Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On a Personal Note...

Just wanted to take a moment and say that I have not forgotten my blog or my writing. Last week was incredibly busy with the Karate Camp, which BTW was a great success. Also I started running a paper route last week... from the hours of about 1-5:00am. I am trying to figure out when to sleep...

This week I am sending e-mails and making contacts with Christian schools to see about the possibility of starting new kids karate classes as part of their after-school program. If I can get 2 new 1-day/week classes in locations with lots of built in students, I will be able to quit the paper route and sleep again. So if you have any connections with any Christian Schools in the Birmingham area, please put in a good word for me! I am also advertising my current class within the homeschool community, so connections there would be a good thing too. My next targets, if I should need them, will be some large churches, public schools, and day care centers.

I continue to write, both in my head and on paper, but I just haven't had time to edit and polish. But this too shall pass, and this season of life will not last forever.

Remember Christ's passion for you, and ask God to give you a passion for Him!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kaph - A Hebrew Prayer

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.

My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, "When will you comfort me?"

Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.

How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?

The arrogant dig pitfalls for me,
contrary to your law.

All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for men persecute me without cause.

They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.

Preserve my life according to your love,
and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

k Kaph Psalm 119:81-88

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back in the Battle

I am struggling with reality… don’t laugh! You see, I spent 4½ days alone, with no responsibilities, no housework, nowhere to go, no noise… nothing but woods, rain and mud, a stack of books and a laptop. It was glorious! I spent such wonderful time with God. He was so clear, so real, so close. Peace and quiet reigned, and it was so easy to hear His still, small voice. It’s easy to wake up and spend time with God when you have nothing else to do. No people talking to you, no laundry waiting, no one is hungry and depending on you for food, no one to chauffer around with a million places to go and things to do.

But this is not reality. This is vacation, R&R time away from the battle of real life. One cannot stay on leave forever; the battle awaits and the responsibilities of life don’t go away forever. Re-entering life is where my struggle began.

Now I am back in the battle, with people who depend on me, or need me, or just want to spend time with me. I have to juggle stuff to do and people and still keep my focus on God; it’s harder than I remembered. I can’t seem to work in my time alone with God; snatching small slivers of time is not enough for me anymore. I need lengthy times of peace and quiet and solitude, and they just don’t exist in my normal life. But God has put me in this life, therefore there must be a way to make it work.

One thing about the battle and the struggle of everyday life… it produces something in me that peace and quiet does not. I wrote very little last week. There were no inspiring words burning in my mind to be put on paper. No ideas racing in my head that I had to write down. Yet I filled several pages in my notebook just this morning, ideas waiting for inspiration to flesh out into devotionals.

I’ve always known I was a fighter at heart; I need something to struggle against and to fight for. It seems that without the fight I don’t do much. God knows I don’t need a Christian life as easy as I had it last week. I need a bit of chaos and busyness to work through, I need an enemy to struggle with, I need a God worth fighting for. The struggle is how God inspires me, how He puts words in my mind, how He sets my heart on fire, how He gives me passion to truly live my life for Him and to seek Him, because I am reminded every day how of much I need Him.
So I must thank Him for the chaos as well as the peace, for the noise as well as the quiet, for the people in my life as well as the occasional solitude He gives me. After all, this life is not about me anyway; it’s about God and His plan.

Rebecca A Givens, 07/2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Yodh - A Hebrew Prayer

Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.

May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.

I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.

Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.

May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.

May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.

May my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.

y Yodh Psalm 119:73-80

Sunday, July 20, 2008

As the Deer

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship thee

You're my friend and You are my brother,
Even though you are a king.
I love you more thank any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy Giver,
And the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship You

We sang this song in church this morning, and the chorus always gets to me.
You alone are my strength and my shield. My strength and protection are not found in myself, or in anyone here on earth.

To You alone may my spirit yield. That's the line that makes me want to cry. May I never yield my spirit to anyone or anything on earth, but to God alone.

