saul

Today I read where the people ask Samuel for a king. Samuel knows a king is wrong at this point, God plainly tells him that. The people want a king so they will be like all the nations around them, even after Samuel points out the bad parts of having a king. They ask for a king and God gives them one, even though it is a bad idea... why is that? Why does God give them something even when it is bad for them? Does he ever do that for us? Give us what we want instead of what we should have? I need to be careful what I pray for. God tells us to "pray in the Spirit". I was explaining what this means to my youngest yesterday. We are certainly supposed to talk to God and tell Him what we need, and I believe we are to tell Him what we want as well. But that little "in the Spirit" changes the attitude of those prayers. Instead of simply telling God what I want I also submit to what He wants, even if it's not what I want. I want His will more than my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Powerful gods? I Samuel

I was just reading in I Samuel, about when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines and set in Dagon's temple. The idol Dagon fell over before the ark, twice, and the 2nd time his hands and head had broken off.

I find it interesting that the people did not want to know how to appease this new, more powerful God. Instead, they wanted to get rid of it because it was overturning the idol they worshipped.

How often are people today like that? They see the power of God, but they want Him to go away and leave them to their weaker idols. "We like worshipping our weak, man-made idols!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Show Me Your Glory

Though it will slay me,
show me Your Glory;
I need to be slain,
my sin must die and my sin nature must be slain
in the Light of Your Glorious Presence.

Though it will slay me,
show me Your Glory;
For only when I am slain,
only when my sin nature is put to death,
can I be raised to new life.

Show me Your Glory;
Slay my sin nature;
Raise me to new life;
Shine Your Glory through me;
That all may see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Rebecca A Givens, 3/2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I read the book of Ruth today (yes, I know I am behind). I love this book; besides the fact that it’s a great story, there are so many pictures and concepts of God and His people. I started an article over a year ago… I will have to go back and finish it.

Anyway, what stood out to me today is the lineage at the end of the book. My kids hate lineages! But this one is great. It starts with Perez. I didn’t remember who he was, so I went back to look. Remember the story about Judah, how his first son was wicked and died, leaving a wife and no children. So his second son took the wife, but refused to have children in his brother’s name and so he died. Judah wouldn’t give his 3rd son to the wife, so she tricked him by pretending to be a prostitute and ended up pregnant. Perez was the first born twin boy of this unlikely union between Judah and Tamar, his dead son’s wife. Come down a few generations to Salmon. Salmon married Rahab, the prostitute from Jericho. Their son was Boaz, the man who married Ruth the Moabitess. And just 3 generations later came King David, and follow on down the line to Christ.

Isn’t it amazing how God’s plan has unexpected twists and turns, and isn’t it interesting the people that He uses in His plan. God even uses our sin in His plan. Maybe there is hope for me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The other day my husband and I were discussing poetry. He does not like poetry, it seems pointless to him. He likes to read and he reads a lot, just not poetry. To me, poetry is another facet of reading; different yes, but good.

As I thought about it I realized that what my husband enjoys is a good story; a good plot with good characters. Poetry is about more than that, it’s about the words themselves. The shapes and colors of the words, the emotions and thoughts and pictures that the words bring out of the reader. You don’t read poetry, you feel it.

Music is like that for a gifted musician. They don’t just play it or listen to it with their ears, they feel it inside. That’s what martial arts is for me, it’s not just something I do physically, it’s something I feel inside. It comes from my heart, not my muscles.

This is what Christianity must become for each of us. It must not be just something we know, but something that we believe and trust; not just something we do outwardly, but something that comes from the heart.

Is your Christianity a set of beliefs in your head, or a relationship with God from your heart?

Rebecca A Givens, 04/2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.” Bobby Knight

Monday, April 7, 2008

Life at the Moment

I generally don't like to write on my blog about my life, except when I am writing what God is teaching me. I really don't have time to read blogs about what people did today or what they ate for dinner, unless it is really funny or a recipe worth sharing! I guess I just don't get the "online journal" thing... my journal is not stuff anyone else needs to read! But I know that most people who read my blog know me personally, and so today I want to mention some things going on in my life so you can pray for me and my family. It may end up like the Christmas family letter that I never got around to writing...

I have some writing projects in the works, and I am being told to publish, but the big question is where and who? There doesn't seem to be anyone who already publishes the kind of devotionals I naturally write. It has been suggested that I self-publish a devotional for martial artists, and that seems like a great idea, but it costs $$. Right now we need money coming in, there is none available to go out! I am also going to write my testimony. Please pray for me as I do that, it can be difficult emotionally.

Wesley is considering taking a teaching job next year. If he does he should still be able to keep his studio open, but also have a regular pay check and benefits. As we get older health insurance is getting to be a bigger deal. These last couple of years have not been good economically. Change is hard, even when it is a change for the better, so pray for us here too. And perhaps this would give us time to pursue some short term missions trips in the summers again.

Jacob graduates from High School June 1. College plans are coming together and I find myself wishing I could go back and do it all again, doing it right this time . Yesterday I discovered that I had been looking at the estimated costs wrong for the last 6 months... I thought it was /semester, but it was /year. That means he has half the expense I thought he had! His scholarship will cover all university costs, and we hope and pray that grants will cover travel and misc expenses so he will not have to work at all. He will need to spend a lot of time studying to keep his grades up to keep his scholarship.

Hannah is looking at college options and scholarships. She is planning to take some college classes at Jeff State this summer. At this point she could end up anywhere from Oregon to Montevallo for college. She still has a year to decide.

