Monday, June 30, 2008

Heth - A Hebrew Prayer

You are my portion, O LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.

x Heth - Psalm 119:57-64

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Zayin - A Hebrew Prayer

Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me without restraint,
but I do not turn from your law.
I remember your ancient laws, O LORD,
and I find comfort in them.
Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
In the night I remember your name, O LORD,
and I will keep your law.
This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.

z Zayin - Psalm 119:49-56

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Waw - A Hebrew Prayer

May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise;
then I will answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
I lift up my hands to [c] your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on your decrees.

w Waw Psalm 119:41-48

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Father God,

I come with a heavy heart
and an uncertain future.
I don’t know how I am going to make it,
I see no hope and no hope.

But I do know that
You are God
You love me
You have a plan
You are Sovereign over all –
Over income and bills
Over needs and wants
Over health
Over prosperity
Over minds and wills.

And so I choose to trust You,
to believe Your Word,
to listen to Your Spirit
to do Your will
to wait for Your rescue.

I do trust You,
help my distrust.
I do believe You,
help my unbelief.
I choose to follow You,
take me from my own path.

Rebecca A Givens, 06/24/08

Friday, June 20, 2008

He - A Hebrew Prayer

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word. [b]
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

h He - Psalm 119:33-40

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daleph - A Hebrew Prayer

I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I recounted my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
then I will meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

d Daleth - Psalm 119:25-32

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Moving On

Several months ago I read something in Samuel that has stuck in my mind. Samuel had anointed Saul king over Israel, but Saul had shown himself to be false and not a follower of God. The end of I Samuel 15 shows Samuel mourning for Saul. We can speculate that he mourned for what Saul should have been, both as a king for Israel and as a man for God. Weeping for Israel, yes, but also weeping for Saul’s lost soul; I suspect Samuel loved Saul. Chapter 16 starts out with these words: The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” God basically tells Samuel to get out of the past and get up and do the next thing.

This morning I was reading in Pilgrim’s Progress, and Christian comes across the pillar of salt that is Lot’s wife. Remember Lot’s wife looked back as she fled Sodom when God was destroying it. Again, we can speculate that she wasn’t just looking back out of curiosity, but out of longing. She had left everything behind, her life, her possessions, her friends and possibly even some of her family; it would be very natural to regret leaving it all. But God was pulling her out of the very fires of hell and she didn’t want to leave.

And then there are the Israelites coming out of Egypt. God rescued them from a life of slavery, with the promise of the Promised Land ahead of them. God is visibly, physically leading them, yet they continue to look back and regret leaving Egypt. Over and over again they grumble against Moses for taking them out of Egypt.

Lot’s wife and the grumbling Israelites both have the problem of unbelief. They don’t trust God and what He has promised. They keep looking back at what was or what might have been, rather than forward to God’s leading, God’s provision, and God’s promise. Am I guilty of the same thing? All too often I remember the past and let myself dwell on it. I long for it, or I regret it, or I feel guilty for what I did or bitter for what someone else did to me.

Lord, forgive me. Pull my eyes out of the past and focus them securely on my future in You. Give me the courage to let the hurts and the sin of the past go. Allow the victories of the past to encourage me in the fights of the future. As tempting as it is, I don’t want to go back to the sin and slavery of the past, and I don’t want the old kings and idols to rule my life again. Let it be said of me as it was of Samuel: Samuel did what the Lord said.

Luke 9:62 – Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Rebecca A Givens, 06/09/2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gimel - A Hebrew Prayer

Do good to your servant, and I will live;
I will obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed
and who stray from your commands.
Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

g Gimel - Psalm 119:17-24

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What Is


Grant me the grace to take things as they are -
not as I were,
not as I want them to be,
but as they are.

Spiritual Helps

Eternal Father,

It is amazing love,
that Thou hast sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead,
that Thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide,
that Thou hast allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round;
All heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm.

Permit Thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf,
and to rejoice when grace expands in me.
Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over,
and I stand victorious on salvation's shore.

Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good,
resistance to Thy Spirit's motions,
may never provoke Thee to abandon me.
May my hard heart awake Thy pity, not Thy wrath,
And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption,
let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell,
that those for me are greater than those against me.

Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings,
Keep me feeding in the pastures of Thy strengthening Word,
searching Scripture to find Thee there.

If my waywardness is visited with a scourge,
enable me to receive correction meekly,
to bless the reproving hand,
to discern the motive of rebuke,
to respond promptly, and to do the first work.

Let all Thy fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Thy holiness.
Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees,
and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion.

May my every cross be sanctified,
every loss be gain,
every denial a spiritual advantage,
every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit,
every night of trial a song.

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

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Peace - Philippians 4

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

I have been meditating on this passage all week, and it is hard. The truth is that I don't have enough time or money. The truth is that we have elections coming up and no candidate that I want to vote for. The truth is that our economic and political future doesn't look good at all.

But truth is only part of this passage. Look at the rest of the list of "thought qualities". Noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. Oh. While my problems may be real and true, they are definitely not all those other things. And as I payed attention to life this week, I had to admit that our culture is not conducive to anything on that list either. Books, TV, movies, music - very little of what we fill our minds with on a regular basis could be described with the words of this scripture.

There is only one source for anything that can be described with this list of words, and that is God. Only things that come from God are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. God, His Word, His church, His people. That's what I need to focus my thoughts and my life on.