You alone are my hearts desire, and I long to worship You. So often I think I want the things of this world. But those things do not satisfy me, this world is not enough. What I really desire is God, what I really long for is to worship Him.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Joash, the boy King

I am sure you remember the story about Joash. He became King of Judah at the age of 7, and he repaired the temple; it's a well-known children's story. Today I read his entire story. Joash was raised in the temple by a priest, Johoida, who is the one who put him on the throne. Joash's evil grandmother had siezed the throne and killed everyone else in his family. This is great stuff. So anyway, Joash becomes king and he listens to Johoida the priest and he follows God. He has the priests repair the temple; he even fusses at them for not starting right away. About 38 years go by, Jehoida grows old and dies. Then comes the part that doesn't make it into the children's storybooks.

After Jehoida died, Joash turned away from God. He turned away from the temple and the priests, and He worshipped idols. He wouldn't even listen to Jehoida's son, a prophet of the Lord. He went so far as to have Jehoida's son stoned to death in the courtyard of the temple. Not long after this King Joash was murdered and they did not even bury him with the Kings of Judah, because he had become evil.

This story is scary. How does a man follow God for so long and then fall to such depths? I don't know, but it still happens today. Perhaps he never followed God at all, perhaps he only followed Jehoida the Priest. Perhaps he only did what was expected of him, rather than obeying God out of love for Him.

Who do you follow? Do you follow God or man? Why?

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Today I read about Jehoshaphat; inspiring and convicting...

Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, and a vast army was coming against him. He was scared; there was no way his own army could take the enemy. So he calls a prayer meeting with all the people of Judah. He prays, "... For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

God answers! God says, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's....You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."

Notice what God says. They will not have to fight the battle, but they will have to take up their position in the army, they will have to stand firm, they will have to go out to face the enemy. Oh yeah, and don't be afraid. Yikes.

So the next day the army heads out to meet the enemy. Leading the army, are the singers! Yes, they are singing "praises to the Lord for the splendor of His Holiness." "Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever." Can you picture this?! As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the invading armies. The invading armies destroy each other, rather than destroying Judah. "When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped." And you know what? It took them 3 days to carry off all the plunder from the dead armies.

The people believed God would do what He said He would do, and they praised Him first, as they were marching out. As they praised Him, He began to work.

When I am afraid and overwhelmed, I don't often go out singing to meet my enemy. I believe what God says about delivering me from Satan and the world and my sin nature... but do I act like I believe it? Do I joyfully take my position, standing firm in God's army, or do I fearfully crawl along? All too often it is the later. I have seen God work, I have seen Him fight for me, I have seen Him hand the victory to me. Yet it still goes against my nature to stand strong and be courageous and trust Him.

Lord, give me courage. I cannot face the enemy. Put a song of praise in my heart and fight the battle for me! Fill my mind and my emotions with Your Spirit, so I can stand strong and watch You fight.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I find Elijah fascinating and inspiring. He was such a powerful man of God. He pronounced the curse of drought on the land and then hid for 3 years, first in the desert and then with the widow and her son (remember the oil and flour that never ran out?). He then took on Ahab and 450 prophets of Baal. What an awesome story that is! Then he runs for his life in fear of Jezebel. He’s afraid and discouraged and feeling alone. He went from the height of being used by God to depression, discouragement, and fear. At that point, an angel of the Lord comes and ministers to him, saying, “get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” He is strengthened enough to travel on to the Mountain of God, a journey of 40 days and nights. The food of God must be rather amazing. And then he stands in the presence of the Lord. God wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, He came in the gentle whisper, and Elijah stood before God and poured out his heart and his fears. The Lord answered him by giving him a job to do and by telling him he is not alone, there are in fact 7000 true believers still in Israel. Elijah gets up and goes on to do what God has told him to do.

I love Elijah because he is used so powerfully by God, and immediately after that he runs in fear. This is so like me. How can we be this way? How can we see God work in a mighty way and then be overtaken by fear? I don’t know. But it encourages me to read about his life and see that God doesn’t berate him or punish him; rather, God feeds him and encourages him, and even entrusts him with another task.