Sarah is dancing and playing harp, headed to Ohio for Scottish Harp Camp (on a scholarship). Next year is High School for her, so we are evaluating what outside classes she and Hannah should take next year.

Emily is still shorter than me; the only one left who is. She is playing the flute and coming to my karate class, planting roses in our yard, and helping me in the vegetable garden we are starting this year. She will be in 5th grade next year.

Between husband, 4 kids, school, karate teaching and training, money management, meals, house, garden, writing, and church, I am beginning to feel pulled in a zillion different directions, and I am sure that I am losing some pieces of some things along the way. Planning graduation, planning college, planning high school, planning karate class, karate testing, meals, cleaning, gardening; the list of tasks is endless and I will never actually finish everything on it; the names will change, but the list will stay the same length. All these things are things to do, but in the midst of them all I think that who I am and the relationships I am building are what will last long after the thing gets done. It is easy to focus on what is urgent at the moment and lose sight of what is most important. And so I must keep my focus on God and who He is, who He wants me to be, and the people I am with.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thoughts from Judge Deborah

This verse really stood out to me. It is the beginning of a song sung by Deborah and Barak after their victory over theCanaanite king.

Judges 5:2
When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves - praise the Lord!

What makes this stand out to me is that so often our leaders don't take the lead, and even more often the people don't willingly offer themselves. Husbands need to lead their wives, parents need to lead their kids, pastors need to lead their flock, men in the church need to step up and lead, and all of us must willingly follow and willingly offer ourselves to God. This is basic, foundational stuff, and it's where we mess up everything else.

Just a thought...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Consecration and Worship

My God,

I feel it is heaven to please Thee,
and to be what Thou wouldst have me be.

O that I were holy as Thou art holy,
pure as Christ is pure,
perfect as Thy Spirit is perfect!

These, I feel, are the best commands in Thy Book,
and shall I break them? must I break them?
am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?

Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner,
that I grieve this blessed God,
who is infinite in goodness and grace!

O, if He would punish me for my sins,
it would not wound my heart so deep to offend Him;
But though I sin continually,
He continually repeats His kindness to me.

At times I feel I could bear any suffering,
but how can I dishonour this glorious God?

What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings?

O, that I could consecrate my soul and body to His service,
without restraint, forever!

O that I could give myself up to Him,
so as never more to attempt to be my own!
or have any will or affections
that are not perfectly conformed to His will
and His love!

But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.

O may angels glorify Him incessantly,
and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower
before the blessed king of heaven!

I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise;
But when I have done all I can to eternity
I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction
of the homage that the glorious God deserves.

Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous

I just finished reading Joshua. What an exciting life he led! Born into slavery in Egypt, brought out through the miracles and plagues, assistant to Moses, spy into the Promised Land, wandering in the desert for 40 years, general in the army, successor to Moses and Commander of the army that crossed the Jordan and took the Promised Land. Think about what he saw in his lifetime, what he experienced and what he felt.

There is a great phrase that I equate with Joshua, and that I have told myself many times over the last few years. Moses said it to Joshua, God said it to Joshua, and Joshua said it to the people.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This is said at least 7 times… I think God was trying to tell Joshua something! Joshua probably was afraid; can you imagine trying to follow Moses as the next leader of Israel? But God doesn’t tell him, “Don’t be afraid, you spineless wimp.” He encourages Joshua with the truth, with the reason that he doesn’t have to fear. God was commanding Joshua, and God would be with him the whole way. And it’s not just about fear, it’s about discouragement too. Don’t be afraid and want to quit, but also don’t get tired and run down and want to quit.

We, like Joshua, can be strong and courageous, but not because we are naturally that way. No, we, like Joshua, are to be strong and courageous because God is commanding us, and He will be with us wherever we go.

April Bible Reading List

1 Judg. 6-7 Bible Gateway
2 Judg. 8-9 Bible Gateway
3 Judg. 10-12 Bible Gateway
4 Judg. 13-15 Bible Gateway
5 Judg. 16-18 Bible Gateway
6 Judg. 19-21 Bible Gateway
7 Ruth Bible Gateway
8 1 Sam. 1-3 Bible Gateway
9 1 Sam. 4-8 Bible Gateway
10 1 Sam. 9-12 Bible Gateway
11 1 Sam. 13-14 Bible Gateway
12 1 Sam. 15-17 Bible Gateway
13 1 Sam. 18-20; Ps. 11; Ps. 59 Bible Gateway
14 1 Sam. 21-24 Bible Gateway
15 Ps. 7; Ps. 27; Ps. 31; Ps. 34; Ps. 52 Bible Gateway
16 Ps. 56; Ps. 120; Ps. 140-142 Bible Gateway
17 1 Sam. 25-27 Bible Gateway
18 Ps. 17; Ps. 35; Ps. 54;Ps. 63 Bible Gateway
19 1 Sam. 28-31; Ps. 18 Bible Gateway
20 Ps. 121;Ps. 123-125; Ps. 128-130 Bible Gateway
21 2 Sam. 1-4 Bible Gateway
22 Ps. 6; Ps. 8-10; Ps. 14; Ps. 16; Ps. 19; Ps. 21 Bible Gateway
23 1 Chron. 1-2 Bible Gateway
24 Ps. 43-45; Ps. 49; Ps. 84-85; Ps. 87 Bible Gateway
25 1 Chron. 3-5 Bible Gateway
26 Ps. 73; Ps. 77-78 Bible Gateway
27 1 Chron. 6 Bible Gateway
28 Ps. 81; Ps. 88; Ps. 92-93 Bible Gateway
29 1 Chron. 7-10 Bible Gateway
30 Ps. 102-104 Bible Gateway