Oh yeah, and why do I want to do this (aside from just following God's command)? Read the whole passage:

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Peace. Think about things that fit this description, and you will have God and peace, something I know I need and want more of.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Neglected Garden

The Neglected Garden

Yesterday I worked in our garden. May was very busy for me, and I didn't manage to get out there much at all… so you can imagine what the poor neglected thing looked like. There were tomatoes ripening in the dirt because the vines were sprawling everywhere. The vines had grown like a jungle, with lots of suckers spreading out every which way. Weeds and grass had infiltrated, in many places outgrowing the seeds I planted. As I pulled weeds and tied up and tidied the tomato plants, I thought about how busy the last month has been and I began to wonder what else I had neglected…

I know I neglected my husband; we just didn't have any time together. My youngest didn't get much school work done because I didn't take the time to keep up with it. I coasted through teaching karate. But at the top of the list I have to put my neglected time with God. Do to busyness and some personal struggles I did not put time or effort into my relationship with God. I didn't ignore Him, I just didn't spend the time in prayer, I didn't spend the time in books about God, and I didn't spend the time meditating on His word that I usually do.

As I continued to think about these things I noticed some other things in my garden… the weeds were easy to pull, many seeds had sprouted, the tomato plants looked healthy. There were lots of ladybugs, I think they were eating the little mites I found on the tomatoes. The rain fell even though I neglected to water. And I realized that even though I had neglected my garden, God had not.

Likewise, God did not neglect my family and He did not neglect me. He never gets too busy to do what is right and best for His children. He blessed us and worked in all of our hearts without my input. Funny, He didn't seem to need me or my work at all! But the time I missed with my family is lost forever; the time we could have spent together is just gone, as is the time I could have spent with my Lord. I missed out on the fellowship and the joy of being together; I missed the blessings of my relationships.

Lord, open my eyes to see the opportunities You place in front of me. Keep me flexible enough to take those opportunities, especially in the midst of the business of life. Remind me of what is most important and what is best in life. Good is not enough, there is only time for Best.

©Rebecca A Givens, 06/13/2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beth - A Hebrew Prayer

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

b Beth - Psalm 119:9-16

Monday, June 9, 2008

Advice on Depression from Pilgrim's Progress

I just had to share from my reading in Pilgrim's Progress. Christian and his friend Hope are in the dungeon of the Giant Despair. The Giant has beaten them and starved them and is tryng to get them to commit suicide. Christian is very depressed. Hope encourages him with words perhaps I should remember when I get depressed.

1. death would be welcome, but remember that God says, "thou shall not murder."
2. "And let us consider, again, that all the law is not in the hand of Giant Despair."
3. "Others have been taken by him, as well as we; and yet have escaped his hand."
4. "I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand."
5. Remember how valiant you were before. What hardship, terror, and amazement has thou already gone through?

That night Pilgrim and Hope finally began to pray, and as morning came Pilgrim said,"What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon,when I may well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosem, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle."

And his key called Promise did indeed unlock all the locks holding them there.

I have that same key, the Promise of a God who loves me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been... I haven't posted much or sent out "becky's thoughts" in the last few weeks. And if you haven't missed me, don't tell me!

The picture above is where I've been. Yep, 1 down , 3 to go. I am sure the brick wall symbolizes something, either for Jacob or me, but I haven't figured out what yet...

Graduation was Sunday. We had lots of family come, so I spent the week or 2 leading up to that cleaning house. And pulling together a slide show of Jacob's life. And helping prepare for a high school meeting we had the friday before. And pushing kids through school work. And there was the ballet recital too. And a lot of things I can't remember. Oh yeah, and I got sick last week, which hit the peak of feel bad on sunday... graduation day. LOL, have I got good timing or what? As a few of the other moms got teary eyed, I was drifting on the fumes of extra strength cough medicene.

All through May I just prayed I'd make it to the end of the month. And now, it's June. . God is good! Let's see... June has VBS, college orientation, trip to Ohio for harp camp, ballet starts back up, a wedding to go to, some school work... welcome to my summer break!

Aleph - A Hebrew Prayer

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong;
they walk in his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

' Aleph - Psalm 119:1-8

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June Bible Reading

1 Ps. 119:89-176
2 Song of Solomon
3 Prov. 1-3
4 Prov. 4-6
5 Prov. 7-9
6 Prov. 10-12
7 Prov. 13-15
8 Prov. 16-18
9 Prov. 19-21
10 Prov. 22-24
11 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chr. 2-3
12 1 Kings 7; 2 Chron. 4
13 1 Kings 8; 2 Chron. 5
14 2 Chron. 6-7; Ps. 136
15 Ps. 134; Ps. 146-150
16 1 Kings 9; 2 Chron. 8
17 Prov. 25-26
18 Prov. 27-29
19 Eccl. 1-6
20 Eccl. 7-12
21 1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chr. 9
22 Prov. 30-31
23 1 Kings 12-14
24 2 Chron. 10-12
25 1 Kings 15:1-24;2 Chron. 13-16
26 1 Kings 15:25-16:34; 2 Chron. 17
27 1 Kings 17-19
28 1 Kings 20-21
29 1 Kings 22; 2 Chron. 18
30 2 Chron. 19-23