Thank you Lord, for using me, for feeding and encouraging me, and for entrusting Your Work to me. And God, thank You for the Holy Spirit who indwells me all the time. Keep me aware of Your presence.

Friday, July 11, 2008


2 Chronicles 12:14 – He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.

Scripture here is talking about King Rehoboam, son of Solomon. There was some good in him, several instances where he followed God. But a lot more instances where he didn’t. Following God does not happen by accident; you have to intentionally, continually set your heart on seeking Him.


I’ve been reading about Solomon – and it is depressing. God blessed Solomon with wisdom and wealth beyond measure. As a young kind all he wanted was to rule his people wisely. He built the splendid temple. He had peace on every side. Yet at the end of his life he also worshiped other gods. He had married princesses from every nation – perhaps a good political move for peace. But some of them were nations God had specifically forbidden Israel to intermarry with. And scripture says Solomon loved these women, and built places for them to worship their gods, and ultimately he worshiped with them. He fell from such a great height. How easy it is to forget what God has done for you and to forget the promises you have made to Him. Even for men with wisdom.

Lord, I pray that Your blessings and gifts to me would always point me to You.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ecclesiastes, the Conclusion

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

I just read the whole of Ecclesiastes. It is a bit depressing… Solomon has talked about how everyone, no matter how good or bad, wise or foolish, rich or poor they are, dies; and everyone has good and bad things happen in life. But over and over he proclaims that it is better to enjoy life, to work hard and be satisfied, and to serve God and seek wisdom. This from the wisest man in the world.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I just finished the book of Psalms (yes, I am very late). What a powerful note this book ends on! “Praise the Lord!” over and over, for different people and different things and in different ways; but all with the same theme. I am sitting in the woods in Ohio and I am praising the Lord. I am surrounded by bird noises (praise God the music across the way stopped). The trees are beautiful and green, the air is cool. My neighbors are friendly. The trip itself was funded as a blessing from God. I have days of peace and quiet, writing, reading, training, and hiking ahead, and a wonderful family and church awaiting my return. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ecclesiastes 5

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
3 As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.

What a powerful statement about how we should approach God and the church! Listen more than you speak. Stand in awe of God. Think about what you promise. How often do we think about the words to the songs we are singing? What are we saying to God? Are we telling Him how to run things?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 - What does a worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is a gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

This passage stood out in my mind as I read through Ecclesiastes this morning. The sentences seem disconnected… what is the connection between toil, burden, beautiful, and eternity? It seems an unlikely list. God has laid a burden on men, the burden of work, toilsome labor. When Adam and Eve sinned part of the curse was that their work would be difficult; thorns and weeds and hard ground became a part of their lives. But next Solomon says. He has made everything beautiful in its time. What could possibly be beautiful about toilsome labor? Remember that God gave work to Adam at the very beginning, even before the fall. So work itself was not part of the curse. Think about something you have worked hard on. What did you feel at the end? Satisfaction comes at the end of hard work, of a job well done. The more difficult the task, the more satisfying the end is. It is truly a beautiful thing. My journey to black belt was difficult, many hours of hard training, bruises, sweat, and even a few tears along the way (I am a woman so I can admit to that!). Yet that test still brings me great satisfaction.

So these sentences do make sense. But there is a statement in the middle of the passage that really sticks with me. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. God created us in His own image, and He is eternal. We are also eternal, our souls will exist forever; yet even with eternity in our hearts we cannot ever completely understand all that God has done. And some men never understand any of what God has done… they never believe in Him, though they are made in His image. God gave us life, joy, and satisfaction to point us to Him, to connect the eternity in our hearts with Him forever. Don’t despise the gifts or the Giver, revere Him and seek Him and be saved.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Max McLean

I made an 11 ½ drive to Ohio last week… and it was indeed long. I had trouble staying awake for parts of it. But my pastor loaned me some cds to listen to, and I want to recommend them to you. Max McLean has recorded some Christian classics as well as the entire Bible. He has a great voice, and really brings these works alive. I listened to Augustine’s Confession and was spellbound. How can I, who love to read old things, never have read this? I must go read the whole thing now. I also listened to the first third of Pilgrim’s Progress, which I have been reading off and on for the last few months. The time flew by, and I can’t wait to listen to the rest of it on the way home. There are a few FREE things to download on his website, and of course quite a few things to buy. These are well worth the money, and I encourage you to check it out!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Answered Prayer

I just thought I’d like to let you all know that everyone in Ohio in the area of Findley State Park has reason to thank me. This morning as I walked down the road to the bath house I was noticing the absolutely beautiful blue sky and the dry air, when God reminded me that this was what I prayed so desperately for yesterday… it had rained off and on all day and I was so miserably tired of rain and mud. Thank you Lord!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Time Away

I've been gone the last week. I took my daughter to Ohio to Harp Camp, and camped out by myself while she was there. What a great week! So the next bunch of posts will be what I wrote while I was gone. This post actually comes from the end of my time there, but it sort of captures my mood of the week, so I thought I'd post it first...

I spent the last few days alone with God. On the way here I listened to Christian music, to Pilgrim’s Progress, to the writings of Augustine, and to scripture. Then came a day of harp music and Highland Games, then 4 days of peace and quiet, with no responsibility, no schedule, no expectations. It has been really good. It has focused my mind and my heart on God. As I lived in my tent in the camp site under the trees, I wrote a bit, read a lot, relaxed a lot, watched some martial arts videos, and hiked. I had thought I would write more… but most of this week seems to have been about the focus of my heart and that doesn’t really come out on paper. There have not been object lessons. There has been joy, and scripture, and quiet.

Now I am preparing to go back out into the real world. I don’t know if I want to. I do miss my family and friends; but I do not miss responsibility, cooking, or cleaning. I just realized I haven’t thought much about the people I normally pray for, I’ve mostly just thought about God Himself. I think that’s a good thing periodically. For just a little while, to quit asking God for things or for help, and to think about who He is and how He works and His Word; but not forever. He tells me to pray for others. He tells me to do my duties, to raise my children, to love my husband, to support my friends and my church. I am called to teach my class and to train hard.

But this time away has been good. I understand the draw of the monastic life. I think it would have been attractive to me. Except I could never have been a nun! And I don’t think they let women be monastic hermits…

Mark 6:31 – Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Teth - A Hebrew Prayer

Do good to your servant
according to your word, O LORD.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I believe in your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

X Teth - Psalm 119:65-72

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ladies Self Defense


… because it’s a dangerous world we live in

Saturday, July 12

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Drive
Hoover, AL

Space is limited
Pre-Registration is Required

Suitable for teens and up

Kids Karate Camp

Karate Kids Summer Camp

Kids ages 7-12
New students welcome!

July 21-25, 10:00am-12:00pm
Register by July 7

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Drive
Hoover, AL, 35226


Becky Givens, Sensei
Shintaikan Dojo
Shingo-ha Yoshukai Karate

July Bible Reading List

July Bible Reading List

1 Obadiah; Ps. 82-83
2 2 Kings 1-4
3 2 Kings 5-8
4 2 Kings 9-11
5 2 Kings 12-13; 2 Chron. 24
6 2 Kings 14; 2 Chron. 25
7 Jonah
8 2 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 26
9 Isa. 1-4
10 Isa. 5-8
11 Amos 1-5
12 Amos 6-9
13 2 Chron. 27; Isa. 9-12
14 Micah
15 2 Chron. 28; 2 Kings 16-17
16 Isa. 13-17
17 Isa. 18-22
18 Isa. 23-27
19 2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chron. 29-31; Ps. 48
20 Hos. 1-7
21 Hos. 8-14
22 Isa. 28-30
23 Isa. 31-34
24 Isa. 35-36
25 Isa. 37-39; Ps. 76
26 Isa. 40-43
27 Isa. 44-48
28 2 Kings 18:9-19:37; Ps. 46; Ps. 80; Ps. 135
29 Isa. 49-53
30 Isa. 54-58
31 Isa. 59-63